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Off Topic => Off Topic => Topic started by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 10:50:46 PM

Title: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 10:50:46 PM
This thread is for discussion on United States politics: which includes local, state, and federal elections, important political issues, political news, and the Biden Administration.   
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 10:59:17 PM
President Biden is moving the country forward and is cleaning up the Trump economic disaster that devastated America.

ADP: Employers Added 571,000 Jobs in October, Beating Expectations:
Large companies in the services sector powered the strong monthly performance.

November 3, 2021

Employers added 571,000 jobs in October, above expectations, according to a monthly survey released Wednesday by private payroll firm ADP.

Gains were strongest among large companies, with increases of 342,000, and heavily concentrated in the services sector of the economy, with 458,000 new hires. The leisure and hospitality industry added 185,000 jobs.

Economists had been looking for 400,000 jobs to be created following September's increase of 568,000.

"The labor market showed renewed momentum last month, with a jump from the third quarter average of 385,000 monthly jobs added, marking nearly 5 million job gains this year," said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. "Service sector providers led the increase and the goods sector gains were broad based, reporting the strongest reading of the year. Large companies fueled the stronger recovery in October, marking the second straight month of impressive growth."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which helps ADP prepare the report, said, "The job market is revving back up as the Delta-wave of the pandemic winds down. Job gains are accelerating across all industries, and especially among large companies. As long as the pandemic remains contained, more big job gains are likely in coming months.

The report comes two days before the Labor Department issues the monthly jobs numbers for October, with economists expecting close to 400,000 new jobs added in the month following September's disappointing 194,000 reading.

The labor market has been recovering, albeit unevenly, from the effects of the coronavirus which saw 22 million Americans lose their jobs in April of last year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 4.8%.

But companies say they find it difficult to find workers and are having to pay higher wages and offer flexible schedules to attract jobseekers. Nonetheless, companies continue to post jobs and say they expect robust hiring ahead.

Data from HireVue, a firm that provides businesses with virtual interviewing technology, says interviews picked up in October, with tech companies seeing the biggest increase, completing 66.3% more interviews than in September, with retailers completing 64.7% more interviews.

A separate report from ADP found that wage growth, which picked up sharply following the pandemic, is now returning to more normal levels. Wages grew 3.3% during the third quarter overall, but for job switchers the pace was double at 6.6%.

The health of the job market is one of two factors the Federal Reserve Board is considering as it decides when to begin "tapering" its $120-billion-per-month purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The central bank is widely expected to announce later Wednesday that it will cut that amount by $15 billion a month with a goal of ending the pandemic-era program by the middle of next year.

The other factor is inflation and there the news is not as sanguine. Consumer prices have been running about 5% higher year over year in 2021 and there are indications an inflation mindset has begun to set in that could make the Fed's job more difficult going forward.

It also complicates the political situation in Washington as President Joe Biden seeks to pass twin infrastructure bills with a razor-thin margin in Congress, which now seems even more in peril following Tuesday's election results which saw a Republican take the Virginia governor's race and a closer-than-expected contest for governor in the reliably Democrat state of New Jersey.

"An unmorring of inflation expectations can be self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating," economists Joseph LaVorgna and Troy Ludtka of Natixis CIB wrote Tuesday. "University of Michigan 5-year ahead inflation expectations have risen to a 10-year high but are still within their long-term range."

"However, the New York Fed's consumer price series has bounded higher," they added. "Is the U of M series headed for an upside breakout? We think so."


Companies add 571,000 jobs in October thanks to a big boost in hospitality hires, ADP says

Companies added 571,000 jobs for the month, beating the 395,000 Dow Jones estimate.

Leisure and hospitality led the way with 185,000 new positions.

Large businesses were by far the biggest creators, adding 458,000

Private sector job creation popped higher in October thanks to a burst in hiring in the hospitality sector, payroll processing firm ADP reported Wednesday.

Companies added 571,000 for the month, beating the 395,000 Dow Jones estimate and just ahead of September’s downwardly revised 523,000. It was the best month for jobs since June.

Leisure and hospitality, a category that includes bars, restaurants, hotels and the like, saw a gain of 185,000 for a sector that remains well below its pre-pandemic employment level. The sector is seen as a proxy for an economic recovery that stalled over the summer due to a rise in the Covid delta variant and a massive clog in supply lines.

“The job market is revving back up as the delta wave of the pandemic winds down,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which aids ADP in compiling the report. “Job gains are accelerating across all industries, and especially among large companies. As long as the pandemic remains contained, more big job gains are likely in coming months.”

Growth in the sector helped fuel an overall 458,000 gain in services jobs.

Professional and business services also contributed 88,000 hires, trade transportation and utilities added 78,000, and education and health services jobs were up 56,000.

On the goods-producing side, which added 113,000 positions, construction was up 54,000 and manufacturing contributed 53,000.

From a size standpoint, businesses with more than 500 employees by far led the way with 342,000 new hires. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers added 115,000 and medium-sized firms increased by 114,000.

The ADP report comes two days before the Labor Department’s more closely watched nonfarm payrolls count, which is projected to show an increase of 450,000, according to Dow Jones.

While ADP can serve as a precursor to the government’s count, the two can differ widely.

In September, ADP’s tally of private payroll creation – initially at 568,000 before being revised lower by 45,000 – was well above the Labor Department’s 317,000. The total nonfarm payrolls count for September was just 194,000, well below estimates and held back by a loss of 123,000 government jobs.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 11:15:49 PM
An excellent October jobs report confirms President Biden is moving America forward by exceeding expectations with more news jobs created in a month with 531,000 and a better than expected unemployment number dropping to 4.6%.

Job creation roars back in October as payrolls rise by 531,000

November 5, 2021

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 in October, beating the estimate of 450,000.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, a new pandemic low and better than expectations.

Wages rose 0.4% for the month and were up 4.9% from a year ago.

Leisure and hospitality led job creation, followed by professional and business services and manufacturing.

The U.S. job market snapped back in October, with nonfarm payrolls rising more than expected while the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 531,000 for the month, compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 450,000. The jobless rate had been expected to edge down to 4.7%.

Private payrolls were even stronger, rising 604,000 as a loss of 73,000 government jobs pulled down the headline number. October’s gains represented a sharp pickup from September, which gained 312,000 jobs after the initial Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate of 194,000 saw a substantial upward revision in Friday’s report.

The numbers helped allay concerns that rising inflation, a severe labor shortage and slowing economic growth would tamp down jobs creation.

“This is the kind of recovery we can get when we are not sidelined by a surge in Covid cases,” said Nick Bunker, economic research director at job placement site Indeed. “If this is the sort of job growth we will see in the next several months, we are on a solid path.”

Markets rallied strongly on the news, with the Dow up nearly 350 points in early trading and government bond yields mostly lower.

The critical leisure and hospitality sector led the way, adding 164,000 as Americans ventured out to eating and drinking establishments and went on vacations again as Covid numbers fell during the month. For 2021, the sector has reclaimed 2.4 million positions lost during the pandemic.

Other sectors posting solid gains included professional and business services (100,000), manufacturing (60,000), and transportation and warehousing (54,000). Construction added 44,000 positions while health care was up 37,000 and retail added 35,000.

Wages increased 0.4% for the month, in line with estimates, but rose 4.9% on a year-over-year basis, reflecting the inflationary pressures that have intensified through the year. The average work week edged lower by one-tenth of an hour to 34.7 hours.

The unemployment rate drop came with the labor force participation rate holding steady at 61.6%, still 1.7 percentage points below its February 2020 level before the pandemic declaration. That represents just shy of 3 million fewer Americans considered part of the workforce and is reflective of ongoing concerns about staffing levels.

“While the strength of employment was an encouraging sign that labor demand remains strong, labor supply remains very weak. The labor force rose by a muted 104,000, which is not even enough to even keep pace with population growth,” said Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

However, one metric that the Federal Reserve watches closely, the participation rate among so-called prime age workers 25 to 54, ticked higher to 81.7%.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen weighed in on the report with a Twitter thread Friday afternoon in which she said the administration’s aggressive fiscal policies that have pumped in more than $5 trillion to the economy helped stave off more dire consequences from the pandemic.

“Bold fiscal policy works,” Yellen wrote. “A rebound like this was never a foregone conclusion. When our administration took office back in January, there was a real risk that our economy was going to slip into a prolonged recession. Now our recovery is outpacing other wealthy nations’.”


Big rebound in jobs: America adds 531,000 jobs to the economy in October

November 5, 2021

America's jobs recovery gathered some steam last month as US employers added 531,000 positions in October.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.6%, the lowest level since the economic recovery started in May 2020.
The number of jobs added in October easily outpaced economists' prediction of 450,000 jobs. It marked the first month since July that the official number didn't undercut the consensus estimate.

The US economy gained jobs across the board last month, with leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing leading the job gains. The leisure and hospitality sector was hit hardest during the pandemic recession and is still 1.4 million jobs short of its pre-pandemic level.

October's jobs report marks a turning point after two months of sluggish job gains, slowed by rising coronavirus cases as the Delta variant raged across the globe.

"This is the kind of recovery we can get when we are not sidelined by a surge in Covid cases," said Nick Bunker, economic research director at Indeed.

"The labor market is not yet fully recovered from the coronavirus-induced recession. But today's report is a sign that recovery could be closer than many thought," he said.

The nation has come a long way since the height of the pandemic. More than 18 million jobs have been added back since the recovery started, still leaving America short 4.2 million jobs compared with February 2020.

And the late summer months weren't quite as bad as they initially appeared: The Labor Department revised August and September's reports higher by a combined 235,000 jobs. The US economy added 795,000 jobs in August and September -- not bad for a so-called lull.


October jobs report: Payrolls grew by 531,000 as unemployment rate fell to 4.6%
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 11:20:56 PM
Great news all around as the stock market soars to a record high level.

Dow jumps 200 points to a record on strong jobs report, S&P 500 notches 7th straight day of gains

November 5, 2021


U.S. stocks rallied to record levels on Friday after the October jobs report came in better than expected, boosting optimism about the economic recovery.

A major development from Pfizer regarding its easy-to-administer Covid-19 pill fueled hope for a smooth reopening further, sending shares of airlines and cruise line operators soaring.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 203.72 points, or nearly 0.6%, to 36,327.95. The S&P 500 gained 0.4% to 4,697.53 for its seventh straight positive day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.2% to 15,971.59. All three major averages reached their respective record closing highs.

The move for stocks came as data showed job gains for the month of October totaled 531,000. Consensus estimates called for 450,000 jobs added, according to Dow Jones. The report also revised September’s disappointing number up to 312,000 job gains from 194,000 previously, and increased its August number by a similar amount.

“Markets are cheering a much better than expected jobs report this morning as nonfarm payrolls smashed expectations,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth. “Gains were broad-based across industries, and manufacturing was a real bright spot.”

All three major averages notched a winning week. The S&P 500 gained 2% this week, pushing its 2021 gains to 25%. The Dow rose 1.4% this week, while the Nasdaq rallied nearly 3.1% for its best weekly performance since early April.

Pfizer shares surged nearly 11% after the company said its Covid-19 drug, used with an HIV drug, cut the risk of hospitalization by 89%. Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Friday that the pandemic could be over in the U.S. by the time President Biden’s workplace vaccine mandates take effect in early January.

The news boosted classic reopening plays. United Airlines shares jumped more than 7%, while American Airlines popped 5.7%. Carnival and Royal Caribbean rallied more than 8% each, while Norwegian Cruise Line advanced 7.8%.

Recovery stock Expedia saw its shares roar higher by 15.6% a day after the company said renewed travel demand boosted its top and bottom lines higher than analysts had expected.

“The labor market recovery is back on track, but it will still take several months to get to maximum employment,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda. “Alongside the Pfizer COVID pill news, this strong [jobs] report should ease some of the supply chain problems and that will make some investors embrace the reopening trade.”

Peloton shares cratered more than 35% after the fitness platform and maker of interactive treadmills and exercise bikes reported a much larger loss than expected and cut its full-year outlook as fitness buffs headed back to the gym and away from at-home workouts.

The company also cited ongoing supply chain challenges for its “challenged visibility” over the near term that CEO John Foley said is causing the company to lower its expectations.

Earlier this week, investor digested the Federal Reserve’s plan to begin tapering its pandemic aid by the end of November, putting the central bank on track to end its asset purchase program by the middle of next year.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 11:25:23 PM
The GOP once again proves just how racist they are.

Newly elected New Jersey Republican posted photo of himself in blackface — and isn't sorry


On Friday, The Daily Beast reported that Vincent Kelly, a Republican who was just elected to the town council of Pitman, New Jersey, is facing outrage over a newly surfaced Facebook post of him in blackface — and that he is declining to apologize for it.

"Vincent Kelly, a white GOP candidate who won the Pitman city council elections, had posted a photo depicting him dressed as rapper Flavor Flav at what appeared to be a Halloween party on his Facebook page," reported Corbin Bolies. "The 2015 photo, which still remains on Kelly's page, drew condemnation from the Pitman Anti-Racist Collective, which called for an apology from Kelly Thursday night."

According to the report, Kelly is pushing back on the criticism.

"I didn't put blackface on," said Kelly to the Daily Journal. "I went to a costume party. And it came … with it. This is what you got with it. That's what I did. There was no intention to do blackface, or to belittle African Americans, or anything like that. It was a simple Halloween party."

This controversy comes amid multiple other incidents of local politicians being caught wearing blackface in old pictures. A Republican school board candidate in Monroe, Connecticut, insisted that there was "nothing racist about" his costume depicting Miami Vice Detective Ricardo Tubbs, and a white town councilman in Richmond County, Virginia compared himself to recently controversial Black comedian Dave Chappelle after criticism for a photo of him dressed as musician Randy Watson.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 05, 2021, 11:49:32 PM
University of Florida backs down -- and now will let professors testify against DeSantis administration


Professors at the University of Florida will now be able to testify against Gov. Ron DeSantis's administration after having been previously been blocked by their employer from doing so.

The Washington Post reports that the University of Florida backed down on Friday and "should not be barred from testifying in a voting rights lawsuit against" DeSantis's administration.

The initial decision to block the three political science professors from testifying drew an uproar from both faculty and alumni, who accused the university of bowing to political pressure and of suppressing their professors' freedom of speech.

Kenneth Nunn, a law professor at the university, welcomed the school's reversal and said that "it's great that the president saw the university's reputation was being damaged by their unfortunate decision to restrict those three faculty members from testifying in their case."

The professors will now be testifying in a lawsuit against a Florida law passed earlier this year that places new restrictions on mail-in voting and ballot drop boxes.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 06, 2021, 05:06:32 AM
House passes $555 billion infrastructure bill, sends legislation to Biden's desk: The 228-206 vote hands Biden a bipartisan legislative victory

The House passed a $555 billion infrastructure bill on Friday night, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden who is expected to quickly sign the measure into law.

The funding package, which passed 228 to 206 and relied on Republican votes to get across the finish line, will ramp up government spending on roads, bridges and airports, as well as funding for public transit, water and broadband.

Six Democrats voted against the measure and 13 Republicans voted in favor. The Democratic opposition was progressive members who were unhappy that the bill was being voted on before passage of a $1.75 trillion social safety net spending bill.

The vote hands Biden a victory on a major bipartisan bill, but one that took months to get through Congress and revealed deep divisions in the Democratic Party. The Senate approved the bill in August before it stalled for months as House progressives clashed with Democratic centrists on a $1.75 trillion social safety net measure that could get a vote later this month.

Earlier on Friday, Biden put new pressure on House Democrats to pass both the infrastructure package and the social policy measure, also known as the Build Back Better bill.

“I'm asking every member of the House of Representatives to vote yes on both these bills right now,” Biden said during remarks from the White House. “Send the infrastructure bill to my desk, send the Build Back Better bill to the Senate. Let's build on incredible economic progress, build on what we've already done because this will be such a boost when it occurs.”

House leadership later decided to push back the vote on the safety net bill due to several moderates insisting on first seeing a Congressional Budget Office cost estimate of the legislation to ensure the bill is fully paid for. Democrats cannot afford to lose more than a handful defections given their narrow majority in the House.

Progressives, however, wanted the infrastructure package to be linked to the social spending plan out of concern that passing infrastructure first would weaken their leverage in shaping and advancing the Build Back Better bill.

Democrats are now aiming to vote on the safety net bill before Thanksgiving. House passage would send the legislation to the Senate, where it will need the support of all 50 Democrats to find its way to Biden's desk.

On the House floor, shortly before the vote, Pelosi called both bills as “historic,” saying they will create millions of jobs and help working families.

In August, the Senate voted 69 to 30 to pass the infrastructure bill, with 19 Republicans joining all Democrats.

The spending package would provide new federal spending on bridges and roads, as well as energy systems and transit programs. It would create a program aimed at building and repairing bridges in rural communities, and one to expand internet connectivity in Tribal and rural communities. The bill would further provide funding to protect water systems, particularly in low-income communities.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over a 10-year span.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 06, 2021, 05:20:52 AM
In only 9 months in office, President Biden has created a record and historic 5.6 million jobs. 

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 06, 2021, 05:52:47 AM
Democrats are moving the country forward while Republicans once again vote against Americans. Republicans have no interest in working for the American people as their allegiance is for billionaires and corporations. There were 13 Republicans that did vote to pass this bill so they deserve all the credit for making this happen. But their party as a whole is disgraceful. 6 Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for voting against this historic bill that benefits ALL Americans.     

House passes $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes transport, broadband and utility funding, sends it to Biden

The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, sending it to President Joe Biden for his signature.

The legislation would put $550 billion in new funding into transportation, broadband and utilities.

The House passed a more than $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill late Friday, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk in a critical step toward enacting sprawling Democratic economic plans.

The Senate approved the revamp of transportation, utilities and broadband in August. The legislation’s passage is perhaps the unified Democratic government’s most concrete achievement since it approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in the spring.

The measure passed in a 228-206 vote. Thirteen Republicans supported it, while six Democrats voted against it. Biden could sign the bill within days.

Washington has tried and failed for years to pass a major bill to upgrade critical transportation and utility infrastructure, which has come under more pressure from extreme weather. The White House has also contended passage of the bill can help to get goods moving as supply-chain obstacles contribute to higher prices for American consumers.

The vote Friday followed a day of wrangling over how enact the two planks of the party’s agenda. The push-and-pull exemplified party leaders’ months long struggle to get progressives and centrists — who have differing visions of the government’s role in the economy — behind the same bills.

Democrats entered the day planning to pass both the infrastructure legislation and the party’s larger $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate package. A demand from a handful of centrists to see a Congressional Budget Office estimate of the social spending plan’s budgetary effects delayed its approval. Progressives sought assurances the holdouts would support the bigger proposal if they voted for the infrastructure bill.

After hours of talks — and a Biden call into a progressive caucus meeting urging lawmakers to back the infrastructure bill — the party’s liberal wing got assurances from centrists that they would support the larger package.

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said the group reached a deal to back the infrastructure plan in exchange for a commitment to take up the safety-net bill “no later than the week of November 15.” A group of five centrists separately issued a statement saying they would back the Build Back Better legislation pending a CBO score that assuages their concerns about long-term budget deficits.

Ahead of the vote, Biden aimed to assure his party that both plans would pass.

“I am confident that during the week of November 15, the House will pass the Build Back Better Act,” he said in a statement of the social spending bill. The House is out of Washington next week, and it could take the CBO days or weeks to prepare a score of the legislation.

The bills together make up the core of Biden’s domestic agenda. Democrats see the plans as complementary pieces designed to boost the economy, jolt the job market, provide a layer of insurance to working families and curb climate change.

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would put $550 billion in new money into transportation projects, the utility grid and broadband. The package includes $110 billion for roads, bridges and other major projects, along with $66 billion for passenger and freight rail and $39 billion for public transit.

It would put $65 billion into broadband, a priority for many lawmakers after the coronavirus pandemic highlighted inequities in internet access for households and students across the country. The legislation would also invest $55 billion into water systems, including efforts to replace lead pipes.

Before the vote, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told MSNBC that “the moment the president signs this, then it’s over to our department on the transportation pieces to get out there and deliver.” It can take years to complete major projects after Congress funds them.

The spending package includes universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, investments in affordable housing, premium reductions under the Affordable Care Act, major investments aimed at addressing climate change and an additional year of the expanded child tax credit.

Here's a closer look at what's in the infrastructure bill that now heads to Biden's desk:


- Roads, bridges, major projects: $110 billion

- Passenger and freight rail: $66 billion

- Public transit: $39 billion

- Airports: $25 billion

- Port infrastructure: $17 billion

- Transportation safety programs: $11 billion

- Electric vehicles: $7.5 billion

- Zero and low-emission buses and ferries: $7.5 billion

- Revitalization of communities: $1 billion

Other infrastructure

- Broadband: $65 billion[/b]

- Power infrastructure: $73 billion

- Clean drinking water: $55 billion

- Resilience and Western water storage: $50 billion

- Removal of pollution from water and soil: $21 billion

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 06, 2021, 06:22:01 AM
So, the left wing "squad" voted against American infrastructure and to help their constituents. No surprise there but these 13 Republicans deserve a great amount of respect to help their constituents and to help move our country forward. Was just on Twitter reading far right wing MAGA extremist tweets and they are outraged this huge bill passed. How could anybody be outraged about investing in our own country and the American people so our country can be state of the art with technology and sound infrastructure? Guess they are just sour grapes that President Biden accomplished this historic feat or are just delusional in their own ignorance and conspiracy theories.

Here are the 6 Democrats who voted against the bill and the 13 Republicans that voted for it.

Bush, Bowman, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressely, Tlaib

Bacon, Gonzalez, Garbarino, Fitzpatrick, Katko, Kinzinger, Malliotakis, McKinley, Reed, Chris Smith, Upton, Van Drew, Young
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 06, 2021, 11:18:09 PM
President Biden has cut child poverty in half. Another historic feat for his administration.

The U.S. is cutting poverty in half. Shame on us for not doing this sooner

A surge in COVID-19-inspired initiatives will reduce Americans in poverty by a whopping 20 million people. Why didn't this happen sooner?

The myth of “the welfare queen” that flourished under Ronald Reagan, powered 40 years of Republican election victories and guided government policy as America largely dismantled its social safety net, is finally dead. Or at least on life support.

Instead, the nation is finally learning that the real beneficiaries of government aid are women like New Hampshire’s Christina Darling, who is spending her monthly checks for $550 a month in the new expanded child tax credit program on things like buying more fresh produce for her two kids. Her new monetary lifeline isn’t leading to fur coats or a Cadillac — the stuff of GOP campaign trail fantasy for decades — but it is helping make payments on the modest car that the 31-year-old bought to take the children safely to day care. Darling told the Associated Press she might even occasionally hire a babysitter — to get more involved in civic life and run for her city’s council.

"The additional money does help alleviate the pressure,” another New Hampshire beneficiary of the program — 29-year-old Brianne Walker, a mother of three who quit a job to raise her two siblings after her mom died from a drug overdose and began receiving $800 a month this summer — told the AP. The news service talked to parents across the nation about the new tax credit program — part of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Biden, which expanded the benefits and turned it from a more complicated year-end tax filing to the monthly checks — and found the payments were going to rent, paying off debt, or putting more food on the table, and giving beleaguered working-class folks a chance to breathe.

One study suggested that the new, expanded tax credits — going out to more than 35 million households with children — could reduce child poverty in America by 45%. That’s remarkable, and it’s just part of a broader trend as the shock of the global pandemic forced the government to take the economic struggles of the poor and the lower middle class more seriously than any time since Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty in the mid-1960s.

A New York Times report last week looked at the wider array of expanded safety programs that were enacted since early 2020 to respond to the economic shocks of the coronavirus outbreak — one-time government stimulus checks, expanded unemployment benefits, and increased food stamps — and the impact was staggering. Experts cited by the Times found that some 20 million Americans rose out of poverty since 2018, which would essentially cut the rate of those the government classifies as poor in half, now at the lowest level since Washington began keeping track.

"Wow — these are stunning findings,” Bob Greenstein, a veteran anti-poverty expert now with the Brookings Institution, told the newspaper. That sums up the almost giddy mood of experts who hadn’t seen such a rapid policy shift in their lifetimes. For a brief, shining moment in the 1960s, defeating poverty had seemed like the final frontier for a nation that had helped win World War II and was sending astronauts to the moon — and LBJ’s Great Society did make a significant dent for a few years before the backlash. White resentment politics that played up any reports of abuse and ignored the public good had won the day by the 1980s.

Those same forces of reaction are still out there, still lurking. The vast web of conservative think tanks created amid the anti-welfare backlash is still arguing — with little or no evidence — that these programs discourage able-bodied people from working, the great immoral panic of capitalism. The Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector told the Times, “You want policies that encourage work and marriage, not undermine it” — but that just seems totally bass-ackward. Affording child care or a working automobile actually helps people find jobs, and what historically has been more destructive to marriage than poverty?

That’s why it’s so critical that the public keeps hearing these success stories — like Walker and Darling or 24-year-old Jessica Moore of St. Louis, who lost her job as a banquet server with the pandemic but has used her stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits to buy a car and enroll in community college, where she’s studying to become an emergency medical technician. In other words, a job. Are you listening, Heritage Foundation?

Whoever controls this narrative between now and the 2022 midterm elections is going to control the future of America’s middle class, which has been shrinking for generations. Even progressives agree that a lot of the 2020-21 government aid was emergency relief that won’t be continued, but the last 17 months have also taught us how a real safety net can improve daily life, especially for children who need to start out life with a fair shot.

Several key decisions loom, including whether to make the expanded child tax credit permanent but also an array of pro-family programs proposed by the Biden administration that would greatly expand child care — probably the most pro-job, anti-poverty measure in the toolbox — and make community college tuition-free, and much more. Conservatives will argue that America can’t afford this, and to be sure it wasn’t cheap to so sharply reduce the poverty rate. It’s estimated that — largely because of the one-off payments made necessary by the pandemic — spending on the basic social safety net quadrupled to $1 trillion.

The costs of the proposals forward are not as great, and there’s a powerful case — given the improvement these programs have made in people’s lives, and, thus, in a civil society — that how can we afford not to do this? Remember, we’re talking about the United States of America, the nation that just spent $2.26 trillion on an almost “forever war” in Afghanistan that after its first year or two seemed to accomplish little or nothing.

Regardless of which party is in power, the White House and Congress never ask, “Can we afford it?” as they constantly expand the Pentagon budget to an astronomical $750 billion a year, or more than the next 11 biggest nations combined. Just a modest rightsizing of what still would be the world’s most powerful military would free up hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild America’s middle class. So would simply restoring tax rates on our uber-profitable corporations and the billionaires who run them back to the historically low level those rates were at in 2017 (or, heaven forbid, the 50% top marginal tax rate that existed *after* Reagan’s popular 1981 tax cut).

Given the obscene space program funding fortunes accumulated by the likes of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos or Walmart’s Walton family — employers where low-wage workers often already get government benefits like food stamps to make ends meet — even a wealth tax of the kind proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren deserves a debate, in the name of restoring balance to a U.S. society that’s spent 40 years careening off the rails.

It’s impossible, frankly, not to look at America’s struggling working-class moms finally putting some greens on the dinner table or driving off to community college and wonder why this hasn’t been a top priority — as opposed to new fighter jets and propping up the U.S. yacht industry. The news that the United States is cutting poverty in half — at least for now, if the jackals can be held at bay — is, on one hand, a feel-good story, yet in another way, it’s a deeply troubling one. Because the world’s richest nation had the power and the ability to do this years ago. The fact that we didn’t should be a moment of national shame and reflection.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 07, 2021, 02:44:49 AM
Josh Hawley sued for accepting nearly $1 million in illegally coordinated campaign expenses

The Giffords gun safety organization has sued the National Rifle Association and the campaigns of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley and U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana, alleging group used shell corporations to improperly aid the Republican lawmakers in 2018.

The suit alleges two NRA affiliates made up to $35 million in illegal campaign contributions — in the form of coordinated communications efforts — to the GOP Senate campaigns of Hawley, Rosendale, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as well as Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

It was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia this week.

The NRA Political Victory Fund, a political action committee, and the NRA Institute for Legislative Action spent millions on supposedly independent political advertising for the six Senate candidates and Trump in the 2014, 2016 and 2018 federal election cycles, according to the suit.

The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign finance group, is representing Giffords, a gun-safety group founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., in part to counter the NRA's influence in national politics.

Under a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision, outside groups are allowed to spend unlimited amounts on political speech, including advertisements in favor of candidates.

But federal campaign finance rules require such advertisements to be commissioned without coordinating with campaigns. Coordinated messaging counts as an in-kind contribution.

Political action committees are subject to a $5,000 limit per cycle on contributions, including in-kind contributions, to a single candidate. Corporations are not allowed to spend treasury funds for coordinated messaging on behalf of political candidates.

The suit accuses the NRA and the campaigns of using the same political messaging firms to disguise coordinated campaign activity as independent advertising.

The NRA paid Starboard Strategic Inc., a Virginia and Maryland-headquartered company, for advertising in support of the candidates. The candidates paid a company called OnMessage that the suit says is “functionally indistinguishable" from Starboard.

“They are led by the same people and located at the same address, and no internal separation or firewall exists between the staff who work for each entity," the suit says. “OnMessage has been nominated for, and has accepted, industry awards for [NRA] ads contracted through Starboard."

The companies, which the suit alleges are actually one firm operating under two names, then coordinated to create and place complementary advertisements—exactly the type of coordination that is not supposed to be allowed between campaigns and outside groups.

“By falsely claiming their advertising spending was independent, however, the NRA affiliates evaded [federal] contribution limits, source prohibitions and disclosure requirements," the Campaign Legal Center said in a statement.

OnMessage previously drew controversy in Missouri after the Kansas City Star revealed that soon after Hawley was sworn in as state attorney general in 2017, he brought consultants from the firm who would go on to run his Senate campaign into his official office to help direct taxpayer-funded staff.

A report issued by the state auditor's office in 2020 was unable to say conclusively whether the arrangement violated the law because state business was being conducted using private email and text messages.

During the 2018 campaign, Rosendale seemed to publicly confirm his campaign was coordinating with the NRA, the suit alleges. At a July 18, 2018, fundraiser, Rosendale said the NRA Institute for Legal Affairs political director, Chris Cox, would make expenditures in support of Rosendale, then accurately described the content and the timing of the ads that ran weeks later, according to the suit.

The suit says Rosendale accepted up to $383,196 in coordinated expenditures. Hawley accepted up to $973,196, the suit says.

The bulk of the illegal expenditures—$25 million of the $35 million total alleged—went to Trump's 2016 campaign, according to the suit.

Although the suit only names Hawley and Rosendale, other matters concerning the other candidates named in the suit could be proceeding at the Federal Election Commission, the federal regulator for campaign finance violations. The FEC keeps proceedings secret while they are ongoing.

The suit arose from an administrative proceeding at the FEC that Giffords brought in April 2019, but the commission— long derided as a toothless regulator—took no action.

A September court order gave the agency 30 days to act. If the agency did not act, Giffords would be allowed under that order to bring the matter to civil court. The FEC has not acted since that court order.

Because the original complaint was made in 2019, it did not cover the 2020 elections, when Rosendale, Tillis, Gardner, Cotton and Trump all ran again for federal office.

Representatives for the NRA, Hawley, Rosendale, Tillis, Johnson and Gardner did not respond to messages seeking comment Friday.

Missouri Independent is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Missouri Independent maintains editorial independence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 08, 2021, 03:48:24 AM
Once again folks, there's no such thing as a "Liberal Media" which right wingers constantly lie about and here's another perfect example. The media is owned by right wing corporations, and our main stream media and cable news outlets like CSPAN, allow far right wing extremists like Matt Schlapp to push lies and propaganda without ever being called out on their blatant lies. This is how lies are being peddled in the main stream media from these right wing hacks who come on these programs.

C-SPAN host raked over the coals for letting Matt Schlapp spew lies about 2020 election for an hour


Washington Journal weekend host Bill Scanlan was hammered by a listener on his own show after an interview with conservative Matt Schlapp who went off on a rant about the 2020 election being fraudulent. The claim, which has become known as "the big lie," has been proven false by even conservative news outlets.

A woman from Illinois said that she'd been a loyal CSPAN viewer for 20 years and was aghast hearing Scanlan allowing Schlapp "go on, and on, and on. Even though I got into your program late, I didn't even hear a Democrat come on. All I heard were Republicans and Independents and it seems that times when I tune in to listening to your show that a lot of times I hear that mostly Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents that are getting through on your show."

She went on to say that she doesn't understand why Scanlan allowed Schlapp to "sit there and tell all those lies that he did."

This isn't the first time that Bill Scanlan is being questioned about allowing conservatives to rant on his airwaves. In 2010, The Atlantic reached out to ask why Scanlan allowed "a caller to launch into a grotesque anti-Semitic rant on Monday, and why he didn't challenge the caller or cut him off." He refused to comment. By 2020 when another caller went off on a racist rant, Scanlan learned to drop them. That didn't extend to guests spinning falsehoods on air.

See the video below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 08, 2021, 03:57:32 AM

The criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, part of his larger crusade to invalidate Joe Biden’s win at the time, appears to be gaining steam. Fani Willis, the Atlanta D.A. leading the inquiry, is expected to soon convene “a grand jury dedicated solely to the allegations of election tampering,” the New York Times reported Saturday, though the decision isn’t yet finalized. The news is the latest development in the investigation against Trump and his allies, which has been quietly moving forward since Willis opened it in February. If she convenes a grand jury, it would be a step toward holding the former president accountable for, among other things, pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden's victory in the state.

The pace of the Georgia investigation has thus far been hampered by local issues demanding Willis’ attention, as well as a backlog of cases overwhelming her office. Willis’ team has looked to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot for backup, as congressional investigators are pursuing evidence that could be of considerable use to them. But that avenue has also been bogged down “by delays in the panel’s fact gathering,” according to the Times. Nonetheless, Willis appears ready to get the ball rolling. Convening a special grand jury focused solely on Trump’s attempts to interfere with Georgia’s election results would indicate “that her own investigation is ramping up,” the paper notes. A special grand jury would consist of 16 to 23 members and be able to issue subpoenas, though the Times adds that Willis “would need to return to a regular grand jury to seek criminal indictments.”

There are many charges the former president could be hit with in relation to his post-election conduct in Georgia, according to a recent analysis by D.C. think tank the Brookings Institution. They note that Trump made personal “entreaties to senior state officials”—from Secretary of State Raffensperger to Attorney General Chris Carr to Governor Brian Kemp, all of whom are Republicans—“to alter the outcome of a presidential election” whose results had already been certified. Among the crimes Trump could be charged with are “criminal solicitation to commit election fraud” and “state RICO violations,” the report concluded, an analysis based entirely on publicly-available data. Criminal liability could also extend to Trump allies who allegedly assisted Trump’s effort to subvert the results, the  Brookings Institution notes, such as his former counsel Rudy Giuliani. 

The probe in Georgia is not the only active criminal investigation the 45th president and his inner circle are facing. The D.C. attorney general is investigating Trump for inciting the attack on the U.S. Capitol, while the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is examining Trump’s financial dealings—a probe that has already produced numerous charges against the Trump Organization and its longtime CFO, with further indictments potentially on the way.

As my colleague Bess Levin recently noted, Raffensperger, a Republican, bolstered the potential case against the former president last week with the release of his new book. “I felt then—and still believe today—that this was a threat,” he wrote of Trump’s call asking him to “find” more votes. “For the office of the secretary of state to ‘recalculate’ would mean we would somehow have to fudge the numbers. The president was asking me to do something that I knew was wrong, and I was not going to do that.” Raffensperger has said he would “gladly participate” in an interview with Fulton County prosecutors investigating Trump’s alleged election meddling.

Also worsening the potential case against Trump is Trump himself, the Times notes, by adding commentary about his conduct in Georgia. At a rally in the state in September, the former president recalled to the crowd how he called Kemp about Georgia’s “big election-integrity problem” and asked him to “help us out and call a special election.” Norman Eisen, one of the authors of the Brookings Institution report, told the Times that, by elaborating on his original conversation with Kemp, Trump “offered the prosecution free admissions about the content of that exchange.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 09, 2021, 12:03:18 AM
More Texas voters unhappy than satisfied over power grid, abortion and property taxes

Texas voters have a net disapproval for how state leaders have handled the reliability of the electricity grid, abortion and property taxes, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

In an October poll of 1,200 registered voters, respondents expressed major disapproval for the state's handling of the reliability of the main power grid after statewide power outages in February left millions of Texans without power for days. Only 18% of voters approved of how state leaders handled the issue, and 60% of voters disapproved. Even lawmakers themselves have expressed frustration that the laws they wrote to prepare the power grid for extreme weather haven't led to enough preparations ahead of this winter.

"The lurking uncertainty and doubts about the electricity grid [are] a mine waiting to go off," said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. "If there's another even moderate infrastructure problem in the state in the grid or service delivery writ large that can be connected with the February outages and the failure of the Legislature to respond in a way that people expect it to be effective, it's a real political problem for incumbents."

The internet survey was conducted from Oct. 22-31, a few days after the conclusion of a third special legislative session, and has a margin of error of +/ - 2.83 percentage points. For now, that special session wrapped up nearly 10 months of frantic activity at the Legislature, which passed laws that loosen gun restrictions in the state, severely restrict abortion access and double down on state spending on border security.

According to the poll, 39% of voters approved of how state leaders have handled abortion policy while 46% disapproved. Lawmakers this year passed the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, barring the procedure before many people know they are pregnant.

Only 20% of voters said they approved of the Legislature's handling of property taxes, while 46% said they disapproved. The Legislature has tried for years to cut increasing property taxes for homeowners across the state, but voters see only minor reductions in their bills.

Voter disapproval for the state's handling of the issue increased from June, when pollsters at the University of Texas last asked about the issue after the Legislature's regularly scheduled five-month special session.

The state's handling of property taxes was unpopular across the political spectrum, but disapproval increased the most among Republicans. In June, 33% of Republicans disapproved of how the issue had been handled. By October, that share had grown to 43%.

During the final days of the most recent special session, lawmakers approved placing a higher homestead exemption on next year's ballots that would amount to about $176 in yearly savings for the average homeowner. Voters would still have to approve that change.

But Henson said voters don't appear convinced by the minor effect on their tax bills.

"The approach that they've taken up to this point is not moving public opinion, and to the extent that it is moving public opinion, it's moving it in the wrong direction," he said.

In particular, voters had net approval for Gov. Greg Abbott using state money to add border barriers between Texas and Mexico, with 53% approving and 40% opposing. More than 90% of Republicans approved of that use of state money.

"He's playing the right tune," said Joshua Blank, research director for the Texas Politics Project. "There's no threat to the mantle of fiscal conservatism."

Henson said the issue's popularity likely means voters next year will hear more from Republicans about border security and immigration than about property tax cuts.

But there are also signs of concern for GOP leaders. More than 50% of independents disapproved of how the state handled immigration and border security, and half of independents disapproved of the state's handling of abortion policy.

Blank said there was a "significant decline" in how independents evaluated the state's handling of immigration since June, when 26% approved and 33% disapproved.

"What exactly is driving this among independents who are generally defined by their lack of attention to politics, we can't know," he said. "It's hard to say, but it's something to keep an eye on."

A plurality of 47% of voters opposed banning abortions after about six weeks, as the state's new law does, and 45% approve. Fifty-seven percent of voters oppose the law's provision allowing private citizens to sue people they believe helped someone obtain an abortion, including 35% of Republicans. Only 30% of voters said they approved of that portion of the law. If the plaintiff wins such a lawsuit, the law allows that person to be awarded at least $10,000, as well as costs and attorney fees.

"The idea of bounties and the problems with having private enforcement of public laws of what are seen currently as constitutional rights strikes at least more people as problematic than the actual law itself," Blank said.

Overall, the polls showed an uptick in approval of how the state has handled abortion policy since the last time voters were polled on the subject in June. Then, 32% of voters approved and 42% disapproved. Blank said that was marked by an increase in approval from Republicans as more voters learned of the state's new abortion law, which was passed in May.

Polls remained consistent on exceptions to abortion restrictions. More than 80% of voters said abortions should be allowed if a woman's health was at risk, and nearly three quarters said they should be allowed in cases of rape or incest. Nearly 60% said they should be allowed if there was a strong chance of a serious defect to the baby, but support for other exceptions dropped substantially from there.

On the state's growing racial and ethnic diversity, 41% of voters said it was a cause for optimism while 28% said it was a cause for concern. Both Republicans and Democrats said on the net it was a cause for optimism, but independent voters said it was a cause for concern.

Younger voters were more likely to believe the state's racial and ethnic diversity was a cause for optimism. Fifty-three percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believed it a cause for optimism while only 32% of those 65 years and older agreed.

Blank said that differences among age groups reflect how the state's younger residents are more likely to be people of color.

"That is the leading edge of the changing demographics of the state, so really that is the group that should be more optimistic," he said. "Conversely, the over 40, over 50, over 60 population in Texas is significantly more white, and so they're looking at a Texas that is going to be very different from the one that they were in growing up, so it's not surprising to see more reticence toward that among that group."

The poll showed broad support for gun rights, with 46% of voters saying they approved of how the state had handled Second Amendment rights and 32% saying they disapproved. But when the questions became more specific, voters began to show disapproval for the state's handling of gun violence and a recently enacted law that allows legal gun owners over the age of 21 to carry handguns in most public places in Texas without a permit.

A plurality of voters — 41% — disapproved of the state's handling of gun violence while 35% of voters approved. A majority of voters — 55% — opposed the state's permitless carry law, while 38% said they supported it.

While 51% of voters say Texas state government serves as a model for other states to follow, 42% of voters disagree with that statement. Moreover, that number has steadily dropped over the last decade. In February 2010, nearly 60% of voters said Texas served as a model, while only 31% disagreed.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 09, 2021, 12:19:48 AM
Democrats are turning their focus to a social safety net and climate bill after Congress passed bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

The House aims to approve the plan next week, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said both chambers aim to pass it by Thanksgiving.

Democratic leaders have to keep nearly every member of their caucuses on board as they iron out the final details of the sprawling economic package.

While many Democrats let out a sigh of relief when the House passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill, the party has a grueling few weeks ahead of it to enact the rest of its economic agenda.

The more than $1 trillion package passed Friday that would refresh transportation, broadband and utilities fulfills one part of President Joe Biden’s domestic vision. Democrats now have to clear multiple hurdles to enact the larger piece, a $1.75 trillion investment in the social safety net and climate policy.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said Democrats aim to pass the social spending bill by Thanksgiving. Meeting the deadline will require both chambers of Congress to rush while keeping nearly every member of a diverse Democratic caucus united — a challenge that has led to repeated roadblocks as lawmakers advanced the bills this year.

Biden on Saturday sounded sure that his party would line up behind a sprawling bill that it aims to sell on the midterm campaign trail next year.

“I feel confident that we will have enough votes to pass the Build Back Better plan,” he told reporters.

Biden also signaled he could sign the infrastructure bill next week after lawmakers return to Washington. Asked Monday when the president would sign the bill, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said “I do not have a date, but it will be very soon.”

His administration plans to send key officials around the country to sell the benefits of the package, NBC News reported, citing a memo from a White House official.

The House plans to take the next step in passing the social spending plan. The chamber will try to approve the bill during the week of Nov. 15 once it returns from a weeklong recess. With no Republican support expected, Democrats can lose no more than three votes for the package.

It would then go to the Senate. To pass the bill under special budget rules, all 50 members of the Democratic caucus will have to support it.

Schumer will have to win over conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has not yet blessed a framework agreement on the legislation. The House could also send the Senate a bill that includes four weeks of paid leave for most American workers — a provision Manchin has opposed.

Once the Senate irons out any objections from Manchin or other Democrats, in addition to any constraints budget reconciliation rules put on the bill, it could approve a different version of the plan than the House does. The House would then need to vote on the Senate plan or go to a conference committee with the upper chamber to hash out disparities.

All told, Democrats will have to navigate a series of obstacles to get the bill to Biden’s desk in the coming weeks. Pulling it off will require cooperation and trust between centrists and progressives who have disparate views about how large of a role the government should play in boosting households and combating climate change.

The infrastructure bill passed only after House progressives and centrists made a nonbinding pact to approve the social spending plan this month. Five centrist Democrats said they would vote for the larger bill if a coming Congressional Budget Office cost estimate projects it will not add to long-term budget deficits.

On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who has pulled off a range of legislative high-wire acts in her career — expressed confidence that the centrists will honor their side of the deal.

“As has been agreed, when the House comes back into session the week of November 15th, we will act with a message that is clear and unified to produce results,” she wrote to House Democrats.

The nonpartisan CBO could take weeks to release a cost estimate for the sprawling plan. However, the centrist holdouts in a Friday statement committed to voting for the legislation “in no event later than the week of November 15th.”

If Democrats can push the bill through Congress this month, they will still have another big lift on their hands before the end of the year. Lawmakers need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling sometime in December — or risk the first-ever default on U.S. debt.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 09, 2021, 01:25:22 AM
The Build Back Better Framework

President Joe Biden believes that there’s no greater economic engine in the world than the hard work and ingenuity of the American people. But for too long, the economy has worked great for those at the top, while working families get squeezed. President Biden promised to rebuild the backbone of the country – the middle class – so that this time everyone comes along. The Build Back Better Framework does just that.

This framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate goals, create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

Here’s what the Build Back Better Framework will mean for Linda from Peoria, IL:


Read more about the Build Back Better Framework:
The most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations:

- Offers universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the largest expansion of universal and free education since states and communities across the country established public high school 100 years ago.

(Preschool in the United States costs about $8,600 per year. The Build Back Better framework will enable states to expand access to free preschool for more than 6 million children per year and increase the quality of preschool for many more children already enrolled.  Importantly, parents will be able to send children to high-quality preschool in the setting of their choice – from public schools to child care providers to Head Start. The program will lead to lifelong educational and economic benefits for children and parents, and is a transformational investment in America’s future economic competitiveness. In fact, research shows that every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood care and education can yield $3 to $7 over the long-run, as they do better in school, are more likely to graduate high-school and college, and earn more as adults.)

- Makes the largest investment in child care in the nation’s history, saving most American families more than half of their spending on child care.

(For decades, child care prices in the United States have risen faster than family incomes, yet the United States still invests 28 times less than its competitors on helping families afford high-quality care for toddlers. The Build Back Better framework will ensure that middle-class families pay no more than 7 percent of their income on child care and will help states expand access to high-quality, affordable child care to about 20 million children per year – covering 9 out of 10 families across the country with young children. For two parents with one toddler earning $100,000 per year, the framework will produce more than $5,000 in child care savings per year. Nearly all families of four making up to $300,000 per year will be eligible. And, better access to high-quality child care can increase the likelihood that parents, especially mothers, are employed or enrolled in education and training beyond high school, while also providing lifetime benefits for children, especially those who are economically disadvantaged.)

- Delivers affordable, high-quality care for older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes, while supporting the workers who provide this care.

(Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of older Americans and Americans with disabilities are on waiting lists for home care services or struggling to afford the care they need, including more than 800,000 who are on state Medicaid waiting lists. A family paying for home care costs out of pocket currently pays around $5,800 per year for just four hours of home care per week. The Build Back Better framework will permanently improve Medicaid coverage for home care services for seniors and people with disabilities, making the most transformative investment in access to home care in 40 years, when these services were first authorized for Medicaid.)

- Provides 39 million households up to $3,600 (or $300 per month) in tax cuts per child by extending the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit.

(The Build Back Better framework will provide monthly payments to the parents of nearly 90 percent of American children for 2022 – $300 per month per child under six and $250 per month per child ages 6 to 17. This historic tax cut will help cover the cost of food, housing, health care, and transportation and will continue the largest one-year reduction in child poverty in history. And critically, the framework includes permanent refundability for the Child Tax Credit, meaning that the neediest families will continue to receive the full Child Tax Credit over the long-run.)

The largest effort to combat climate change in American history:

- Delivers substantial consumer rebates and tax credits to reduce costs for middle class families shifting to clean energy and electrification.

(The consumer rebates and credits included in the Build Back Better framework will save the average American family hundreds of dollars per year in energy costs.  These measures include enhancement and expansion of existing home energy and efficiency tax credits, as well as the creation of a new, electrification-focused rebate program.  The framework will cut the cost of installing rooftop solar for a home by around 30 percent, shortening the payback period by around 5 years; and the framework’s electric vehicle tax credit will lower the cost of an electric vehicle that is made in America with American materials and union labor by $12,500 for a middle-class family. In addition, the framework will help rural communities tap into the clean energy opportunity through targeted grants and loans through the Department of Agriculture.)

- Ensures clean energy technology – from wind turbine blades to solar panels to electric cars – will be built in the United States with American made steel and other materials, creating hundreds of thousands of good jobs here at home.

(The Build Back Better legislation will target incentives to grow domestic supply chains in solar, wind, and other critical industries in communities on the frontlines of the energy transition.  In addition, the framework will boost the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum, through grants, loans, tax credits, and procurement to drive capital investment in the decarbonization and revitalization of American manufacturing.)

- Advances environmental justice through a new Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator that will invest in projects around the country, while delivering 40% of the benefits of investment to disadvantaged communities, as part of the President’s Justice40 initiative.

(The framework will also fund port electrification; facilitate the deployment of cleaner transit, buses, and trucks; and support critical community capacity building, including grants to environmental justice communities.  In addition, the framework will create a new Civilian Climate Corps – with over 300,000 members that look like America. This diverse new workforce will conserve our public lands, bolster community resilience, and address the changing climate, all while putting good-paying union jobs within reach for more Americans.)

- Bolsters resilience and natural solutions to climate change through a historic investment in coastal restoration, forest management, and soil conservation.

(The framework will provide resources to farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners, supporting their efforts to reduce emissions. At its peak, the increased investments in climate smart agriculture alone could reach roughly 130 million cropland acres per year, representing as many as 240,000 farms. Farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners have long demonstrated leadership in environmental stewardship with strategies that provide benefits for the farm, the environment, and the public. These investments will help meet the demand from the farming community for conservation support and enable producers to realize the full potential of climate benefits from agriculture.)

The biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade:

- Reduces prescription drug costs.

Finally let Medicare negotiate drug prices.

Medicare will negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs.  This will include drugs seniors get at the pharmacy counter (through Medicare Part D), and drugs that are administered in a doctor’s office (through Medicare Part B). Drugs become eligible for negotiation once they have been on the market for a fixed number of years: 9 years for small molecule drugs and 12 years for biologics. Medicare will negotiate up to 10 drugs per year during 2023, with those prices taking effect in 2025, increasing to up to 20 drugs per year.

The policy will establish a clearly defined negotiation process that is fair for manufacturers, and gets the biggest savings on drugs that have been on the market a long time.  This discourages drug companies from abusing laws to prolong their monopolies, while encouraging investments in research and development of new cures.  Drug companies that refuse to negotiate will owe an excise tax.

Impose a tax penalty if drug companies increase their prices faster than inflation. Starting when this bill becomes law, future drug price increases will be compared to their current prices.  We will finally put an end to the days where drug companies could raise their prices with impunity.  If prices for a drug increase faster than inflation, manufacturers will owe a tax penalty, holding down prices for Americans with all types of health insurance.

Directly lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors. Today, there is no cap on how much seniors and people with disabilities have to pay for drugs, and millions of seniors pay more than $6,000 a year in cost-sharing.  This proposal puts an end to this burden, and ensures that seniors never pay more than $2,000 a year for their drugs under Medicare Part D.

The plan will also lower insulin prices so that Americans with diabetes don’t pay more than $35 per month for their insulin. Lawmakers have also agreed to lower seniors’ cost-sharing for all types of drugs and they are working expeditiously to finalize legislative text that will save seniors money at the pharmacy counter without increasing premiums.

Strengthens the Affordable Care Act and reduces premiums for 9 Million Americans.

(The framework will reduce premiums for more than 9 million Americans who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace by an average of $600 per person per year. For example, a family of four earning $80,000 per year would save nearly $3,000 per year (or $246 per month) on health insurance premiums. Experts predict that more than 3 million people who would otherwise be uninsured will gain health insurance.)

- Closes the Medicaid Coverage Gap, Leading 4 Million Uninsured People to Gain Coverage.

(The Build Back Better framework will deliver health care coverage through Affordable Care Act premium tax credits to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have locked them out of Medicaid through. A 40-year old in the coverage gap would have to pay $450 per month for benchmark coverage – more than half of their income in many cases. The framework provides individuals $0 premiums, finally making health care affordable and accessible.)

- Expands Medicare to cover hearing benefits.

(The Build Back Better framework will expand Medicare coverage to cover hearing coverage, so that older Americans can access the affordable care they need.)

- Makes the single largest and most comprehensive investment in affordable housing in history.

(The framework will enable the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than 1 million affordable homes, boosting housing supply and reducing price pressures for renters and homeowners. It will address the capital needs of the public housing stock in big cities and rural communities all across America and ensure it is not only safe and habitable but healthier and more energy efficient as well. It will make a historic investment in rental assistance, expanding vouchers to hundreds of thousands of additional families. And, it includes one of the largest investments in down payment assistance in history, enabling hundreds of thousands of first-generation homebuyers to purchase their first home and build wealth. This legislation will create more equitable communities, through investing in community-led redevelopments projects in historically under-resourced neighborhoods and removing lead paint from hundreds of thousands of homes, as well as by incentivizing state and local zoning reforms that enable more families to reside in higher opportunity neighborhoods.)

- Extends the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for around 17 million low-wage workers.

(Before this year, the federal tax code taxed low-wage childless workers into poverty or deeper into poverty — the only group of workers it treated this way. The Build Back Better framework will extend the American Rescue Plan’s tripling of the credit for childless workers, benefiting 17 million low-wage workers, many of whom are essential workers, including cashiers, cooks, delivery drivers, food preparation workers, and childcare providers. For example, a childless worker who works 30 hours per week at $9 per hour earns income that, after taxes, leaves them below the federal poverty line. By increasing her EITC to more than $1,100, this EITC expansion helps pull such workers out of poverty.)

- Expands access to affordable, high-quality education beyond high school.

(Expand access to affordable, high-quality education beyond high school. Education beyond high school is increasingly important for economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st century, even as it has become unaffordable for too many families. The Build Back Better framework will make education beyond high school – including training for high-paying jobs available now – more affordable. Specifically, the framework will increase the maximum Pell Grant by $550 for more the more than 5 million students enrolled in public and private, non-profit colleges and expand access to DREAMers. It will also make historic investments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to build capacity, modernize research infrastructure, and provide financial aid to low-income students. And, it will invest in practices that help more students complete their degree or credential. The framework will help more people access quality training that leads to good, union, and middle-class jobs. It will enable community colleges to train hundreds of thousands of students, create sector-based training opportunity with in- demand training for at least hundreds of thousands of workers, and invest in proven approaches like Registered Apprenticeships and programs to support underserved communities. The framework will increase the Labor Department’s annual spending on workforce development by 50% for each of the next 5 years.)

- Promotes nutrition security to support children’s health.

(The Build Back Better framework will help children reach their full potential by investing in nutrition security year-round. The legislation will expand free school meals to 8.7 million children during the school year and provide a $65 per child per month benefit to the families of 29 million children to purchase food during the summer.)

- Strengthens the middle class through a historic investment in equity, safety, and fairness.

(The legislation makes a transformative investment in Rural America through a new Rural Partnership Program that will empower rural regions, including Tribal Nations and territories, by providing flexible funding for locally-led projects. The Build Back Better framework will provide nutrition security to millions of American children by expanding free school meals, which are the healthiest meals that children consume during the day. It also will make an historic investment in maternal health and establish a new and innovative community violence intervention initiative, in addition to investing in small businesses and preparing the nation for future pandemics and supply chain disruptions.)

- Invests in immigration reform.

(The framework includes a separate $100 billion investment in immigration reform that is consistent with the Senate’s reconciliation rules, as well as enhancements to reduce backlogs, expand legal representation, and make the asylum system and border processing more efficient and humane.)

The Build Back Better framework is fully paid for:

Combined with savings from repealing the Trump Administration’s rebate rule, the plan is fully paid for by asking more from the very largest corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The 2017 tax cut delivered a windfall to them, and this would help reverse that—and invest in the country’s future. No one making under $400,000 will pay a penny more in taxes.

Specifically, the framework:

- Stops large, profitable corporations from paying zero in tax and tax corporations that buyback stock rather than invest in the company.

(2019, the largest corporations in the United States paid just 8 percent in taxes, and many paid nothing at all. President Biden believes this is fundamentally unfair. The Build Back Better framework will impose a 15% minimum tax on the corporate profits that large corporations—with over $1 billion in profits—report to shareholders.  This means that if a large corporation says it’s profitable, then it can’t avoid paying its tax bill. The framework also includes a 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which corporate executives too often use to enrich themselves rather than investing workers and growing the economy.)

- Stops rewarding corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas.

(President Biden has led the world to stop the race to the bottom in corporate taxes and that rewards corporations that ship jobs and profits overseas. That’s why the President won an agreement among 136 countries on a 15% global minimum tax. This framework would help finish the job.  Consistent with that agreement, it’d adopt a 15% minimum tax on foreign profits of U.S. corporations, so that they can no longer claim huge tax benefits by shifting profits and jobs abroad.  And, it’d make sure that other countries abide by the agreement they adopted by imposing a penalty rate on any foreign corporations based in countries that fail to abide by the international agreement.  Other countries will not be able to try to take advantage by failing to meet their commitment.)

- Asks the highest income Americans to pay their fair share.

(The Build Back Better framework includes a new surtax on the income of multi-millionaires and billionaires – the top 0.02 percent of Americans. It would apply a 5 percent rate above income of $10 million, and an additional 3 percent above income of $25 million. The Build Back Better framework will also close the loopholes that allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying the 3.8 Medicare tax on their earnings.)

- Invests in enforcing our existing tax laws, so the wealthy pay what they owe.

(Regular workers pay the taxes they owe on wages and salaries—with a 99 percent compliance rate—while too many wealthy taxpayers hide their income from the IRS so they don’t have to pay. And, as a result of budget cuts, audit rates on those making over $1 million per year fell by 80 percent between 2011-2018. Wage earners have a 99 percent compliance rate, and, by contrast, the top 1 percent evades over $160 billion per year in taxes. President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda will create a fairer tax system – a tax system that requires the wealthy to finally pay their fair share and rewards work, not wealth. The President’s plan will accomplish this through transformation investments in the IRS: hiring enforcement agents who are trained to pursue wealthy evaders, overhauling technology from the 1960s, and investing in taxpayer service, so ordinary Americans can get their questions answered. Additional enforcement resources will be focused on pursuing those with the highest incomes; not Americans with income less than $400,000.)

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 09, 2021, 03:38:28 AM
Another historic day for the stock market and the S&P 500. The stock market soared another 104 points to a record high 36,432.22. The S&P 500 closed above 4,700 for the first time. Another Biden record. Good things happen when you have strong and competent Democratic leadership. Remember, every Republican except for 13 in the House voted against this infrastructure bill that benefits ALL Americans.   ​

S&P 500 closes above 4,700 for the first time as infrastructure stocks rally

The S&P 500 closed at a record high Monday after Congress approved an infrastructure spending package.

The broad index gained 0.09% to close above 4,700 for the first time at 4,701.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 104.27 points, or 0.3%, to close at 36,432.22. The Nasdaq Composite ticked up 0.07% at 15,982.36. All three stock averages posted record closes.

The U.S. House of Representatives late Friday passed a more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden for his signature. First passed by the Senate in August, the package would provide new funding for transportation, utilities and broadband, among other infrastructure projects.

“Investors have waited for a significant step-up in infrastructure spending for decades,” Citi’s Anthony Pettinari said in a note. “We view this generational investment as a significant catalyst for growth for a number of our stocks.”

Industrials and materials stocks rallied Monday with those names set to benefit from the spending package. The Global X U.S. Infrastructure Development exchange-traded fund rose nearly 1.3% and hit a new all-time high Monday morning.


Mining company Freeport-McMoRan, construction materials stock Vulcan and steel corporation Nucor were among the notable gainers on the S&P 500. Construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar led the Dow’s rally with a 4% gain. Heavy equipment producer Deere saw its shares rise about 1.6%. United Rentals, Martin Marietta and Jacobs Engineering were among other infrastructure-related gainers.

Elsewhere, chip maker Advanced Micro Devices led gains on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite. AMD rallied 10.1% after the company announced it won Meta, formerly known as Facebook, as a chip customer and revealed new chip products.

Meanwhile, Tesla founder Elon Musk rattled investors this weekend, asking in a Twitter poll whether he should sell 10% of his stock as a response to political clamoring to tax unrealized gains from equity holdings. Nearly 58% of respondents said yes, and shares of Tesla closed 4.8% lower Monday.

The passage of the infrastructure stimulus, an improving Covid situation in the U.S., and a better-than-expected labor market reading boosted investor confidence in the economic recovery. The October jobs report came in Friday better than economists expected as U.S. payrolls added 531,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department.

“We expect Equities to continue to climb the ‘wall of worry’, as risks look largely priced in and showing signs of improvement,” JPMorgan’s Marko Kolanovic said in a note Monday.

The S&P 500 has now posted 64 record closes in 2021 and is up more than 25% this year.

Investors await fresh inflation readings in the week ahead. The producer price index and consumer price index are slated for release on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Economists expect both reports to remain hot for October.

The Federal Reserve is eyeing both inflation and jobs data to guide its timeline on normalizing monetary policy.

Last week, the Fed announced a plan to begin tapering its pandemic-era economic aid by the end of November, putting the central bank on track to end its asset purchase program by the middle of next year.


Dow hits record high as infrastructure bill lifts cyclicals

Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Dow hit a record high on Monday as the passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill lifted industrials, materials and other economy-focused sectors, while Tesla fell on top boss Elon Musk's plan to sell about a tenth of his stake.

Five of the 11 major S&P 500 sector indexes were higher after the Congress on Saturday passed the long-delayed infrastructure bill hailed by President Joe Biden as a "once in a generation" investment.

"That infrastructure bill is going to put some energy into companies like 3M, Caterpillar and other companies that power the industrial sector, but we also think the materials sector is going to really benefit from that bill," said Greg Bassuk, chief executive at AXS Investments in Port Chester, New York.

Travel and tourism stocks rallied, led by airlines, as the United States lifted travel restrictions slapped on much of the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The S&P 1500 Airlines index (.SPCOMAIR) gained 1.1%. read more

The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor index (.SOX) rose 1.3% to a record high.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD.O) jumped 9.0% after it signed up Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) as a data center chip customer and announced new supercomputing chips to take on its bigger rival Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O). read more

Wall Street's main indexes hit record highs last week, supported by an upbeat earnings season, strong October jobs data and a positive update on Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N) experimental pill against COVID-19.


Dow Heading for Record Highs, Tesla Tumbles—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

Caterpillar Leads Dow Jones Up 116 Points on $1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal
Congress finally passed a bipartisan infrastructure spending bill that investors expect will boost spending for Caterpillar's equipment.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 09, 2021, 11:35:04 PM
Radical right wing Republicans have no interest in working for the American people. They are only there to promote their racist and fascist agenda. When Republicans in the Party decide to vote to pass legislation aimed at helping their own constituents these radical right wing Republicans try to banish them from the party. The GOP is a radical anti American extremist cult.

'Sedition caucus' trying to strip committee assignments from 13 Republicans because they voted for infrastructure


House Republicans have no problem with one of their members posting a tweet depicting him murdering Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but they are outraged at 13 members of their caucus who voted to pass President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill.

According to Jake Sherman's Punchbowl News, rank and file GOP members of Congress are trying to force Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to strip the 13 of their committee assignments, noting that "GOP leadership is bracing" for the attempt. McCarthy was opposed to the bill, which will vastly improve basic necessities like roads, bridges, rail, and the nation's ports, expand broadband access, and help localities protect against climate change.

Not only are GOP members of Congress angry the 13 voted for the legislation, they are angry they voted "early," rather than forcing Democrats to cross the majority threshold of votes to pass the bill without Republicans.

"Much of the anger is directed at Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), who voted early for the legislation. Katko is the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee. Katko told multiple lawmakers on the House floor that he had seen Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) on television talking about the infrastructure bill, and he was voting early."

Members of the Sedition Caucus, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz have publicly attacked their fellow Republicans for voting to help the American people by voting for the bill.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 10, 2021, 12:04:54 AM
We see the Trump disaster on the left and the Biden transformation on the right.

Under Trump we were losing 1 million jobs per month. Biden came in and got Americans back to work creating an average of 620,000 jobs per month and 5.6 million total which is the most jobs ever created by a President in less than 10 months.

Under Trump the unemployment rate soared. Biden has lowered the unemployment rate way down to 4.6%.

The vaccine rollout under Trump was an absolute dismal failure with less than 1 million shots per day. President Biden completely transformed America's vaccine rollout into the best in the world vaccinating over 4 million people which is an amazing record. 70% of adults have been fully vaccinated.

The GDP has soared under the Biden Administration.

This is amazing progress in just a few months time!         

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 10, 2021, 01:12:26 PM
Biden rolls out multibillion-dollar plan to upgrade aging U.S. ports after passage of infrastructure bill

The Biden administration outlined several initiatives on Tuesday aimed at addressing immediate supply-chain challenges and other disruptions affecting global commerce, a move that follows the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill, the single largest federal investment in American history, includes $17 billion for infrastructure improvements at coastal and inland ports, waterways and ports of entry along the U.S. border.

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration outlined several initiatives on Tuesday aimed at addressing immediate supply chain challenges and other disruptions affecting global commerce.

Several senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to share details of the proposed plans, said the administration will begin work within the next 60 days with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on $4 billion worth of construction work at coastal ports, inland waterways as well as other corps-eligible facilities.

The plan will also identify and prioritize $3.4 billion in upgrades to obsolete inspection facilities that will make international trade more efficient through the northern and southern borders, a senior administration official said.

“This is a long-overdue infrastructure improvement and it has clearly been a bottleneck in the past,” the person added.

The officials said the administration plans to standardize data-sharing requirements for shipping lines, terminal operators, railroads, truckers, warehouses and cargo owners.

“There is not a lot of data-sharing among the private sector and participants in the goods movement chain,” the official said, adding that the lack of data exchange causes delays and inefficiencies as cargo moves from one part of the supply chain to another.

The U.S. Digital Service is working with the Federal Maritime Commission and the joint program office at the Department of Transportation to build a data framework that will help move goods more efficiently, the senior Biden administration official said.

“This is one of the more important but less visible parts of this program,” the person added.

The world’s supply chain – already exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic – is continuing to bear the brunt of surging consumer demand, labor shortages and overseas manufacturing delays, which has led to higher transportation costs and inflation.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will visit the Port of Baltimore to discuss how the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by lawmakers Friday will improve ports and strengthen supply chains.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed the Senate in August but sat idle in the House for months, will finance colossal upgrades to America’s roads, bridges, airports, seaports and rail systems.

The bill, the single largest federal investment in American history, includes $17 billion in infrastructure improvements at coastal and inland ports, waterways and ports of entry along the U.S. border.

The measure, which Biden has yet to sign into law, includes an additional $110 billion to repair roads, bridges as well as other major transportation projects across the United States.

When asked for the timing of these investments, a senior administration official said that work was “already underway” on some projects while other programs would take anywhere from 45 days to 90 days.

The officials did not indicate when Biden would sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The bill’s passage came on the heels of Biden’s attendance at the annual forum of the “Group of 20,” or G-20, referring to the 20 major economies that account for more than 80% of world GDP and 75% of global trade.

While at the G-20, Biden convened a summit alongside leaders from 14 other countries and the European Union calling for their unbending commitment on supply chain issues.

“Supply chains are something that most of our citizens never think twice about until something goes wrong. And during this pandemic, we’ve seen delays and backlogs of goods from automobiles to electronics, from shoes to furniture,” Biden said in his debut at the G-20 since becoming president.

“Ending the pandemic is the ultimate key to unlocking the disruptions we’re all contending with. But, we have to take action now, together with our partners in the private sector, to reduce the backlogs that we’re facing,” he said.

Now that the pandemic has highlighted vulnerabilities in the system, he said, “we cannot go back to business as usual.”

Last month, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to run operations 24/7 at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s busiest port complex.

Shortly thereafter, the twin California ports, which account for 40% of sea freight entering the United States, announced new fines on carriers in order to clear the intensifying logjam of cargo ships.

Starting on Nov. 1, offloaded containers moved by trucks will have nine days before fines start accruing. Containers scheduled to move by rail will have three days. In accordance with these deadlines, carriers will be charged $100 for each lingering container per day.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 11, 2021, 01:04:53 PM
Pro-infrastructure Republicans are facing a barrage of abuse from furious Trump supporters: report
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 11, 2021, 01:07:43 PM
‘Somebody’s going to get killed’: Dem lawmaker hammers GOP for refusing to punish Gosar for violent video
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 11, 2021, 01:09:31 PM
President Biden touts infrastructure bill at Port of Baltimore, says it will boost economy
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 11, 2021, 11:28:43 PM
And right wing Republicans in Indiana voted against President Biden's infrastructure bill that will revitalize Indiana.

HOWEY: Biden infrastructure bill will bring $9 billion to Indiana
The bill will bring more than $8 billion to Indiana just to revitalize roads and bridges


INDIANAPOLIS — In a week after the Dow crossed 36,000 for the first time ever and 531,000 new jobs were created in October, House Democrats aided by 13 Republicans – though none from the Indiana delegation – voted late Friday night to pass President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill by a 228-206 vote. Six progressive Democrats voted against the measure after Speaker Nancy Pelosi received commitments on the Build Back Better Act to split the votes from this record infrastructure bill.

The bill will bring more than $8 billion to Indiana to revitalize roads and bridges; $751 million to ensure safe, clean drinking water; $680 million to improve public transportation systems; $350 million to expand broadband internet access, especially in rural areas; and $20 million for Indiana to respond to extreme weather events.

But like just about everything else in this era of American politics, the infrastructure bill was characterized as “solving problems” in the words of Democrat U.S. Rep. Frank Mrvan, or denounced as a “socialist scheme” according to Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, despite the fact that U.S. Sen. Todd Young helped negotiate the version that passed the Senate. Young voted no because it would have been followed by President Biden’s Build Back Better bill.

“We have discussed the need to make desperately needed investments in our infrastructure and broadband technology for too long,” Mrvan told the NWI Times following the House vote. “Today, we delivered.”

Walorski said, “As Hoosier families face the devastating ramifications of President Biden’s inflation and supply chain crises, President Biden and the Democrats’ socialist tax and spend scheme is astonishingly out of touch with the American people.”

U.S. Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, and Jim Baird, R-Greencastle called the bill a “Trojan Horse” designed to pave the way for future spending.

Walorski, Bucshon and Baird have rediscovered their fiscal conservatism, which was missing during the $7 trillion in additional debt accrued under President Trump. Hoosier Republicans didn’t balk at receiving a portion of the estimated $28 billion the Trump administration paid to American farmers from 2017 and 2020 as part of the Market Facilitation Program for losses driven by tariffs that China placed on agricultural imports from the U.S. in retaliation for Trump’s trade war.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act comes on the heels of Biden’s American Rescue Plan last spring that will bring some $4 billion in federal investments to Indiana, including $1.28 billion for municipalities. ARP funds will also fund Gov. Eric Holcomb’s $500 million READI grants. So Hoosier governments are going to be seeing an unprecedented $13 billion over the next four or five years.

Recently released state-level data demonstrate that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will deliver an array of upgrades for Indiana, coming some 16 years after the $3.8 billion Indiana Toll Road lease fueled Gov. Mitch Daniels’ 10-year, fully funded road program that includes remaking the U.S. 31 freeway and extending I-69 from Bloomington to Indianapolis.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed and signed by President Obama in February 2009 during the Great Recession and included $1.4 billion for Medicaid expansion (HIP 2.0), $1.3 billion for education, $650 million for roads and bridges, $400 million for nutrition and another $600 million for weatherization, water quality, housing, public transit and child care.

The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is designed to:

- Repair and rebuild Indiana roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users, including cyclists and pedestrians. In Indiana there are 1,111 bridges and over 5,478 miles of highway in poor condition with this legislation providing $6.6 billion.

- Improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans with the state expecting to receive nearly $680 million over five.

- Build a network of electric vehicle chargers to facilitate long-distance travel and provide convenient charging options with Indiana receiving $100 million over five years.

- Help connect every American to reliable high-speed internet. According to the White House, 16% of Indiana households do not have an internet subscription, and 3.2% of Hoosiers live in areas where, under the FCC’s benchmark, there is no broadband infrastructure. Indiana will receive a minimum allocation of $100 million that will provide access to at least 217,000 Hoosiers who currently lack it.

- Prepare more of our infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, cyber attacks, and extreme weather events. From 2010 to 2020, Indiana experienced 34 extreme weather events, costing the state up to $10 billion in damage. Indiana will expect to receive $20 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $20 million to protect against cyber attacks.

- Deliver clean drinking water to every American and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines and pipes. Indiana will expect to receive $751 million over five years to improve water infrastructure.

- Airports in Indiana would receive approximately $170 million for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 14, 2021, 12:23:30 AM
Right wing nut and American traitor Marjorie Taylor Greene is strongly advocating for Trump's deranged base to harass and threaten the 13 Republicans that voted for President Biden's Infrastructure Bill which revitalizes American cities. These members of Congress are getting death threats from these deranged lunatics all because they voted "YES" so that roads, bridges, ports, freeways can be updated with sound infrastructure. Rural areas will get high speed broadband internet along with clean drinking water and families with children will get child tax credits. Only an Anti American would vote against repairing American cities and helping working families. And the GOP did except for 13 and now they are being threatened by nuts like Marjorie Taylor Greene. She voted against Georgia and America. Criminal Donald claimed every week he would pass an Infrastructure Bill and failed miserably. Now Trump's stooges are on the attack because President Biden and the Democrats delivered for the American people.

'The calls will continue': Marjorie Taylor Greene snaps at accusations she encouraged her followers to harass lawmakers
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 14, 2021, 11:42:04 PM
'Where is Kevin McCarthy?': CNN panel buries GOP leader for letting his members encourage death threats


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was dragged over the coals on CNN on Sunday morning as panelists pointed out the toxic atmosphere in the House since the Jan 6th insurrection has grown worse as a few GOP members have encouraged violence against their colleagues.

Acting as host, CNN's Kaitlan Collins summed up the problem by asking, "Where is Kevin McCarthy."

With panelists citing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for calling some of her colleagues "traitors" and tweeting out their congressional phone numbers, and Rep Paul Gosar (R-AZ) posting a video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio -Cortez (D-NY), questions were raised about when McCarthy would rein his caucus in.

According to Paul .... of the Washington Post, "Look, the House of Representatives ... it is a cauldron. It has never healed itself or come close to healing itself after Jan 6th. The Senate still has tensions that are there, the House is still heated. They have magnetometers set outside the chamber -- every member has to walk through to prove that they don't have a weapon on them. It seems a little bit ridiculous at times to think, all right, these are members of Congress, come on."

After Collins brought up the absence of McCarthy, the Daily Beast's Jackie Kucinich added, "It's an excellent question. I'm sure a lot of those members that are receiving these death threats want an answer to it and they're entitled to it."

Tarini Parti of the Wall Street Journal interjected, "I think what's interesting, the members who voted for it [the infrastructure bill] are moderate Republicans who need to win re-elections. You would think the Republican leadership would want them to win the re-election and would support them because they think this is the type of issue if they vote for it, they would help re-elect them."

Watch below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 15, 2021, 12:10:44 AM
Who in their right mind would be against repairing and revitalizing communities and states?

31% of Americans who are far radical right wingers are against removing lead pipes so they can have clean drinking water. They are against repairing roads with potholes, against securing bridges, updating the railroad, high speed internet and so many more essential updates we need. The GOP calls this "socialism" and they all voted against this bill except for 13 Republicans. Other countries like Japan update their infrastructure all the time and have surpassed the United States in mass transit and technology. Republicans want us to lag behind these other countries as they lead the world. It's about time America leads the world once again and with Republicans you will never have that as we will always be last with them.             

President Biden to sign big infrastructure bill with $13B for N.J. on Monday. Here’s what to expect.

Billions of federal transportation dollars will flow to New Jersey in the coming months and years after President Joe Biden signs the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Monday at a White House ceremony.

Deputy U.S. Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg, calling the bill the “largest investment in infrastructure since the creation of the interstate highway system,” said states could see some of the money within months, while other programs will take longer to get underway. The transportation bill sets policy for the next five years.

According to the White House and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, New Jersey will receive at least $13.5 billion over the next five years under the infrastructure bill. Here’s what’s in the legislation that could benefit the Garden State.

- Airports. The bill includes around $272 million to help fund improvements to New Jersey airports.

-- Amtrak. The nation’s passenger railroad will get $66 million, including funds for the Northeast Corridor. Amtrak has proposed extending its route network, including running trains from New York City through New Jersey to Scranton and to Easton and Allentown, all in Pennsylvania.

-- Bridge repairs. Under the current federal formula, the state will receive $1.1 billion. The state ranked 21st among the 50 states with 502, or 7.4%‚ of its 6,801 bridges rated as deficient, according to an analysis of Federal Highway Administration data by NJ Advance Media.

-- Broadband. The White House said 31% of New Jersey households do not subscribe to an internet service. The state will receive at least $100 million to expand high-speed internet connections to least 115,468 residents. In addition, there would be funding to subsidize access for 1.6 million low-income New Jerseyans.

-- Climate change. Based on historical formulas, the state will receive $15 million to protect against wildfires.

-- Cyberattacks. New Jersey will expect $17 million to protect its computer systems.

-- Electric vehicles. To encourage the move to electric cars from gasoline-powered vehicles, the bill includes funding for a network of charging stations. New Jersey could expect to receive $104 million.

-- Gateway. Biden has endorsed it. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has touted it. Trottenberg called it a “huge priority.” Full funding is in place for a new Portal Bridge over the Hackensack River, and billions of additional dollars were put in accounts that could be used to help fund the new Hudson River tunnel. But first, the Federal Transit Administration needs to change its rating to allow the Gateway Tunnel to tap those funds. Trottenberg said the Biden administration was working “to get the next steps to that project completed.”

-- Highways. New Jersey will get $6.8 billion for highways over five years. The state has hundreds and hundreds of miles of highway rated as being in poor condition. That has helped increase commuting times by 8.8% since 2011, and costs the average motorist an additional $713 a year.

-- Lead pipes. The state Legislature has passed legislation requiring that every lead water pipe be replaced, and the infrastructure bill will provide $1 billion to help cover the cost. Newark residents in August 2019 started lining up for bottled water because of high lead levels. The American Water Works Association estimated it would cost $2.3 billion to replace New Jersey’s 350,000 lead service lines.

-- Mass Transit. Under the current plan, the state will get $4.1 billion for public transportation such as NJ Transit. Some of those funds could be used to replace outmoded buses and trains as 25% of such vehicles are past their useful life.

-- Reconnecting neighborhoods. “Almost every American city has had a highway that has plowed through communities of color or cut off a neighborhood,” Trottenberg said. There is $1 billion in the bill to reconnect communities, and Trottenberg said other federal funds could be used as well. One of those highways is Interstate 280 through Orange, and Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-10th Dist., plans to work with local mayors and other elected officials on that issue, according to spokesman Patrick Wright.

-- Superfund. There is funding in the bill to help clean up Superfund sites, which New Jersey has more of than any other state.

-- Toll credits. New Jersey has built up $5.5 billion in credits for using toll revenues to maintain its interstate highways. The credits then are used to cover the local share of federally-funded road and bridge projects. The state has so many credits that it can’t spend them all, and the bill would let it sell them to other states at a discount. New Jersey therefore could raise billions of dollars for highway construction without raising taxes while the buying states could cover their local shares for less money.

In a Monmouth University Poll released Wednesday, 65% of Americans supported the measure, with 31% in opposition.

“I think we’re in a good spot now,” said Rep. Donald Norcross, D-1st Dist. “We’re going to keep to our message of passing bills that will help people.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 15, 2021, 07:55:02 AM
The Trump Disaster compared to Biden Progress

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 16, 2021, 12:01:15 AM
Biden signs bipartisan infrastructure bill with Republicans on hand to celebrate win
House Democrats aim to vote on Biden’s Build Back Better framework this week


After months of negotiations, a massive bipartisan infrastructure bill that promises significant investments in every pocket of the country got President Joe Biden's signature on Monday.

"My fellow Americans, today I want you to know we hear you, and we see you. The bill I'm about to sign into law is proof that, despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results," Biden said. "We can deliver real results for real people we see in ways that really matter each and every day to each person out there. And we're taking a monumental step forward to 'Build Back Better' as a nation."

Biden was joined by a bipartisan group for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill signing at a White House ceremony -- marking a major victory for lawmakers from both parties who committed to working in a bipartisan way and even more so for Biden, who campaigned on a promise to work across the aisle.

"For too long, we've talked about having the best economy in the world. We've talked about asserting American leadership around the world with the best and the safest roads, railways, ports, and airports. Here in Washington, we've heard countless speeches, promises, and white papers from the experts," Biden said. "But today, we are finally getting it done. And my message to the American people is: America is moving again. And your life is going to change for the better."

The infrastructure package, with $550 billion in new spending, will address the nation's core infrastructure needs including $110 billion for highways, roads and bridges, $66 billion for passenger rail, $65 billion in high-speed internet, $55 billion for water, $39 billion in public transit, $25 billion for airports, $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, and $17 billion for ports, among other areas.

"We got it done, America," Vice President Kamala Harris said with a smile.

The White House said the plan will create on average 1.5 million jobs per year over the next decade.

Several congressional Republicans joined Democrats at the White House for the South Lawn signing ceremony, as well as GOP leaders at the state and local level. Bu in all, only about 18% of Republicans who voted for the popular legislation were in attendance -- and the entire group faces extreme criticism, and in some cases, death threats, for supporting the infrastructure package -- blowback encouraged by former President Donald Trump.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a leader in negotiations, spoke ahead of the president, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"Our plan will create millions of jobs and make our country stronger, safer, and more globally competitive without raising taxes on everyday Americans," Sinema said to the crowd of approximately 800 guests gathered before American flags on the South Lawn, going to thank the bipartisan group of lawmakers who negotiated the deal.

"The American people want to see us coming together," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who led negotiations for Republicans. "They know that despite our differences we should be able to figure it out and work together to solve big problems. We can start by recognizing that finding common ground to advance the interests of the American people should be rewarded not attacked," Portman added. "This should be the beginning of a renewed effort to work together on big issues facing our country."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has touted the bill in his home state of Kentucky as "good for the country," said last week he has "other things I've got to do other than go to the signing ceremony."


The White House has announced that former lieutenant governor of Louisiana and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who helped that city recover from Hurricane Katrina, will join the Biden administration as a senior advisor and oversee the implementation of the package. Biden will also sign an executive order on Monday creating a task force to implement the package into law, which will be co-chaired by Landrieu and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 16, 2021, 10:59:31 PM
House to vote on resolution censuring Paul Gosar and removing him from House Oversight Committee


The House of Representatives on Wednesday will vote on a resolution to censure Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) after he posted an anime video that depicted him murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

According to Politico's Heather Caygle, the resolution would not only censure Gosar but also remove him from the House Oversight Committee, where he currently serves alongside Ocasio-Cortez.

The resolution would let Gosar keep his spot on the Natural Resources Committee, which means that he would not be fully stripped of his committee assignments as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) was earlier in the year.

Gosar, who earlier this year also spoke at a conference organized by white nationalists, has claimed that he wasn't advocating violence against Ocasio-Cortez even though the video he posted depicted a cartoon version of himself murdering her.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 16, 2021, 11:06:58 PM
Thanks to President Biden manufacturing is thriving again and so is our auto industry. Manufacturing was in a deep recession under Criminal Donald.

US auto factories swung back into gear in October: govt


American car assembly lines roared back into action last month, according to official data released Tuesday, a sign the effects of the global semiconductor shortage that has hobbled production may be ending.

The gains at automakers helped propel US industrial production 1.6 percent higher in October, according to the Federal Reserve, about double expectations and gaining back ground lost in September, when supply constraints pushed output sharply lower.

The Fed said factories recovering from Hurricane Ida made up about half of the overall gain in production.

Manufacturing rose 1.2 percent, driven by an 11 percent increase in motor vehicles and parts, its first gain after two months of declines.

However, auto production was still 1.5 percent lower than October 2020, a sign of the lingering damage from the shortage of crucial computer chips that forced some factories to cut production.

"The level of manufacturing output is back above its pre-pandemic level, for the second time, and this time the absence of hurricanes and the continued strength in the regular monthly surveys points to further gains ahead," Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said.

Mining output rose 4.1 percent and utilities climbed 1.2 percent, the report said.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 16, 2021, 11:41:16 PM
Biden sells infrastructure law in visit to 'structurally deficient' New Hampshire bridge
The bridge has been on the state's "red list" since 2013, requiring inspections twice a year because of poor conditions.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday visited an 82-year-old steel bridge in rural New Hampshire that he pointed to as an example of how one of his biggest legislative victories will benefit communities across the country.

Biden said the bridge, which crosses the Pemigewasset River in the town of Woodstock, is just one of hundreds in urgent need of repair. The newly enacted infrastructure law, he said, will give states the funding to tackle those projects.

"This law is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America and leaves nobody behind," Biden said.

The president also talked about how the $555 billion measure will expand broadband access, replace lead pipes and address the effects of climate change.

The bipartisan package will pump billions into shoring up the nation's roads, bridges, airports and seaports.

Tuesday’s event in New Hampshire, a day after a bill signing ceremony at the White House, is the first in a series of trips Biden and top administration officials plan to make to sell the infrastructure law to voters, with less than a year before the 2022 midterm elections. Biden is slated to travel to Detroit on Wednesday to meet with UAW workers who are building the next generation of electric vehicles.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, along with first lady Jill Biden and Cabinet officials will be making a similar push for the infrastructure law, the White House said.

Those efforts come alongside the administration’s goal to pass a $1.75 trillion social safety net bill that could be voted on by the House as early as this week. Biden said Tuesday he was confident that House lawmakers would pass the bill in the coming days.

The bridge in Woodstock has been on New Hampshire's "red list" since 2013, meaning it’s considered "structurally deficient" and requires inspections twice a year.

Biden said the bridge can only carry 20 ton trucks, rather than 40 ton trucks, and that without the bridge it would be a 10 mile detour to cross the river.

"These bridges are essential in small towns, rural areas, to farmers and small businesses, like in my state of Delaware," Biden said.

Biden's visit comes after the state's Republican governor, Chris Sununu, said he would not run for the U.S. Senate. Sununu was a top GOP recruit to take on incumbent Democrat Maggie Hassan, and his decision to instead seek re-election delivered a blow to the party's hopes of regaining control of the Senate. Polls have found Hassan vulnerable to a strong challenge.


President Biden leaves New Hampshire after speaking on infrastructure bill
President touches on some of $1.2 trillion bill's benefits for Granite Staters

WOODSTOCK, N.H. — Speaking in front of an 82-year-old bridge in Woodstock that is sorely in need of repair, President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill he signed into law will help fix it and the 214 other red-listed bridges in New Hampshire.

New Hampshire was Biden's first stop after signing the bill Monday. Amid light snow flurries, he spoke at the Route 175 bridge over the Pemigewasset River, which is a key route for emergency vehicles.

"This may not seem like a big bridge, but it saves lives and it solves problems," Biden said. "Let me tell you why: Businesses depend on it. Like the local propane company, or the sand and gravel company, or logging trucks. Public services depend on it, school buses, wastewater trucks cross it every day. It's essential to Woodstock Fire Station about a quarter-mile away. Without this bridge, as I said earlier, it's a 10-mile detour just to get to the other side."

The bridge has been red-listed since 2013, meaning it needs major repairs.

"Thanks to the infrastructure law, we’re going to make the most significant investment to modernize our roads and our bridges in 70 years. The law is going to speed up replacement of bridges by at least a year and allow New Hampshire to invest in other critical infrastructure needs," Biden said.

The president said neglecting road and bridge infrastructure is costly to Granite Staters.

"You have about 700 miles of highway in New Hampshire that’s listed in poor condition," Biden said. "Driving on these roads that need repair costs New Hampshire drivers an estimated extra $476 every year per person driving in gasoline, repairs and long commute times. That's $476 in hidden taxes on New Hampshire drivers as a result of deteriorating infrastructure."

Biden touted other parts of the infrastructure bill, such as replacing lead pipes and dealing with water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

"Every American, every child should be able to turn on the faucet and drink clean water, which will also create thousands of good-paying jobs for plumbers and pipefitters replacing these pipes," Biden said.

He praised New Hampshire's congressional delegation, saying they pushed for other items, such as expanding high-speed internet.

"Today, one in every 10 New Hampshire households doesn't have internet subscriptions. And in a lot of places, there's no broadband infrastructure at all," Biden said. "And the law is going to make high-speed internet affordable and available everywhere in New Hampshire -- urban, suburban and rural. It's going to create jobs laying down those broadband lines in the 21st century America."

The president specifically cited U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for her efforts to bring the bill across the finish line.

"(Shaheen was) the key member of this bipartisan group of senators that negotiated this infrastructure deal. You’re calm, common sense, as usual, always leads the way. I mean that sincerely," Biden said.

Earlier Tuesday, Biden was greeted at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport by Gov. Chris Sununu, who sent a letter to Biden raising several questions about the federal infrastructure funds. He said New Hampshire receives the lowest funding nationwide for highway programs and asked if Biden is willing to work with Congress for more equitable funding in the future.

Sununu also asked how much flexibility states will have in allocating the federal funds.

The governor met Biden at the airport and said in a written statement that the two had "a very pleasant conversation" in which they discussed inflation and workforce shortages, along with rising fuel costs.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 17, 2021, 02:13:33 PM
17 Nobel Prize–winning economists back Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 17, 2021, 02:29:00 PM
FBI raids home of MAGA clerk Tina Peters — and Lauren Boebert's former campaign manager


The FBI on Tuesday raided the homes of Mesa County, Colorado clerk Tina Peters and three associates, as part of its investigation into whether the MAGA-loving official was involved in an election security breach.

"The FBI carried out a court-ordered search of Peters' home in Mesa County early Tuesday morning, leaving her 'terrified,' Peters said Tuesday night in an appearance on Lindell TV, an online channel run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump supporter and proponent of discredited claims the 2020 election was stolen," Colorado Politics reports. "Lindell said one of the homes raided by law enforcement authorities belongs to Sherronna Bishop, a Garfield County resident and former campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert."

The Daily Beast notes that Peters, who has been stripped of her ability to run elections in the county, was "involved in an amateur QAnon-tied investigation of voter fraud in the 2020 election."

"Peters briefly became a star on the right last summer when she appeared at MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's 'cyber-symposium' on voter fraud," according to the Daily Beast. "A few days before her appearance, alleged QAnon mastermind Ron Watkins posted images from Mesa County voting machines, while hard drives from the county's equipment later leaked online. That inspired suspicions that Peters was somehow involved in the potentially illegal leak, and she briefly went into hiding."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 17, 2021, 02:37:53 PM
How Tucson and Arizona benefit from Biden's infrastructure bill

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill into law on Monday that gives more than a trillion dollars to public works projects nationwide. More than 7 billion is coming to Arizona.

“One trillion dollars, this historic funding for infrastructure, we’re going to feel it directly here in Pima County,” said Adelita Grijalva, Pima County Supervisor, District 5.

The largest portion of the money, around $5 billion, is going into highway projects such as widening Interstate 10.

“Traffic delays continue to interfere on our quality of life," said Andrés Cano, Arizona State Representative, District 3. "I think ultimately the bottom line is that these dollars are going to be able to create jobs, provide good opportunity to make the investments we need in the infrastructure that has gone underserved.”

There’s investment in low-emission transportation, with $118 million going to Sun Tran buses.

“It allows us to set up the stations," Grijalva said. "Where are you going to plug all of these zero-emission electric vehicles? We don’t have the infrastructure for that right now, but we will after this.”

Representatives want to use some of the money to rebuild the Drexel Bridge, connecting southern Tucson to the rest of the city.

“In reality, what we now have is an opportunity to be able to say this is a key priority for southern Arizona,” Cano said.

The bill also promises to improve the infrastructure of public water systems, the hope is to bring reusable, clean water to Tucson.

“It's an existential issue, water security, water contamination," said Steve Kozachik, Tucson City Council member. "When we’re getting ready to serve ground water necessarily because of the situation in the Colorado River and Lake Mead.

More than $500 million are going towards renovating land ports of entry along Arizona’s southern border.

"It’s better for both communities, both Arizona and Mexico, to have that cross-commerce happen faster,” Grijalva said.

The bill invests $100 million to create affordable, high-speed internet access across the country. There's also specific funding set aside for rural communities in Arizona. Part of that funding will go towards a permanent Affordable Connectivity Benefit program. The program provides low-income families with a monthly voucher for $30 to access internet.

Arizona will also get money for wildfire management, and $54 million per year to replace lead pipes.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 17, 2021, 02:44:07 PM
Infrastructure bill: Here's how California, LA benefit

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- President Joe Biden signed a $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill into law, bringing billions of dollars to California for public transit projects, wildfire preparation, bridge and road repair, broadband internet and more.

"No parent should have to sit in the parking lot at a fast food restaurant again just so their child can use the Internet to do their homework. That's over," Biden said.

Members of the California State Legislature and local representatives were in attendance, including Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"This bill will invest millions and produce countless jobs for cities such as Fontana. It will improve roadways, transit systems, our access to clean water," Warren said.

Funding will go out over the next five years, but it could take months or longer for the major projects to begin.

"The infrastructure deal means funding for megaprojects like (Metro's) Sepulveda Transit Corridor, which will revolutionize the way Angelenos get around. With more investment in (Metro's) bus lanes and the (Los Angeles Department of Transportation's) NextGen Bus Plan network, we can speed up our transit system and reduce congestion,'' Garcetti said on Twitter after the bill's signing.

Here's how Los Angeles benefits

Garcetti also said Los Angeles will receive funding for:

-- electrifying Metro's bus fleet by 2030;
-- Metrolink projects, including the Link Union Station project;
-- ecosystem restoration projects, including the restoration of Los Angeles River habitat;
-- Los Angeles International Airport modernization efforts;
-- projects to improve the flow of goods at the Port of Los Angeles;
-- the expansion of the city's electric vehicle charging network;
-- climate resilience and extreme heat mitigation efforts, including through cool pavements and tree canopies;
-- water recycling and reuse projects; and
-- the city's transition by 2035 to 100% renewable energy.

"This once in a generation deal will transform our nation's infrastructure and L.A. for the better,'' Garcetti said.

Here's how California benefits

Gov. Gavin Newsom praised the bill after it passed Congress on Nov. 6 as a "historic infrastructure package (that) stands to accelerate investments in our clean transportation infrastructure, help mitigate some of the worst impacts of climate change and accelerate new projects that will create thousands of jobs.''

The state is expected to receive:

-- $25.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs;
-- $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years;
-- $9.45 billion over five years to improve public transportation options across the state;
-- $384 million over five years to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network, with the opportunity to apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to electric vehicle charging;
-- at least $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state;
-- $84 million over five years to protect against wildfires;
-- $40 million to protect against cyberattacks;
-- $3.5 billion over five years to improve California's water infrastructure and ensure clean, safe drinking water; and
-- $1.5 billion for infrastructure development for airports over five years.

The bill includes legislation introduced by Sen. Alex Padilla, D-CA, to improve tribal health infrastructure, strengthen electrical grids, improve water resiliency, help ensure clean drinking water and electrify school bus fleets.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 17, 2021, 02:45:17 PM
President Biden’s infrastructure bill: How will Michigan use the money?
Bill will send billions to state

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 18, 2021, 12:31:36 AM
So once again the GOP makes it official thst they condone violence against Democrats.

House censures Paul Gosar for video depicting murder of AOC — and only two Republicans vote yes
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 18, 2021, 12:57:34 AM
EXCLUSIVE Rating agencies say Biden's spending plans will not add to inflationary pressure
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 18, 2021, 07:54:50 AM
So, it turns out that President Biden's record job creation is better than we thought, but it does come at a price. The BLS has severely undercounted Biden's job numbers which totals 626,000 jobs. That's almost 1 million jobs that were left off the books in June, July, August, and September. That led to negative news cycles against the President for no reason at all. The right wing media hammered away at Biden and accused him of being incompetent and trashed him all over social media. The main stream media also took part in continuous negative news cycles attacking the President for a lack of job creation. Even though the job numbers in those 4 months were significantly lower than expected, it was still more jobs created than Trump who was losing 1 million jobs per month. But as it turns out, the job numbers were not significantly lower at all as the BLS had to readjust the job numbers for June-September. The job numbers were actually higher than expected with an additional 626,000 jobs created for those 3 months. But people wouldn't know it, as the President was trashed by the media and these re-adjustment totals barely has received any press at all. So much for a "liberal media bias" that right wingers want to claim.   

As a result, President Biden was unfairly attacked in the media for a lack of job creation which is clearly not the case. People listened to this negative press and it could have caused voters to form a negative opinion of the President when this never should have happened in the first place. One has to wonder if someone is purposely trying to sabotage President Biden, perhaps a Trump holdover because never in our history of the BLS reporting job numbers have they ever missed close to 1 million jobs off 4 job reports for 4 consecutive months. Something has to give and it smells rotten in Denmark.

Biden Dogged By Unprecedented Revisions That Have Undercounted Almost a Million New Jobs in 2021

The Department of Labor has undercounted new jobs at record rates under President Joe Biden, leading to several negative news cycles that turned out to be wrong.

Every month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation Report, which generates the headlines based on the number of jobs created the prior month.

But each report also includes revisions to prior months’ totals that don’t get nearly as much attention, if any. As The Washington Post’s Andrew Van Dam pointed out Wednesday, BLS has undercounted the most recent four months by a whopping — and unprecedented — total: 626,000 jobs.

But a review of BLS revisions for the entire year shows eight months in which jobs were undercounted by a whopping 1,022,000 jobs, and one month in which the total was revised downward by 131,000 — a net of 891,000 jobs undercounted.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 19, 2021, 12:13:35 AM
House could vote Thursday on Biden's Build Back Better legislation, Pelosi says

Pelosi said she's waiting for more Congressional Budget Office cost estimates on the bill, which the agency said it would release later Thursday

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 19, 2021, 01:50:36 AM
So, it turns out that President Biden's record job creation is better than we thought, but it does come at a price. The BLS has severely undercounted Biden's job numbers which totals 626,000 jobs. That's almost 1 million jobs that were left off the books in June, July, August, and September. That led to negative news cycles against the President for no reason at all. The right wing media hammered away at Biden and accused him of being incompetent and trashed him all over social media. The main stream media also took part in continuous negative news cycles attacking the President for a lack of job creation. Even though the job numbers in those 4 months were significantly lower than expected, it was still more jobs created than Trump who was losing 1 million jobs per month. But as it turns out, the job numbers were not significantly lower at all as the BLS had to readjust the job numbers for June-September. The job numbers were actually higher than expected with an additional 626,000 jobs created for those 3 months. But people wouldn't know it, as the President was trashed by the media and these re-adjustment totals barely has received any press at all. So much for a "liberal media bias" that right wingers want to claim.   

As a result, President Biden was unfairly attacked in the media for a lack of job creation which is clearly not the case. People listened to this negative press and it could have caused voters to form a negative opinion of the President when this never should have happened in the first place. One has to wonder if someone is purposely trying to sabotage President Biden, perhaps a Trump holdover because never in our history of the BLS reporting job numbers have they ever missed close to 1 million jobs off 4 job reports for 4 consecutive months. Something has to give and it smells rotten in Denmark.

Did I not call this out correctly?

The BLS never makes severe errors like this undercounting job numbers on offical job reports. Especially for 4 consecutive job reports in a row when the numbers were slated to be high. So when the job report numbers from June-September were released and they were reported as underwhelming, the right wing media immediately went to work hammering President Biden. The Main Stream Media also took part in negative press against the President in continuous newscycles and headlines in newspapers and online articles. As it turned out, the job numbers weren't low at all, and 626,000 jobs were taken off those June-September job reports. That led me to believe something was extremely wrong and I suspected sabotage by a Trump holdover trying to destroy President Biden. My suspicion turned out to be 100% correct as news broke today that a Trump holdover was responsible for purposely removing job number totals from 4 consecutive job reports from June-September. This is criminal and because our country relies on these reports for our economy. We now have a right wing Trump stooge sabotaging President Biden trying to make him look bad so his poll numbers will drop. And even more information came out that, this same Trump stooge was purposely inflating Trump's job numbers to make him look good when in reality 922,000 jobs were lost. Trump is cheater, a pathological, liar, and a fraud, and he had a his own handpicked stooge at the BLS illegally inflating jobs that was never even created. This all has to be coordinated with the GOP because they all had their talking points ready to go all over social media and on tv. Never in the history of America have we had an Anti American party like the GOP trying to destroy our country so they can seize power and replace democracy with fascism and autocracy government.

Head of federal agency responsible for wildly inaccurate jobs numbers is Trump holdover

Some areas of the U.S. federal government are sacrosanct.

The CDC doesn't screw around with reporting COVID information, because millions of people, including scientists, make life or death decisions based on those data.

The Labor Dept. doesn't tweak jobs numbers for political purposes, or to make a president look good or bad, because to report inaccurate results leads to tremendous distrust of the government, messes up markets, and plans of major corporations.

And yet under President Donald Trump the Health and Human Services Dept. altered CDC documents – once considered sacrosanct documents – for political purposes, CNN reported last year.

"Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said. Officials within HHS had defended the demand, saying the CDC fell under the agency's umbrella and that all communications and public documents needed to be cleared at the top."

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input -- often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature -- to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response. The development marks the latest example of political interference by administration appointees at the nation's health agencies.

So when The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the federal government "sharply underestimated job gains for most of 2021, including four months this summer in which it missed more job growth than at any other time on record," some expressed concern.

"In the most recent four months with revisions, June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported it underestimated job growth by a cumulative 626,000 jobs — that's the largest underestimate of any other comparable period, going back to 1979. If those revisions were themselves a jobs report, they'd be an absolute blockbuster," the Post noted.

They add, "recent revisions have been big enough to turn a substantial slump into a surprising surge."

Americans, in other words, have been living under the false belief that the labor market wasn't exactly hopping, thanks to wildly inaccurate numbers out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency under the Dept. of Labor that collects, tracks, and analyzes these critical numbers.

Yes, under President Joe Biden the labor market has been surging, we now know, contrary to the information that's been coming out of the BLS.

Curiously, as the Post also noted, the exact opposite happened last year, when Donald Trump was president.

"Revisions in the already calamitous months of March and April 2020," under Trump, "found the economy had lost 922,000 more jobs than initially reported."


Given what we know happened at CDC, you'd think some might be wondering what's going on.

Well, we are.

As it turns out, William Beach – the head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that since the start of the pandemic has been churning out wildly inaccurate (but very pro-Trump) numbers – was appointed by Donald Trump, used to work for a very pro-Trump think tank known as the Heritage Foundation, worked for a university research center that is funded by the very pro-Trump Charles Koch (as in the Koch Bros.), and also used to work for the Republicans on the the Senate Budget Committee.

(And while it's unclear when Beach left Heritage, it's important to know that right wing think tank is a purveyor of climate change denialism, fake critical race theory and voter fraud claims, and voter suppression legislation.)

So, who cares if the labor numbers are wrong?

Well, everyone, when they read headlines calling Biden's jobs numbers a “colossal miss," “ugly," “dismal" and “disappointing," as The Post noted. Companies make major decisions based on these numbers, which everyone realizes are just estimates, but up until last year were good indicators of what is going on.

Under Beach, the Biden administration has been slammed, giving Republicans a false tool to attack. And like bad newspaper articles that appear on page one and linger in Americans' minds for days, corrections only appear on the back pages, invisible to the vast majority of people who only remember what was false.

An important side note: the Bureau of Labor Statistics is also responsible for reporting out the Consumer Price Index, which in recent days has claimed massive price increases.

NCRM emailed Commissioner Beach on Wednesday, asking if he intended to resign, and asking him to explain what caused these massive errors and if that has been fixed.

We also asked if he maintains any professional, personal, or financial ties to The Heritage Foundation, Senate Republicans or any of his previous right wing employers.

Commissioner Beach did not respond, but Bureau of Labor Statistics Deputy Commissioner William J. Wiatrowski did – with a boilerplate explanation of revisions, and a statement assuring us that the "integrity of BLS data collection and reporting is paramount. The BLS commissioner, as has always been the case, does not see data until they are finalized. Civil servant economists and statisticians tabulate and analyze the data."

No word on any resignation – or if this massive problem has been fixed.

There's no evidence to say these massive screw ups are intentional – or worse, politically motivated – but the American public and American businesses deserve better, they deserve factual data they can count on, and they deserve to know what's actually happening on their President's watch – any president.

If that cannot happen under this commissioner, it's time for a new one.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 19, 2021, 03:49:21 AM
Lauren Boebert walloped by local news anchor in scathing on-air takedown

A local broadcaster shredded Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) in a scathing on-air editorial.

Kyle Clark, a KUSA-TV anchor, scolded his fellow journalists for holding the Colorado Republican to a much different standard that other elected officials in the state.

"We hold Congresswoman Boebert to a far lower standard," Clark said. "If we held her to the same standard as every other elected Republican or Democrat in Colorado, we would be here near nightly chronicling the cruel, false and bigoted things that Boebert says for attention and fundraising."

"This is not about politics, assuming politics is still about things like taxes, national security, health care, jobs and public lands. This is about us, as journalists, recognizing that we'll hold the politicians accountable if they say something vile once, but we won't do it if they do it every day."

"Our double standard is unfair to all the elected officials in Colorado, Republicans and Democrats, who display human decency," he added.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 20, 2021, 12:23:42 AM
Another right wing extremist that has no business being in Congress. This fascist is openly calling for violence.

Madison Cawthorn celebrates Rittenhouse verdict by telling followers to 'be armed, be dangerous'

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) on Friday celebrated Kyle Rittenhouse's not guilty verdict by encouraging his followers to arm themselves.

The right-wing congressman posted a video shortly after the Rittenhouse verdict in which he called the jury's decision a victory for freedom.

"Kyle Rittenhouse is not guilty, my friends!" he said. "You have a right to defend yourself! Be armed, be dangerous, and be moral!"

Cawthorn also posted a text message on the video offering Rittenhouse an internship at his office.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 20, 2021, 12:32:15 AM
The House Just Passed Biden's Build Back Better Bill. Here's What's In It
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 01:25:55 AM
Happy Birthday to President Biden. Under Biden the economy is soaring and is the best economy in history!

Biden Has More S&P 500 Records Than Trump

Trump's economic record is being 'soundly beaten' by Biden as economy bounces back: Forbes

According to an analysis by Forbes that will likely displease former president Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden is blowing by his predecessor's economic records he was so proud of as the U.S. economy comes roaring back.

Chuck Jones of Forbes reports that Trump was in the habit of boasting about economic gains during his administration, but now his records are being "soundly beaten" according to the S&P 500.

Writing, "The S&P 500 closed at a record high on Thursday at 4,704.54 (its third close above 4,700) and fell just short of another record on Friday when it dropped 6.58 points or 0.14% to 4,697.96. The Nasdaq closed at a record high of 16,057, its first close above 16,000 while the Dow Industrials is the laggard at 35,601, almost 1,000 points below its record," Jones added despite rising inflation and the possibility that interest rates could rise the economy under Biden is thriving.

"By President Trump's favorite measure of success President Biden's post-election gains in the S&P 500 Index have soundly beaten Trump's equivalent at just over their one-year election anniversary," he wrote before explaining that, "Charlie Bilello, Founder and CEO of Compound Capital Advisors, has created a chart that shows how many times the S&P 500 has hit record highs in any year since 1929. For 2021 the Index has eclipsed the record 66 times, which is the second highest number to 1995's 77 times. Biden's record number also eclipses Trump's best year in 2017 when the Index broke its all-time high 62 times."

For good measure, he pointed out: "Using the Index's returns from when Biden's election was called the weekend after the election to Friday Biden's market returns are substantially above Trump's by 13.3% and 9.7% from his inauguration."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 01:45:15 AM
Trump stooge Louis DeJoy is finally on his way to being ousted as Postmaster General affer he completely destroyed and dismantled the USPS. Criminal Donald put him in the position in which he has zero qualifications. He was a Trump donor who gave him and the GOP millions of dollars in campaign contributions so in return Trump put him in charge of the USPS as his personal stooge. DeJoy purposely dismantled the USPS by removing mail sorting machines in major post offices in Democratic counties all across America and also removed mail boxes in the towns. He did this so it would cripple mail delivery so mail in ballots wouldn't be received on time helping Criminal Donald to steal the election. DeJoy also wanted to destroy the post office for his own personal gain and as a result Americans are paying higher prices to ship and waiting longer to receive mail and packages.

'Now fire DeJoy': Biden moves to replace Trump-picked postal board members


President Joe Biden won applause Friday for moving to replace Ron Bloom and John Barger, two members of the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors who've shown unwavering loyalty to scandal-plagued Postmaster General Louis DeJoy even as he's dramatically worsened mail delivery performance.

"It's affirmatively good to remove Bloom and Barger from the board, men who said they were 'tickled pink' with DeJoy's actions."

But replacing Bloom—a Democrat and the USPS board's current chairman—and Barger, a Republican, is just the first step toward rescuing the mail service from the ongoing right-wing assault, progressive advocates and Democratic lawmakers stressed Friday.

Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.) called Biden's decision to replace Bloom "great news," slamming the outgoing postal board chair as DeJoy's "chief enabler and cheerleader."

"Now fire DeJoy," Pascrell added.

On Friday, Biden nominated former General Services Administration official Daniel Tangherlini and Derek Kan—a Republican and the former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget—to replace Bloom and Barger.

If Biden's picks are confirmed by the Senate, his nominees will have a majority on the nine-member postal board—enough votes to remove DeJoy.

Bloom and Barger were both nominated to the postal board by former President Donald Trump, who repeatedly attempted to sabotage the USPS ahead of the 2020 presidential election, which relied heavily on mail-in ballots amid the coronavirus pandemic.

DeJoy—a Trump donor—was selected to head the USPS by the postal board in May of 2020. Upon taking charge of the agency in June, DeJoy wasted little time moving to overhaul mail service operations and slow package delivery.

Last month, DeJoy's decade-long plan for the USPS took effect as experts and Democratic lawmakers warned the changes would ensure the continued decline of Postal Service performance for years to come.

Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, told Common Dreams on Friday that Bloom and Barger "disqualified themselves from serving in positions of public trust by their enthusiastic support for Trump donor Louis DeJoy despite all the ways DeJoy has harmed the American people through his dictates, including charging people more for slower and less reliable mail."

"They failed to object to his 'ten-year' plan to weaken the service standards or to DeJoy continuing to receive millions each year from an arrangement he has with his former company, a contractor of the Postal Service that got a $100+ million contract to outsource postal work, among other things," Graves noted. "It's affirmatively good to remove Bloom and Barger from the board, men who said they were 'tickled pink' with DeJoy's actions."

While Graves expressed concern over Biden's choice to replace Bloom and Barger with Tangherlini and Kan—calling them "not the right people at all" for the roles—she said the transition will be "an opportunity for the Postal Service to move in a new direction, given the destructive path chosen by DeJoy and enabled by Trump's appointees."

The Washington Post reported Friday that Biden's decision to remove Bloom—who's currently serving a one-year holdover term that expires in December—"came as a surprise to the postal industry and policymakers in Washington."

"Bloom as recently as last week told confidants he expected to be renominated," according to the Post. "Last week, Trump appointees on the governing board reelected him as chairman over the objections of Biden-appointed Democrats."

The Post noted that at least four members of the Senate Democratic caucus—Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—have pointed to Bloom's enthusiastic support for DeJoy as a reason to oust him from the postal board.

"We need a Postal Service board of governors that is committed to replacing Mr. DeJoy with a postmaster general who will protect and strengthen the Postal Service, not undermine and sabotage it," Sanders told the Post.

In a statement on Friday, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said he's "tickled pink that two DeJoy enablers" are on the verge of being replaced.

"This action is a good thing for the Postal Service and, most importantly, a great thing for the American people," he added.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 03:04:55 AM
A right wing judge let a white supremacist punk named Kyle Rittenhouse off the hook for murder. Never in my life have I've seen such biased behavior from a judge who is supposed to be impartial. He did whatever he could to get a 'not guilty' verdict including letting the murderer pick his own jurors from a tumbler. Now these were jurors that were dismissed. Dismissed jurors are removed because of clear bias. But the judge let the murderer Rittenhouse pick his own biased jury for his own personal advantage. How the hell is this even legal? Who else in America gets to pick their own favorable jury? Nobody, but this killer was able to pick his own.

This white supremacist is the MAGA poster boy for guns and violence. He is (and has been for over a year) being cheered by the right wing media and GOP politicians as a "hero" for murdering people in the streets with a semi automatic weapon that he shouldn't even be allowed to carry since he isn't even an adult. So the fake "Pro Life" GOP party is cheering on death and a murderer. That should be no surprise since the GOP couldn't care less how many people die from COVID including babies and children.

These are the same right wing hypocrites who still viciously attack a Capitol Police officer for shooting Qanon MAGA insurrectionist rioter Ashi Babbitt for illegally smashing through the Capitol window in which she was a threat to his life so she was shot in self defense. But they praise a white supremacist punk killing people in the streets as 'claimed self defense'. As long as you are white and brandish guns the GOP will make you into a hero for their fascist movement.     
So, his mother drove him across state lines so he could walk the streets with a semi automatic weapon looking for trouble. This white supremacist punk is not in law enforcement and had no business being there. When things got heated, he murdered people in the streets claiming it was self defense.

This sets a dangerous precedent where anybody can come armed to the teeth with weapons and shoot protesters in the street and claim 'self defense'. This is pure right wing fascism on display because the far right wants to silence voices they don't like and violently attack them. We've already seen the violent meme that Paul Gosar tweeted against AOC which the entire GOP House condoned except for Cheney and Kinzinger.  The GOP hates Democrats and supports violence against them. We've already seen that in Texas where a 'Trump Train' harassed a Biden campaign bus and attempted to run it off the road. The GOP was gleeful about it and Trump retweeted the incident in full support.

This is the violence the GOP condones and it's getting worse with all the far right wing extremist hate groups that want a civil war and this disgraceful verdict emboldenes these right wing thugs to do the same. The insurrection showed us that these domestic terrorists will do anything to be violent and even try to overthrow the US Government. Now this bogus ruling will indeed allow more violence in America. Steve Kerr has a good take on this below and the bogus verdict green lights more violence from far right violent Proud Boys to carry out similar murders. This ruling says that anybody can be armed and then murder somebody they don't like. Republicans are ecstatic over it. America is slowly becoming a fascist nation with no law and order.     

Rittenhouse verdict step on 'dangerous path': Warriors coach Kerr

For far-right groups, Rittenhouse's acquittal is a cause for celebration

Experts Are Warning That Kyle Rittenhouse’s Acquittal Might Inspire More Far-Right Extremist Violence
“There's precedent for acquittals like this to be used in inciting to and carrying out further violence.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 03:18:23 AM
Current GOP politicians who have no business being in Congress anyway are actively calling for and cheering on more violence to happen. "Be armed, be dangerous" they are telling their supporters. They want more murders to happen. They are all sick and deranged. These anti American traitors all need to be defeated in a landslide in 2022. We can't allow a GOP party that condones and calls for violence against fellow Americans just because they have different color skin, a different religion, and belongs to another politcal party to be in control of our government. 

'Be armed! Be dangerous!' Republicans celebrate Kyle Rittenhouse verdict

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 03:27:55 AM
Why Biden's record on jobs has been 'dramatically underestimated'

As one senator put it, "I guess I'm not exactly sure why what's happening isn't being characterized as a booming recovery from a worldwide shutdown."


A couple of weeks ago, the latest monthly jobs report offered great news: The U.S. economy added more than 500,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate improved to a 19-month low. For those concerned about the strength of the economic recovery, the data created new confidence.

The Republican National Committee, however, didn't quite see it that way. Sure the job the numbers were encouraging, but, the RNC said, the news followed months of "bad jobs reports."

All of which led to an important follow-up question Republicans have been reluctant to answer: "What bad jobs reports?" The Washington Post ran an important piece on this overnight, with a headline that read, "The government dramatically underestimated job growth this summer."

The government sharply underestimated job gains for most of 2021, including four months this summer in which it missed more job growth than at any other time on record. In the most recent four months with revisions, June through September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported it underestimated job growth by a cumulative 626,000 jobs — that's the largest underestimate of any other comparable period, going back to 1979. If those revisions were themselves a jobs report, they'd be an absolute blockbuster.

For those who may be unfamiliar with monthly jobs reports, it's probably worth pausing to explain the process.

On the first Friday of the month, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a report on the previous month's job totals. When these new numbers reach the public, there's a temptation to react to them at face value, but there's a problem: The totals are preliminary, and will be revised.

Under normal economic conditions, these revisions are modest and inconsequential. For example, if an initial assessment from the BLS says there were 150,000 jobs created in a given month, and the revisions conclude that the actual tally was 160,000, no one makes much of a fuss.

But in recent months, the revisions have been dramatic — and all in the same direction.

In June, for example, the preliminary tally under-reported the jobs totals by 112,000. A month later, the initial total under-reported 148,000 jobs. The month after that, it was 248,000 jobs.

All told, we're talking about 626,000 jobs that we didn't know were created until officials retroactively updated initial tallies.

To be sure, there's no reason to suspect anything nefarious. The Labor Department relies on employer surveys, and the system was disrupted by the pandemic and the degree to which they affected businesses. It wasn't that the BLS under-reported the job totals on purpose; it just took more time for the BLS to get the full employment picture.

But there's an unmistakable political dimension to this. Over the summer, President Joe Biden and his Democratic Party received months of negative press — even as early voting was getting underway in Virginia and New Jersey — with headlines about discouraging and disappointing jobs totals.

The Post's report added, "From April to June, polls found that most Americans (51 percent) approved of Biden's handling of the economy, according to an average of polls from Fox, NBC, Quinnipiac and The Post. But as bad economic numbers came out and the national political climate turned south, those numbers fell steadily — in October, just 39 percent approved of Biden's handling of the economy, while 57 percent disapproved."

What the public didn't see was a bunch of news stories saying, "Never mind those bad headlines; we didn't realize until later that the job totals were actually great after all."

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii added this morning, "I guess I'm not exactly sure why what's happening isn't being characterized as a booming recovery from a worldwide shutdown."

The senator's point is sound: The U.S. economy has already created 5.8 million jobs this year — far above any year in recent memory — and it's currently on pace to finish 2021 with nearly 7 million jobs created this year.

By any fair measure, that's a success story Americans can and should feel good about, headlines and RNC press releases based on incomplete preliminary job totals notwithstanding.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 03:48:08 AM
Another right wing talking point and false attack against President Biden has been easily destroyed. Right wingers have been falsely attacking President Biden for 'inflation' that he had no control over. It wasn't because of anything he did wrong because it's happening to other countries as well due to the global pandemic we are facing. But right wingers lie to you trying to claim it's because of Biden. That is an absolute lie. When President Biden took over, Criminal Donald left him with a year long economic and health crisis that exacerbated the rise of inflation plus top economists were warning last December 2020 that inflation would occur and that was even before President Biden took office. We also have right wingers doing whatever they can to keep COVID surging because they want the economy to suffer to they can sabotage  President Biden. The GOP is anri American purposely trying to destroy the US economy and keep people sick and dying in America because they think it will help them sieze power. They tried it in 2020 and lost in a blowout election and they are trying a replay for 2022.

It’s not just the U.S.: Inflation alarm bells are also ringing in Japan and—most worryingly—in China
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 03:51:42 AM
Why the silence as per Georgia in the Mainstream Media?

This is from a press release dated Nov 4, GA Democratic Party:

In Georgia’s November 2, 2021 statewide municipal elections, Democrats gained a net total of more than 30 seats and counting, including mayorships in Cairo, Stone Mountain, Hampton, and McDonough and crucial city council seats in Lawrenceville, Peachtree Corners, Sandy Springs, Tucker, Stone Mountain, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Kennesaw, and Powder Springs.

Throughout the municipal election season, the Democratic Party of Georgia (DPG) made nearly 91,000 calls and sent nearly 185,000 texts to voters across the state to get out the vote in dozens of targeted races.

Candidates in DPG-targeted races flipped 41 seats in 21 counties across Georgia, while Republican candidates picked up just 6. The counties that saw Democratic flips include Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Chatham, Clarke, Cobb, Cook, DeKalb, Fulton, Grady, Gwinnett, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Lanier, Meriwether, Mitchell, Oconee, Troup, and Walton.»

I follow politics religiously. Today is the 8th. And today was the first I’d heard of this.

I realize that nothing must ever disrupt professional punditry’s script. Last Tuesday, by their estimation, is the death throes of the Biden Administration because one state—which flipped 11 of 12 times last 12 elections to the party out of power in DC—flipped by a whopping 70,000 votes. Never mind New Jersey or all the municipal elections nationwide—why, Youngkin defeating a marginally popular retread means left wing Armageddon.

Kudos to Stacey A as always. But where o where was all this in the “wrap up” of the 2021 election?


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 21, 2021, 11:39:44 PM
Here's another perfect example of why there is no "Liberal Media" in the United States. Right wing Ted Cruz was allowed to come on Face The Nation and spout off bogus conspiracies and right wing propaganda. If the media was so "liberal", wouldn't the networks stack these shows with all liberals? At least the host shut down the lies this time. Normally, hosts like Chuck Todd and Dana Bash will let these right wingers lie through their teeth and will never push back against them. At least Ted "Cancun" Cruz was called out for pushing bogus 'election fraud' conspiracies.           

'You know that': CBS host shuts down Ted Cruz by reminding him 'there is no evidence of fraud' in 2020


CBS host Margaret Brennan reminded Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday that there is "no evidence of fraud" that would overturn the 2020 election.

During an interview on Face the Nation, Brennan asked Cruz about reports that he had spoken to former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.

"You knew there was no congressional authority to overturn the election," the CBS host noted. "Didn't indulging the doubters damage our democracy and our standing in the world?"

For his part, Cruz said that he was unaware of media reports claiming that he had spoken to the then-president on the same day that the U.S. Capitol was attacked.

"I didn't happen to have any conversations with President Trump on Jan. 6," Cruz insisted. "I had many conversations with him in the days, weeks and months leading up to Jan. 6. I talk to the president sometimes as often as once a week or once a day."

The senator went on to claim that he had a "responsibility" to object to the certification of electoral votes and "to review the claims of voter fraud."

"You know what you're laying out is an intellectualized argument here is not what people gathered and chanting things like Mike Pence were talking about," Brennan pointed out. "You know that."

Cruz agreed that the violence on Jan. 6 was "horrific" and should be prosecuted. But he continued to insist that Republicans could have overturned the election by appointing an electoral commission.

"Because we right now have a substantial chunk of our country that has real doubts about the integrity of the election," he opined. "And if we had had a credible electoral commission do an emergency audit, it would have enhanced faith in democracy. But instead, Democrats and a lot of the press decided to just engage in incendiary rhetoric rather than acknowledge voter fraud is real. It is a problem. And the allegations of voter fraud needed to be examined on the merits."

Brennan interrupted: "OK, Senator, there is no evidence of fraud that would really have drawn the outcome of the election into doubt. You know that."

Cruz tried to argue that voter fraud is "persistent" but Brennan ignored him and moved on to the next question.

Watch the video below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 22, 2021, 11:29:03 PM
This right winger Sean Parnell was accused of beating his wife and children. He just lost custody of his kids. Criminal Donald and the GOP backed him anyway. MAGA voters still would have voted for him. Not one Republican said a word about his abuse towards his wife and kids or disowned him. That's how disgusting these people are, the GOP supports and condones violence and now domestic violence. So much for the GOP "family values". Parnell publicly pretends to be "Pro Life" but behind the scenes was forcing his wife to get an abortion. These right wingers are total frauds.  ​

Trump-backed Senate candidate to suspend campaign after losing custody of children


A Trump-backed United States Senate candidate is suspending his campaign after losing custody of his children after his estranged wife leveled shocking allegations of abuse against him.

Politico reports that Pennsylvania Senate hopeful Sean Parnell suspended his campaign shortly after losing the custody battle on Monday.

According to Politico's sources, Parnell even phoned Trump to personally inform him of his decision to suspend the campaign.

Laurie Parnell weeks ago testified under oath that Parnell both physically and emotionally abused her and their three children, and even told the court that he "tried to choke me out on a couch and I literally had to bite him to escape."

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported at the time, Laurie Powell told the court that "her husband would call her a 'wh**e' and a 'piece of sh*t'" and "also testified that he once put her out of the car and left her by the road after they argued when he told her she had to get an abortion.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 23, 2021, 02:13:32 PM
Why are Republicans against capping insulin prices at $35 per month?   

Democrats reach deal on prescription-drug pricing shaped by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

Congressional Democrats have come to terms on a prescription-drug plan favored by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema that brings the party a step closer to agreeing on a bill that is the cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives accepted a deal to include rule changes expected to limit the cost of prescription drugs for Medicare recipients to $2,000 annually, including a $35 monthly cap on insulin charges.

The Sinema-backed drug plan tracks a bill from Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., that would cap out-of-pocket prices for Medicare recipients. Sinema, D-Ariz., lowered the insulin cap from $50 per month in the Peters bill to $35.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the agreement "a massive step forward" on addressing an issue that has long been among the Democrats' most important. He discussed the importance of Sinema's agreement. Among those Schumer singled out for praise was Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.

The deal on prescription drugs could help clear the way for Democrats to pass Biden's $1.75 trillion "Build Back Better" social spending plan, as well as the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal Sinema helped broker this summer.

Republicans have largely rejected the Democratic agenda, saying it is too costly and expansive.

The prescription-drug plan came about after lengthy negotiations, especially in the past week, that involved Sinema, Kelly, the White House and others in Congress.

The plan would limit out-of-pocket costs to Medicare patients, though it would provide only limited authority for the government to leverage its buying power to lower pharmaceutical prices. Under the deal, the government can negotiate prices on the 10 priciest drugs that are commonly prescribed, which includes some medicine for cancer patients.

House Democrats had favored a more-expansive plan that would allow the government to negotiate with drugmakers more directly. That plan was led by Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Even so, the deal announced Tuesday could represent a key policy victory that has eluded Democrats for decades.

“The Senator welcomes a new agreement on a historic, transformative Medicare drug negotiation plan that will reduce out-of-pocket costs for seniors — ensuring drug prices cannot rise faster than inflation — save taxpayer dollars, and protect innovation to ensure Arizonans and Americans continue to have access to life-saving medications, and new cures and therapeutics,” Hannah Hurley, a Sinema spokesperson, said in a written statement.   

Kelly, who made the issue of prescription-drug prices a major focus of his campaign, called the deal a "big win" for the elderly.

“Lowering the cost of prescription drugs has been one of my top priorities in the Senate, and I’ve been working on it over the past week with my colleagues in the Senate, House, and the White House," Kelly said in a written statement. "We’ve now reached an agreement that will drive down prescription drug prices, lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors, and prevent price gouging. This will be a big win for Arizona seniors and I’ll keep working to get it over the finish line.”

Others were less than effusive.

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., implied that Sinema had held up progress on badly needed change.

"I've been pushing for Medicare to use its power to negotiate drug prices since I entered Congress — it will save Arizonans millions of dollars and it's the common-sense thing to do," Stanton said in a pair of tweets. "I'm grateful that after months of negotiations, the last Senate Democratic holdout now understands what it can mean to Arizona. It's time to put people — not Big Pharma — first."

The CEO of AARP, which bills itself as the nation's largest advocate for seniors, praised a deal to negotiate prices as a step in the right direction.

“There’s no greater issue affecting the pocketbooks of seniors on Medicare than the ever-increasing costs of prescription drugs. For decades, seniors have been at the mercy of Big Pharma. Allowing Medicare to finally negotiate drug prices is a big win for seniors," Jo Ann Jenkins said. "Preventing prices from rising faster than inflation and adding a hard out-of-pocket cap to (Medicare) Part D will provide real relief for seniors with the highest drug costs. Lawmakers must work quickly to turn today’s announcement into a legislative reality that delivers on the promises made to older Americans."

The deal would limit price increases on drug charges to Medicare recipients in line with inflation. Drugs that are not subject to exclusivity protections would also see cost rollbacks phased in over time.

It caps insulin costs at $35 monthly, with that provision to be expedited. It was not immediately clear how soon that could be implemented if the bill is passed into law.

Sinema has come under heavy criticism for months from people in her own party who have seen her as blocking the Democratic agenda. The prescription-drug issue enjoys relatively broad popularity, adding to the sense of frustration.

The pharmaceutical industry has resisted government pricing, arguing that it would inhibit its ability to develop new drugs, something that could especially apply to smaller companies that have a more-limited menu of approved medicines.

The House is hoping to vote on the social spending bill later this week, and it will now include the prescription-drug plan, something that had not been included in the White House framework announced last week.

The House is expected to vote on the Sinema-backed infrastructure bill this week. Both measures are expected to pass the Democratic-controlled chamber on party-line votes.

The social spending bill will go to the Senate, where the parliamentarian will pick through it to ensure it meets spending rules that allow the chamber to pass it on a simple majority vote. It would bypass a possible filibuster, but opens the door to an array of proposed amendments by Republicans intended to exert political pain on Democrats.

That will likely mean the Senate passes a bill that differs from the House's, requiring the House to pass the Senate-altered bill before it can go to Biden's desk.

Together, the legislation could reshape the rules and resources affecting a wide swath of policy concerns: child and elder care; construction of roads, railways and broadband connectivity; and climate-change mitigation. They are financed in part through tax hikes targeting corporations and the wealthy.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 23, 2021, 02:33:01 PM
President Biden comes through again delivering for the American people and this time he will lower gas prices. Right wingers are angry. They should be happy we will have lower gas prices.

U.S. to release oil from reserves in coordination with other countries to lower gas prices

The U.S. will release 50 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the White House said Tuesday.

The move is a coordinated effort between energy-consuming nations including China and Japan to combat the rapid rise in energy prices.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement the Biden Administration repeatedly said that it was looking at the tools at its disposal as prices at the pump hover around a seven-year high.

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the administration will tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as part of a global effort from energy-consuming nations to calm 2021′s rapid rise in fuel prices.

The coordinated release between the U.S., India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom is the first such move of its kind.

In total, the U.S. will release 50 million barrels from the SPR. Of the total 32 million barrels will be an exchange over the next several months, while 18 million barrels will be an acceleration of a previously authorized sale.

“The President stands ready to take additional action, if needed, and is prepared to use his full authorities working in coordination with the rest of the world to maintain adequate supply as we exit the pandemic,” the White House said in a statement.

Tuesday’s announcement follows the administration saying for months that it was looking into the tools at its disposable as West Texas Intermediate crude futures surged to a seven-year high above $85.

Prices at the pump have followed the ascent, and are currently hovering around their highest level in seven years. The national average for a gallon of gas stood at $3.409 on Monday, according to AAA, up from $2.11 one year ago. Crude prices make up between 50% and 60% of what consumers pay to fill up their tanks, AAA said.

“This is a well timed move to try and lower oil prices,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital. “This added supply should help to bridge the production shortfall ahead of winter, especially if we get confirmation of meaningful supply, as well, from several of the major Asian consuming nations,” he added.

As of Nov. 19 the SPR held 604.5 million barrels spread across four sites, according to the Department of Energy. It takes 13 days after a presidential announcement for the oil to hit the market, according to DofE.

In total the SPR, which was founded in 1975 after the Arab Oil Embargo, can hold 727 million barrels.

The SPR can be tapped in three ways, according to the DofE: a full drawdown to counter a “severe energy interruption,” a limited drawdown of up to 30 million barrels, or a drawdown for an exchange or test sale.

U.S. oil dipped 1.9% to a session low of $75.30 per barrel following the announcement, before recovering some of those losses. The contract last traded 34 cents lower at $76.41. International benchmark Brent crude stood at $79.98 per barrel, for a gain of 34 cents.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 24, 2021, 01:58:58 PM
Here's the massive turkey shortage that Republicans are lying about! In fact most of these birds probably won't even be sold. 



The right wing media and right wing Republicans are lying because there's plenty of turkey to go round.


The media shamefully claims gas prices is $5 when gas is under $3.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 24, 2021, 02:02:50 PM
Our President Joe Biden and our First Lady Jill Biden were at Fort Bragg serving our troops. It's great to have a President that respects our men and women in the military again.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 25, 2021, 12:41:48 AM
The Republicans are taking their terror campaign to the next level


Republicans in Wisconsin have upped the operational tempo in their ongoing war on free and fair elections. Trump stalwart United States Senator Ron Johnson is exhorting state GOP legislators in his home state to illegally seize control of federal election administration over the objections of the governor. Johnson's plan is contravened not only by a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling, but also by a ruling of the US Supreme Court. But who's counting?

Johnson is buoyed by a fringe constitutional theory popularized by Trump lawyer John Eastman in his notorious coup memos. Eastman asserted that state legislatures had ultimate power over election administration, including the right to cast aside the popular vote for Biden and choose Trump electors instead, provided a Republican yells "fraud" loudly enough.

A long-awaited report commissioned by the Republican state legislature found no evidence of election fraud in 2020. Instead of reflecting on the life choices that have led their state to the brink of one-party rule, the Wisconsin GOP has redirected its rage towards the non-partisan Wisconsin Elections Commission. These legislators are looking for a pretext to abolish the WEC and usurp its powers.

The report alleged a handful of picayune violations of election law by the WEC, including sending absentee ballots to nursing homes. WEC Administrator Meagan Wolfe defended her commission's work and said the report contains errors. These errors could have been resolved if the WEC had been allowed to review the report before publication, as audited agencies typically are. But the first rule of endlessly re-litigating the 2020 election is never to let the facts get in the way of a good smear.

Republican vindictiveness knows no bounds. It's not enough to slander Wolfe and her colleagues, and demand their resignations. Earlier this month, the Republican sheriff of Racine County asked the Republican district attorney to file felony charges against five of the WEC's six members. Their alleged crime? Helping little old ladies vote in nursing homes while protecting them from Covid.

If Racine County DA Patricia Hanson agrees to go along with this charade, these dedicated public servants could each be charged with two Class 1 felonies, which, in the vanishingly unlikely event they are convicted, could carry up to three and a half years in prison apiece.

Wisconsin law requires pairs of officials known as "special voting deputies" to visit every nursing home in the state twice to help residents vote. However, during that phase of the pandemic, most nursing homes banned all visitors, including the deputies. And for good reason. It didn't seem very safe to send these officials and their various hangers-on traipsing from one nursing home to the next, interacting with patients, and possibly spreading the virus.

Therefore, the WEC voted to stop trying to send deputies to nursing homes (where they were already banned) and instead to send absentee ballots to nursing homes. The sheriff alleges that illegal votes were cast because cognitively impaired residents were assisted in voting. This despite the fact that people with cognitive disabilities retain their right to vote in Wisconsin unless a judge determines that they are incompetent. A family member's gut feeling that Mom is too senile to vote is legally worthless.

Wolfe insists the decision to send absentee ballots was not only legal but required by state law: "The law says if you cannot accomplish those two visits by special voting deputies, if a voter cannot vote during those two visits, that you have to send the ballots to the voters in those care facilities," Wolfe explained. She also noted that if they hadn't sent absentee ballots, these elderly and disabled voters would have been disenfranchised.

Elections officials across the country have been subjected to death threats from voters who have been duped by the Big Lie of election fraud. The threat of felony charges is taking the terror campaign to the next level.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 26, 2021, 10:43:55 AM
Ilhan Omar fact-checks 'buffoon' Lauren Bobert's lie: 'This whole story is made up'


Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) went back to her home district for the Thanksgiving holiday, and while there she spoke to constituents where she made fun of her Democratic colleagues. However, it turns out that her story was all a lie.

According to Boebert, she was in a capitol elevator with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) when a Capitol police officer ran up.

"Well, she doesn't have a backpack. We should be fine," Boebert claimed she said, illuding to Omar being a terrorist because she's Muslim. She went on to call Omar a member of the "jihad squad."

But Omar is speaking out. After seeing the tweet, she tweeted that the incident never happened. In fact, Omar said that Boebert seems too scared to even look her even the eye.

"Fact, this buffoon looks down when she sees me at the Capitol, this whole story is made up," Omar tweeted Thursday evening. "Sad she thinks bigotry gets her clout. Anti-Muslim bigotry isn't funny & shouldn't be normalized. Congress can't be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation."

Click Link for racist video:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 26, 2021, 11:28:38 AM
Thanks Biden!

US. unemployment claims fall to 52-year low after seasonal adjustments

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits plummeted last week to the lowest level in more than half a century, another sign that the U.S. job market is rebounding rapidly from last year’s coronavirus recession.

Jobless claims dropped by 71,000 to 199,000, the lowest since mid-November 1969. But seasonal adjustments around the Thanksgiving holiday contributed significantly to the bigger-than-expected drop. Unadjusted, claims actually ticked up by more than 18,000 to nearly 259,000.

The four-week average of claims, which smooths out weekly ups and downs, also dropped — by 21,000 to just over 252,000, the lowest since mid-March 2020 when the pandemic slammed the economy.

Since topping 900,000 in early January, the applications have fallen steadily toward and now fallen below their prepandemic level of around 220,000 a week. Claims for jobless aid are a proxy for layoffs.

Overall, 2 million Americans were collecting traditional unemployment checks the week that ended Nov. 13, down slightly from the week before.

“Overall, expect continued volatility in the headline figures, but the trend remains very slowly lower,” Contingent Macro Advisors wrote in a research note.

Until Sept. 6, the federal government had supplemented state unemployment insurance programs by paying an extra payment of $300 a week and extending benefits to gig workers and to those who were out of work for six months or more. Including the federal programs, the number of Americans receiving some form of jobless aid peaked at more than 33 million in June 2020.

The job market has staged a remarkable comeback since the spring of 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to close or cut hours and kept many Americans at home as a health precaution. In March and April last year, employers slashed more than 22 million jobs.

But government relief checks, super-low interest rates and the rollout of vaccines combined to give consumers the confidence and financial wherewithal to start spending again. Employers, scrambling to meet an unexpected surge in demand, have made 18 million new hires since April 2020 and are expected to add another 575,000 this month. Still, the United States remains 4 million short of the jobs it had in February 2020.

Companies now complain that they can’t find workers to fill job openings, a near-record 10.4 million in September. Workers, finding themselves with bargaining clout for the first time in decades, are becoming choosier about jobs; a record 4.4 million quit in September, a sign they have confidence in their ability to find something better.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 27, 2021, 04:27:11 AM
This is the GOP of today...vile, racist, and hateful of other religions. They mimic the behavior of Donald Trump because it plays well with his cult.   

'Flat-out wrong' Lauren Boebert doesn't understand the meaning of Christianity: former GOP governor


On CNN Friday, former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) tore into Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for likening Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) to a suicide bomber in a comment to supporters — and suggested that it is an indication her own religious faith is rotten.

"For a woman to make this kind of statement means she's ignoring the fact we're all made in the image of God," said Kasich. "We all deserve respect. We don't deserve attacks. People who laugh at this, they don't understand what faith is all about. We wonder in this country why there's so much fighting, why there's so much name-calling, not just in politics about across the board. It's because people have lost sight of how important religion is, in terms of guiding individual behavior, and it's not about the negatives. It's about the positives."

"The idea that somebody would say something like this means they have really little understanding of what it means to have faith," continued Kasich. "I can't question her or think she's not a faithful person, but it sure gives you a sense that she does not understand that that is completely and totally inappropriate, and, frankly, as a person that is a Christian, it's flat-out wrong and it's very disappointing. These things need to be healed. These things need to be observed if we're going to begin to heal this country."

Watch below:

'Absolute garbage rhetoric': Mitch McConnell adviser hammers Lauren Boebert on CNN


On CNN Friday, former Mitch McConnell adviser Scott Jennings slammed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) for her comments joking that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) was a suicide bomber.

"Scott, was it just another day at the office and they got these folks in the far right in certain parts of the caucus that they just can't control?" asked anchor Jim Acosta.

"Senator McConnell serves in the Senate," said Jennings. "I guarantee you, I know what he's thinking. It's a garbage comment from a garbage politics. I'm as anti-Squad as the next [Republican], but there's plenty of ways to debate these folks without stooping to this garbage rhetoric. I noted, by the way, that Boebert has been forced to apologize. I assume that didn't happen in a vacuum, but she's of course committed the ultimate sin, which is the people she's being performative for here would say you never should apologize."

"Ultimately this is not the future of the party, not the future of the country, not the future of what any of us wants," added Jennings. "These are not the leaders that we need for America or for the Republican Party."

Watch below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 27, 2021, 10:45:23 PM
This is a big deal.  Less than 2 years ago, the economy was in freefall, unemployment was rising to Great Depression levels, workforce participation was falling, GDP collapsing and unconstrained disease spread. Electing responsible adults like President Biden matters. https://washingtonpost.com/business/2021/11/24/jobless-claims-pandemic/


This is a historic jobs recovery: 5.6 million jobs have been created since President Biden took office and an unemployment rate of 4.6% two full years earlier than experts predicted was possible.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 29, 2021, 01:21:36 PM
Billions and trillions: Climate efforts set for big boost if Build Back Better bill passes

The Biden administration's $1 trillion infrastructure bill included historic levels of funding for climate projects, but it's the $2 trillion spending bill that has experts feeling optimistic.

For climate experts and policymakers, $1 trillion is just a start.

As the U.S. seeks to prove it’s serious about its international climate commitments, the focus now is on whether the Biden administration can pass its $2 trillion spending bill, which includes $555 billion to fight climate change and could be the new cornerstone of federal climate policy.

The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by Congress this month already commits historic levels of funding for climate projects. But experts say the U.S. won’t reach its climate goals or restore its international credibility unless the administration can pass its Build Back Better bill, which features a variety of other climate initiatives and calls for significant investments in clean energy.

The sizable dollar figures offer a sense of the scale of the challenge the U.S. faces in rolling back its emissions, undoing some environmental damage and preparing for more climate-related natural disasters.

“These are the biggest pieces of climate policy legislation the U.S. has seen in a decade,” said Katharine Hayhoe, a climate researcher and the chief scientist at The Nature Conservancy. “The faster we can act, the better off we’ll be, because we’re already late to the table. The time for half-measures was 30 years ago.”

The provisions are particularly timely as the U.S. tries to move past President Donald Trump’s efforts to unwind significant climate efforts by pulling the country out of the Paris Agreement and killing a slew of environmental protections.

President Joe Biden’s participation in COP26, the worldwide summit on climate policy held in Scotland this month, marked the U.S.’s return to global climate negotiations after Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement in January.

U.S. officials at the conference faced an uphill fight to restore international trust in the U.S.’s climate commitments.

As part of Biden’s updated COP26 pledge, the U.S. aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. David Waskow, the director of the International Climate Initiative at the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization, said the goal was “quite ambitious,” adding that the U.S.’s return to international diplomacy on climate change was significant in itself.

“It’s critical to remember that if you go back a year, there wouldn’t have been a U.S. administration that was engaging constructively in these talks,” Waskow said.

While Biden went to COP26 projecting a new tone, the country’s ability to deliver on its 2030 targets is likely to hinge on the success of infrastructure projects and the outcome of the Build Back Better Act, which, if it passes, could wind up being significantly scaled back.

Both are needed to meet the country’s emissions goals, experts say.

The infrastructure bill will harden the country’s roadways and ports to better deal with the effects of climate change, but it offers comparatively less to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will intensify climate change.

In Washington state, for example, projects funded by the bill are expected to help re-engineer roads and bridges for a warmer and wetter future, boost transit projects like light rail and improve stream passageways for fish struggling with climate change.

Flooding this month following record rainfall in parts of Western Washington sent landslides onto the state’s most-traveled interstate and poured floodwaters into small towns — a preview of what climate scientists expect more often.

“All of the money to some degree has a bearing on our ability to be more resilient,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who ran a 2020 presidential campaign centered on climate action. “But it doesn’t get us close to what we need to reduce the rate at which these floods get worse.”

The infrastructure bill will spend about $70 billion to upgrade the country’s electricity grid and $7.5 billion more to build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles, which could hasten the transition away from gas-guzzling cars.

But from Inslee’s perspective, it offers only a “step” toward progress, whereas the Build Back Better bill’s clean energy investments would be “transformative.”

The act calls for spending more than a half-trillion dollars on clean energy investments, incentives and tax credits to shift the economy away from fossil fuels.

Analysis by the independent Rhodium Group says the budget bill could reduce U.S. carbon emissions by nearly a gigaton, which would be about equivalent to removing the yearly emissions of light-duty vehicles from U.S. roadways. Combining the budget bill with the infrastructure bill and state and local regulations, the U.S. could meet Biden’s 2030 emissions target, with the budget bill representing the “lion’s share” of reductions, the analysis says.

“There’s no question that the Build Back Better Act is crucial. It can drive the U.S. a substantial distance toward achieving the 50 to 52 percent reduction,” Waskow said.

The legislation also prioritizes environmental justice by earmarking 40 percent of the overall benefits of investment for disadvantaged communities.

The infrastructure bill committed $216 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs specifically for climate resilience projects in Indian County, according to the White House. About $130 million of the money will go toward relocation projects for tribes that need to move away from climate hazards.

Some tribal communities — including many in Alaska — may need to move in the coming decades because of climate hazards like coastal erosion, flooding and thawing permafrost, the Government Accountability Office said in a report last year.

Fawn Sharp, the vice president of the Quinault Indian Nation, whose seaside villages in Washington state face threats from tsunamis, coastal erosion and rising sea levels, estimated that her community needs at least $150 million to complete plans to uproot for higher ground — at least $20 million more than what is committed to all tribes.

“It’s unprecedented and a level of funding we’ve not seen in our lifetime,” Sharp, the president of the National Congress of American Indians, said broadly of the infrastructure bill. “While this is significant, we have a long way to go to restore tribal nations.”

Climate scientist Jonathan Foley sees reasons to feel encouraged even beyond what happens in Congress.

“Sometimes we get obsessed with these large policies, as if they’re going to save the world, but the real work of reducing emissions and addressing climate change is often lots of invisible forces working every single day,” said Foley, the executive director of Project Drawdown, a nonprofit organization that provides resources about climate solutions.

Market forces and technological advances have, for example, helped drive down the cost of solar and wind power, which in turn is contributing to the shift away from fossil fuels. Vocal opposition, led in particular by young activists, is also pressuring government officials to act, Foley said.

“Good policymakers can accelerate change, but activism, technology and markets are already getting things done on their own,” he said. “That has nothing to do with who is in the White House.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 29, 2021, 01:23:18 PM
Biden administration approves second major offshore wind project, to provide power to N.Y.
The administration plans to build at least 16 offshore wind energy facilities by 2025

The Biden administration said Wednesday it plans to build a wind farm off Rhode Island to supply power to New York.

The approval from the Interior Department paves the way for the country's second large-scale offshore wind farm after a similar project got underway in Massachusetts. The administration aims to put the U.S. on a path to generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, powering about 10 million homes.

“We have no time to waste in cultivating and investing in a clean energy economy that can sustain us for generations,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement Wednesday.

The approximately 130-megawatt project — 19 miles southeast of Block Island, Rhode Island, and 35 miles east of Montauk Point, New York — will eventually power about 70,000 homes on Long Island and create more than 300 jobs, the Biden administration said.

The Interior Department said it adopted “a range of measures” to “avoid, minimize, and mitigate potential impacts that could result from the construction and operation of the proposed project.” It said it consulted with tribes, local governments and industries.

Construction began last week on the first major offshore project — an 800-megawatt wind farm 15 miles off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The project is expected to start sending power to the grid in 2023.

The administration plans to build at least 16 offshore wind energy facilities by 2025.

The U.S. is a latecomer in the global race to build offshore wind farms to lower carbon emissions. Many countries have already expanded their renewable energy capabilities using offshore wind projects.

Worldwide, 6.1 gigawatts were created by new offshore wind projects last year, according to a recent report by the Global Wind Energy Council. China led the pack, adding more than 3 gigawatts, followed by the Netherlands, with 1.5 gigawatts, and Belgium, with 706 megawatts, the report said.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 29, 2021, 11:36:52 PM
Racists like Lauren Boebert have no business being in Congress. This is a woman who's been arrested several times over her lifetime and is a high school dropout. But as long as she holds up a semi automatic weapon and spouts off racist and anti Democratic rhetoric the racist maga base will always vote for degenerates like this. Boebert spouted off a racist rant at an event against a Democratic member of Congress. Then in a private conversation she doubled down with her racism. Congress needs to censure her as well. These racists have no business representing districts in America.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on November 30, 2021, 10:50:26 AM
What do you expect from a woman who is a High School dropout? Unfortunately, this type of behavior will never end until the GOP has respectable people in their party and I don't see that happening. The MAGA crowd like Boebert is there to mimic Donald Trump, so they will be hateful, vile, racist, and defend violence as their "message" because it plays well with the base and that's the "message" they accept. That's why Greene, Gosar, etc. act the way they do and others will all behave the same way.

'This has to stop': GOP congressman slams Lauren Boebert's 'high-school level' behavior


On Monday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) fiercely condemned the remarks by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a terrorist.

"You know, this really went from ugly to uglier, just when you thought it couldn't get more ridiculous in the House of Representatives," said anchor Kate Bolduan. "I mean, what — what do you think of this?"

"I would agree," said Reed, a former leader of the House Problem Solvers' Caucus who is retiring from Congress. "I mean, first, obviously, I disagree and condemn the kind of comments that were made by my colleague in Congress towards a fellow colleague on the other side of the aisle. But you're absolutely right. This is a pox on all our houses. And I would just tell you, this rhetoric, this type of commentary, has to stop. We need to focus on the American people and solving their problems. That's got to be the mission. But these — these types of rhetoric exchanges are very disappointing."

"I mean, Boebert's a flamethrower and clearly doesn't care," said Bolduan. "But this is — as you are getting at, this is bigger than her. It speaks to kind of a larger, more insidious problem of, if you allow this type of behavior to slide, if you try not to give it oxygen or attention, Congressman, hasn't the last Congress shown that it only gets worse?"

"I would agree, that you have to confront this but you have to look at the bigger picture here, too," said Reed. "Like — like you are articulating. This is the institution of Congress, this is the People's House and we have to respect each other. We can — we can disagree. I am a proud Republican. I know colleagues on the other side who are proud Democrats. But it doesn't mean we go into that chamber not united as Americans first. We are American citizens that should be working together, as opposed to engaging in what could be called antics of a high-school level nature at times."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 01, 2021, 01:03:09 AM
These radical right wingers only want to promote racism and hate. We have right wing anti American traitors like Lauren Boebert leading the way fueling this hate movement.

CNN releases shocking new video of Lauren Boebert: ‘We see her for who she is’


Controversial Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has spent days receiving criticism for her bigoted remarks about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

In a video that went viral, Boebert told a story suggesting Omar, who is Muslim, should be considered a potential suicide-bombing terrorist. She said Omar belonged to the "Jihad Squad."

On Tuesday, CNN broadcast new video showing that Boebert told a similar story — with enough differences to draw the credibility of both of her accounts into question.

"More just-see-it-for-yourself evidence today of the hate and bigotry in the Republican ranks," CNN's John King reported. "This new video is from a September Republican fundraiser, Boebert not only tells her elevator story, she also calls Omar and another Muslim of Congress black-hearted and evil."

King described why he found the video to be so powerful, noting that, "our eyes and ears don't lie. We see her for what she is and what she believes."


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 02, 2021, 12:01:23 AM
Republicans love fascism and authoritarian dictators and they are hellbent on ending our democracy and turning our country into another 1940's Germany. They meet with and drool over dictators. White supremacist Tucker Carlson interviewed one this year.

Marco Rubio met with far-right candidate tied to Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship


Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) reportedly met with a far-right Chilean presidential candidate who defends military dictator Augusto Pinochet.

"José Antonio Kast is locked in a runoff election against a left-wing challenger and is often referred to as Chile’s Jair Bolsonaro, the would-be dictator in Brazil who regularly speaks warmly of his own nation’s time under a military dictatorship. Rubio, who is Cuban American and a member of the Republican Party, has long had links to the Latin American right," The Intercept reported Wednesday.

The Spanish news site Emol published a photo of the two.


"Kast’s family has deep ties to the dictatorship. His father, Michael Kast, was a lieutenant in the Nazi army before fleeing to Chile and raising sons who shared his far-right politics. One son, Miguel Kast, was appointed by Pinochet to be minister of labor and then president of the central bank," The Intercept reported. "He was one of the so-called Chicago Boys, a collection of young economists trained by Milton Friedman, set loose on Chile to launch a neoliberal experiment that saw social spending slashed and wealth funneled upward to the very rich. Christian Kast, according to journalist Javier Rebolledo’s book A La Sombra De Los Cuervos, was linked to peasant massacres under Pinochet, and José Antonio Kast campaigned against the the plebiscite that rewrote the Chilean Constitution and paved the way for Pinochet’s removal. 'I’m not a pinochetista, but I value everything he did,' Kast has said, adding that the dictatorship 'laid the foundations of modernity.'"

The runoff election is Dec. 19.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 03, 2021, 04:50:59 AM
GOP anti-Biden revolt officially thwarted as Senate passes bill to stop government shutdown
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 03, 2021, 01:59:51 PM
38 House Democrats sign letter demanding Boebert be stripped of committee assignments for ‘weaponizing bigotry’

Thirty-eight Democrats from the House Progressive Caucus have signed on to a letter calling for leadership to strip committee assignments from U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who was seen in at least three videos suggesting Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is a terrorist.

The lawmakers in a statement cite Boebert's "Islamophobic comments and incitement of anti-Muslim animus," and note Omar has been ther target of "death threats and vitriol" as a result. Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY), Cori Bush (MO), André Carson (IN), and Pramila Jayapal (WA) led the move.

They say that Boebert "has repeatedly weaponized dangerous, anti-Muslim bigotry" at Rep. Ilhan Omar.

"Instead of apologizing, Rep. Boebert has continued her Islamophobic rhetoric and chosen to spread hateful speech even further," which they warn "creates a dangerous work environment and furthers a climate of toxicity and intolerance."

They also chastise House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's "decision to allow and embolden continued hostility from his members," which they say "speaks clearly to the Republican party's willingness to allow hate and division to grow at the expense of our people, our values, and our institutions."

In at least one of the videos Boebert says Congresswoman Omar is "black-hearted" and "evil." In two separate videos speaking to different audiences Boebert tells two very different versions of a story centered around being in an elevator with Omar but noting that because she wasn't wearing a "backpack" she was unafraid. Omar calls the entire story fake.

"Congress cannot forgo accountability when a Member engages in hate speech that dehumanizes not only a colleague, but an entire people," the House Democrats' letter also says. "We cannot be complicit as members of this body, who swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, trample on the fundamental right of religious freedom."

Axios' Andrew Solender reports Rep. Jayapal "told me today me Pelosi has been 'reaching out to Ilhan today.'" He posted their letter:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 03, 2021, 02:01:31 PM
Senate Approves Spending Bill Averting Government Shutdown
Fight over vaccine rules threatened to slow progress on legislation, which passed House earlier in the day and now goes to Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 04, 2021, 09:20:47 AM
This is the garbage being put out by the right wing media. They aren't talking about the nearly 6 million jobs President Biden created which is the fastest job creation in history. They aren't talking about unemployment going down to 4.2% in record time. Nope, they are going back to their oldies but goodies greatest hits of lying right wing propaganda trying to smear Democrats based on an outright lie. The phony right wing media is telling their viewers that "Biden and the Democrats declared a war on Christianity". What an absolute joke. President Biden is a devout Catholic and goes to church every Sunday. Nancy Pelosi is a Catholic as well as many Democrats are in the Party. First Lady Jill Biden has beautifully decorated The White House in an amazing Christmas display. But these right wing liars make fun of the decorations and still make the false claim about the imaginary war Democrats have on Christianity. And here we have these right wingers worshipping an orange charlatan as their "God" which is blasphemous anyway trying to smear Democrats. Totally pathetic and you get zero news from those right wing outlets, only phony propaganda. Here's what the right wing media doesn't want you to know.

Newsmax host attacks Biden and entire Democratic party for declaring ‘war on Christianity’

Here's what President Biden has accomplished so far in record time!

Unemployment is down to 4.2% three years faster than experts predicted. That’s the American Rescue Plan passed by Democrats at work.

What a remarkable turnaround from the 2020 Trump Disaster. President Biden's leadership has cut unemployment to a record low, employed more Americans, and saved more money for hard working Americans.

Household survey is everything you want to see. More people in the labor force, more people working, fewer unemployed or not in labor force. This is a Biden success!
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 05, 2021, 02:46:34 AM
This is just sickening. Innocent children are being murdered by these same assault weapons in mass shootings and these right wingers are glorifying semi automatic weapons in Christmas photos with their families. Families in Michigan will be without their sons and daughters this Christmas because Republicans refuse to pass gun control legislation which will prevent these mass shootings from happening. But they claim to be "Pro Life" and standing up for the "sanctity of life". What an absolute joke.

GOP lawmaker blasted for posting family Christmas photo with assault rifles in wake of Mich. massacre


Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie sparked intense backlash on Saturday when he posted a photo that appeared to show seven members of his family, including himself, brandishing assault rifles in front of a Christmas tree.

"Merry Christmas!," Massie wrote above the photo on Twitter alongside a Christmas tree emjoi.

"ps. (SIC) Santa, please bring ammo," he added, followed by a gift emoji.

Massie's photo generated thousands of responses, with many pointing out that it seemed particularly tone deaf in the wake of yet another deadly high-profile school shooting.

Four people were killed Tuesday at Oxford High School in Michigan by a 15-year-old whose parents are now charged with involuntary manslaughter for giving him access to a gun.

Shortly after Massie posted the photo, the father of a Parkland, Florida school shooting victim appeared on CNN to discuss the Oxford tragedy.

Host Jim Acosta asked Manuel Oliver, whose son Joaquin "Guac" Oliver was one of 17 people murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, about his reaction to Massie's photo.

"That’s a huge part of the problem," Oliver responded. "Someone elected leaders like this one that think that — I don't know if they're trying to be ironic, funny, or what — but it's the worst taste ever. ... It's a very nasty post."

Watch below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 05, 2021, 11:46:21 PM
In order to be seen as viable in the GOP, all you need to do is embrace bogus conspiracy theories and preach Trump's racism and hate, then the MAGA crowd will love you. You don't even need to talk any real solid policies that will help these people in their everyday lives. Just make up fake conspiracy theories and base your platform on racism and these people will support you 100%. A perfect example is the current situation in Congress. Republicans voted against Covid Relief for Americans. They voted against money that went hard working Americans after Trump destroyed our economy. They voted against the Infrastructure Bill which repairs our crumbling infrastructure and creates thousands of good paying jobs in every major American and suburban city. Not to mention broadband internet to rural areas and brand new roads for them. The Build Back Better Act caps insulin at $35 but Republicans are against that and want people to pay the full outrageous price of $1200 a month where most people can't afford it. Republicans are also against raising the minimum wage so their own constituents can get above the poverty line. So, these Republican voters are voting against their own interests. Democrats are helping them everyday while the people they support in the Republican party are voting against them and their well being. But it doesn't matter to them because as long as these right wingers keep pushing racism and keeping their voters angry, that's all they care about and they ignore the fact the GOP party keeps voting against them.

Nebraska's GOP governor is ramping up the 'nuttiness' as he embraces Trump's policies


According to a report from the Daily Beast's Noah Kirsch, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) is trying to turn himself into a national player in the Republican Party by ramping up the "nuttiness quotient" and embracing far-right conspiracies.

As Kirsch notes, Ricketts previously kept his distance from former president Donald Trump but is now "embracing" the way the former president gained a mass audience while using the president's extremist playbook.

"Billionaire’s scion and Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts set a high watermark for controversy during his first six years in office. There was his 'crazy' refusal to lock down the state despite a surge of COVID-19 cases, the unearthed racist messages from his former campaign field director, and his maskless gabfest at a sports bar on election night 2020. (The restaurant worker who filmed the governor was fired)," the report states before adding, "Yet in recent months the nuttiness quotient has somehow metastasized."

According to political observers, Ricketts seems to have his eye on higher office, positioning himself for a possible cabinet position in the next Republican administration or, looking higher, the vice-presidential spot on the ticket.

Explained John McCollister, a Republican member of the Nebraska Legislature, "I think he’s gunning for either a cabinet office when a Republican president takes over in ’24 or a vice presidential slot. It’s ironic because he [initially] didn’t support Trump, but he’s embracing Trumpian types of policies now. I’d say during his first term, when I was in the legislature, he wasn’t embracing so many of these cultural issues.”

Another Nebraska politico claimed Ricketts seems to be trying to catch Trump's eye and attract the attention of his rabid followers.

“The only thing I can think of is that he expects Donald Trump to be a factor in the next election, whether he is a nominee or whether he anoints somebody else… and I think [Ricketts] is trying to appeal to the Trump faction of the party," the official explained.

As Kirsch notes, Ricketts can count on the support of his wealthy family which "collectively owns a majority stake in the Chicago Cubs," and "owes much of its wealth to the online brokerage TD Ameritrade" to fund his ambitions.

Noting the governor's previous resistance to Trump, the report states, "Pete Ricketts ultimately endorsed Trump, who infamously launched his campaign by calling many Mexican immigrants criminals and 'rapists.' Now, as the governor seems to be contemplating a similar presidential bid, he is fanning flames of his own, " with Kirsch writing that locals believe, "the governor seems to believe that political wedge issues offer his best shot at national office."

Read more:


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 06, 2021, 01:54:35 PM
GOP lawmakers inadvertently exposed their fake populism at recent House hearing

Some analyses of Trumpism and Republican populism have claimed to detect a strain of anti-corporate sentiment. It is true that today’s right-wingers are willing to criticize big tech companies for supposedly treating them unfairly, but most of the time the GOP continues to serve the interests of big business.

That was clear during an important hearing just held by the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust, commercial and administrative law. Subcommittee chair David Cicilline (D-R.I.), vice-chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), other Democratic members and the witnesses all raised serious questions about the current regulatory system, focusing on issues such as disclosure and social equity.

The Republicans, on the other hand, did their best to change the subject or spoke in favor of less rather than more oversight. Ranking member Ken Buck (R-Colo.) used his opening remarks to attack “executive overreach” and praise the Trump Administration’s wholesale attack on regulation.

Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) spent his time attacking what he claimed was a plan by the Justice Department to treat parents critical of school boards as domestic terrorists. One of the witnesses, NAACP climate justice director Jacqueline Patterson, was asked by Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) whether she was a revolutionary. She was also chastised for a facetious tweet about vaccines. The comments of GOP members on regulation were mainly limited to attacks on “woke bureaucrats.”

Despite these antics, there was a serious exchange between the Democrats and the witnesses on the failures of the current regulatory system. These issues are also addressed in the Stop Corporate Capture Act introduced by Rep. Jayapal. The legislation would create more transparency in rulemaking, reduce corporate influence over the process and create a framework for considering social equity. It would fine companies that lie about the impact of public interest rules. It would also create a Public Advocate to provide for more robust public participation.

It turns the usual discussion on its head. Rejecting the idea of executive overreach, the bill correctly diagnoses the problem as a situation of what one might call regulatory anemia. Agencies are not aggressive enough in tackling serious problems relating to the environment, the workplace and the marketplace. The parties meant to be targeted instead are playing an outsized role in creating the rules. Hence the reference in the bill’s title to regulatory capture.

Jayapal’s proposal is what one might call a populist approach to reforming the regulatory system—one that is not likely to receive support from corporate lobbyists. When they are not simply kicking up dust, Republicans, by contrast, are doing the bidding of big business by continuing the Trump Administration’s drumbeat against regulation.

This is one of those areas in which the conventional labels of U.S. politics continue to baffle me. Why are those working to benefit giant corporations called populists, while those who are seeking to rein in that power are called elitists?

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Joe Elliott on December 08, 2021, 04:11:41 AM
President Biden is moving the country forward and is cleaning up the Trump economic disaster that devastated America.

ADP: Employers Added 571,000 Jobs in October, Beating Expectations:
Large companies in the services sector powered the strong monthly performance.

November 3, 2021

Employers added 571,000 jobs in October, above expectations, according to a monthly survey released Wednesday by private payroll firm ADP.

Gains were strongest among large companies, with increases of 342,000, and heavily concentrated in the services sector of the economy, with 458,000 new hires. The leisure and hospitality industry added 185,000 jobs.

Economists had been looking for 400,000 jobs to be created following September's increase of 568,000.

"The labor market showed renewed momentum last month, with a jump from the third quarter average of 385,000 monthly jobs added, marking nearly 5 million job gains this year," said Nela Richardson, chief economist, ADP. "Service sector providers led the increase and the goods sector gains were broad based, reporting the strongest reading of the year. Large companies fueled the stronger recovery in October, marking the second straight month of impressive growth."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which helps ADP prepare the report, said, "The job market is revving back up as the Delta-wave of the pandemic winds down. Job gains are accelerating across all industries, and especially among large companies. As long as the pandemic remains contained, more big job gains are likely in coming months.

The report comes two days before the Labor Department issues the monthly jobs numbers for October, with economists expecting close to 400,000 new jobs added in the month following September's disappointing 194,000 reading.

The labor market has been recovering, albeit unevenly, from the effects of the coronavirus which saw 22 million Americans lose their jobs in April of last year. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, has fallen to 4.8%.

But companies say they find it difficult to find workers and are having to pay higher wages and offer flexible schedules to attract jobseekers. Nonetheless, companies continue to post jobs and say they expect robust hiring ahead.

Data from HireVue, a firm that provides businesses with virtual interviewing technology, says interviews picked up in October, with tech companies seeing the biggest increase, completing 66.3% more interviews than in September, with retailers completing 64.7% more interviews.

A separate report from ADP found that wage growth, which picked up sharply following the pandemic, is now returning to more normal levels. Wages grew 3.3% during the third quarter overall, but for job switchers the pace was double at 6.6%.

The health of the job market is one of two factors the Federal Reserve Board is considering as it decides when to begin "tapering" its $120-billion-per-month purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. The central bank is widely expected to announce later Wednesday that it will cut that amount by $15 billion a month with a goal of ending the pandemic-era program by the middle of next year.

The other factor is inflation and there the news is not as sanguine. Consumer prices have been running about 5% higher year over year in 2021 and there are indications an inflation mindset has begun to set in that could make the Fed's job more difficult going forward.

It also complicates the political situation in Washington as President Joe Biden seeks to pass twin infrastructure bills with a razor-thin margin in Congress, which now seems even more in peril following Tuesday's election results which saw a Republican take the Virginia governor's race and a closer-than-expected contest for governor in the reliably Democrat state of New Jersey.

"An unmorring of inflation expectations can be self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating," economists Joseph LaVorgna and Troy Ludtka of Natixis CIB wrote Tuesday. "University of Michigan 5-year ahead inflation expectations have risen to a 10-year high but are still within their long-term range."

"However, the New York Fed's consumer price series has bounded higher," they added. "Is the U of M series headed for an upside breakout? We think so."


Companies add 571,000 jobs in October thanks to a big boost in hospitality hires, ADP says

Companies added 571,000 jobs for the month, beating the 395,000 Dow Jones estimate.

Leisure and hospitality led the way with 185,000 new positions.

Large businesses were by far the biggest creators, adding 458,000

Private sector job creation popped higher in October thanks to a burst in hiring in the hospitality sector, payroll processing firm ADP reported Wednesday.

Companies added 571,000 for the month, beating the 395,000 Dow Jones estimate and just ahead of September’s downwardly revised 523,000. It was the best month for jobs since June.

Leisure and hospitality, a category that includes bars, restaurants, hotels and the like, saw a gain of 185,000 for a sector that remains well below its pre-pandemic employment level. The sector is seen as a proxy for an economic recovery that stalled over the summer due to a rise in the Covid delta variant and a massive clog in supply lines.

“The job market is revving back up as the delta wave of the pandemic winds down,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, which aids ADP in compiling the report. “Job gains are accelerating across all industries, and especially among large companies. As long as the pandemic remains contained, more big job gains are likely in coming months.”

Growth in the sector helped fuel an overall 458,000 gain in services jobs.

Professional and business services also contributed 88,000 hires, trade transportation and utilities added 78,000, and education and health services jobs were up 56,000.

On the goods-producing side, which added 113,000 positions, construction was up 54,000 and manufacturing contributed 53,000.

From a size standpoint, businesses with more than 500 employees by far led the way with 342,000 new hires. Businesses with fewer than 50 workers added 115,000 and medium-sized firms increased by 114,000.

The ADP report comes two days before the Labor Department’s more closely watched nonfarm payrolls count, which is projected to show an increase of 450,000, according to Dow Jones.

While ADP can serve as a precursor to the government’s count, the two can differ widely.

In September, ADP’s tally of private payroll creation – initially at 568,000 before being revised lower by 45,000 – was well above the Labor Department’s 317,000. The total nonfarm payrolls count for September was just 194,000, well below estimates and held back by a loss of 123,000 government jobs.


All of which is all well and good. But the one reason I intend to vote for Biden in 2024, or whoever the Democratic nominee is, is because I am confidence that the Democratic nominee does not intend to become President for Life. Anything else that President Biden can give us, more jobs, a better economy, save the Ukraine, is gravy. But maintaining America as a democracy, a land where the will of the people means something, and can not be overturned by false claims of stolen elections, is President’s Biden most important job. I wish him every success.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 08, 2021, 12:35:34 PM
All of which is all well and good. But the one reason I intend to vote for Biden in 2024, or whoever the Democratic nominee is, is because I am confidence that the Democratic nominee does not intend to become President for Life. Anything else that President Biden can give us, more jobs, a better economy, save the Ukraine, is gravy. But maintaining America as a democracy, a land where the will of the people means something, and can not be overturned by false claims of stolen elections, is President’s Biden most important job. I wish him every success.

Hi Joe,

I definitely agree with you on that. Preserving our democracy is the main important issue going forward and keeping the radical GOP out of office. We can't allow a party that supports fascism and neo nazi hate groups to be in power. Especially one that won't hold a criminal accountable for his crimes. And a party who has ties to insurrectionists.     
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 08, 2021, 01:14:15 PM
Congress reaches agreement to avert calamitous US debt default

US senators struck a deal Tuesday to create a one-time law allowing Democrats to lift the nation's borrowing authority and avert a catastrophic credit default without requiring votes from the opposition Republicans.

The House of Representatives approved the fix in an evening vote and it is expected to be approved by the Senate in the coming days -- allowing lawmakers to avert the crisis with a simple 51-vote majority in the upper chamber.

The Bipartisan Policy Center said last week it expected the United States would no longer be able to meet its debt repayment obligations between December 21 and January 28. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has put the deadline even earlier -- next Wednesday.

"Nobody wants to see the US default on its debts. As Secretary Yellen has warned, a default could eviscerate everything we've done to recover from the Covid crisis," Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor of the chamber.

"We don't want to see that, I don't believe we will see that, and I continue to thank all my colleagues for cooperating in good faith to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States."

America spends more money than it collects through taxation, so it borrows money via the issuing of government bonds, seen as among the world's most reliable investments.

Around 80 years ago, lawmakers introduced a limit on how much federal debt could be accrued.

The ceiling has been lifted dozens of times to allow the government to meet its spending commitments -- usually without drama and with the support of both parties -- and stands at around $29 trillion.

Democratic leaders have spent weeks underlining the havoc that a default would have wrought, including the loss of an estimated six million jobs and $15 trillion in household wealth, as well as increased costs for mortgages and other borrowing.

But Republicans in both chambers of Congress initially objected to helping raise the limit this time around, saying they refused to support President Joe Biden's "reckless" taxing and spending plans.

In reality, both parties see raising the borrowing cap as politically toxic, and Republicans hope to weaponize the issue in the 2022 midterm election campaign.

Under the complex, multi-step compromise proposed Tuesday, the Republicans can essentially stand on the sidelines, offering help to create the new law but offering no votes to increase the limit.

Congress would have to specify the exact dollar amount of a new borrowing cap -- likely upwards of $30 trillion.

After the Senate has followed the House in approving the new process, both chambers are expected to pass the extension by simple majority votes ahead of the deadline.

Crucially, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans in the Senate, is backing the process.

"I think this is in the best interest of the country, by avoiding default," he told reporters when questioned about the convoluted approach.

Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 08, 2021, 01:25:58 PM
Devin Nunes' resignation reveals a depressing truth about the destruction of democracy


In any time before, leaving Congress to work for Donald Trump would be a huge financial step down in the world, like trading a job as a corporate lawyer for selling handmade Christmas ornaments in the park. Trump is, after all, one of the most spectacularly incompetent businessmen of all time. He is a man who was gifted a real estate empire and a billion dollars by his father and producer Mark Burnett, yet somehow managed not only to burn through all that money but also to go another one billion dollars into debt. Leaving your cush job as a congressman on the verge of chairing a prominent House committee to work for the guy who somehow lost $2 billion seems like a bad bet. But it's a bet that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., is taking.

On Monday, the Trump loyalist announced that he's leaving the House to take a job as the CEO of the newly-formed Trump Media & Technology Group, even though, as Jon Skolnik reports for Salon, "Trump's new social media platform is reportedly under investigation by federal regulators." While it's tempting to snicker at Nunes and hope this business venture fails as badly as every other Trump business, the depressing truth is that Nunes is probably right that this is a cash cow. Due to the huge right-wing base that can be endlessly milked for profit, being a fascist stooge these days is like printing money.

For proof, look no further than this new report from the Washington Post, exposing how lucrative it was for Trump lawyer Sidney Powell to spread lies about President Joe Biden "stealing" the 2020 election. In the months after the November election, Powell raised an eye-popping $14 million "from donors inspired by her fight to reverse the outcome of the vote," the Post reports. Unsurprisingly, "questions about where the money was going" have led to "acrimony between Powell and her top lieutenants," as they scuffle over these ill-gotten gains.

Or take the example of former White House advisor Steve Bannon, who seems to be doing just fine, grifting-wise, even though he literally got arrested in 2020 on charges of defrauding donors for his phony "border wall" project. Bannon was pardoned in the hours before Trump was finally forced to leave the White House, but got right back to shaking down gullible MAGAheads for money. As a report by ProPublica published last month shows, Bannon has set up an elaborate scheme to make money off Google Ads, despite the company's policies against funding violently fascist propaganda. Bannon's front page on his website tricks the ad algorithim with "innocuous stock content, such as tips on how to protect your phone in winter weather." Right below, however, is a video player that "routinely portrays participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot as patriots and airs false claims about the 2020 election and the COVID-19 pandemic." All funded, inadvertently, by "prominent brands as Land Rover, Volvo, DoorDash, Staples and even Harvard University."

Right-wing politics have always been deeply intertwined with sleazy and even illegal grifting schemes meant to separate elderly racists from their kids' inheritance. Nearly every right-wing figurehead has an email newsletter that directs readers to dish out money for fake cancer cures, gold bug scams, and useless "survivalist" goods. But after the failed January 6 insurrection, there's expanded opportunity for pumping the right-wing base for money, with promises that democracy will be overturned and power restored to a shrinking conservative minority.

To be certain, Trumpists like Powell and Bannon are entirely sincere about their hopes that they can gut electoral systems and install Trump as an illegitimate authoritarian president. But they also recognize how the millions of Americans who share those hopes are only too happy to turn over their retirement accounts for the fascist cause.

Of course, there is no bigger fraudster than Trump himself.

Trump's supposed media company, the one Nunes is joining, is looking very much like an elaborate scam. Trump has raised hundreds of millions of dollars of investor funds, even though, as Matt Levine of Bloomberg writes, there "absolutely no financial or technical or business information" available publicly about the company and almost no sign that the company is "actually building a social network or a streaming platform or anything else." The supposed valuation of the project is $1.6 billion, but that is literally based on nothing but the fact that Trump is attached to it. You know, the guy who took a billion cash and managed to turn it into a billion dollars of debt before running for president.

As Judd Legum of Popular Info reports, the people involved in this scheme seem less interested in building a company than "than fleecing retail traders for a quick buck," by artificially driving up the price of stocks and flipping "these stocks immediately." No wonder the whole shady deal is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Still, Nunes is running towards this scheme and not away, and it's no wonder.

Even if, as it seems likely, the whole thing is a scam, there's no reason to think that it will backfire on the scammers. Trump and most of his buddies haven't paid a single legal penalty for trying to overthrow the U.S. government. Of course, they feel confident that they'll get away with shaking down a bunch of gullible investors who mistakenly think Trump, who couldn't manage his own checking account if he had to do so himself, is somehow going to create a major media company. Yes, some of the low-level fraudsters in Trumpworld do face legal penalties, but Trump's ability to skirt justice seems bulletproof, especially when Attorney General Merrick Garland seems afraid to actually deal with the former president.

On one hand, it's hard not to laugh. Who cares if Trump and his buddies separate MAGA fools from their money? On the other hand, the problem is these frauds aren't merely frauds. They really are financing what is so far an extremely successful effort to lay the groundwork for stealing the 2024 election.

The fascist movement is very real, even if there's a lot of fraud wound into it by leaders hoping to get their beaks wet while they end democracy. Our legal system's inability to deal with the fraud aspect is just a symptom of a larger problem, which is a failure to deal with these arsonists of democracy at all. If that doesn't change, this country will have a lot more to worry about than idiot retirees emptying out their bank accounts for the latest "stop the steal" scam.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 09, 2021, 01:08:24 PM
Republicans now stand for nothing except trolling, vigilante violence and death


The Kyle Rittenhouse verdict sent a shudder through America as terrorists and vigilantes celebrated: One right-winger called for wholesale slaughter of Democrats, saying on Telegram, "The left won't stop until their bodies get stacked up like cord wood."

On Facebook, right-wing sites celebrating the verdict were the most popular nationwide by a factor of nine to one.

The parents of Anthony Huber, shot dead by Rittenhouse as Huber tried to disarm him, put out a public statement that said, in part:

Today's verdict means there is no accountability for the person who murdered our son. It sends the unacceptable message that armed civilians can show up in any town, incite violence, and then use the danger they have created to justify shooting people in the street.

A right-wing militia group in New York celebrated in the streets and then put a punctuation mark on their disdain for the law and simple rules of a civil society by entering the New York subway system through emergency exits, bypassing the turnstiles. "Rules don't apply to us!" they seemed to be shouting, along with, "You can't stop us!"

Trump wannabes in public office who are still trying to capture the white supremacist and white nationhood vote have doubled down on his strategy of fear, hate and vigilantism.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for example, recently signed legislation that gives legal protections to people who drive their cars into protesters in the street, and defines everybody in any protest as a criminal felon if anybody in that protest breaks a window or engages in other illegal activity.

With DeSantis and other Republican governors pre-exonerating people like the driver who viciously killed Heather Heyer, as well as vigilante protest shooters like Rittenhouse, many are worried that we're entering a new era where vigilante shooters and drivers-into-crowds will become normalized and accepted, just as Amy Vanderpool documents how normalized daily mass shootings have become in America.

Laws similar to Florida's have been passed or are pending in numerous Republican-controlled states, presumably in anticipation of citizen protests when those states use their newly passed laws to overturn the will of voters in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Object to your politicians handing an election they lost to themselves? You go straight from the streets to the jail, just like in tinhorn dictatorships.

There's always been a fringe movement of violent white supremacist vigilantes in America, particularly since the end of the Civil War, but they've never before been embraced by or succeeded in capturing a political party. Today, astonishingly, that's the case in our country.

So, what's motivating today's vigilantes and the police who often aid and support them, as in the Rittenhouse case?

Centuries ago, as white people fanned out across this continent to occupy land stolen from Native Americans, it usually took years or decades for stable government institutions to be created, including local police forces. Therefore, communities would organize their own forces, called "vigilance committees" whose job was to be "vigilant" to protect their own homes and communities.

That sort of "classic vigilantism" pretty much completely disappeared in the U.S. after the Civil War, however, when the Southern states' slave patrols were merged into those states' militias (what we call the National Guard) and professional police forces, state and local, took over.

Modern post-Civil War violent vigilantism, therefore, doesn't usually emerge because the government is failing to protect citizens and therefore communities field their own equivalent of police forces.

Instead, these days it's almost always a conservative response to cultural change that creates a vigilante backlash.

Virtually the dictionary definition of "conservative" is "opposed to rapid change in society." That's why, as America becomes more diverse and states like Texas have become less than 50% white, racist "conservative" factions that have had a home in the GOP since 1968 are turning to violence to try to maintain the absolute dominance of straight white men in American society.

When the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973, for example, those who were opposed to that change in our society, symbolized by the Roe v. Wade decision, organized vigilante groups that threatened women outside abortion clinics, followed and harassed women seeking health care and people who worked in the clinics, and murdered multiple doctors and bombed multiple clinics across the nation.

In the 1980s, conservative billionaires who supported Reagan helped impose neoliberal austerity on America, so for 40 years the country has been in steady decline as jobs went overseas, wages fell so badly the middle class sagged below 50% of Americans by 2015, and a general rage began to build across the country.

Much of that rage was channeled into "anti-government" movements that were encouraged by Reagan, who told us that government was the problem and not the solution. Neoliberal billionaires backed Republican politicians who kept their taxes low while openly and proudly obstructing any government efforts to help working class people.

The GOP also revived Nixon's "Southern strategy" in 1980, using open appeals to racism with Reagan warning about "strapping young bucks" and Black "welfare queens" taking white people's tax dollars. George H.W. Bush put it on steroids in 1988 with his "Willie Horton" television advertisements against Michael Dukakis, charging the Democrat wasn't doing enough to protect Massachusetts from violent Black criminals.

By this time the GOP had totally embraced neoliberalism and stopped proposing any sort of policies that would lift up America. Instead, their efforts went to subsidizing billionaires with tax cuts and increasing profits for polluting industries via deregulation.

Working-class white people continued to fall behind, particularly in rural areas, as wealthy CEOs and trust-fund billionaires made out like bandits, pouring their surplus cash into the campaigns of politicians because five right-wingers on the Supreme Court legalized political bribery with Citizens United in 2010.

The Republican answer to the growing white angst in the country was to start a movement against affirmative action in the 1980s and 1990s, calling it "reverse racism," reviving the old saw from the 1950s that "Black people want to take your job!"

Women, since the 1970s, have also been successfully competing for jobs formerly held by white men, building misogynist frustration and rage among lower-income and lower-education white men, and turning "incels" murderous.

Much of this white male rage was channeled in the 1990s into the fringe "white nationalist" movement, which got their martyrs with Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993, where heavily armed white supremacists shot it out with the feds and lost terribly.

That provoked Tim McVeigh to follow the "Turner Diaries" script for creating "a race-based civil war by provoking the government to seize guns so we can fight back," blowing up the federal building in Oklahoma City on the anniversary of Waco in 1995, killing 168 and injuring 860.

He, however, was condemned by both political parties and ultimately put to death by a Republican president. The GOP had not yet fully turned toward embracing fascists, vigilantes and terrorists in the 1990s.

Modern race-based vigilantism with the support of the GOP took a big step forward after 9/11, when multiple Republican leaders used that crime as an excuse to vilify Muslims specifically and brown-skinned Arabs more generally. Most famously, Donald Trump perpetrated the lie that Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating in the streets the afternoon of 9/11.

George W. Bush took that anti-Muslim energy and amplified it as he pushed a revenge-based war against Afghanistan and Iraq, another Muslim country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11.

Following Bush's presidency, a Black man whose middle name was Hussein became our president, creating a frenzy of bizarre conspiracy theories on the Fox Propaganda Channel and across right-wing internet and social media outlets.

Was Obama a "real" American? Was he really a secret Kenyan Muslim sleeper agent? Was he trying to flip America communist with his radical Obamacare program? Trump and Republicans asserted that those were all true claims.

With the hard right now empowered by these conspiracy theories on Fox and talk radio, in 2014 Cliven Bundy challenged the authority of the Obama administration to restrict him from grazing his cows on public federal land without paying a fee. Obama flinched and backed down, giving Bundy and armed, anti-government white men a huge national PR victory (as well as getting his cows back).

Two years later Cliven's son, Ammon Bundy, occupied another federal facility, this time the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon near the Idaho border. His armed vigilantes pointed their weapons at federal officers on live television, and again the Obama administration backed down.

Bundy's 2016 "victory" animated white supremacist vigilantes across the nation and made him enough of a media figure that he's now running in the Republican primary for governor of Idaho.

Things really stepped up throughout the Trump administration when the new president openly welcomed white nationhood militias and neo-Nazis into the GOP and praised them from the presidential pulpit, something no president had done since Woodrow Wilson hosted the debut of the Klan recruiting film "Birth of a Nation" at the White House in 1915.

Trump invited vigilantes to the southern border to "help" with the problem of brown-skinned refugees trying to enter the country, and sucked up to police, encouraging them to be even more brutal with (presumably minority) criminal suspects.

His presidency marked a turning point for American politics, with the GOP abandoning any pretense of caring about policy debates to full-on embrace of fear and hate of racial, religious and gender minorities as their core political position and strategy going forward.

As a result, NBC News chronicles, threats against federal officials reported to Capitol Police have about tripled since Trump's first year in office, reaching more than 9,000 incidents so far this year.

When we've seen these kinds of things happen in other countries, we've historically called them out as naked assaults on democracy; now Trump and his armed Republican faction have turned America's moral and political standing in the world on its head.

International observers have issued repeated alarms about the state of democracy in America since Trump's 2016 election. In 2017, the U.S. was downgraded by The Economist magazine's Intelligence Unit: instead of being a "full democracy," we are now a "flawed democracy." The international think tank IDEA just reported that we're now a "backsliding democracy."

Today, while the Democratic Party is working hard to secure benefits to all Americans, the Republicans have only two responses: Block legislation and support armed white nationhood vigilantes.

All the Republican Party has left, now that they've abandoned any pretense over the past 40 years of supporting working people or even rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, is hate, fear and death.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his 1933 inaugural address about an earlier generation of Republican obstructionists: "They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish."

And if we don't return to sanity, our democracy could perish as well.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 10, 2021, 12:45:39 PM
Trump supporters are now calling Crenshaw "Pirate Dan" or "One Eyed Dan" because of the eye patch he wears. Doesn't take long for MAGA to turn on their own.

GOP's Dan Crenshaw ignites furious uproar after warning of grifters and liars inside his own party


U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, is facing an uproar from some in his party after warning about "grifters" and liars among fellow conservatives, including in the House Freedom Caucus.

Crenshaw, one of the most visible members of the Texas congressional delegation, sought Thursday to clarify his comments, which came at a Houston-area GOP gathering over the weekend.

“When I said grifters and liars, I wasn’t talking about the Freedom Caucus," Crenshaw told the GOP podcast "Ruthless." "I was talking about a general group of people that exists on our side."The Freedom Caucus is a group of House conservatives who hold considerable sway within the GOP minority. It includes at least a few Republicans from Texas, like Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler, Ronny Jackson of Amarillo and Chip Roy of Austin.

Crenshaw made the original comments at an event Sunday in Cypress for the Texas Liberty Alliance PAC, and a clip of them went viral later after being tweeted by Ron Filipkowski, a Florida lawyer and former Republican. Crenshaw was introducing two congressional candidates he is supporting and sought to differentiate them from "performance artists" in Congress who he said say what conservative voters want to hear. He then sought to make the point by arguing that U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger — a prominent GOP critic of former President Donald Trump — actually voted more in line with Trump's agenda during his first two years in office than did "everybody in the Freedom Caucus — all of them."

"We have grifters in our midst," Crenshaw said in the clip. "I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie. Because they know something psychologically about the conservative heart. We’re worried about what people are gonna do to us, what they’re gonna infringe upon us."

The comments drew denunciations from Freedom Caucus defenders and even from a key supporter of Crenshaw in his 2018 underdog run for Congress — Houston radio host Michael Berry.

"No, I do not support [Crenshaw]," Berry tweeted Tuesday. "I am embarrassed I helped him win."

Discussing the Freedom Caucus on the podcast Thursday, Crenshaw said there are "definitely some in there I don't like, obviously, but for the most part, no," he said he was not referring to the caucus with his weekend remarks. He offered praise for Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the current vice chair of the caucus, and went on to say he was mostly referring to people who "messaged knowingly falsely about" recent legislation to improve the sharing of data nationally about vaccinations.

In the full video of Crenshaw's remarks Sunday, he indeed went on to cite the immunization bill, which passed with the support of Crenshaw and 79 other House Republicans. Crenshaw said the proposal would decrease and "put guardrails on" funding for existing vaccine databases that do not track Americans individually. Some GOP opponents of the bill claimed it would create a new vaccine database.

"So you've got less money for it and more guardrails that requires you in the law to make the data anonymous," Crenshaw said. "So the real question is why did so many Republicans vote against that and then lie to you about it? Grifters."

One of the Freedom Caucus members from Texas, Roy, brushed off the uproar surrounding Crenshaw, saying the media "wants to focus on palace intrigue rather than the issues hammering everyday Americans."

"Dan is a good friend, and we can agree to disagree on some things," Roy said in a statement. "I am confident in standing behind my record and the record of the Freedom Caucus of successfully fighting for the people we represent — including this last week protecting against drafting our daughters, preventing our service members from dishonorable discharge, and fighting a dangerous [Department of Defense] office of extremism, among other things."

Crenshaw made the original comments while seated alongside Wesley Hunt and Morgan Luttrell, two Houston-area congressional candidates and fellow veterans that Crenshaw is backing. Hunt is running for Texas' new 38th District, where he has been the frontrunner, while Luttrell is vying in a crowded primary to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands.

Luttrell's race is particularly relevant to the Freedom Caucus controversy. One of his competitors is Christian Collins, who has committed to joining the caucus and has already received over a quarter-million dollars in support from a caucus-aligned super PAC.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 11, 2021, 09:02:12 AM
Analysis: Texas’ electric grid is half-ready for another winter freeze

You never hear politicians promise that hurricanes and tornadoes won’t hurt you, that you won’t get wet (or flooded) when it rains, that protracted heat waves won’t endanger anyone or that urban fires are no threat during droughts.

That would be nuts.

But after the storm that left Texans across the state freezing in the dark last February, the state’s leaders are promising now that the winter just ahead of us won’t cause any electric blackouts.

The odds are probably in their favor. Freezes like the one this year are rare, and freezes that cover the entire state are rarer still.

But making a promise that nobody is going to have a power failure is a big bet, and an unnecessary one. It would probably be enough to say, for political purposes, that they’ve taken steps to protect the state’s electric grid if the weather repeats itself.

While Texas Democrats aren’t openly hoping for a freeze or a power failure, that sort of disaster would be helpful to their political chances in a year when circumstances favor the Republicans. Democrats still want to turn Texas blue — their 2020 election slogan — but turning Texans blue to get there could be a smidge too literal for the liberals.

The guarantee that the lights will stay on started with Gov. Greg Abbott, and has now filtered down to the regulators he installed after the last freeze.

“I can guarantee the lights will stay on,” Abbott told Austin’s Fox 7 News last month. He said he was confident because of the laws put in place in response to the February freeze. This week, Peter Lake, the chair of the state’s Public Utility Commission, echoed his patron.

“The ERCOT grid is stronger and more reliable than ever,” said Lake, who was appointed to the PUC — the state’s electric utilities regulator — in April. “We are going into the winter knowing that the lights will stay on.”

One difference between now and this time last year is that state regulators and the main players in the electric grid — the companies that generate, transmit and distribute electricity and the companies that supply electric plants with fuel — know just how wrong things can go.

So do the state’s politicians, who set up the current regulatory framework and whose standing with voters could hinge on whether the state’s homes are lighted and heated when it gets cold outside.

New laws and rules require electric generators to prepare their facilities for the cold, taking a precaution that was recommended but not heeded after winter blackouts in 2011.

The natural gas companies that provide most of the fuel for those plants during winter months aren’t yet being held to the same standard. The Texas Railroad Commission regulates them, and state lawmakers didn’t require winterization of those suppliers. They and the electric generators are powerful and influential, but the electrics suffered most of the blame for the blackouts, and the Texas Legislature was more lenient with the gas suppliers. They have another year before they have to worry about winterization requirements, and then only after a new committee makes recommendations.

That’s on the other side of the coming winter. Natural gas lobbyists say the best protection against winter weather is keeping their electricity on. That’s half of what is supposed to be a kind of virtuous cycle, where electric companies heat the gas providers who supply the electric companies. Last February, it was often a vicious cycle: Gas companies that weren’t identified as essential customers lost power, froze up and stopped sending the needed fuel to the electric companies.

Texas blacked out. Nearly everyone was miserable, and hundreds of Texans died.

The long-range weather forecasts this year are better than they were 12 months ago. Meteorologists — who, unlike politicians, don’t make promises about what’s going to happen two or three months from now — say a storm like the last one is less likely this winter.

Texas legislators did put some new safeguards in place this year, mostly aimed at the electric companies. Before Abbott and the regulators were promising a warm and well-lighted winter, lawmakers gave gas providers more time, gambling that Texas wouldn’t get another storm like the last one — at least, not right away.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 12, 2021, 10:56:30 AM
Without hesitation, President Biden signed a federal emergency declaration for Kentucky. This is a state that didn't vote for President Biden, but since he is a President for ALL Americans he signed it without any problem. That's what a President is supposed to do. Under the hateful and partisan regime of Criminal Donald, he refused to sign emergency declarations for blue states because  verything was about him and he made everything political in times of tragedy. Glad those days are gone.

Biden signs federal emergency declaration for Kentucky in wake of deadly tornado outbreak
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 12, 2021, 11:09:24 AM
Hypocrite Rand Paul was begging President Biden for federal dollars after tragedy struck Kentucky. Rand Paul is a guy who voted against a bill for 9/11 first responders who needed help after they developed diseases when they were at ground zero. Paul cited the debt and said we couldn't afford to pay our heroes who nearly gave their own lives on 9/11. Paul voted for the debt because nearly 8 trillion dollars went into the pockets of corporations and billionaires in Criminal  Donalds tax cut giveaway. Rand Paul and the rest of these right wingers rail against federal assistance from the government. They call that "socialism" and call Democrats "socialists" for offering for those in need. Well, here's hypocrite Rand Paul with his hands out begging for the "socialism" that he rails against. Republicans are socialists as well as long as the money benefits them politically. Right wingers are total hypocrites and believe in Republican socialism.

Rand Paul begs Biden for federal aid to Kentucky tornado victims -- after a career of voting 'no' when others needed the same


Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky dashed off a letter to President Joe Biden today pleading for expeditious federal relief aid to victims of a deadly 200-mile tornado that struck his state Friday.

That was of course the right to do. But Paul is a strange one to have done it.

Throughout his two terms in the U.S. Senate, Paul has prided himself as a Tea Party fiscal conservative willing to say no to the most milquetoast causes if federal spending is involved. Opposing federal disaster relief is one of his pastimes.

In 2017, Paul was one of just 17 senators to oppose an emergency $15.3 billion federal relief bill for victims of Hurricane Harvey. It had wreaked havoc similar to Friday’s tornado, but not in Kentucky.

In 2013, Paul was one of 31 Republican senators who voted against a $50.5 billion relief aid package for Hurricane Sandy -- “after previously disaster aid for their home states,” as reported by ThinkProgress.org.

In 2011, Paul’s first year in the Senate, he was among 38 Republicans voting against a major FEMA funding package despite the fact -- not lost upon publicintegrity.org -- that his own state of Kentucky had been the nation’s largest recipient of FEMA funding ($293 million), mostly because of a 2009 ice storm.

A decade later, Paul wrote to Biden like the two were old liberal spendthrift friends.

“Last night and early this morning devastating storms swept across multiple states, including Kentucky. A single tornado from that system may have been on the ground for over 200 miles, and a large swath of the Commonwealth has been severely hit.

“As the sun comes up this morning we will begin to understand the true scope of the devastation, but we already know of loss of life and severe property damage.

“The governor of the Commonwealth has requested federal assistance this morning, and certainly further requests will be coming as the situation is assessed. I fully support those requests and ask that you move expeditiously to approve the appropriate resources for our state.”

Paul’s stinginess with federal aid to people outside of Kentucky has hardly been limited to aid responding to physical disasters.

In the very first coronavirus Senate aid package -- a mere $8 billion passed on March 5, 2020 -- Paul stood out as the lone Senator to vote no.

His complaint: Congress never cuts other spending as the direct offset he insists upon having for federal aid not earmarked for Kentucky:

“This isn't the first time we've had emergency money,” Paul complained after the first COVID-19 spending passed. “This is probably the tenth time we've done emergency money in the past two or three years. So everything is an emergency."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 12, 2021, 11:28:48 PM
Glad to see a Governor finally taking action and turning the tables on these right wingers.

Newsom says he will use Texas abortion law tactics to restrict assault weapons
"If that's the precedent then we'll let Californian's sue those who put ghost guns and assault weapons on our streets," Newsom said.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 13, 2021, 01:22:24 PM
Dark money group with ties to Ohio Republican named in subpoena in bribery lawsuit


A former FirstEnergy executive, defending himself in a shareholders’ lawsuit stemming from his alleged role in the company’s statehouse bribery operation, has subpoenaed correspondence with two political operatives with close ties to U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel.

Attorneys for Mike Dowling, former senior vice president of external affairs for the utility company, subpoenaed records from two political nonprofits that played key roles in funneling FirstEnergy’s money into a political machine allegedly operated by the former Speaker of the Ohio House. That machine engineered legislative passage in 2019 of nuclear bailouts and other favorable provisions worth an estimated $1.3 billion to FirstEnergy.

Dowling is seeking communications from those groups — “Partners for Progress” and “Generation Now” — with a fellow nonprofit called “Liberty Ohio Inc.” Dowling also requested the two nonprofits’ correspondence with two Liberty Ohio board members: secretary Scott Guthrie and treasurer Thomas Datwyler.

Both men have close ties to the campaign of Mandel, who’s running in the GOP primary to replace U.S. Sen. Rob Portman in 2022. Campaign finance records list Datwyler as Mandel’s treasurer. Guthrie has worked on Mandel’s political campaigns for years, per his resume on LinkedIn, and has been quoted in media reports as Mandel’s campaign manager.

Liberty Ohio’s president, Michael Lord (who was not named in the subpoenas), served as chief of staff for Mandel when he was state treasurer.

Mandel’s campaign, Guthrie and Datwyler did not respond to written questions or phone calls.

The Mandel-affiliates are but a handful in a long list that includes “any current or former member of the Ohio Legislature” plus more than 30 Republican politicians and operatives from whom Dowling is seeking correspondence. The list includes Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, several defendants in the related criminal prosecution, and a spread of political entities and operatives. Also included is former state GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, who is running against Mandel in the primary. Dowling’s subpoenas were issued only to Partners for Progress and Generation Now, not the named individuals themselves.

The issue at large traces back to the passage of House Bill 6, which provided massive, ratepayer-funded bailouts to nuclear plants owned at the time by a subsidiary of FirstEnergy and a separate bailout of coal plants owned by a cooperative of several Ohio utility companies.

FirstEnergy this summer admitted in court documents to giving about $60 million — using Partners for Progress as a pass-through — to Generation Now. The latter was allegedly controlled by then-House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford. Householder, who has since been expelled from the House, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of racketeering and awaits trial.

FirstEnergy fired Dowling in October 2020, after two of the five men charged in the alleged conspiracy pleaded guilty. The company entered into a deferred prosecution settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in July, agreeing to pay a $230 million penalty and cooperate with prosecutors and in return avoiding a charge of wire fraud.

Liberty Ohio has other, indirect connections to the FirstEnergy scandal: it and Generation Now, which pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge, share donors from within the same web of nonprofits often described as “dark money,” given they aren’t legally required to disclose the source of their funding.

According to government prosecutors, Householder unlawfully controlled Generation Now, a purportedly independent entity, by using operatives to sign paperwork and attend meetings as his proxy. Neil Clark, a lobbyist who was charged alongside Houeholder, allegedly identified himself as the Speaker’s “appointed guy” in a meeting. Clark died by suicide earlier this year.

FirstEnergy gave Generation Now $60 million to pass the bailouts, the company admitted in court documents. It gave $25 million to Partners for Progress between 2017 and 2019, $15 million of which flowed to Generation Now. Separate tax records show that other donors contributed to the fund. Empowering Ohio’s Economy, which was solely funded by American Electric Power, gave $700,000 to Generation Now between 2017 and 2019. 55 Green Meadows, a nonprofit operated by Ohio’s nursing home industry, contributed $485,000 to Generation Now between 2018 and 2020 (the group’s $150,000 donation in 2020 has not previously been publicly reported).

These same donors gave hundreds of thousands to Liberty Ohio.

Empowering Ohio’s Economy gave $100,000 to Liberty Ohio between 2019 and 2020. Partners for Progress gave $150,000 to Liberty Ohio in 2019. 55 Green Meadows gave $515,000 to Liberty Ohio. (Partners for Progress and Liberty Ohio have not made their 2020 tax filings publicly available, clouding the public view of their donor history. Officials with the nonprofits did not respond to requests to provide them.)

John McCaffrey, an attorney for Dowling, declined to comment on why he included Liberty Ohio and its officers on the subpoena.

Some of those named in the subpoena have downplayed the importance. Dan Tierney, a spokesman for DeWine, said neither the governor nor the lieutenant governor have received any subpoenas or been asked to submit to questioning in any civil or criminal matters related to the passage of House Bill 6, which was signed into law by the governor hours after it was passed by lawmakers.

He said he didn’t know why DeWine was included in the subpoena but noted that it’s one name of hundreds (given the number of still living former legislators).

“We clearly have no involvement,” Tierney said.

Partners for Progress was incorporated by DeWine’s former top lobbyist. FirstEnergy also admitted to paying former PUCO chairman Sam Randazzo about $4.3 million for legislative and regulatory favors. DeWine appointed Randazzo, who has not been charged with a crime.

The Timken campaign did not respond to an email. However, she told the Columbus Dispatch through spokesman Rob Secaur (who's also named in the subpoena) that the two had "no involvement with HB6 and zero contact with Generation Now or Partners for Progress."

What does Liberty Ohio do?

Liberty Ohio, like many political 501(c)(4)s, has little to no public profile.

Its tax records list it under the Washington D.C. address of an office building. Tax records from other entities who have donated to Liberty Ohio list a Bexley address. Franklin County records show the residence is owned by the family of Lord, the organization’s president.

As of 2019, Liberty Ohio has more than $1 million in the bank. Its stated mission on tax forms: "To educate the public on policy issues."

No public-facing website for the group could be located.

In March 2020, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that a “Liberty Ohio Inc.” owned a website at the time calling Candice Keller, a state representative running for the state Senate, “crazy.” Other records from the Federal Communications Commission show Liberty Ohio purchasing ads criticizing Keller before she lost in her Senate Republican primary to current Sen. George Lang.

Liberty Ohio's 2020 tax records are not yet publicly available. Guthrie did not respond to a request for them left via voicemail.

Several donors to Liberty Ohio, including representatives of 55 Green Meadows, Partners for Progress and Empowering Ohio's Economy, did not respond to calls and voicemails.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 14, 2021, 12:09:33 PM
Herschel Walker is another domestic abuser being pushed by Donald Trump as a failed candidate. Walker also suffers from mental issues with over a dozen alternate personalities. Nobody like that should be in the Senate.      ​

Republican Herschel Walker claims he's 'accountable' for domestic violence — then claims accusations are made up


Republican Herschel Walker, who is trying to run for the Senate in Georgia, has been accused by his first wife of domestic violence. But according to Walker, he can be both accountable and call it fake news at the same time.

An exclusive from Axios revealed Monday that Walker claimed he tells people "I'm accountable to it." He then followed the accountability with accusations that "people" make things up.

"I'm always accountable to whatever I've ever done. And that's what I tell people: I'm accountable to it," the statement began. "People can't just make up and add on and say other things that's not the truth. They want me to address things that they made up."

Walker's spokesperson then had to come back and say that what Walker meant to say was that he doesn't deny abusing ex-wife Cindy Grossman. Allegations by two other women, however, in 2002 and 2012, Walker appears to be saying are false.

Grossman described the abuse as threats and Walker choking her. She explained to CNN that Walker held a gun to her temple "and said he was going to blow my brains out." In Dec. of 2005, Grossman filed for a protective order with accounts also submitted by her sister, Maria Tsettos. She claimed that Walker threatened Grossman's life as well as hers and her boyfriend at the time.

Walker says that he considers Grossman a "best friend." Unlike Grossman, the other two women don't appear to have come back to be friends with him. One of the women told police that she saw someone "sneaking around outside her house." She said she thought she knew it was Walker because he had followed her home.

In response to the allegations, the Walker campaign spokesperson attacked the media for "false statements" and "stereotyping."

He also discussed his mental health issues and how he's worked on those throughout the years.

Read the full report at Axios.com:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 14, 2021, 10:58:20 PM
Here's another corrupt right wing Republican and Trump worshipper Kristi Noem. Instead of protecting her constituents in South Dakota from Covid 19 she illegally abused her power to get her kid a real estate license she wasn't qualified for. She needs to be removed as Governor.

Official testifies Republican Kristi Noem used her position to help her daughter score real estate license


Republican Gov. Kristi Noem was named by a fired state official who testified that the South Dakota governor used her position to score a real estate license for her daughter. The employee, Sherry Bren, was then pushed out of her position as the executive director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program, CNN.com reported.

It was previously reported that Noem stepped in to ensure her daughter, Kassidy Peters, got an extra chance to correct her work on the exam and application before it was submitted for approval. She was facing a denial of her certification and that's when the July 27, 2020, meeting occurred.

"Peters had experienced difficulty meeting the state's criteria to complete the process because of deficiencies in her work," CNN reported, citing documents they obtained. The documents also show that there was a stipulation that Peters participate in a mentoring plan so that she could complete her certification, which was given just 11 days later.

Bren testified that she was then forced to retire months later "at the behest of the Administration."

She also clarified that she wasn't the only one who witnessed the alleged nepotism, but she was the only one forced to retire. She filed an age discrimination complaint and asked for $200,000 in a settlement.

According to the testimony Tuesday, Peters was told before the meeting with the governor that she would be denied certification because the application was "insufficient." Noem then raged about the "serious deficiencies" in the application.

"Noem asked a series of specific questions about her daughter's application during the meeting with Bren and other state officials while her daughter was present," CNN said, citing Bren's testimony. There was then an agreement with the governor that Noem's daughter be granted a third chance to correct her application problems. Typically an applicant is only given two chances.

Peters has already surrendered her license due to the investigation.

Noem denies the allegations. In Oct., she tried to claim that having her daughter's application approved was really about helping everyone because she said that the process was stalled. That conflicts with the timeline, however, because Peters had already gotten her notification ahead of the meeting with her mother.

Noem is also under investigation by the state's attorney general.

Read the full report at CNN.com:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 15, 2021, 11:56:01 AM
Democrats have a plan to cap insulin at $35 a month

President Biden, citing the "outrageously expensive" cost of insulin and other prescription drugs in the U.S., called on Congress Monday to pass his Build Back Better bill, which contains provisions to lower drug prices.

In brief remarks at the White House, the president pointed to the cost of insulin needed to treat Type 1 diabetes, which Biden says affects some 1.5 million Americans, who pay anywhere from $375 to $1,000 per month for the drug. The House-passed measure would cap insulin prices at $35 per month.

"I think it's safe to say that all of us, all of us, whatever our age, wherever we live, we can agree that prescription drugs are outrageously expensive in this country," Biden said, adding, "Shame on us as a nation if we can't do better than this."

Biden's plan would also allow Medicare to negotiate certain drug prices with manufacturers, something now prohibited, and it would cap out-of-pocket costs for some prescription drugs for Medicare recipients at $2,000 a year.

Biden said he wants congressional approval of the roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better Act "as early as we can get it."

"I want to get it done, no matter how long it takes," he told reporters.

Before his remarks, Biden met with two women suffering from diabetes. The president said one of them, Sa'Ra Skipper, told him "that affording insulin has been the challenge of her and her family's entire life," and that "sometimes she and her sister rationed doses."

"Health care should be a right, not a privilege in this country," Biden said. "This is not a partisan issue."

The pharmaceutical industry, which opposes the Build Back Better Act, responded to Biden's remarks. In a statement, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said that a "damaging bill jammed through a partisan process will not provide patients struggling to afford their medicines meaningful relief."

Wall Street economists are confident Biden’s Build Back Better bill will become law – and boost infrastructure firms
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 15, 2021, 12:00:39 PM

December 14, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, along with 19 of his colleagues in the United States House of Representatives, introduced the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act. The legislation closes a campaign finance loophole that allows for-profit U.S. corporations appreciably owned by foreign investors to pour unlimited cash into American elections.

“Six days after the Supreme Court invented corporate free speech rights in Citizens United, President Obama warned that the Court had just opened ‘the floodgates’ for foreign interests to funnel cash freely into American elections through corporations,” said Rep. Raskin. “He was right.”

“The Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act will stop this dangerous stream of foreign cash and influence from flowing in our campaigns through corporate spending,” Raskin explained. “It’s imperative to fortify our electoral institutions against constant efforts by plutocrats and autocrats to shape political outcomes in America. I thank the Center for American Progress, Public Citizen, Free Speech For People and Common Cause for their support of this critical project.”

“The Center for American Progress strongly endorses Rep. Raskin’s legislation to close a dangerous loophole opened by Citizens United and prohibit political spending by foreign-influenced U.S. corporations,” said Will Roberts, Managing Director for Democracy Policy at the Center for American Progress. “For several years, CAP has advocated for this popular, common-sense policy and applauds the leadership of Rep. Raskin and the cosponsors of this bill. When enacted, this legislation will take a giant step toward assuring Americans that foreign entities are not influencing our elections, either directly or indirectly through under-the-radar routes like ownership in U.S. corporations. The future of our democracy must be decided by American voters, not foreign entities or multinational corporations that spend hundreds of millions of dollars each election cycle, diminishing the voices of everyday people.”

“One of the great pillars of our democratic system that enjoys consensus across all parties is that foreign nationals and foreign governments should not be making campaign contributions and expenditures in U.S. elections,” said Craig Holman, Government Affairs Lobbyist at Public Citizen. “But our safeguards against foreign intervention are littered with loopholes. One of the most gaping loopholes is allowing foreign-owned corporations to spend in American elections through their U.S. subsidiaries. Raskin’s “Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act” would close that loophole and ensure that any U.S. subsidiary that is significantly owned or controlled by foreign interests could not spend money to influence our elections.”

"We applaud Congressman Raskin for introducing this critical legislation in the defense of our democracy and the fundamental principles of American self-government,” said John Bonifaz, Co-Founder and President of Free Speech For People. “This legislation will ensure that corporations with significant foreign investment will no longer be able to spend their general treasury funds to influence our elections and to drown out the voices of voters across this country.  The people, not multinational corporations, shall govern.  We urge Members of Congress to stand with democracy and pass this bill.”

“Americans deserve to know who is trying to influence our voices and our votes, and foreign entities should have zero role in determining American elections,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “The Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act would help ensure that hostile foreign actors cannot influence our elections, and we commend Congressman Raskin for introducing this common-sense legislation.”

Although current law prohibits individual foreign nationals from spending in U.S. elections, no such law bars political spending from American-registered corporations—including major multinationals—that are foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, foreign-influenced or all three. The Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act, supported by the Center for American Progress, Public Citizen, Free Speech For People and Common Cause, would prevent this foreign spending and ensure that the ultimate origin of money spent in American political campaigns is U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Rep. Raskin has introduced previous versions of the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act during the 116th and 115th Congresses. This bill joins similar legislative efforts at the state and local level to separate foreign money from democratic elections. In January 2020, Seattle passed a similar policy into law, and in June 2021, the New York State Senate passed similar legislation with bipartisan support. Additional bills are pending in several other states, including Massachusetts and Hawaii.

Original cosponsors of the bill include: Reps. Ed Case (HI), Jim Cooper (TN), Danny K. Davis (IL), Mark DeSaulnier (CA), Theodore E. Deutch (FL), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (GA), Mondaire Jones (NY), Ted Lieu (CA), Jim McGovern (MA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Mark Pocan (WI), Mike Quigley (IL), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY), Dina Titus (NV), Rashida Tlaib (MI), David Trone (MD) and Nikema Williams (GA).

Text of the bill is available here:
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 15, 2021, 01:00:38 PM
BUSTED: Former Trump official caught listing hotel as his address as he attempts political comeback in Montana


Former Secretary Ryan Zinke left Donald Trump's administration in disgrace and marred in scandal after it was revealed he was using taxpayer resources to supplement his fancy lifestyle and a real estate scandal.

Now as he tries to mount a political comeback, he's already raising eyebrows by using a hotel as his Montana address while running for Congress.

Multiple probes tied to Zinke's real estate dealings in Montana were reported by The Washington Post in Dec. 2018, when the Interior Department's inspector general referred one of its inquiries to the Justice Department.

"President Trump announced Zinke's exit via Twitter on Saturday morning and praised the departing Interior chief," the Post report said. "Behind the scenes, however, the White House had been pushing Zinke for weeks to resign, administration officials said. Last month, the officials said, Zinke was told he had until the end of the year to leave or be fired."

Zinke had announced he would likely run for Congress in 2022, though in Nov. 2021, it was discovered he spends the overwhelming majority of his time in Santa Barbara, California, living on his wife's yacht.

Now he's facing another controversy as Zinke's opponent, Tom Winter, took a walk in the Montana winter snow over to the address that Zinke said was his "residence." As it turns out, the residence is a hotel.

"I think it's pretty obvious when you show up in March with a really killer tan that you haven't been here for a long time," Jennifer Fielder said in Oct. She served as a former Republican state senator, but she's now backing Zinke's challenger.

The Snow Frog Inn is owned by an LLC tied to Zinke's family. During a 2013 City Council meeting, those starting the hotel said that it would feature six bedrooms for guests, a kitchen, a living room space and lodge area, the ABC affiliate reported at the time. The Inn was Zinke's family home, but he turned it into a bed and breakfast, meaning he could rent out rooms while staying in Santa Barbara or in Washington.

See the video below:
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 16, 2021, 11:20:05 AM
Biden surveys 'beyond belief' tornado damage in Kentucky, commits to federal aid
"No one is walking away. We are in this for the long haul," Biden said.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday surveyed damage in Kentucky he described as "beyond belief" and met with families in neighborhoods ravaged by deadly tornadoes last weekend.

After Biden surveyed the destruction in Mayfield by air and then on the ground, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear later choked up when thanking Biden publicly and introducing him in Dawson Springs, where Biden had stopped and talked to families whose homes were destroyed, including a 12-year-old girl carrying an American flag in a neighborhood where nearly every tree had been uprooted.

Biden opened his remarks by reminding people used to travel to Dawson Springs for the city's healing waters, but, Biden said, "Now it's our turn to help the entire town to heal."

"I intend to do whatever it takes, as long as it takes to support your state and local leaders, and as you recover and rebuild because you will recover and you will rebuild," Biden said, surrounded by storm damage. "The scope and scale of this destruction is almost beyond belief. When you look around here, it's almost beyond belief. These tornadoes devoured everything in their path."

He also offered condolences for those who lost someone and insisted "something good must happen" from the tragedy.

"I met one couple on the way up, said they're still looking for four of their friends. They don't know where they are. And those who have lost someone, there's no words for the pain of losing someone. A lot of us know it." Biden said.

"Keep the faith," Biden added. "No one is walking away. We are in this for the long haul."

Ahead of his remarks, Biden updated a presidential disaster declaration to boost federal disaster funds from 75% to 100% coverage for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Kentucky for a 30-day period.

Earlier, before receiving a briefing from state and local officials in Kentucky "on the impacts of the tornadoes and extreme weather," according to the White House, Biden vowed all the federal support he can provide to the area, both now and in the months to come.

"Immediately after a disaster is a time when people are really, really moving, and trying to help each other and trying to get things done. But after a month, after six weeks, after two months, people can get themselves to a point where they get fairly depressed about what’s going on, particularly young kids, particularly people who've lost somebody. And so I just want you to know, the help that we're able to offer at the federal level, is not just now," Biden said.

"I've instructed my team to make you all aware of everything that is available from a federal level," Biden added later on. "And some of it has to do outside of FEMA, outside of Homeland Security, there's other programs, including education, there’s a whole range of things, but I'm here to listen."

The president seemed struck by the scale of the damage he saw on his aerial tour.

"As you fly over here, as I've done in the past, I've not seen this tornado, this much damage from a tornado. You know, you think, but for the grace of God, why was I not 100 yards outside that line? Which makes it so different," he noted.

Biden was joined for the visit by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who were on the ground there on Sunday.

At least 88 people have been confirmed dead across five states, 74 in western Kentucky alone, and the death toll could rise "significantly," Beshear said on Tuesday.

See video below:
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 16, 2021, 11:22:34 AM
Biden approves more federal disaster assistance for Kentucky

After he asked Biden to help his own state of Kentucky, Rand Paul lashed out at critics who brought up his history of opposing disaster-relief bills

WATCH: President Biden arrives in western Kentucky

President Biden tours Kentucky tornado damage, says he'll help 'as long as it takes'
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 16, 2021, 11:31:26 AM
'Jim Jordan is a traitor': Democrat blasts Trump ally for text message urging Pence to reject Biden votes


A Democratic lawmaker ripped into Trump ally Jim Jordan on Wednesday night, after it was revealed that the Ohio Republican forwarded a text message to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows urging Vice President Mike Pence to reject some electoral college votes on Jan. 6.

"I feel like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca right now — absolutely not surprised," Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell.

"Look, Jim Jordan is a traitor," Gallego added. "He's a traitor to the Constitution of the United States. He has been a traitor to the Constitution of the United States for quite a while, and now we actually have it in text."

Gallego added that no one should be surprised given that Jordan was among those who "made up lies on the House floor" on Jan. 6 about fraudulent votes in states including Arizona.

"How is anybody surprised by any of this?" he said. "My biggest issue isn't Jim Jordan. My issue is the fact that there are a lot of people who are not taking this seriously — the fact that there is a slow-moving coup that is happening right now all over this country led by the Jim Jordans and other people."

Gallego said that instead of storming the Capitol, Trump supporters are now focused on capturing seats that could allow them to overturn a future election.

"The coup is ongoing," he said. "The traitors are still there, and they're going to continue to destroy our Constitution every opportunity they have."

Watch the full interview below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 16, 2021, 01:06:41 PM
Biden set to surpass Trump in first-year judicial nominees; a window into a major Democratic push


President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced his latest wave of nine judicial nominees, capping a year where the selections -- and an effort to establish an imprint on the federal courts -- served as a focal point for his administration.

Biden announced his intent to nominate nine district court nominees, bringing the administration's total for the year to 73 -- one more than former President Donald Trump nominated in his first year in office.

Among the nominees Biden announced his intent to name are Jessica G.L. Clarke, the chief of the New York Attorney General's Civil Rights Bureau since 2019, for the Southern District of New York. He will also nominate Sherilyn Peace Garnett, a former prosecutor and current California Superior Court judge, for the Central District of California.

For Biden and other Democrats, the filling of federal judicial openings took on a new level of significance in the wake of the historically successful push by Trump and Senate Republicans. Biden pledged during his presidential campaign not only to make nominations a priority, but also to pursue nominees who brought both personal and professional diversity to the bench.

"These choices also continue to fulfill the President's promise to ensure that the nation's courts reflect the diversity that is one of our greatest assets as a country -- both in terms of personal and professional backgrounds," a White House official said in a statement.

Biden's efforts have been closely coordinated with Senate Democrats and have resulted in 28 confirmations, with at least two other nominees expected to win confirmation before the end of the year. That number also exceeds Trump's first year in office, which has served as an unofficial benchmark of sorts for an administration keen on emphasizing its focus on the courts.

Trump's success marked a cornerstone achievement for then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, and elevated the issue among Democrats, who saw the balance of courts from the Supreme Court on down reshaped before Trump's 2020 reelection defeat.

To this point, Biden has not faced a Supreme Court opening, though Democrats have closely watched his selections as potential steps toward who he would pick should one occur.

Biden's first-year nominees have led to the confirmation of nine circuit court judges, including Lucy Koh, who was confirmed this week by the Senate for the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

The confirmations underscore the effort to fill critical appeals court openings, which are viewed as exceedingly important in the effort to shape the second-highest courts in the country.

An 11th circuit court confirmation -- for Jennifer Sung, also for the 9th Circuit -- is expected to clear the Senate on Wednesday, as is the confirmation of Samantha D. Elliott to be a US district court judge for the District of New Hampshire.

But in a 50-50 Senate controlled by Democrats, time is of the essence for the White House with the midterm elections looming less than a year away.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has made clear that processing and confirming judicial nominees is a priority on the Senate floor. Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, has echoed that emphasis in his committee.

Beyond the numbers themselves, Biden's final group of nominees for the year underscores what has become a model of sorts for his selections in a push to diversify the ranks of the federal judiciary.

The President's selections have included 53 women, making up 73% of all judicial nominees, as well as 20 African Americans, 15 Hispanics and 13 Asian American Pacific Islander picks.

They also include 21 public defenders, 16 civil rights lawyers and five labor lawyers, as the administration has sought to elevate nominees with more diverse professional backgrounds.

The other district court picks are:

Hector Gonzalez, a partner at Dechert LLP, for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Kenly Kiya Kato, US magistrate judge for the Central District of California, for the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Nina Morrison, senior litigation counsel at the Innocence Project, for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

William S. Pocan, the deputy chief judge of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Jennifer L. Rochon, general counsel of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Fred W. Slaughter, California Superior Court judge, for the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Sunshine Suzanne Sykes, California Superior Court judge, for the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 17, 2021, 10:42:52 AM
Biden Administration Releases $2.9 Billion in Infrastructure Funds to Remove Lead Pipes

The Biden administration announced plans on Thursday to eliminate lead from the nation's drinking water with an infrastructure bill that would dedicate $2.9 billion to the removal of lead pipes.

White House officials reported that an estimated 10 million U.S. homes receive water via lead pipes. Lead from these pipes has been known to seep into drinking water, poisoning people in places such as Flint, Michigan.

According to the World Health Organization, lead poisoning, even in smaller quantities, can be especially dangerous to children, as it can affect brain development and cause behavioral changes, along with a host of other health complications.

"There is no reason in the 21st century for why people are still exposed to this substance that was poisoning people back in the 18th century," Vice President Kamala Harris said in remarks delivered Thursday.

The administration has a 10-year goal of replacing every lead service line in the country. Harris added that doing so would help create jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not set to finalize its requirements for reaching the goal until 2024, which some environmentalists worry could be too little, too late.

Erik Olson, senior strategic director of health at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the administration needs to be more specific on its plan to remove the pipes.

"The top priority must be to require removal of all lead pipes within the decade and to set a strict at-the-tap standard, which is the only way to prevent another generation of kids from drinking water through what is essentially a lead straw," Olson said. "Good intentions won't be enough to get the job done."

In recent years, the risks facing cities with lead service lines have come into focus, most notably in connection to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis.

While the EPA considers how to strengthen the nation's lead-in-water rules, it will allow the previous Trump administration's overhaul of lead regulations to move forward, officials said Thursday. When the Biden EPA's requirements are finalized by 2024, they are expected to call for the replacement of remaining lead drinking water pipes "as quickly as is feasible."

"The science on lead is settled—there is no safe level of exposure and it is time to remove this risk to support thriving people and vibrant communities," EPA administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

Environment America senior attorney John Rumpler called the administration's plans "long-overdue and an indispensable step toward securing safe water." He said the EPA should set a 10-year deadline to replace lead service lines, as New Jersey did in July.

A Trump administration rule said public water systems should replace 3% of their lead service lines annually if lead levels exceed 15 parts per billion, a rate lower than the previous 7% requirement. Trump administration officials said that the rule eliminated loopholes allowing water systems to avoid removing pipes and would therefore make the replacement process faster.

But environmental groups were critical, saying it allowed the removal to happen too slowly.

The Trump administration also set requirements to make sure that water systems prevent lead in pipes from corroding into drinking water. It also revamped lead testing to make sure water samples come from water sitting in lead pipes instead of near a faucet—a move experts say could push lead level results higher for many utilities nationwide.

The Biden EPA is considering ways to strengthen key parts of the regulation, including the 15 parts-per-billion threshold.

Congress approved $15 billion for lead service line replacement in the infrastructure bill—about one-third less than what the White House and water experts say it will cost to replace them nationally.

Administration officials spoke about additional efforts to limit lead exposure, including more childhood surveillance testing for lead exposure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to remove lead paint in public housing. Also, the Treasury Department is announcing that surplus COVID-19 relief funds can be used for lead service line replacement projects.

"The challenge that we face is, without any question, great. Lead is built into our cities. It is laid under our roads, and it is installed in our homes," Harris said.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 17, 2021, 10:50:17 AM
Utah airports to receive millions from Biden infrastructure plan

SALT LAKE CITY — Several airports in Utah will be recipients of $39.2 million from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022. The funds are part of the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan.

According to the FAA, the plan sets aside $2.89 billion dollars for airports across the country in 2022. The bill allocates $15 billion in total for airports over the coming years.

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build safer and more sustainable airports that connect individuals to jobs and communities to the world,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.

"With this new funding, urban, regional and rural airports across the country now can get to work on projects that have waited for years, modernizing their infrastructure and building a better America."

All in all, 33 airports in Utah will be beneficiaries of the money, including those in Cedar City, Ogden, Moab, Provo, Vernal, St. George, and Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake City International airport will receive the bulk of the money, roughly 69%.

The federal dollars are for roadways, runways, terminals, safety measures, and sustainability projects, according to the FAA.

A spokesperson for the Salt Lake airport said they just learned of the funding project this week and have not yet developed a strategy for spending the money most effectively. However, they said the funds would likely be used for the next phase of the new airport facilities still under construction.

The breakdown of the disbursements are as follows:

Canyonlands Field in Moab: $1,010,713

Cedar City Regional in Cedar City: $1,015,726

Ogden-Hinckley in Ogden: $1,010,481

Provo Municipal in Provo: $1,424,960

Salt Lake City International in Salt Lake City: $24,752,219

St George Regional in St. George: $1,486,245

Vernal Regional in Vernal: $1,008,207


'Americans always rebuild’: Biden promotes infrastructure investments


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden visited here to tout the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill he signed into law last month, expected to bring billions in spending on roads and bridges, clean water, public transportation, high speed internet and the states.

The president said the investments amount to a “blue collar blueprint” for rebuilding the country, providing more good-paying jobs and economic opportunities, 95 percent of which don’t require a college degree.

For the better part of the 20th century, the United States became a global leader through “our willingness to invest in ourselves,” he said citing the space race and the federal highway system. Now, he said, China and the rest of the world are catching up and moving ahead.

Running through Biden’s speech, delivered at the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, was a thread of frustration at the state of the nation’s infrastructure and the difficulties faced by those who struggle to afford prescription drugs or access the internet, implying the nation should be doing far better.

“We never break. We never stop. We Americans always rebuild, and we will rebuild this country,” Biden said.

Biden said the law does something historic in rebuilding the country, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.

“When I announced for office, I said I was running for three reasons,” Biden said. “One, to restore the soul of this country, a sense of decency and honor. Two, to rebuild the backbone of this country, working class and hard working middle class people — that’s the backbone of this country. And thirdly, to unite the country, which is turning out to be one of the most difficult things, but we’re going to get it done.”

The far-flung city of half a million people has struggled to keep up with the infrastructure needs across its 300 square miles. For years, residents’ water bills rose by double digits every year to fund a federally mandated upgrade to keep the city’s wastewater from overflowing. The city renegotiated that mandate with the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year.

Kansas City’s iconic Buck O’Neil Bridge has long needed replacing and had to be rehabilitated in 2018 while it awaited funding for replacement. The state-owned bridge is now being rebuilt at the cost of $250 million, half of which the city contributed through a sales tax increase.

Missouri’s highways are notoriously troublesome with more than $4.5 billion in unfunded needs. The Missouri General Assembly this spring increased the tax on gasoline for the first time in almost 30 years.

Under the legislation, Kansas is expected to get $2.6 billion in highway funds and $225 million for bridges over five years. Missouri is expected to receive $6.5 billion and $484 million for those investments.

Both states would get hundreds of millions to expand broadband service to disconnected rural areas and low-income families that can’t afford internet access.

Biden said no parent in 21st century America should have to sit in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant to use the Internet, like many did during the pandemic.

“This is the United States of America, for God’s sake,” Biden said.

Biden said the bill also marked the largest investment in passenger railways in the U.S. for 50 years, joking about his own affinity for riding the train from Washington to Delaware.

U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat who represents the Kansas side of the Kansas City area, said she was excited by the billions of dollars that would flow into the region through infrastructure investments. She said residents can feel the economic impact of decades of underinvestment in infrastructure.

“From bridges to broadband, we’re continuing to create opportunities, because that’s what this is about,” Davids said.

The federal infrastructure bill includes $89 billion for local transit projects over the next five years, with $5.6 billion earmarked for low- or zero-emission vehicles.

In 2020, Kansas City, Mo., became the first major American city to eliminate fares for public transportation. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority operates 78 bus routes across state lines, serving 14 million riders annually. The fleet includes four battery-powered buses, and only zero-emission buses will be added.

Biden also touted the elements of the bill meant to help the environment and protect communities from the effects of climate change. He said roads and bridges would be rebuilt to be more resistant to climate change. He praised Kansas City for its move to zero-emissions buses.

Biden said he grew up like a lot of Americans in a middle class household, but he would hear his parents talk about struggles, like his father losing his health insurance.

“My dad used to say everybody deserves just a little bit of breathing room,” Biden said.

Biden also took the opportunity to tout his Build Back Better plan, which still needs approval by the U.S. Senate. He said the bill would invest in universal preschool to help America catch up on early childhood education. He noted the country ranks 34th.

During the pandemic, women have been forced from the workplace in huge numbers as school closures and quarantines upended their normal childcare plans.

He spoke of a young woman who told him she was forced to ration her insulin because she couldn’t afford it and nearly died as a result. He said the bill would ensure insulin costs no more than $35 per month.

“Think about that,” Biden said. “The difference between nearly dying and thriving is the cost of one drug that cost $10 to make. … It can cost consumers now $1,000 a month.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 17, 2021, 11:01:22 AM
President Biden has done some remarkable things this year and this is all with GOP obstruction.   

1. Passed a Rescue Plan

2. Largest Infrastructure Bill in generations

3. Set record for job creation

4. Cut child poverty in half

5. More judges than any President in 50 years

6. Vaccinated 200m people

Back in March:

Biden signs $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law

Washington — President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act into law on Thursday, finalizing an early policy victory that will send much-needed aid to millions of Americans still struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation, working people, middle class folks, people who built the country, a fighting chance," Mr. Biden said before signing the bill, one day earlier than expected.

The bill was narrowly approved by the House on Wednesday with a vote of 220 to 211, with one Democrat joining all Republicans in voting against it. It passed the Senate on Saturday with a 50 to 49 vote, also along party lines.

Mr. Biden signed the bill hours before delivering his first prime-time national address to mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has since taken more than 529,000 American lives. The White House said the president and Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to Atlanta next Friday, part of what the White House is calling the "Help is Here" tour to tout the new relief bill in cities around the country.

New CBS News polling shows that the bill is widely popular with the public, with three in four Americans approving of its passage. Two-thirds of Americans also say Mr. Biden is doing a good job in his handling of the pandemic.

The American Rescue Plan provides $1,400 direct payments to individuals making up to $75,000 annually, $350 billion in aid to state and local governments and $14 billion for vaccine distribution. The bill also provides $130 billion to elementary, middle and high schools to assist with safe reopening.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the first wave of direct deposit checks would begin hitting Americans' bank accounts as soon as this weekend.

It includes an additional $300 billion in weekly jobless benefits through September and an expanded tax credit of up to $3,600 per child, initially distributed in monthly installments. The child tax credit could raise 4 million children out of poverty, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

More than $50 billion will be distributed to small businesses, including $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. The bill also provides $25 billion for relief for small and mid-sized restaurants, which have suffered significantly during the pandemic.

The measure expands eligibility for subsidies to purchase health insurance to people of all incomes under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a provision that was particularly controversial for Republicans who oppose the bill. It also incentivizes states to expand Medicaid under the ACA by having the federal government pay for new recipients. Several million people could save hundreds of dollars in health care costs once the bill becomes law.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 17, 2021, 11:40:09 AM
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert and husband racked up arrests in home district


Rep. Lauren Boebert, the gun-toting freshman Republican Colorado congresswoman who ran on a law-and-order platform, has had several dust-ups with police, starting as a teenager.

The 34-year-old lawmaker, who beat her district’s very conservative Rep. Scott Tipton in a primary upset last June, has a rap sheet unusually long for a member of Congress.

And her track record of thumbing her nose at the law continued this week after she tussled with Capitol Police officers over her refusal to walk through newly installed House metal detectors.

“I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, DC, and within the Capitol complex,” she tweeted in defiance, while calling the detectors “another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi.”

While the lawmaker was eventually allowed to enter the House chambers, she is facing growing questions about her possible role in assisting the deadly Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill. Just hours before the violence, she tweeted, “today is 1776.” In the days leading up to the unrest, Boebert made a spectacle of her intention to remain armed in the Capitol, earning another rebuke from local law enforcement.

Back in June 2015, Boebert was cuffed for disorderly conduct at a country music festival near Grand Junction, Colo., after police said she attempted to interfere in the arrest of minors busted for underage drinking and encouraged the accused to run off. Boebert said the revelers had not been read their Miranda rights and that the arrest was illegal.

"Lauren continued yelling and causing the underage drinkers to become unruly,” an arresting officer said in a statement at the time. “Lauren said multiple times that she had friends at Fox News and that the illegal arrest would be national news.” At the time, Boebert was running Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo. The story was first reported by Colorado Newsline.

Boebert subsequently missed two court appearances and was arrested again in December 2015. The charge was dismissed.

A year later, in September 2016, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a ditch, police said. When she failed to show up for court a month later, a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was booked on Feb. 13, 2017. She ultimately pleaded guilty to the unsafe vehicle charge and paid $123.50 in fines and court costs. The careless driving charge was dismissed. The incident was first reported by the Colorado Times Recorder.

"It’s certainly of concern that on a couple of occasions she apparently failed to appear for court,” Tom Silverman, a Democrat and former president of the Colorado Municipal Judges Association, told The Post. “I was disappointed when she was elected.”

Colin Wilhelm, a Colorado defense attorney and Democrat who plans to challenge Boebert in 2022, agreed: “It’s concerning when you claim to be a member of ‘back the blue’ and yet are so anti-authority when they are trying to do their job.”

In September 2010, Boebert was arrested after a neighbor, Michele Soet, accused Boebert’s two pit bulls of attacking Soet’s dog. Soet’s dog narrowly escaped injury after jumping into a van. The future legislator pleaded guilty to a single count of “dog at large,” paying a $75 fine.

Boebert’s future husband, Jayson, also had brushes with law enforcement. In January 2004, he was arrested after allegedly exposing himself to two women at a bowling alley, according to an arrest affidavit. Lauren Boebert (then age 17 and known as Lauren Opal Roberts) was also there. Jayson Boebert pleaded guilty to public indecency and lewd exposure, earning himself four days in jail and two years’ probation.

In February 2004, he was booked on a domestic violence charge, against Lauren Boebert. He “did unlawfully strike, shove or kick … and subjected her to physical contact,” a spokesman for the Garfield associate county court clerk told The Post. They had been dating at the time.

Jayson Boebert ultimately served seven days in jail. The busts were first unearthed by Colorado blogger Anne Landman.

Lauren Boebert took her revenge in May 2004 during an altercation with Jayson at his home in which she scratched his face and chest and trashed his residence, according to a police report. She was slapped with third-degree assault, criminal mischief and underage drinking charges. A rep for the Garfield County Combined Court said they could not reveal any information about the case’s final disposition.

The Boeberts married in 2005, and have four children.

Jayson Boebert did not respond to a request for comment from The Post.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 17, 2021, 11:50:06 AM
Republicans voted against the American Rescue Plan.

Charlie Crist touts $151 Million in Child Tax Cuts for Pinellas families

Pinellas County families have received more than $151 million since July from the Child Tax Credit  payments, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist announced.

That accounts for 72,000 families within Crist’s district. The expanded Child Tax Credit, included in the American Rescue Plan, seeks to cut childhood poverty by 40%. The American Rescue Plan expanded the credit to up to $3,600 per child for children under 5, and $3,000 per child for children ages 6 to 17.

“One of the most impactful parts of that law was a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit,” Crist said of the American Rescue Plan.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 20, 2021, 01:43:31 AM
Corrupt West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin is blocking President Biden's agenda from passing which the overwhelming majority of Americans voted for and want to Build Back Better.

'Not everybody in West Virginia has a houseboat': CNN's Acosta on Joe Manchin


CNN's Jim Acosta called out Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) after he revealed he wouldn't support President Joe Biden's Build Back Better pan that would give Americans the child tax credit, tech neutral energy tax incentives and control of drug prices, as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) explained in his letter to his West Virginia colleague.

@RonWyden releases outline for the pillars of an updated BBB that might fit Sen. Manchin’s criteria while also bringing along progressives.

-Long-term expansion of the current child tax credit

-Tech neutral energy tax incentives

-Rx drug price control




Speaking to CNN political analyst John Avlon, Acosta noted, "I do think that Joe Manchin did mislead a lot of people in his party for many many months," said Acosta. "And yes, he may represent a MAGA state now and so on but not everybody in West Virginia has a houseboat."

"Traditionally one of the things centrists tend to do is they look at what's actually popular as opposed to ideological wishlist items that maybe have a minority of support in America, and they try to bring folks together. And I think the White House has been negotiating in good faith with Manchin," Avlon agreed. "And I think Manchin — you want to take at his word that he had been working with the president. But he pulled the plug the week before Christmas when so many of these items are not only popular but things that Manchin has supported in the past, things that would benefit his own constituents in West Virginia, things that would help the Democratic Party reach out to working-class voters who have suffered from the economic divide."

See the discussion below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 20, 2021, 05:12:24 AM
Bank predicts American GDP will go down because Joe Manchin killed the human infrastructure plan


After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) revealed that he would not support President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" plan, which is known as the "human infrastructure" bill, Dow Futures tumbled. Now, a major world bank is warning that they're readjusting predictions about American GDP.

Sunday evening Investors.com revealed that the stock market is predicted to tumble on Monday. Due to Manchin's interview with Fox News Sunday morning, the big bank Goldman Sachs gives the Biden bill a less than 50-50 chance of passing Congress. The company then lowered its 2022 GDP forecasts for the United States.

It puts Manchin in a difficult position to single-handedly hurt the U.S. economy, tweeted CNBC Contributor James Pethokoukis.

As Goldman said in the statement, "There is also still a chance that Congress retroactively extends the expanded child tax credit, with some modifications, though we think the odds of this occurring are less than even."

There is also a concern that anti-vaxxers are also causing COVID-19 to spread and evolve into yet another variant.

"While many questions remain unanswered, we now think a moderate downside scenario where the virus spreads more quickly but immunity against severe disease is only slightly weakened is most likely," said Goldman economist Joseph Briggs, CNN reported.

See the full statement below or at CNN.com:


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 20, 2021, 12:43:52 PM
How Georgia's Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue conspired against democracy


Anyone in public life who supported, advocated, justified, participated in, financed or helped to organize the scheme to void the 2020 Electoral College vote, take away the voice of the people, and MacGyver state legislatures into keeping Donald Trump in the White House is guilty of conspiring to end American democracy.
History will record that as a fact.

Now, some might disagree. I mean, it’s not as if Republicans just hyped themselves into a frenzy with a totally groundless story about “voter fraud,” then used that frenzy as an excuse to throw out tens of millions of legitimate votes, cancel the election, overrule the American people and re-install a president whom voters had clearly and definitively rejected. If all that had happened, even the skeptics would have to agree they had conspired against democracy.

Of course, all that did happen.

So let’s call out some names:

You, David Perdue. You conspired to end American democracy. As a U.S. senator sworn to defend the Constitution, you instead supported efforts to trash that document. You conspired to throw out the 5 million votes that were cast legally and in good faith by your fellow Georgians so that Republican legislators could substitute their will for the will of the people. You did so for no other reason than you didn’t like the outcome.

You had – and have – no evidence of voter fraud to justify such breathtaking action. The laughable lawsuit that you recently filed accuses Fulton County election officials of “unlawful, erroneous, negligent, grossly negligent, willful, malicious, corrupt, deceitful, and intentional manipulation of votes.” It claims “Fulton County permitted great multitudes of fraudulent persons to fraudulently vote in the General Election using the name(s) of qualified and eligible Georgia voters.”

1. Produce these “great multitudes.” You have made the charge: Back it up.

If what you allege is true, then thousands of legally registered voters in Fulton County – if you believe Trump, tens of thousands – must have been barred from voting on Election Day because when they got to their precincts, they would have been told that somebody else had fraudulently cast ballots in their name through the absentee process.

So produce these “great multitudes.” You cannot. You cannot because they exist only in the land of unicorns, fairies, magic rainbows and GOP lawsuits.

I know, I know – we’ve all heard the excuse: The lawsuits are necessary to uncover the evidence that you’re sure is there. Yet that in itself is a damning admission. Given your support a year ago for blocking the transfer of power to President Biden, it is a confession that you were willing to subvert American democracy based on evidence that to this day you do not have.

Furthermore, in your campaign for governor you have made it clear that you would use the powers of that new office to do even worse in the next election, if given the chance. Indeed, that promise is the entire animating force behind your candidacy. And if you’ve somehow managed to convince yourself that all this nonsense is true, if that self-delusion helps you sleep better at night, it doesn’t make the Big Lie any less of a lie. It just makes you a bigger fool.

But of course, Perdue is far from alone.

You, then-Sen. Kelly Loeffler, joined Perdue last year in supporting a Texas lawsuit that would have rendered 5 million Georgia voters voiceless in the presidential election, based on the false claim of 80,000 forged absentee ballots in our state. Your fellow Republican, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, had condemned that suit as “constitutionally, legally and factually wrong,” but that didn’t deter you in the slightest. No defender of the Constitution or democracy would have taken the momentous step of trying to throw out millions of ballots without overwhelming evidence. You did so with no evidence whatsoever.

Twenty-eight state legislators also joined in supporting that ridiculous lawsuit, as did seven House members from Georgia. Again, we should name names: House members Jody Hice, Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Drew Ferguson, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott: You too have conspired against American democracy. When the vote of the people of Georgia went against your candidate, you tried to silence their voice, and all but Scott did so again on the House floor on Jan. 6.

Hice is now running for Georgia secretary of state, the office entrusted with the sacred power of guaranteeing the fairness and legitimacy of our democratic republic. As with Perdue, the entire reason for Hice’s candidacy is his eagerness to use the powers of that office to succeed next time where he and others failed last time. He has no other platform, no other agenda.

Hice, Perdue and too many other GOP candidates are asking the people of Georgia not just to validate their past attempts to subvert democracy. They are asking that you join in that conspiracy, that you participate in it.

Don’t do that.


Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 20, 2021, 01:08:12 PM
Every House Republican voted against a monthly insulin co-pay cap

About a century ago, Dr. Frederick Banting patented the lifesaving drug insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar  levels by helping one’s body use and store glucose in the bloodstream.

While insulin is naturally produced and secreted by one’s pancreas in healthy individuals, people with diabetes either cannot produce insulin, produce insufficient levels of insulin, or do not respond to the presence of insulin in the bloodstream and thus require alternative medication to control their blood sugar.

Regardless of Dr. Banting’s good will, skyrocketing insulin prices have now put the drug out of reach of many across the globe that Banting sought to help. Back in the 1920s, Banting and his colleagues sold the patent for insulin to the University of Toronto for $1 each. Imagine...

For decades, the diabetes community in America has bore the exhausting weight of heavy insulin costs —  the price of which nearly tripled between 2002 and 2013, according to an American Diabetes Association study. In fact, Americans have paid more than 10 times as much for insulin than Canadians do, according to a commentary published in the Nov. 7, 2019 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Since 2012, list prices of many modern forms of insulin have risen rapidly, with average annual increases cited at more than 15%. As a result, the United States is a global outlier on the amount of money spent on insulin products annually. The U.S. represents approximately 15% of the global insulin market, but generates nearly half of the industry’s insulin revenue.

As a result of high costs, one in four insulin-dependent Americans reported needing to ration their insulin on a monthly basis.

Without a doubt, this is absolutely despicable — and moreover, it’s just flat-out  wrong.

Believe me, if my diabetic grandmother was still here, she’d have some choice words, that’s for darn sure.

Sorry, Lucille.

I hear enough medical dispatches over the scanner on a weekly basis about insulin-related incidents. It’s about time things change. Without a doubt, this is an issue that hits close to home for many Oswego County residents.

Insulin price-gouging and associated high costs in the United States are largely a consequence of the exact opposite of the definition of a “free market,” so much so that a monopoly exists on a lifesaving drug that, if not acquired, could amount to a massive death toll, especially among the senior citizen population of this country.

U.S. laws have allowed “Big Pharma” and pharmaceutical manufacturers set their own prices and raise them without limit. Secondly, as the situation stands, a significant competitor in the U.S. insulin market has not come along to shift things up. It’s complicated to explain, for insulin is a complex compound, and there’s biological barriers that exist as well.

According to Volume 7 of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences, Insulin is a biologic, which is a drug “derived from living materials, including viruses, therapeutic serums, toxins and antitoxins, vaccines, blood and blood products, and cells, tissues, and gene therapy products.” Most drugs are small molecule drugs, which are regulated under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and approved under a New Drug Application (NDA) or associated accelerated pathway. Most biologics are approved through a Biologics License Application (BLA) under the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act). However, insulin was approved before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the biologics approval process and was regulated as a small molecule drug under the FDCA until March 23, 2020. Only three companies — Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, and Eli Lilly — provide insulin to American dependents, despite the existence of several other manufacturers globally.

If you’re confused, that’s totally fine.

What you need to know is this: with multiple barriers to entry in existence, current insulin manufacturers have esentially blocked the introduction of such products by making it virtually impossible to obtaining new patents based on inventions such as insulin delivery devices and products that focus on less invasive measures, such as discreet insulin ports, tubes, etc.

How did any right-minded politician allow this to happen?

It’s too late to ask that question, ‘cause they downright did.

Thankfully, the American Diabetes Association® (ADA) hailed a major victory  recently when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, including the most sweeping nationwide effort to date to put a cap on out-of-pocket co-pays for insulin. The national co-pay cap, which the ADA has aggressively advocated for and promoted, would apply to Medicare beneficiaries, individuals on private insurance, and those covered by other group health plans.

ADA-led efforts around the country advocated for co-pay caps. Thankfully, legislation has been enacted in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

“These states paved the way for this week’s historic action in the House,” said Lisa Murdock, chief advocacy officer for the ADA. “We thank those members of the House of Representatives who supported a national insulin co-pay cap, building on the efforts of state leaders before them. Together, these leaders are working to ensure that millions of people with diabetes will be able to afford their insulin and will not have to skip doses or ration because they don’t have enough money to pay for this life-saving drug,” Murdock said.

Nevertheless, not a single House Republican voted for capping insulin costs in the Build Back Better Act. And you can damn well bet they know people ­— family, friends, coworkers — who are diabetic and dependent on insulin. Many of those people would benefit from a $35/mo. cap on insulin price.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 21, 2021, 04:13:08 AM
'Unfit to serve': Columnist makes case for expelling all pro-Trump coup members from Congress


Writing for USA Today, Jill Lawrence argued that congressional Trump supporters who planned to stop the certification of the 2020 election deserve to be expelled from Congress.

Writing Monday, Lawrence recalled the recent revelation that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was among those who text messaged White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Jan. 5 on ways to overthrow the 2020 election.

A legal analysis forwarded by Jordan to Meadows argued that then-Vice President Pence should "call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all." Meanwhile, after Jan. 6, another lawmaker sent an apologetic text saying that they were "sorry nothing worked," as they attempted to stop the 2020 election results from being certified.

Meanwhile, at the Ellipse, Trump's allies were telling supporters to "fight like hell" because "if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore."

There were 21 Republican state lawmakers who participated in Jan. 6 events, according to a DLCC report. Among those 21 lawmakers, only one has been censured by his home state and that was only after he was arrested after live-streaming himself breaking into the Capitol.
Lawrence noted that it's a stark contrast to members of the U.S. government who were expelled after betraying the United States after its founding.

"Fifteen senators have been expelled, one in 1797 for plotting to give U.S. territories to Great Britain and, more than 60 years later, 14 because of 'support for Confederate rebellion.' The House has only expelled five members – two for corruption and three for 'disloyalty to the Union; fighting for the Confederacy,'" she wrote.

"Support for a rebellion and disloyalty to the nation were hallmarks of the Jan. 6 insurrection," Lawrence continued. "As U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss put it in July when he sentenced defendant Paul Hodgkins, a Tampa, Florida crane operator who carried a Trump flag into the building: 'He was staking a claim on the floor of the United States Senate, not with the American flag, but with a flag declaring his loyalty to a single individual over a nation.'"

It is similar language that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) used when talking about whether Donald Trump "through action or inaction, corruptly sought to obstruct or impede Congress's official proceeding to count electoral votes."

Lawrence closed by arguing that all of those in control -- from President Joe Biden to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland -- "must make examples of public officials who created chaos and brought America to the brink, all so Trump could stay president for life, or until he got bored. They aren't fit to lead or serve in any capacity."

Read the full column at USA Today:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 21, 2021, 11:02:25 AM
Why You Should Care About The Build Back Better Act

The US government may give a tremendous Christmas gift to working families across America: by Christmas, the Senate intends to vote on HR 5376, better known as the Build Back Better Act. While many of the bill’s original features, like community college for all, have been gutted, what remains is still a bill full of provisions that can help increase family income and health care outcomes, and ensure increased tax revenue is available from the wealthy and corporations to help pay for it. Wall Street is confident that it will pass, but with 50 Republican Senators opposed, and one Democrat on the fence, Senator Manchin of West Virginia, that’s not quite so clear. "We have basically 49 of us in agreement to move forward. So we have one colleague we're continuing to work with, and he's been successful at making a number of changes. And so hopefully he'll be joining us," Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Michegan, told NBC.

Particular attention has been given to the needs of red states in Build Back Better. Most of the states struggling with deep-rooted poverty are historically conservative, and stand to benefit from what will be close to $2 trillion invested in human needs and infrastructure. Build Back Better specifically helps the working poor throughout the Deep South and Midwest. Senator Manchin’s West Virginia is next-to-last of all states by median income . Hundreds of thousands of working West Virginians living paycheck-to-paycheck could critically use these resources.

Here are just a few of the reasons why this will benefit Americans, and why the Senate and West Virginia Senator Manchin would be wise to enact this legislation.


1. Working Families Will Have More Cash

Since the American Rescue Plan expanded the Child Tax Credit in March of 2021, the families of over 65 million children have benefited. Notably the impact on child hunger has been great—according to the Center for American Progress, the US Census Bureau found that “After just one payment, food insecurity in households with children dropped by 24 percent.”This will run out in December unless Build Back Better passes, and could plunge close to 10 million children back into poverty. Build Back Better will extend the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for another year, sending $300/month per child to help ease the burden of childcare and necessities.

It will also extend the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for another year, a program that the IRS explains “helps low- to moderate-income workers and families get a tax break. If you qualify, you can use the credit to reduce the taxes you owe – and maybe increase your refund.” EITC is a critical piece of the American social safety net, with the IRS noting that they “estimate that four out of five workers claim the EITC, which means millions of taxpayers are putting EITC dollars to work for them.”

2. Comprehensive Health Coverage For New Moms

The US has long struggled to provide adequate care to new mothers, with maternal mortality on the rise, especially for poor women of color. Build Back Better would add full coverage through the Medicaid program to mothers for a year after birth.

What’s unique about this provision is that it will apply to parents in all states, not just those with broader Medicaid coverage. In most states (and DC), people who make 133% the Federal Poverty Line—about $29,000/year for a family of three—qualify for Medicaid. However there are 13 states that have kept stricter guidelines for Medicaid—in Alabama, for instance, a family of three would have to be under $3,952 in annual income to qualify in 2021. This means that many families in the Deep South, as well as Wisconsin, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Kansas have been locked out of Medicaid.

Build Back Better would extend these programs to all new mothers, regardless of the state’s Medicaid expansion status. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, for the millions of women living in these states and much of the South, the added Medicaid coverage for natal and post-natal care is essential for giving American children a healthy start in life.

3. Insulin Will Be Cheaper

Insulin has infamously been sold in the US at a remarkably high, and to many, seemingly inexplicable markup. It is not scarce. It is not expensive to produce. It is required by 10% of diabetics to survive. And yet, in the US it has become a catastrophic and tragic symbol of the failures of the American health care market. As Senator Dick Durban noted, one manufacturer historically charged close to ten times the price to US consumers as they did to Canadian consumers for the exact same vial of insulin. We could spend a lot of time unpacking how this problem began—or with the Build Back Better Act, just fix the problem.

Even “expensive” types of insulin cost just over $6 to produce, yet monthly supplies can range from $350 to over $1,000 for some people, a surcharge on life. The Build Back Better act would enforce a $35 cap for those on medicare or on private insurance. This still leaves room for a reasonable profit margin, and guarantees that people will not be literally price gouged to death.

4. The Wealthiest .01% of Americans Will Pay More Taxes

Build Back Better establishes a 5% surtax on income above $10M, and 8% for income above $25M. This increase, impacting just over .01% of Americans will help shore up many social programs, bringing back tax revenue lost from Trump-era tax cuts.

IRS enforcement would also get a huge boost with the act, something that is desperately needed. This would mostly be focused on “modernizing” the IRS to help officials close the tax gap — the difference between what the government is owed, and what the government successfully collects.

Taxes on wages are 99% compliant, but the less-visible sources of income common like capital gains are only 45% compliant. This costs American taxpayers more than $600 B each year.

A 2019 ProPublica study found IRS workers simply don’t have the resources to pursue wealthy individuals or businesses who require more complicated audits, which then contributes to the challenge of ensuring that everyone pays their fair share.

5. Corporations Will Pay A Fair Share

The current American tax system is dominated by loopholes that undermine the intentions of the tax code. Warren Buffet infamously pays a lower tax rate than his secretary (though has thoughtfully used this fact publicly to argue for tax reform, a tactic pioneered by groups like Responsible Wealth who organize wealthy individuals to advocate for higher taxes). Many corporations enjoy similarly cushy positions: in 2020, 55 of the nation’s largest corporations like Nike and FedEx paid zero federal income tax on $40B of profits.

To add insult to injury, given various federal rebates, these corporations actually had a 9% negative tax rate! The Build Back Better act should largely pay for itself in large part by ensuring minimum taxes on large companies. It will introduce a 15% domestic minimum tax on large corporations, a 15% global minimum tax for international corporations (in line with the movement to help hold megacorps responsible globally), and a 1% tax on corporate stock buys.

6.Companies That Hurt  Will Be Held Responsible

In the US’ rush to industrialize the country, industries left in their wake numerous heavily polluted sites. Between copper mining, nuclear fuel refining, oil production and much more, the US is peppered with them. Dubbed Superfund sites by the 1980 CERCLA, the EPA set up plans to invest in cleaning up and restoring communities impacted by the 1,322 most contaminated sites.

Much of this was intended to be paid for by those responsible — often petrochemical companies, refinery groups, etc. — but those taxes expired in 1995. Since then, it’s typically been on American taxpayers to foot the bill. The Build Back Better act will reinstate the original Superfund taxes, putting the onus on those who made a mess of communities to pay for their cleanup.

7.Clean Energy Investments For All

Build Back Better will dramatically expand who can claim solar tax credits, as well as offering rebates for installing new green tech like heat pumps, advanced insulation and HVAC system upgrades. Even better, they’re scaled to the effectiveness of the upgrade, instead of the cost, which was a loophole in prior plans. It would also provide an additional 20% tax credit if the installed solar facility is connected to low-income housing, or 10% if it’s located within a low-income community.

Expanding solar tax credits and extending the program for at least ten years will empower thousands of communities and millions of people to gradually help restructure the US’ grid to a decentralized, adaptable one. If people take full advantage of the programs offered, even poor homeowners and renters will be able to build property value, save on energy, and enjoy a more reliable grid — all without pumping poison into the air or risking the lives of energy workers. These provisions in particular have been celebrated by the solar industry in Joe Manchin’s West Virginia.

In summary: we have a bill providing massive benefits to low-income families in red states, despite Republican opposition. A bill that largely pays for itself and ensures the wealthy “pay their fair share,” as Senator Manchin has stated as a positive before—he even voted for the Paying a Fair Share Act back in 2012.  The Senate has a critical choice to make: they can offer Americans healthcare and income, and invest in our future, or plunge ten million children or more back into poverty. Hopefully the Senate does the right thing—so that families who chose to celebrate can ensure there is food on the Christmas table.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 21, 2021, 11:18:57 AM
In less than one year in office, President Biden has:
- driven the fastest decrease in unemployment in US history
- gotten over 200M Americans fully vaccinated
- delivered more than 171M rescue checks
- delivered a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment

Biden's Economic Performance Has Proved Unbeatable
No first-year president going back to Carter comes close to matching the current White House occupant’s No. 1 or No. 2 ranking in each of 10 key measures.

U.S. financial markets are outperforming the world by the biggest margin in the 21st century, and with good reason: America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden's first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.

Exceptional returns from dollar-denominated assets, especially the S&P 500 Index in both absolute terms and relative to its global counterparts, can be attributed to record-low debt ratios enabling companies to reap the biggest profit margins since 1950. Corporate America is booming because the Biden administration's Covid-19 vaccination programs and $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan reduced the jobless rate to 4.2% in November from 6.2% in February, continuing an unprecedented rate of decline during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Consider that real, or inflation adjusted, gross domestic product surged at an average annual rate of 5.03% in each of the first three quarters of 2021, and is poised to expand 5.6% for the year based on the average estimate of more than 80 economists surveyed Bloomberg. If that forecast proves accurate, it would be more than 2.8 times the average between 2000 and 2019 and double the average since 1976.

All of which makes Biden's first year in the White House the standout among the seven previous presidents, based on 10 market and economic indicators given equal weight. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, no one comes close to matching Biden's combination of No. 1 and No. 2 rankings for each of the measures:

Gross domestic product (1)
Profit growth (1)
S&P 500 performance (2)
Consumer credit (1)
Non-farm payrolls (2)
Manufacturing jobs (2)
Business productivity (2)
Dollar appreciation (2)
S&P 500 relative performance (2)

Per capita disposable income, which rose 1.08% this year, is the only comparable weakness for Biden, trailing Donald Trump’s 2.17%, George W. Bush’s 2.01%, Jimmy Carter’s 1.80% and Ronald Reagan’s 1.42%.

GDP growth in every incoming administration during the past four decades never exceeded 2.74% until 2021. Biden is now positioned to surpass Carter (5.01%) as the GDP champion of presidents since 1976. Much of the credit goes to The American Rescue Plan, which poured $66 billion into 36 million households and reduced the child poverty rate by 50%, helping the U.S. recover faster from the pandemic than most other nations.

Leading the Pack
The economy is poised to expand 5.5% in Biden's first year as president

Corporate America was never healthier than under Biden in 2021. Efforts to support consumers flowed through to America’s companies, which are enjoying profit margins of around 15%, the widest since 1950, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Non-financial profit increased 39.3%, making Biden No. 1 among eight presidents with Obama a distant second at 21.6%.

Earnings Bonanza
Corporate profits have boomed in Biden's first year in office

The boom times have allowed companies to reduce net debt as a percentage of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to the lowest since data was compiled in 1990 for companies in the S&P 500. All this helps explain why the stock market under Biden is second only to George H.W. Bush of any incoming president since Carter.

Bull Market
Biden edges Obama for second-best first-year stock performance

Americans are certainly feeling good. Consumer credit surged  $196 billion through October, a record under Biden that is 27% more than the increase under No. 2 Donald Trump ($154 billion). Although some of the gains reflect a rebound from 2020 when the pandemic caused many consumers to retrench, they wouldn’t be adding debt if they weren’t feeling confident.

Feeling Flush
A surge in credit borrowing by consumers signals high economic confidence

The way the jobs market is improving, it’s not hard to see why consumers are in such a good mood. Biden is the only president over the past half century with robust increases in non-farm payrolls (4.3%) and manufacturing jobs (2.6%), approaching the gains enjoyed by Carter in general employment (4.6%) and factory workers (3.9%). Trump, who inherited the longest expansion in modern times and said in 2015 he would “be greatest jobs producer that God ever created,” is an also-ran, with non-farm and manufacturing payrolls inching up 1.4% and 1.3%, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Jobs Boom
Only Carter tops Biden for best growth in payrolls in their first year in office

Companies need all the workers they can get. U.S. business output, a measure of productivity, increased 4.4%, putting Biden ahead of every predecessor except Carter, where it gained 6.25%. No wonder confidence among chief executive officers of the largest U.S. companies soared to a record this year as expectations for hiring, capital investment and sales improved. The Business Roundtable's CEO Economic Outlook index, launched in 2004, rose 10 points to 124 in the fourth quarter, the highest in 20 years.

The good times may extend into 2022. Biden's bipartisan $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act bodes well for the economy and American labor because it will rebuild the nation's deteriorating roads and bridges as well as fund climate and broadband initiatives that create jobs. Even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said his priority was preventing the Biden agenda, voted for the law along with 18 fellow Republicans.

See charts and graphs in link below: 

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 21, 2021, 11:31:38 AM
Joe Manchin and the GOP refused Build Back Better — now 9/11 health care program is in jeopardy

WASHINGTON — The death sentence Joe Manchin declared for President Biden’s massive domestic policy bill is also threatening a key priority of New York lawmakers — plugging a nearly $3 billion gap in the 9/11 health program.

New York’s powerful Democratic congressional delegation, led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Senate and Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney in the House, had hoped to ensure the funding hole was plugged by including the money in Biden’s roughly $2 trillion Build Back Better legislation.

But Manchin, a conservative Democrat from West Virginia, flatly declared in a Fox News interview on Sunday that he would not vote for the legislation, suddenly leaving the 9/11 health program in limbo.

When the health program was made permanent in 2015, some legislators had hoped for more robust funding but were unable to push more through the Republican-controlled Congress.

Since then, more people have signed up for health care related to Ground Zero exposure than anyone expected, and thousands more have gotten sick, often with costly illnesses such as cancer.

The program should have enough money on hand to avoid making cuts for another couple of years but would likely have to begin making hard decisions as soon as 2023.

In defending his decision Monday, Manchin told the West Virginia radio outlet MetroNews that he wanted the entire process restarted with new committee hearings and votes. He also said he declared his opposition over the weekend because he was furious at unspecified actions by White House staff, who he evidently believed were behind some negative stories about him.

“I just got to the wit’s end,” Manchin said.

While there are certainly many other important and larger programs now facing an uncertain future, the situation is all too familiar and painful for advocates and patients in the 9/11 program, who have dealt with congressional wavering for more than 15 years.

“9/11 responders and survivors across the country are going to be at their ‘wits end,’ when they hear that the funding for their medical care is not going to be there,” said advocate Ben Chevat, who runs the 9/11 Health Watch. “I can’t imagine that Sen. Manchin wants them not to get the medical care they need.”

Schumer’s office declined to speak directly to the fate of the 9/11 funding since the majority leader still believes he can get some version of Build Back Better passed. A letter he sent to fellow Democrats on Monday declared he would bring the bill to the floor for a vote in January, and keep pushing to get the larger measure passed.

Maloney said the BBB bill is “an essential piece of legislation that would touch the lives of so many New Yorkers,” but was especially important for 9/11 responders and survivors because of the $2.86 billion for their health care.

She also suggested if the BBB package disintegrates, she would pursue other pathways. “This critical funding is too important for those who have already sacrificed so much, and it remains a priority to get it across the finish line, whether in BBB or another package,” Maloney said.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was the lead author in the Senate of the 9/11 health legislation, also hinted the massive spending bill being held up by the West Virginian isn’t the only way to prevent the 9/11 budget gap.

“Closing the funding shortfall in the World Trade Center Health Program is critical for first responders, survivors and their families who need benefits for 9/11-related health conditions,” Gillibrand said. “There is strong bipartisan support for this important provision and I remain confident that Congress will work together to uphold our promise to those suffering from 9/11-related illnesses.”

Historically, it has been difficult to pass 9/11 legislation on its own, and doing so now would require Congress to start fresh in the new year.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 22, 2021, 08:40:45 AM
'I'm not joking about this': Biden gets angry talking about parents struggling as child tax credit ends

President Joe Biden got angry when talking about the pieces of his Build Back Better plan that would help American families, particularly children. The plan was shot down by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who said that he refused to support the measure. All Republican senators have indicated that they oppose the bill.

Talking about Manchin, Biden said that he doesn't hold a grudge and he's focused on getting the bill done. He then cited an interview with Manchin who said that it wasn't Biden who misled people it, "I mislead you."

"You saw what happened yesterday," Biden continued. "All the talk about how my Build Back Better plan was going to increase inflation and cause debts and all the like. What happened? Goldman Sachs said if we don't pass Build Back Better, we're in trouble because it will grow the economy. Without it, we're not going to grow. What happened? Stock prices went way down. It took a real dip. If you take a look -- everybody thinks because I quoted 17 Nobel laureates saying this will help inflation — think about it in terms of you're a hard working person and you are making $60,000 if you are alone or a mom or dad making $90,000 like a lot of people do and you are worried about inflation. You should be worried about it. It is devastating for working-class and middle-class folks. It really hurts. Where is most of the cost now?"

He said that while costs like gasoline and food may be going up until the pandemic continues to rage, his plan would help families with other costs that are hurting them.

He cited 20 million women who would be able to reenter the workforce because childcare would be significantly reduced. It would stop the increase in costs for insulin, which has grown significantly over just the past 10 years.

"We have 200,000 kids with type 1 diabetes," Biden said. "It costs between 10 cents and $10 to come up with the formula a while ago. Do you know what it costs on average: $560 -- $640 a month. Up to $1,000 a month. What do you do if you're a mom and dad working with minimum wage busting your neck? You look at your kid and you know if you don't get that drug for them? What happened? He could go in a coma or die."

That's when Biden's voice increased and he seemed angry.

"Not only do you put the kid's life at stake, you strip away the dignity of the parent!" he exclaimed. "I'm not joking. Imagine being a parent. Looking at the child and you can't afford and you have no house to borrow against. You have no savings. It's wrong. All the things in that bill are going to reduce prices and costs for middle-class and working-class people. It will reduce their cost."

He closed by saying he intends to continue talking to Manchin, but didn't say whether he'd reach out to more moderate Republicans up for reelection in 2022.

See the video below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 23, 2021, 12:12:39 AM
GOP congressman becomes first Republican to publicly admit he regrets voting to overturn the 2020 election


Only hours after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 election, Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) voted to back the insurrectionists by voting against certifying the vote.

Now Rice is the first Republican to go on record voicing regret for his vote, Politico reported Wednesday.

“In retrospect, I should have voted to certify,” Rice said. “Because President Trump was responsible for the attack on the Capitol.”

“In the wee hours of that disgraceful night, while waiting for the Capitol of our great country to be secured, I knew I should vote to certify. But because I had made a public announcement of my intent to object, I did not want to go back on my word. So yeah, I regret my vote to object," Rice explained.

Rice said Trump "did nothing to stop it" from the safety of the White House.

“There was a coward in that equation, but it wasn’t Mike Pence," he argued.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 23, 2021, 12:31:51 AM
President Biden extends moratorium on student loan repayments

The move is expected to impact the student debt of some 41 million people.

"We know that millions of student loan borrowers are still coping with the impacts of the pandemic and need some more time before resuming payments," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.

"Given these considerations, today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days — through May 1, 2022 — as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery," he said.

The move comes just days after hopes faded for Senate passage of Biden's massive social spending bill.

The president has been unable to muster a Senate majority for his $1.7 trillion "Build Back Better" plan that would address such issues as health care, education and climate change.

Upon taking office in January 2021, Biden directed the Department of Education to pause federal student loan repayments through September.

He later extended the pause until January 31, 2022.

© Agence France-Presse
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 23, 2021, 12:48:44 AM
Criminals working on more corrupt GOP candidates campaigns. 

Stephen Miller and Hope Hicks advising Pennsylvania candidate after Trump’s pick flames out


Top alums of the Trump administration are backing the U.S. Senate campaign in Pennsylvania of hedge fund executive David McCormick.

"The list includes Trump White House veteran Hope Hicks. Hicks, who has been helping McCormick arrange meetings and reach out to people ahead of his anticipated early 2022 announcement, is working on her first campaign since being a top staffer on Trump’s 2016 effort," Politico reported Wednesday. "Two other prominent top staffers in the Trump administration — Stephen Miller and Cliff Sims — are also expected to serve in advisory roles. Several others, including Kellyanne Conway, Tony Sayegh, Matthew Pottinger and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for governor in Arkansas, are also supportive."

Trump backed Sean Parnell for the Pennsylvania Senate seat.

"The only reason Senator 'Gloomy' Pat Toomey is not running for the Senate in Pennsylvania is that I would not give him an endorsement—I feel he has been a terrible representative for both Pennsylvania and the United States, as a whole," Trump said in a September statement. "Fortunately for Pennsylvania, we have a great Senate candidate, Sean Parnell, who I have just given my Complete and Total Endorsement. He will do all of the things that Toomey is incapable of doing."

Less than three months later, Parnell quit the race after losing custody of his children. Now Trump allies are trying their luck with McCormick, who is married to former Trump White House official Dina Powell.

Also running is television personality Mehmet Oz, who goes by Dr. Oz.

"Oz’s team has its own connection to the former president: He has hired Larry Weitzner, who helped craft the TV commercials on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns. The candidate has been making regular appearances on the Fox News Channel program of Sean Hannity, a Trump favorite," Politico reported. "A third candidate, Carla Sands, has been promoting her role as Trump’s ambassador to Denmark."

Read the full report:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 23, 2021, 07:56:54 AM
This 232-year-old power has never been used by Congress — but it could save the republic

The Founders of this nation, and the Framers who wrote our Constitution, created (as Ben Franklin famously said) a constitutional republic: a government “deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed” through citizens’ (then white men) right to vote.

They referred to this as “republicanism” because it was based on the Greek and Roman republics (then thousands of years in the past but still remembered and idealized), and when put into law they called it “a Republican Form of Government.”

Today that form of government in crisis in America, as that core right to vote that defines republicanism is under attack by Republican legislators in red states across our nation.

“In emergency, break glass” is the almost-never-used option available should a building catch fire or otherwise be in crisis. There’s a similar alarm and safety valve built into the US Constitution that, like that glass in so many buildings, has never before been used to protect our republic.

It’s called the Guarantee Clause, and it’s the basis of the Right To Vote Act that has passed the House and is stalled by a Republican filibuster in the Senate.

The Guarantee Clause, however, has never been used as a part of our everyday politics or law: most people, in fact, have never heard of it.

It’s never been used or adopted as law by the courts so it’s essentially “potential power,” a powerful but tightly coiled force quietly waiting for a real emergency, buried deep in our Constitution for 232 years.

But it comes alive when Congress activates it for the first time, which could be right now because the Freedom to Vote Act does just that, explicitly firing it up by name.

Joe Manchin is one of its co-sponsors, although it’s mostly an effort by Senators Klobuchar (its main sponsor), Kaine, King, Merkley, Padilla, Tester, and Warnock. On the Republican side, it appears to have support from Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.

And when you understand the background of the Guarantee Clause, the urgency and the consistency of The Right To Vote Act with the Framer’s vision about the possibility of this political moment is unmistakable:

July 18, 1787

It was a brutally hot summer in Philadelphia that year, and a week and a day after a mob chased down Mrs. Korbmacher on the streets outside Independence Hall (then the seat of the Pennsylvania legislature) and beat her to death for witchcraft.

Inside the Hall, the delegates were writing the Constitution for a new nation, and the question had come up whether the new US government should have the power — or the obligation — to “guarantee” that no state could so change its laws as to deprive its citizens of a “Republican Form of Government.”

This was particularly important, as British law at the time specifically outlawed republicanism: only monarchy was allowed, and citizens had to swear fealty to the king. Nowhere in the “civilized world” of 1787, in fact, was it legal for a nation to elect their own representatives and live under their own laws, all made and enforced “by the consent of the governed” through “a Republican Form of Government.”

At the end of the long, intense day, James Madison wrote a short letter to Thomas Jefferson, who was then the US envoy to France and living in Paris, assuring him he was taking “lengthy notes” but couldn’t fill his mentor in on the details because he was “still under the mortification of being restrained from disclosing any part of their proceedings.”

In fact, those notes taken during the Convention wouldn’t see publication for another roughly 50 years, after all the men in the Hall were dead, a concession to numerous delegates who’d essentially sold out their wealthy acquaintances by ensuring a republican democracy or allowing slavery to continue (there were compromises on both sides, some of which, like the electoral college and setup of the 2-votes-only-regardless-of-population Senate, cripple us to this day).

Before them for debate that day was proposed constitutional language: “That a republican constitution and its existing laws ought to be guarantied to each state by the United States.”

An immediate objection came up from both New York’s Gouverneur Morris and New Jersey’s William Houston, because that language would allow the new states to keep laws that some delegates thought weren’t “republican” in nature.

Morris, in particular, was an outspoken abolitionist and (from the left) wanted slavery phased out, and also opposed (from the right) laws like the one Rhode Island’s legislature was then debating that would have equalized all wealth in that state every 13 years. That “Jubilee” idea was a prescription for chaos, Morris believed, and thus a threat to the new republic.

The judgment of history weighed on Morris. Madison later recounted that, “He came here as a representative of America; he flattered himself he came here in some degree as a Representative of the whole human race; for the whole human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention.”

Thus it was no surprise when Morris rose to object that the proposed language could keep terrible state laws in place.

“Mr. GOUVERNEUR MORRIS thought the resolution very objectionable,” Madison wrote. “He should be very unwilling that such laws as exist in Rhode Island should be guarantied.”

New Jersey’s William Houston, a mathematics professor and abolitionist who served as a Captain in Washington’s army, concurred — although he was more concerned with not wanting to encourage laws that maintained slavery and debt peonage.

“Mr. HOUSTON,” Madison noted, “was afraid of perpetuating the existing constitutions of the states. That of Georgia was a very bad one, and he hoped would be revised and amended.”

At which point several men rose to point out they were debating the power of the federal government to “guarantee a Republican Form of Government” to all the states — but what if power-hungry people in a particular state were to rise up in rebellion and seize control of that state’s government, thus ending statewide republicanism and creating a minor dictatorship or cult?

And then, what if that state then threatened other states’ ability to have a government reflecting the will of the people?

Or tried to take them over either by corrupting them from within or invasion? (This was not an idle fear: both happened just 74 years later in 1861.)

Massachusetts’ Nathaniel Gorham was particularly outspoken about this, given how there had been attempts by both rich landowners and Pilgrim clergy in his state over the past century to turn the state into a dictatorial theocracy (leading Roger Williams to flee and split off Rhode Island in the 1670s).

If such a thing were to happen again and succeed, Gorham wondered, shouldn’t the federal government have the power to intervene so it could guarantee the states around Massachusetts and its residents a republican form of government where those with political power had to answer to “the people” rather than just the clergy or the rich? What if a wealthy oligarch declared himself a monarch?

“Mr. GORHAM thought it strange that a rebellion should be known to exist in the empire,” Madison wrote, “and the general government should be restrained from interposing to subdue it. At this rate, an enterprising citizen might erect the standard of monarchy in a particular state; might gather together partisans from all quarters; might extend his views from state to state, and threaten to establish a tyranny over the whole,—and the general government be compelled to remain an inactive witness of its own destruction.” [emphasis added]

In response, Pennsylvania’s James Wilson, a scholar of Greek democracy and an abolitionist, suggested different language for the Fourth Section of the Constitution’s Fourth Article:

“[T]hat a republican form of government shall be guarantied to each state; and that each state shall be protected against foreign and domestic violence.”

That did the trick.

“This seeming to be well received,” Madison noted, “Mr. MADISON and Mr. RANDOLPH withdrew their propositions, and, on the question for agreeing to Mr. Wilson’s motion, it passed, nem. con.” The convention then adjourned for the day and Madison went home to write his letter to Jefferson.

That day’s debate is what gave us Section 4 of Article IV of the Constitution:

“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

It’s an amazing sentence, that could be as sweeping in its power as the Commerce Clause (which JFK and LBJ used to force integration of the South), but has never really been used in any meaningful way since it was written on that hot summer day in 1787.

The first time this “Guarantee Clause” came before the Supreme Court, slavery was the law of the land and Chief Justice Roger Taney, a former slaveholder, was determined to keep it that way by bottling up that Clause’s power.

Seven years before he tried to cement slavery into the law of every state in the union with his Dred Scott decision, Taney ruled in Luther v Borden (1849) that his Supreme Court would never be allowed to interfere with state’s rights on the basis of the Guarantee Clause.

“Under this article of the Constitution,” Taney wrote, “it rests with Congress to decide what government is the established one in a state.”

In other words, Taney said: The definition of what a ‘Republican Form of Government’ actually means isn’t yet laid out in the law or previous interpretations of the Constitution: therefore, it’s politics. And politics is the province of Congress, not the Supreme Court, which must limit itself to law.

On that foundation, later Supreme Courts repeated Taney’s assertion that the question was political and not one to be decided by the courts: instead it was up to the politicians in Congress if they were going to “guarantee a Republican Form of Government” to — or within — any particular state at any point in the future.

Taney was quoted “lucidly and cogently” in Pacific States Telephone & Telegraph v Oregon (1912) and Chief Justice John Roberts noted in 2019 that, “This Court has several times concluded that the Guarantee Clause does not provide the basis for a justiciable claim.”

Thus, to this day, it’s up to Congress, not the Court, to decide what a “Republican Form of Government” is and how Congress will guarantee it to and/or within every state.

Which brings us to today, and how Congress can end partisan gerrymanders, dial back the power of money in politics, and guarantee the right of every American citizen to vote without undue difficulty.

The opening of the Freedom To Vote Act lays it out clearly:

“Congress also finds that it has both the authority and responsibility, as the legislative body for the United States, to fulfill the promise of article IV, section 4, of the Constitution, which states: ‘The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a “Republican Form of Government.”’” [emphasis added]

The proposed law even notes as justification for its existence how the Supreme Court has dropped — or laid down — the ball and therefore Congress must pick it up:

“Congress finds that its authority and responsibility to enforce the Guarantee Clause is clear given that Federal courts have not enforced this clause because they understood that its enforcement is committed to Congress by the Constitution.”

The Freedom To Vote Act ensures a “Republican Form of Government” in America by providing:

- Automatic voter registration and online registration for 16 year olds who will be 18 and thus eligible to vote in the next election

- Same day voter registration nationwide

- Ends partisan gerrymandering

- Limits campaign contributions to a maximum of $10,000

- Criminalizes “pass through” groups to get around campaign finance laws

- Requires companies to fully and rapidly disclose all election spending over $10,000

- Requires all websites (like Facebook) with more than 50 million users to create a publicly available and publicly searchable archive of political adsBrings web-based election expenditures under the same disclosure rules as TV.

- Makes it a federal crime to prevent a person from registering to vote

- Requires 14 consecutive days for early voting, at least 10 hours each day

- Requires easy access to polling places for rural and college campus voters, and easy access to voting for all voters by public transportationGuarantees that all voters, nationwide, can vote by mail with no excuses necessary

- Guarantees that all voters can put themselves on a permanent vote-by-mail list and automatically receive a ballot in the mail

- Requires states to give voters the ability to track their mail-in ballots to be sure they’re counted or contest any challenge to their ballot

- Forbids states from forcing mail-in voters to have their ballots witnessed, notarized or jump through other onerous hoopsRequires secured and clearly labeled ballot drop boxes in all jurisdictions

- Requires the Post Office to process all ballots on the day they’re dropped off and without postageRequires states to keep voting lines shorter than 30 minutes in all cases and places

- Allows people waiting in line to vote to receive food or water from others

- Gives the right to vote to all felons who have served their sentences, in all states

- Prohibits voter “caging” where failure to return a postcard gets you purged

- Prohibits states from deleting voters from the rolls because they haven’t recently voted

- Empowers voters to sue in federal court any state or local officials who interfere with their right to vote

- Criminalizes intimidating, threatening or coercing any election official or election worker

- Requires federal prosecution of anybody who tries to harm or undermine public officials by doxxing the personal information of an election worker or their immediate familyMakes it a federal crime to publish or distribute false information about elections (when, where, etc.)

- Increases federal penalties for voter intimidation or otherwise interfering with your absolute right to voteKeeps partisan “poll watchers” at least 8 feet from voters in all circumstances, including while voting

- Requires paper ballots in all cases and all elections (there are exceptions for disabled voters)Requires post-election auditsProvides criminal penalties for any candidate or campaign that fails to fully and immediately report any interactions with foreign governmentsGives lower income individuals $25 they can use to give to candidates in $5 or more increments.

The Freedom To Vote Act is more urgently needed with every passing day, as multiple Republican-controlled states openly (and ironically) tear down actual “republican principles” of representative government by continuing to pass laws that pre-rig election outcomes.

Some have even gone so far as to introduce laws that authorize their legislatures to ignore or reject votes they don’t like, in anticipation of the 2024 election.

Passing this law must now be the Senate’s first priority because, “It’s a republic, ma’am, if you can keep it."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 23, 2021, 11:21:36 PM
Joe Biden 'saved Christmas' — and Democrats should put it on a bumper sticker: Morning Joe


Fears that supply chain issues would destroy Christmas failed to materialize — and Democrats should put it on a bumper sticker, according to one MSNBC personality.

That advice came from former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-FL) on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Politico White House bureau chief Jonathan Lemire noted that Biden press secretary Jen Psaki joked that the White House saved Christmas.

"Put it on a bumper sticker," Scarborough advised.

"Republicans would put it on a bumper sticker," he explained. "The White House should put this -- 'the White House that saved Christmas.' If you don't think Republicans wouldn't doesn't that, you don't know Republicans."

Later in the segment, Scarborough explained his thoughts on Democrats' messaging.

"Democrats, they like to apologize or put caveats on bumper stickers. You didn't see 'Make America Great Again' asterisk. It doesn't work that way," he said.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 24, 2021, 12:01:51 AM
Democrats can win the Senate in 2022 -- and make it Manchin-proof


The Democratic Party enters the 2022 midterm elections in far better position than conventional wisdom suggests for maintaining -- and even increasing -- their slim control of the U.S. Senate.

The reason is simple: Math may mean more than history in the upcoming cycle.

History is clear: The American political party in power routinely gets crushed in Congressional midterm elections. In the past 21 election cycles dating back to 1938, the incumbent lost seats in both the chambers 15 times. (Only once, in the first post-911 election of 2002 under President George W. Bush, did it gain in both the House and Senate).

The pattern is especially pronounced in the House, where 19 of those 21 elections saw losses for the party in power. The Democrats hopes of holding their slim control of the House in 2022 therefore seem dim. That would be true even if Republicans didn’t hold their monstrous gerrymandering advantage as the party controlling most statehouses after a Census.

But the Senate is an entirely different matter. Overlooked in most analyses is that the Democrats enter the election in a far stronger position than Republicans based upon the specific seats that are in play.

Two-thirds of the Senate is not up for election in each two-year cycle. So, it is the nitty gritty of the contested third that provides the lens through which election prospects should be viewed.

In the case of 2022, the Democrats enter the race with a significant advantage among the seats not being contested. And of the ones in play, Democrats are defending incumbents while all the vulnerable open seats are currently held by Republicans.

It’s far too early to draw conclusions about next November -- in any direction. But much political talk today focuses upon assumptions of midterm electoral history or even President Biden’s weak poll numbers. Those numbers, too, can change -- just as Donald Trump’s future status in the criminal-justice system might.

When viewed seat by seat in the Senate, the Democrats’ prospects are brighter than their present “woe is me” tenor would suggest.

Here’s an overview:

For starters, there are 66 seats not up in 2022. Of those, Democrats (and independents who caucus with them) hold 36 seats. Republicans hold just 30.

There are 24 seats which appear solid for the party holding them. Of those, 10 are held by Democrats, 14 by Republicans. That brings the total of likely safe seats to 46 Democrats, 44 Republicans.

That leaves 10 seats more realistically in play. CNN labeled them as “most likely to be flipped” in a November analysis. It tracks with projections by the Cook Political Report except for Missouri, which Republicans now fear is in jeopardy, as reported recently at Raw Story.

What’s notable -- and underestimated -- is that of those 10 seats, only four are held by Democrats and six by Republicans. Even more significant, all four Democratic seats are held by incumbents seeking reelection, while four of the six Republican seats are open seats in which the incumbent is retiring.

Incumbency remains an advantage for both sides. According to data at opensecrets.org, in the past 40 years the reelection rate of Senate incumbents has dropped below 82% only three times (75% being the lowest). And it has been as high as 96.3%.

Barring a dramatic upset on either side in the “safe” seats, the Democrats could maintain their perilous 50-50 “majority” in the Senate by defending their incumbents. That presumes no flips among the six Republican seats in play.

If they can hold their current seats, Democrats then would need just one pickup among the six Republican seats in play to “Joe Manchin-proof” their caucus at 51 members. They’d need a second pickup to get to 52 for a cushion that might diminish the influence of the likes of moderate Sen. Kirsten Sinema of Arizona.

Nothing is certain nearly 11 months before any election. But here’s a snapshot of the 34 seats up for election in 2022, beginning with the 10 most likely in play:


Arizona: Sen. Mark Kelly. He unseated Sen. Martha McSally in a 2020 special election by 88,000 votes, or 2.4%. That was tight, but more than eight times Biden’s 10,467 win in that cycle. Kelly raised $8 million in the last quarter alone, CNN reports. And there’s this on the other side: “The primary in Arizona is still a free-for-all that's causing some concern for the GOP. As the major statewide elected official in the race, Attorney General Mark Brnovich would seem to start with an advantage, but he raised only $564,000 in the third quarter, which would be mediocre money for a candidate in a competitive House district, let alone a top-tier Senate race. He's also taking incoming fire from his GOP rivals. A super PAC backing Blake Masters, the president of the Thiel Foundation, is attacking Brnovich on the air on immigration.” All that said, Arizona is the least blue of the incumbent seats Democrats are defending.

Georgia: Sen. Raphael Warnock. He unseated Sen Kelly Loeffler in a 2020 special election runoff by 93,000 votes or 2%. Stacey Abrams’ announcement this month that she will make another run for governor ensured that Georgia will likely be the most-watched state in the 2022 elections. It also is a good sign for Warnock, according to strategist Donna Brazile, according to the New York Times: “What he’ll get from Stacey is somebody who can stir up the electorate to get the results he needs to win in 2022,” Ms. Brazile said.” The Times added, “Herschel Walker, the Georgia college football legend backed by Mr. Trump, is the favorite among seven Republicans who have filed to run so far. He has faced repeated accusations of threatening his ex-wife.” Warnock smashed Georgia fundraising records in the third quarter to emerge with $17.2 million in hand. He will undoubtedly be running against a well-funded opponent, but his own numbers show Warnock is ready to battle.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto. A two-term incumbent, she won reelection in 2016 by the same 2.4% margin that Trump lost the state in that year and 2020. But unlike the other Democrats on this list, Masto -- the Senate’s lone Latina -- seems certain to face a well-known candidate with unified Republican support in former state Atty. Gen. Adam Laxalt. The grandson of former Nevada senator and governor Paul Laxalt, he was among the most vocal advocates of Trump’s Big Lie in the 2020 election. Laxalt lost a 2018 bid for governor, but he is supported by both Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Nevada Independent reports that Masto starts the race with better approval ratings than Laxalt and a 4-point lead.

New Hampshire: Sen. Maggie Hassan. She unseated Sen. Kelly Ayotte in 2016 by just 1,017 votes. But the moderate Hassan received good news last month when her most formidable Republican challenger -- Gov. Chris Sununu -- ruled out a race for her Senate seat, as has Ayotte. Reports the Times: “Sununu's announcement that he would forgo the race disappointed national Republicans, who had been salivating over taking out Hassan. Had he run, this seat would have shot near the top of the list of seats likely to flip. Republicans have long maintained that Hassan would be among the most vulnerable incumbents even without the governor running, but as of now they don't have an A-list candidate.” Biden won the state by seven points in 2020.


California: Sen. Alex Padilla

Colorado: Sen. Michael Bennet

Connecticut: Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Hawaii: Sen. Brian Schatz

Illinois: Sen. Tammy Duckworth

Maryland: Sen. Chris Van Hollen

New York: Sen. Chuck Schumer

Oregon: Sen. Ron Wyden

Vermont: Open

Washington: Sen. Patty Murray


Alaska: Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Alabama: Open

Arkansas: Sen. John Boozman

Idaho: Sen. Mike Crapo

Indiana: Sen. Todd Young

Iowa: Sen. Chuck Grassley

Kansas: Sen. Jerry Moran

Kentucky: Sen. Rand Paul

Louisiana: Sen. John Kennedy

North Dakota: Sen. John Hoeven

Oklahoma: Sen. James Lankford

South Carolina: Sen. Tim Scott

South Dakota: Sen. John Thune

Utah: Sen. Mike Lee

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 24, 2021, 12:08:25 AM
A 'flood' of right-wing 'dark money’ played a major role in Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation


Although Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the United States’ last eight presidential elections, six of the U.S. Supreme Court’s nine justices are Republican appointees — including Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose confirmation was rammed through the U.S. Senate only a month before then-President Donald Trump was voted out of office. The far right wanted Barrett confirmed ASAP, and according to Daily Poster reporters Andrew Perez and Julia Rock, “conservative dark money” played a major role in Barrett’s “confirmation campaign.”

Perez and Rock, in an article published on December 19, report, “A conservative dark money group led by former President Donald Trump’s judicial adviser Leonard Leo bankrolled Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation campaign with nearly $22 million in anonymous cash, while another nonprofit that Leo helps steer saw a fundraising bonanza and showered cash on other organizations boosting Barrett, according to tax returns obtained by The Daily Poster. The new tax returns shed light on how Barrett’s successful last-minute confirmation campaign was aided by a flood of dark money.”

Those tax returns, the reporters add, “also reveal the rapid growth of Leo’s already highly successful dark money network and its tentacles in the broader conservative movement.”

“Leo is a longtime executive at the Federalist Society, a group for conservative lawyers,” Perez and Rock explain. “He formed the Rule of Law Trust (RLT) in 2018, and the group quickly raised nearly $80 million. RLT started spending that money in 2020, donating $21.5 million to the Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), another group steered by Leo that played a key role in Republicans flipping the Supreme Court and building a conservative supermajority.”

Perez and Rock add that JCN “spent millions pressing Republican senators to block (President Barack) Obama’s 2016 Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, and subsequently spent millions boosting each of Trump’s High Court nominees — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Barrett — all while Leo was advising Trump’s judicial strategy.”

The fact that JCN opposed Garland’s nomination so vehemently speaks volumes. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016, Obama went very centrist with his Garland nomination; he didn’t nominate someone as liberal as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Chief Justice Earl Warren. And Obama was more than willing to meet Republicans half way.

In fact, Garland, as U.S. attorney general under President Joe Biden, has cited Edward Levi — Republican President Gerald R. Ford’s attorney general during the mid-1970s — as his role model for how the U.S. Department of Justice should operate. Ford, of course, was vice president under President Richard Nixon before Nixon resigned, in August 1974, because of the Watergate scandal. And the JCN is so far to the right that they consider even the legal and judicial standards of the Ford Administration too liberal.

"Leo also helps direct the 85 Fund, a charitable organization being used to fiscally sponsor a host of conservative nonprofits, including the Judicial Education Project, which has long been JCN’s sister arm,” Perez and Rock note. “The 85 Fund reported bringing in nearly $66 million in 2020, according to its latest tax return. That’s a huge increase over the roughly $13 million the organization raised in 2019, per OpenSecrets, which found the majority of the 85 Fund’s 2020 money came from DonorsTrust, a group known as a ‘dark money ATM,’ for its use as a pass-through vehicle.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 24, 2021, 11:22:13 PM
These right wing MAGA's are despicable.

Defiant MAGA candidate replaces prohibited 'Let's Go Brandon' Christmas display with larger 'FJB' lights

A Trump-loving congressional candidate in Florida has replaced his controversial "Let's Go Brandon" Christmas display with a lighted "FJB" sign that is nine times larger.

Both displays, of course, are intended to convey the same message: "F*** Joe Biden."

Martin Hyde was facing fines of up to $150 per day from his homeowners association in Sarasota over the "Let's Go Brandon" sign, which he created with lighted letters on a second-floor balcony facing the street, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The display included an inflatable Santa Claus standing behind the sign on the balcony.

"Hyde has embraced 'Let's Go Brandon' as he tries to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan from the right. He had bumper stickers and shirts made with the phrase on them," the newspaper reports. "Known for being provocative and outspoken, Hyde hired Roger Stone, a famous GOP provocateur, as a campaign consultant. So it may not be surprising that his Christmas display also would veer into the realm of provocation."

After being warned about the "Let's Go Brandon" display by the homeowners association, Hyde took it down and unveiled lighted "FJB" letters on Wednesday night. He says the new display cost him $1,000 to have made, and he's willing to risk being fined for it.

"He parked his campaign bus outside and played music while offering free pizza, beer and wine to supporters," the newspaper reports. "He gave a speech and then unveiled large lettering wrapped in Christmas lights that read "#FJB."

“When you poke the bear, there are outcomes and circumstances," Hyde told the newspaper.

"We had a blast in Sarasota pushing back on 'Cancel culture,'" he wrote above video from the event on Facebook.

Hyde, who reportedly lives in a liberal-leaning neighborhood, accused the homeowners association of selectively enforcing its ban on signs.

"If I put a message up there they liked, they’d be slapping me on the back," he said. "It’s got everything to do with they don’t like what it says."

But homeowners association president John Habbert said the dispute has nothing to do with politics.

"When he purchased his house, Mr. Hyde signed documents stating that he would abide by all HOA rules -- including no signs other than house numbers or For Sale notices," Habbert said. "Other residents have been asked to remove signs and have complied without any problems, but Mr. Hyde refuses to do so."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 27, 2021, 12:43:09 AM
Ron DeSantis flattened by top Florida paper for fear-mongering in Christmas Day editorial


Florida's Republican governor was blasted for being a "reactionary and authoritarian" liar in a hard-hitting Christmas Day editorial published by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

"Remember the boogeyman, that specter your parents invoked to make you behave? Almost every culture has one. So do politicians when they want to create fear. Gov. Ron DeSantis has a boogeyman for the people of Florida. It is a real thing known as critical race theory — a discipline taught at some colleges but not in Florida public schools," the newspaper explained. "The governor wants nonetheless to ban it from schools and, for good measure, from the human resource policies and sensitivity training courses of privately owned businesses. That is not conservative; it is reactionary and authoritarian."

DeSantis calls his proposal the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act.

"It perpetuates two persistent great lies: That racism did not have a major influence on American history and that it is not an issue now," the newspaper explained. "That is the current dogma of DeSantis’s Republican Party in its determination to retain the allegiance of white voters who are terrified of losing social and political dominance to changing demographics. Demonization of critical race theory, by making it into a boogeyman, is one front in the Republican culture wars. DeSantis would make Floridians ignorant of the most troublesome aspects of our past, present and future."

The editorial board concluded that DeSantis "knows critical race theory isn’t being taught in the schools," but is lying about the issue anyway.

"There’s been nothing like the DeSantis bill in the 96 years since Tennessee outlawed the teaching of evolution. John Scopes, a high school teacher, volunteered to test the law in what became known, to the state’s everlasting mortification, as the 'monkey trial.' Tennessee failed to repeal science, of course, but it did stunt the intellectual growth of a generation of children," the newspaper explained. "In the same vein, Virginia textbooks in the mid-20th century fed students a fiction of happy slaves who loved their kindly masters. One particularly deceitful illustration portrayed a well-dressed Black family — father, mother and children — being welcomed with a handshake aboard a slave ship."

The newspaper explained the impacts of DeSantis' lies.

"Although the Civil War ended slavery, it took another century to outlaw Jim Crow. But the effects persist, documented by the racial disparities in employment, income and incarceration; in ghettoes segregated by government housing policies; and by how Republican legislatures try to suppress Black votes. These truths are evident almost everywhere that honest eyes look," the editorial board wrote. "In truth, no one is teaching kids to hate our country or each other, but we do need to teach them not to hate each other, even unconsciously, and to recognize prejudices for what they are. That cannot be done by pretending they do not exist."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 27, 2021, 01:00:32 AM
Wisconsin  Republicans pump new life into scrutinizing the 2020 election
The aim of the investigations has shifted to trying to subvert election boards and long-standing voting protocols

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — The cash bar was open for business, the Lilydale Dance Hall decked out in holiday garland, but Michael Gableman wasn't here with good tidings.

The attorney stood in front of Republican activists to share horror stories he'd heard in his investigation of the 2020 election: ballot harvesting, dead people left on state voter rolls and private grants to operate COVID-era elections used to get out the vote for Joe Biden, some claims misleading, some unsubstantiated. Gableman admitted he doesn't think China or Russia hacked into voting machines, but they easily could have.

"I don't think there's anything too confusing about taking the dead people off of the voter rolls," Gabelman said under the holiday lights, a stark reminder that more than a year had passed since Donald Trump lost the presidency.

Scenes like this are playing out across Wisconsin in the most aggressive effort by Republicans in any battleground state to pump new life into scrutinizing the last election. While some of the players are the same, their aim is different than it was a year ago, when groups unsuccessfully tried to overturn results that elected Biden. Republicans' focus now is trying to subvert election boards and long-standing voting protocols in Wisconsin ahead of the critical midterm and 2024 presidential race.

"What you are seeing are people literally advocating for maybe having an election but allowing the state Legislature to override it regardless of who wins and install their own preferred candidate," said Ann Jacobs, the Democratic chair of the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, which is under attack by Republicans. "For a while it was sort of done quietly, and now it is just out in the open, this advocacy for the elimination of democratically elected representatives."

Gableman's taxpayer-funded investigation into the election has stretched on for months, flooding the state's large cities with data requests. He's asked to jail the mayors of Madison and Green Bay if they don't comply with requests for private interviews. Some Republicans are calling for mass resignations from people who run Wisconsin elections. The Racine County Sheriff wants criminal charges brought against most members of the the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

"On the one hand, it's absolutely laughable because there's no legal basis here. They clearly don't know what they're doing," Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said. "On the other hand, it's terrifying because it illustrates the lengths they are willing to go to cast doubt on our elections."

Madison's election clerk has faced death threats, poll workers are frustrated and morale in the office is low, Rhodes-Conway said, as the latest push sows fresh doubts among voters about unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud. She said Gableman's current investigation is just "one piece of the picture."

"If you couple that with all of the lawsuits, all of the elections-related complaints, the legislation that has been introduced and in some cases passed to make it more difficult to vote, the dialogue and the conversations in the public sphere and the press, that's what worries me," she said. "All of that adds up to setting the stage for state legislatures around the country to overturn the will of the people in democratically conducted elections."

Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has gone the furthest. He says a provision in the U.S. Constitution allowing state legislatures to set the time and place of federal elections means Republicans who control the statehouse could simply take over federal races without the approval of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The Legislature has done the work of setting the time and place of federal elections by passing laws that were signed by a governor, said Kevin Kennedy, who ran elections in the state for more than three decades. To undo those, Kennedy says lawmakers would have to get approval from the governor again.

"It really is part of the total strategy for 2022 and 2024, which is to say you can't trust the election process unless we are in charge," he said. "It's ironic that they are going to take that position, because most of what they are doing is being very, very critical. They are not offering constructive alternatives."

Republicans controlled the governor's office and Legislature when they created the Wisconsin Elections Commission in 2016, after controversies prompted them to shut down a different accountability board, run by Kennedy.

But in the wake of Trump's roughly 21,000-vote loss in the state, Republicans have scrutinized decisions made by the evenly-split commission during the pandemic, including a ruling last March to not send special voting deputies into nursing homes to assist residents.

No one criticized the bipartisan vote at the time, which commissioners argued was necessary as nursing homes closed their doors to most visitors. But the Racine County Sheriff said in an October press conference that investigators in his office have now heard examples of staff taking advantage of residents in one care facility as they tried to vote.

He said the commission violated the law by not allowing deputies in, calling for felony charges against five of its six members. No prosecutors in the state have moved on his request.

"It's not up to me to decide what's legal or what's not," said Robert Spindell, a Republican appointee on the elections commission who has supported calls to dig into the 2020 election. "It's really irrelevant whether there was any fraud or not, the point here is that there are many people who do not have faith in the elections, or that it was handled fairly, and we need to have these questions answered."

The Wisconsin Legislature ordered an investigation from the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau, which found no new evidence of voter fraud, but recommended dozens of changes to the elections commission.

Republicans in the assembly and Gableman are also zeroing in on a shared $6.3 million election administration grant from the Mark Zuckerberg-funded Center for Tech and Civic Life, which was split among the state's five largest cities last year. The grants were given to help administer COVID-safe elections, but Republicans allege the money gave too much information to outside groups over how elections were run.

Election leaders and city officials have said they're proud of the actions they took in extraordinary circumstances to make sure people were able to safely exercise their democratic right to vote during the pandemic. Everything was done out in the open, including in more than 40 hearings held by the elections commission last year, Jacobs said.

"It's really a rejection of government as something that can be trusted and function appropriately," she said. "And the misguided believe that what we feel is more important than what is real."

Part of the issue for Republicans is that they're stuck, said Rep. Mark Spreitzer, the Democratic lead on the assembly's election committee. Recounts and the courts in Wisconsin upheld the results of the 2020 election, and the governor vetoed Republican-backed election law changes.

Assembly Republicans have held sporadic hearings on the election over the last year and Speaker Robin Vos brought in Gableman, a retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, to conduct his investigation. Vos's office did not return a request for comment.

"In almost all cases, it is clear at least to me that there's not going to be any finding of actual illegality and wrongdoing under current laws," Spreitzer said.

Gableman's inquiry has faced criticism from the start as a partisan effort. The investigation is staffed by several people with connections to Trump and past efforts to overturn the election results. Gableman's office did not respond to a request for comment.

Republican state Sen. Kathleen Bernier, a former elections clerk who leads the chamber's elections committee, wants the investigation to wrap up its work.

She criticized Gableman's meetings as "jazzing up" the base, but she's worried it will have the opposite effect, depressing turnout from Republicans who don't trust the systems her colleagues have been attacking.

"This is a charade, what's going on with this constant drumbeat of all the massive voter fraud," she said at a press conference this month. "This country was based on states' rights and individual liberty, and we are being played from the top down."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 27, 2021, 01:20:33 PM
Thanks Biden!

U.S. holiday spending rose at fastest pace in 17 years, despite Delta and Omicron

U.S. holiday sales rose 8.5 percent over 2020, the biggest gain in 17 years, Mastercard SpendingPulse reported Sunday. Consumers also spent 10.7 percent more in the holiday season compared with the same Nov. 1-Dec. 24 period in 2019, before the pandemic. Mastercard, whose survey tracks spending on all kinds of goods and services (though not automobiles), had forecast an 8.8 percent jump for holiday buying back in September, before the Delta coronavirus wave peaked and the Omicron variant roared in.

Online purchases continued their upward trajectory, rising 11 percent over 2020 and 61 percent versus 2019, Mastercard said, but sales at bricks-and-mortar stores also rose 8.1 percent versus 2020. "The consumer is extremely healthy and has held up really well," said Stephen Sadove, a senior adviser to Mastercard and the former CEO of Saks. "No longer are people just staying at home in sweatpants," he added. "They are going back to the malls."

Consumer spending rose significantly on clothing (47 percent rise over 2020), jewelry (32 percent jump), and electronics (16 percent rise), Mastercard's report found. Concerns about supply chain disruptions and delivery delays prompted many Americans to start their Christmas shopping in October, The Wall Street Journal reports, muting the effects of COVID-19's latest resurgence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 28, 2021, 12:58:32 PM
REVEALED: Gov. Greg Abbott intervened to put a positive spin on Texas' power grid


The two most powerful people overseeing Texas’ electric grid sat next to each other in a quickly arranged Austin news conference in early December to try to assure Texans that the state’s electricity supply was prepared for winter.

“The lights are going to stay on this winter,” said Peter Lake, chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, echoing recent public remarks by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Two weeks earlier, Abbott had told Austin’s Fox 7 News that he “can guarantee the lights will stay on.” The press conference that followed from Lake and the chief of the state’s independent grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, came at the governor’s request, according to two state officials and one other person familiar with the planning, who were not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“It was 150% Abbott’s idea,” said one of the people familiar with the communication from Abbott’s team. “The governor wanted a press conference to give people confidence in the grid.”

A source close to Lake said the idea for the press conference was Lake's, and the governor supported it when Lake brought up the idea during a meeting.

Abbott has for months been heavily involved in the public messaging surrounding the power grid’s winter readiness. In addition to the press conference, he has asked a major electric industry trade group to put out a “positive” public statement about the grid and has taken control of public messaging from ERCOT, according to interviews with current and former power grid officials, energy industry trade group representatives and energy company directors and executives.

But the messaging has projected a level of confidence about the grid that isn’t reflected in data released by ERCOT or echoed by some power company executives and energy experts who say they’re worried that another massive winter storm could trigger widespread grid failures like those that left millions of Texans without power in February, when hundreds of people died.

Abbott has also met one-on-one with energy industry CEOs to ask about their winter readiness — but those meetings happened weeks after Abbott made his public guarantee about the grid.

“You’d think he would have asked to meet with us before saying that,” one person involved in the energy company meetings, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said of Abbott’s guarantee.

Ten months after the power grid failures caused hundreds of deaths and became national news, an election year is approaching and Abbott’s two top primary challengers and his top Democratic challenger have already been harshly criticizing the governor over his handling of the power grid.

“It might be a good political move, but it’s just a political move,” Peter Cramton, an energy markets expert and former ERCOT board member who resigned after the storm, said of Abbott’s promise. “It’s not surprising. His fate is on the line. So this is a sensitive political issue now.”

For many Texas energy officials and experts, the line has blurred between Abbott’s executive leadership on the power grid and his 2022 reelection campaign. By promising the lights will stay on, Abbott has wagered that Texas doesn’t experience widespread extreme weather this winter — and that the grid will work the next time freezing weather hits the state.

“The Governor is deeply engaged with the new commissioners at the PUC and the new leadership at ERCOT as they work to improve the Texas electric grid,” Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokesperson, said in a statement. “The House and Senate passed substantial reforms this year, and Governor Abbott is working to ensure those reforms are properly implemented so that the grid provides stable and reliable power for the state.”

Lake, who was appointed by Abbott and whose agency oversees ERCOT, said he has met frequently with Abbott since the summer.

“He’s super focused on it and wants to know what’s going on,” Lake said in an interview.

A majority of power companies have spent money since February preparing their equipment for extreme winter weather, but some say the grid won’t be ready if another storm as powerful as February’s strikes this winter because lawmakers didn’t require gas companies — which supply fuel to more than half of the state’s power plants — to be weatherized immediately.

“What I'm uncertain about is the gas supply,” Cramton said. “That’s the big question.”

2022 opponents use grid failures to attack Abbott

While a warming earth has brought milder winters, Abbott’s bet could be complicated by emerging science that suggests extreme cold spells in Texas could also result from climate change messing with complex weather processes.

But even though Abbott’s promise in late November was a gamble on the weather this winter, his guarantee was more likely an effort to boost his reelection campaign in 2022, Texas political communication experts said.

“I don’t think it's a coincidence he's responding with a guarantee about the power grid almost immediately in the aftermath of Beto O'Rourke's entry into the race because that's been O'Rourke's frontline attack,” said Stephanie Martin, a scholar of political communication at Southern Methodist University.

Abbott has faced criticism over the power grid from O’Rourke and both of his best-known Republicans primary opponents, Allen West and Don Huffines.

“Greg Abbott said we did everything we needed to do to fix ERCOT,” Huffines, a former state senator, said in November. “Obviously that is not the case. Texans deserve a governor who can keep the lights on.”

“This ‘promise’ is dangerous, potentially deadly,” O’Rourke said. “Experts continue to warn that Texas could face another grid failure the next time we experience an extreme weather event. Abbott and his appointees shouldn’t be betting our lives on the weather.”

The issue has animated voters, too. In a University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll of 1,200 registered voters in October, respondents expressed major disapproval for the state’s handling of the reliability of the grid after February’s catastrophe. Only 18% of voters approved of how state leaders handled the issue, while 60% of voters disapproved. Even state lawmakers have shown frustration that the new laws they passed earlier this year to prepare the grid for extreme weather haven’t led to enough preparations ahead of this winter.

When Abbott has been asked in recent months about criticism of the state’s handling of the winter storm crisis, he has responded that he “signed almost a dozen laws that make the power grid more effective” and he’s praised regulators for working to implement new rules following guidance from lawmakers and from Abbott.

“In politics, when you’re explaining, you're losing, and to try to talk about what happened last February in a way that doesn't just accept the abysmal failure of the Abbott administration means he has to try to explain something that's almost impossible to explain,” Martin said. “The only way out of that is to not acknowledge it — by promising it will never happen again.”

Dictating the message

When Brad Jones took over as ERCOT’s interim CEO in the spring — after the previous CEO and many board members resigned after the grid catastrophe — he began by promising that ERCOT would be more transparent with the public and state leaders.

“My guarantee to you is that we intend to communicate more clearly than we’ve done in the past,” Jones said during his first public hearing with lawmakers. “To remove industry jargon, to speak to you in ways that all of us can understand.”

In recent months, however, ERCOT has been nearly silent on social media and its leaders have barely spoken publicly. People familiar with ERCOT’s operations say the organization has needed to receive approval from the governor’s office for most of its public communications, a stark contrast to how the grid operator did business in the past.

Every spring and fall, ERCOT releases its report assessing potential scenarios for the grid during more extreme weather. And the organization’s technical experts typically brief reporters on the assessment to help translate complex electricity jargon into plain language that the general public can understand.

This fall, that briefing never happened. Instead, ERCOT simply posted its assessment for this winter to its website on a Friday afternoon in November. The report concluded that the Texas grid is still vulnerable to blackouts during severe winter weather, even with new preparations.

“We just made a mistake on that,” Jones said about not holding the briefing, adding that rather than big press conference calls, he’s been focusing on touring the state, listening to Texans and doing interviews with local media.

“First piece of it is, I need to listen,” Jones said. “I need to hear them tell me what they went through. That’s an important part of the healing process.”

Another biannual report, called the Capacity, Demand and Reserves report, contains a multiyear forecast of peak electricity demand and the expected generation resources available. The assessment is released every May and in early December. The report has not yet been released this month because the governor’s office is still reviewing it, according to people familiar with the delay. A recent ERCOT email said the report is now scheduled to be released on Dec. 29.

It’s not uncommon for elected officials to become much more hands-on in the aftermath of disasters, said Amy Myers Jaffe, an energy expert and advisor who worked in Texas for more than two decades: “There’s an element of ‘the buck stops here.’”

But Myers Jaffe said decision-making at ERCOT, an organization that Abbott immediately blasted after the storm in February, should be left alone by politicians who don’t have electricity expertise.

“An independent, nonprofit technical organization should be making its decisions based on fulfilling its mission, and its communications should be about the actions it’s taking to fulfill that,” said Myers Jaffe, who now runs Tufts University’s Climate Policy Lab. “It shouldn't be politicized.”

But much of the public messaging this year from the grid operator has had to be approved by a governor who’s running for reelection, according to people familiar with the matter.

“I think the challenge is now that it would be very hard for the ERCOT communications office to do something that isn't viewed as political,” Cramton said.

As November turned to December, Abbott’s team asked the Association of Electric Companies of Texas to put out a “positive” statement about the power grid’s readiness for winter, according to four people in the energy industry familiar with the request. AECT, a major industry trade group, was its public face in the aftermath of the storm, testifying before lawmakers and lobbying on behalf of major power companies.

On Dec. 8, the same day as Lake and Jones’ news conference, AECT released its statement. The message stopped short of making definitive claims about the lights staying on this winter but did go into detail about preparations power plants and transmission and distribution facilities have made. It also thanked “Texas leaders and the Legislature for their efforts during the past session to strengthen the resilience of the grid, as well as AECT’s member companies for their efforts to prepare for this winter for the benefit of Texas consumers.”

After public promise, Abbott met with energy CEOs

Nearly three weeks after promising the lights wouldn’t go out this winter — and after Lake echoed him in the December press conference — Abbott’s team arranged for several energy companies to meet with the governor in Austin. Energy companies and executives meeting with the Texas governor is not uncommon, but the timing was curious to some companies involved, as well as to power grid officials and political scientists.

The mid-December meetings included large energy companies Calpine, Kinder Morgan, NRG, Vistra and Energy Transfer Partners — whose CEO, Kelcy Warren, gave $1.1 million to Abbott immediately after this year’s regular legislative session.

The executives and others involved in the meetings told the Tribune that the opportunity to sit down with the governor was important as the energy industry and state leaders try to assure Texans wary of winter that the power will stay on this year.

Abbott asked the energy CEOs detailed questions about their expectations for the coming months, their companies’ readiness for winter and whether the CEOs feel ready for another severe winter storm, according to people in the meetings.

"It was literally, like: ‘If we have another (Winter Storm) Uri, are y’all going to be ready?’” said a person involved in one of the meetings, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “We said, ‘Yes.’ He said: ‘Tell me why, what is different?’”

The person added: “He was really in fact-finding mode. He didn't say: ‘You guys better be ready.’ It was: ‘I want to know if your company is ready and, if so, I want to know why.’”

Companies that spoke to the Tribune said they laid out to the governor how they had been preparing their facilities for winter.

Calpine CEO Thad Hill said in a written statement that the governor “was doing his direct due diligence ensuring the grid would be reliable this winter.” NRG CEO Mauricio Gutierrez welcomed the opportunity “to highlight our companywide winter-readiness efforts to meet the energy needs of our growing state,” NRG said in a statement.

Vistra CEO Curt Morgan, who has criticized the state’s natural gas producers for not adequately preparing for extreme winter weather, told Abbott that Vistra “has invested more than $50 million to further harden its power generation fleet in Texas, focused on learnings from Winter Storm Uri,” Vistra said in a statement.

Still, some wondered why Abbott didn’t gather information from the energy CEOs before promising the lights would stay on during the next winter storm.

“If it were truly about executive leadership and government transparency, then you wouldn't get what almost amounts to a slogan: ‘I guarantee,’” Martin said. “You’d get a meaningful articulation of what's behind the guarantee.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 28, 2021, 01:20:50 PM
Swing voters are angry with GOP critics of the Jan. 6 riot committee


New data from two online focus groups spearheaded by the Swing Voter Project revealed that Republicans who disrespected the January 6 committee were not winning over swing voters. The two online focus groups on Dec. 14 consisted of four Republicans, three Independents and six Democrats, according to The Bulwark.

Key takeaways from the group of 13 Trump-to-Biden voters in key swing states included the need for accountability and an understanding of how and why the U.S. Capitol riots commenced - and how to stop it from happening again.

Data showed that Democrats, meanwhile, remained on firm political ground with “persuadables” when they endorsed the committee’s investigation.

Only one respondent thought said the Jan. 6 committee was a waste of time and money. Other responses were exploratory.

“People need to be held accountable. That was a terrible day in our history,” said Sherrie, 64, from Pewaukee, Wisconsin.

RELATED: The public part of the Jan. 6 committee is about to begin

“[Trump] wants to run again for president, so I think it’s important for us to know the facts,” added Kathleen, 48, from Casselberry, Florida.

“I think that it’s important to know why this really happened in order to keep it from happening again,” said Alisa, 41, from Phoenix.

“If nothing happens to them, people are just going to keep on doing it," said Alicia, 36, from Burnsville, Minnesota. "They need to be responsible for their actions."

Anna, 35, from Onalaska, Wisconsin, agreed: “I think with their positions, there needs to be transparency and accountability.”

“If somebody refuses to testify, that means they must have something to hide, and it must be pretty important," said Tabatha, 51, from Monroe, Georgia.

The Bulwark reported that during the online focus groups, official, unlabeled headshots of Reps. Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, Lauren Boebert, and Matt Gaetz were presented to respondents. They photos were numbered one through five and respondents were unable to name three or more based on images alone. Only two members who were recognizable at all were Greene and Gaetz and just five could recognize either or both of them.

“She’s the first openly QAnon-supporting person in Congress,” Michael, 29, from Doral, Florida said of Greene.

“She’s from Florida, and she’s the one who was going after that kid in college, harassing him over gun rights,” added Linda, 62, from Levittown, Pennsylvania.

Anna said, “She’s a whack job.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 29, 2021, 11:18:51 AM
Texas AG Ken Paxton dealt another 'election fraud' blow as judge dismisses 'politically motivated' case


For the second time this month, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton has suffered a major setback in a criminal case in which he alleged "election fraud."

Paxton, who's been endorsed for re-election by former president Donald Trump despite facing felony charges, earlier this year accused Medina County Justice of the Peace Tomas “Tommy” Ramirez of running a vote-harvesting operation out of assisted living centers during the 2018 Republican primary.

Ramirez says the allegations led to threats and harassment against him, and he accused Paxton of pushing for an indictment just to get headlines and rile up his base, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

On Tuesday, a judge dismissed all charges against Ramirez.

“This case was politically motivated and was totally unjustified,” Ramirez said. “My family and I have received anonymous hate mail and ugly social media attacks. My law office was vandalized and I was even asked by the State Bar of Texas if I wanted to voluntarily surrender my law license.”

Ramirez alleged that Paxton conducted a year-long investigation and continued to press for charges even after one of the AG's investigators found there was no probable cause to pursue the case.

The dismissal of the charges against Ramirez "followed a ruling by a separate court that struck down a law allowing the state attorney general to unilaterally prosecute election law cases," the Express-News reports.

"In an 8-1 ruling, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said a provision of the law violates the separation of powers clause in the Texas Constitution," according to the newspaper. "The state attorney general can only get involved in a case when asked to by a district or county attorney, the court determined. That ruling was a blow for Texas Republicans who have promoted former president Donald Trump’s discredited claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 29, 2021, 11:22:55 AM
'Dr. Oz is dangerous': Former colleagues offer scathing takedown of a 'guy is willing to do whatever it takes for money'


Dr. Mehmet Oz is running for Senate in Pennsylvania, where Republicans are wary of him, and his former colleagues don't have many good things to say about him.

The cardiac surgeon became a household celebrity as a guest on Oprah Winfrey's daytime talk show and then hosted his own before deciding to seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, but the media mogul had little to say about his candidacy, according to a lengthy profile by New York Magazine's Olivia Nuzzi.

“Ms. Winfrey is not doing interviews at this time,” her spokeswoman Nicole Nichols tersely replied 14 days after a request for comment, but followed up a few days after that. “I have one statement for you from Ms. Winfrey. No other comments: ‘One of the great things about our democracy is that every citizen can decide to run for public office. Mehmet Oz has made that decision. And now it’s up to the residents of Pennsylvania to decide who will represent them.’ —Oprah Winfrey.”

Another reporter who profiled Oz said he remains "haunted" by the way his subject could perform a heart transplant one day and then turn around and discuss with TV producers whether cotton or Silly Putty would be a better material for prop testicles to hand out to audience members during a show taping.

"I mean, how do you go from A to B?" said New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, who profiled Oz. "Why does he seem more excited about the fake testi*les than the open-heart surgery? The answer is because the latter was the route to fame and riches — and that’s the Faustian bargain.”

“I’ve met and profiled very few if any people who so embody the wages of ambition," Bruni added.

Some of his former producers feel the same way, including one who was horrified when Oz decided to do regular segments on true crime for the talk show.

“I was like, ‘What?! How the f*ck are we going to do true crime on The Dr. Oz Show?’ ” the former producer said. “And then it was twice a week, sometimes three times a week during ratings week. It was a stretch. The only way that you could tie it to something medically was to talk about some DNA evidence. It was a sign to me that this guy is willing to do whatever it takes for money. So it wasn’t a shock or a surprise for me when I saw that he was running for office, because he just wants to f*cking win.”

A veteran daytime producer agreed, saying that Oz became obsessed with money and his own self regard.

“Somewhere, I’m not sure how, he started to sell out — it happens to a lot of people when they get money and success; they want more money and more success. He went from doctor to entertainer to scam artist,” the veteran daytime producer said. “Dr. Oz is dangerous because he believes he’s got some divine power.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 29, 2021, 02:25:04 PM
Thanks to President Biden for the Biden Boom

Dow rises over 350 points, S&P 500 logs 69th record of 2021 as holiday spending buttresses stock market Monday

S&P 500 Hits Record as Strong Holiday Sales Offset Covid Fears

S&P 500 scores record high on retail sales cheer

With 68 record highs, 2021 was a wild year on the S&P 500

Holiday sales soared, with e-commerce notching huge gains, a report says

US holiday retail sales rise 8.5% as online shopping booms, Mastercard says
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 30, 2021, 12:48:44 AM
Democrat demands that Congress expel Marjorie Taylor Greene


In a tweet this Tuesday, Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene suggested that Democratic voters who move from blue states to red states should be subject to restrictions in order to prevent them turning red states to blue.

Greene was quote-tweeting another Twitter user who said he supports "discriminating" against "transplants like this" through legislation. "They shouldn’t be able to vote for a period, and they should have to pay a tax for their sins."

In her tweet, Greene said the suggestion is "possible in a National Divorce scenario."

"After Democrat voters and big donors ruin a state like California, you would think it wise to stop them from doing it to another great state like Florida. Brainwashed people that move from CA and NY really need a cooling off period," Greene wrote.

According to Democratic New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Greene is "toying with the idea of civil war."

"The fact that a sitting Member of Congress is toying with the idea of a civil war 8 days before January 6 should alarm everyone. We expelled 14 Members in 1861 for supporting the confederacy," Bowman tweeted.

"Why does Marjorie Taylor Greene still have her seat? She must be expelled," he added.

Greene was stripped of her committee assignments after less than one month in office.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on December 31, 2021, 01:11:27 PM
Dangerous Qanon cult lunatics like Marjorie Taylor Greene have taken over the GOP and are extremely dangerous. They all need to be voted out in a landslide next November.

'This isn't fringe anymore': Democrats express horror at Marjorie Taylor Greene's dangerous idea


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Wednesday suggested temporarily barring Democrats who move to red states from voting, in what she called a "national divorce scenario."

Greene took issue with Democrats moving from blue states to red states and suggested they need a "cooling off" period before being allowed to vote.

"After Democratic voters and big donors ruin a state like California, you would think it wise to stop them from doing it to another great state like Florida," she wrote on Twitter. "Brainwashed people that move from CA and NY really need a cooling off period."

Greene made the comment in response to a tweet from Pedro Gonzalez, an editor at the conservative Chronicles magazine and a fellow at the right-wing Claremont Institute. Gonzalez suggested "actively discriminating against transplants like this through legislation."

"They shouldn't be able to vote for a period, and they should have to pay a tax for their sins," he tweeted.

Greene said that Gonzalez's suggestion would be "possible in a National Divorce scenario" between red and blue states.

Greene hosted a Twitter poll in October asking her followers if the country should have a "national divorce." Though more people supported staying together than splitting up in her unscientific survey, Greene used the numbers to claim the country's divisions have become "irreconcilable."

"So many people talk to me about how divided our country is and how it's irreconcilable," she said in an interview with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in October. "I've been hearing that from so many...about dividing the country between Republican and Democrat states."

Bannon pushed back on Greene's suggestion but she insisted that the poll was a "wake-up call" for "Republicans who refuse to act like Republicans, and not just the Democrats."

She echoed that sentiment on Twitter.

"So many people tell me daily how devastated they are over the state of our union on every level, and I completely share their utter disgust and heartbreak for the condition of our country," she wrote in October. "National Divorce is talked about often privately, but not publicly, so I took a poll."

She doubled down again after her comments on Wednesday, writing that "we Republicans don't want your blue votes ruining our red home states."

Greene's House colleagues accused freshman congresswoman of calling for civil war.

"There is no 'National Divorce' either you are for civil war or not," tweeted Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz. "Just say it if you want a civil war and officially declare yourself a traitor."

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., urged his followers not to "ignore" Greene's rants.

"I want you to see what a GOP-run country looks like. They will take your right to vote if you don't agree with them. MTG may sound batty but she's not kidding and she has [House GOP leader] Kevin McCarthy fully behind her," Swalwell wrote.

"The most popular national Republicans are openly advocating for an end to American democracy," tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "This isn't fringe anymore. This is mainstream Republican thinking, folks."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 03, 2022, 12:54:27 PM
Gun-toting GOP extremists fail to grasp how pathetic they look


It’s not hard to find photos of each one of the three Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation posing with guns.

The images aren’t just out there on the internet — the members want you to see them. They released them as part of campaigns or policy statements. The discouraging implication is that they assume such posturing will resonate with a substantial portion of their base.

They’re hardly alone. Many conservatives suffer from a compulsion to be photographed shooting, brandishing or fondling firearms. It’s looney. But it also contributes, in ways that don’t get enough attention, to the epidemic of gun violence in America.

On Monday, five people were killed as a result of the latest paroxysm of gun violence in Colorado, a state where bullets have claimed so many lives it occupies a special place of shame in the national gun debate. A man went on a killing spree that started at Sol Tribe Custom Tattoo and Body Piercing in Denver and ended at the Belmar shopping district in Lakewood.

In a healthy society, such a heinous act of violence would be extraordinary. But our society is sick, and such violence is routine. The Monday shooting in Denver might have been the worst single act of gun violence in America that day, but it was nowhere near the only one — there were victims in more than 20 other cities. During a single week in November, nine high school students were shot in two incidents in Aurora. In March, a gunman killed 10 people in a Boulder grocery store.

There have been more than 20,000 non-suicide gun deaths throughout the country in 2021, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That’s the most in at least seven years.

A major incident of gun violence is often accompanied, along with thoughts-and-prayers pablum, by calls for new laws. While legislative reform will be central to any anti-gun violence solution — including repeal of the Second Amendment, which in modern times does much more harm than good — we must also recognize how gun glorification on the right whets the country’s appetite for slaughter.

Earlier this month, Rep. Lauren Boebert posted a Christmas-themed photo of herself with her four boys, who were brandishing assault weapons. The youngest is 8. Fetishization of guns is the main theme of Boebert’s political persona (not unrelated to sedition being the main theme of her political identity).

Boebert might take Second Amendment zeal to buffoonish extremes, but she typifies the childish proclivity of conservatives who are desperate for people to see them shooting things. The climax of a campaign ad that Rep. Ken Buck released last year, when he still doubled as the chairman of the Colorado GOP, shows the congressman firing a semi-automatic rifle at a target. Constituents can find pictures on Rep. Doug Lamborn’s official government website of the lawmaker squeezing off rounds at the Magnum Shooting Center in Colorado Springs. The election-denying state Rep. Ron Hanks launched his U.S. Senate campaign in October with a video of him firing a rifle at a fake voting machine, which explodes.

Around the country there is no shortage of elected gun nuts gun-nutting for the camera. Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and many others have demonstrated an inability to resist the urge to strut with weapons.

What these extremists fail to grasp is how weak such posing makes them appear. People who are confident in their strength don’t need to peacock. An elected official posing with a weapon is a micro version of a military parade — if you’re tempted to be impressed when a member of Congress showboats with a firearm, just think of Kim Jong-Un.

But as silly as these leaders make themselves look, the message they send is dangerous. When elected officials extol instruments of death, they reinforce strains of violence in the country’s political culture and encourage lethal aggression. It’s easy for most Americans when they see gun cosplay from their leaders to laugh it off as the antics of children. But disturbed and aggrieved viewers will derive inspiration from such displays, with bloodshed too readily the result. It’s still unclear what motivated the shooter on Monday, but initial indications are that he espoused far-right political hatred, and it’s reasonable to suppose that right-wing celebration of firearms helped clear space for his murderous rampage.

If you feel you need it for personal protection, go ahead and carry a gun. If spraying bullets into a target makes you feel tough, no one’s stopping you. But if you prefer to live in a safe community, and want to appear strong — not playground strong, but actually strong — leave the camera at home.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 03, 2022, 12:59:16 PM
Gov. DeSantis seems hellbent on taking us back to the ’60s — only it’s the 1860s


And just like that, it’s 1861.

Gov. Ron DeSantis likes to call this the “Free State of Florida.” If he hasn’t yet wrapped himself in the Tenth Amendment or threatened secession, it’s only because he’s been too busy playing soldiers, organizing his private battalion, rewriting the past, and trying to destroy democracy.

Give him time. You have to lay some groundwork if you want to be the next Jefferson Davis.

Step one: that little militia. Yes, other states also have them. Other states, however, do not have a governor who acts like Victor Orban with a bad case of acid reflux.

DeSantis announced his new Praetorians flanked by sofa-sized gents in camo in front of a sign that read “Let Us Alone.”

(Note: that “Let Us Alone” thing does not apply to the $9 billion from the feds now plumping up Florida’s budget).

The governor probably likes the historical precedent of gubernatorial troopers. Three days before Florida officially left the Union, and three months before Fort Sumter kicked off the party in earnest, a local militia took St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos from the feds.

Those boys answered to Gov. Madison Perry, not Washington, and certainly not that dangerous radical Abraham Lincoln who’d been elected in 1860.

Wonder what the Brigata DeSantis uniform will look like? Brown shirts? Helmets with kevlar Mickey Mouse ears?

Maybe the Brigata DeSantis will help enforce the governor’s determination to silence public school teachers who might sully the ears of precious white children with the dreaded Critical Race Theory.

Not that DeSantis would recognize Critical Race Theory if it knocked him upside the head.

Not that any public K-12 school in Florida teaches Critical Race Theory: It’s law school-level stuff, a means of exploring how race has shaped our legal, governmental, and social systems beginning with enslaving Africans and continuing through Jim Crow, criminal justice, school funding, redlining, and a whole slew of other demonstrably discriminatory practices feeding white supremacy throughout American history.

Certainly, this might be a bit much for 5th grade social studies — which is why you won’t find it there.

But why let reality get in the way of demagoguery? DeSantis’ gauchely named new Fox-bait proposal, Stop WOKE (“Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees”) Act, will allow parents to sue schools if “pernicious ideologies” show up in the classroom.

He seems to think that examining the reality of historical racism will “scapegoat someone based on their race” and make people see themselves as “inherently racist, to say that they are an oppressor, or oppressed, or any of that, and that’s good and that’s important.”

His point, if you can pick though the word salad, is that you can’t go hurting white people’s feelings talking about racism, never mind that people of color experience racism every day.

DeSantis must long for those good old antebellum days when Southern states banned expressing disapproval of slavery and made disseminating abolitionist literature a felony.

White folks knew how to run a white folks’ country back then: A piece in the Richmond Enquirer from 1856 exhorts schools to make sure children learn that slavery “is the common, natural, rightful, and normal state of society.”

DeSantis’ updated version insists children learn that America is an exceptional nation founded on “universal principles stated in the Declaration of Independence” — “universal principles” that included slavery.

According to this spurious understanding of history, only individuals can be racist, not systems, not institutions.

The white men who have run the country since 1619 learned one really important thing during Reconstruction: Certain people have no business voting. They don’t do it right.

To that end, the governor’s new elections-crime office will help curb excessive democracy.

The plan is to hire 45 investigators to look into all those elections infractions that are not actually happening, unless you count the Republican woman in Lake County who falsified voter registration forms changing party affiliations from Democrats to Republicans, or those three Trumpers in the Villages who voted twice.

And how about those Republican-funded “ghost candidates” who stole elections from Democratic candidates?

But that’s not what DeSantis means by election crimes; he means “ballot harvesting,” taking your grandmama’s ballot along with the ballots of several of her friends and depositing them at the supervisor’s office.

He’d like the Legislature to make that a felony. He’s already signed the law that restricts the use of drop boxes and absentee voting.

We breathlessly await literacy tests and poll taxes.

Here, in the “Free State of Florida,” DeSantis is happy to take federal money while preaching distrust of the federal government, rather like the way South Carolina’s Sen. John C. Calhoun declared that states could ignore any federal law they deemed “unconstitutional” in 1832.

No doubt the Great Nullifier would agree that 62,000 Florida dead of COVID is a small price to pay for DeSantis’s heroic defiance of Washington on vaccines and masking.

DeSantis seems to think Florida should only tangentially belong to the United States.

The “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” says a state can choose to be “separate and independent” with “full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”

That was Dec. 20, 1860. We all know what happened next.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 04, 2022, 12:12:32 AM
Trump's most rabid Qanon conspiracy theorist lunatics are running for election this year. These loons are violent radical extremists and they're even more radical than Marjorie Taylor Greene. Handpicked Trump cultists like this have no business holding a government position just so they can corrupt our government by doing whatever Trump wants. All of these far right Trump worshippers need to be soundly defeated so the GOP can return to a civil and conservative party like they used to be.     

Meet the scariest Republican candidates of 2022


The Trump era saw a far-right takeover of the Republican Party. But the Big Lie and the fallout from the Capitol riot last January threaten to move the party even further into the extremist fringe after the 2022 midterms.

Republicans have long inched toward extremist positions on issues like immigration, women's rights and gun rights but Donald Trump's election helped mainstream racist, xenophobic and white nationalist forces. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arguably one of the most effective conservative political figures in recent history, has increasingly been cast as a RINO ("Republican in Name Only") while the once-fringe House Freedom Caucus has grown massively to become a leading force in Washington. Longtime conservatives like former House Speaker Paul Ryan and former Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ran for the hills while conspiracy theorists like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., became the faces of the new MAGA wing of the GOP.

Though the majority of the House Republican caucus voted to back Trump's Big Lie and tried to block the certification of President Biden's victory after the deadly Capitol riot, Trump and his allies wasted no time in launching a revenge tour, with the explicit aim of purging lawmakers seen as insufficiently loyal, while his supporters in state legislatures around the country seek to make it easier to overturn the next election. With Democrats facing a difficult if not impossible task of keeping the House despite plummeting approval ratings, the next wave of Republican freshmen could be the scariest yet – and may pose a true threat to democracy as we know it.

Kari Lake — Arizona governor

After failing to convince outgoing Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to help him overturn his election loss, Trump is backing a largely unknown conspiracy theorist, who vowed she would not have certified Biden's win, to replace Ducey. Lake, a longtime Arizona news anchor with no political experience, has even demanded that election officials "decertify" the election results, which is not legally possible. Lake, who is also backed by election conspiracists Mike Lindell and Michael Flynn and Capitol riot-linked Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., has called for Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (who is also a gubernatorial candidate this year), to be imprisoned for unspecified election crimes. Trump has also praised Lake for opposing COVID restrictions, "cancel culture," and "woke" school curriculums, all issues likely to dominate the next cycle of Republican primaries and beyond. Trump's endorsement catapulted Lake atop the race, where she leads former Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., by more than a two-to-one margin.

Eric Greitens — Missouri governor

Greitens, once a rising star and considered a potential presidential contender, resigned as Missouri governor in 2018 after a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair accused him of sexual assault and revenge porn. A St. Louis grand jury indicted him that year on felony invasion of privacy charges, and although prosecutors dropped the charges, a special committee in the Republican-led state legislature released a report in April 2018 deeming the woman's allegations "credible." The legislature moved to start impeachment proceedings against Greitens in May 2018, leading him to resign in exchange for prosecutors dropping an unrelated felony charge for using a veterans' charity email list for his campaign.

There was a time when such scandals would end a political career but Greitens has rebranded himself as an election conspiracist in the wake of Trump's loss, calling for "audits" of the election results nationwide and "decertification" of the 2020 results, and is back for another run at the governor's mansion. Republicans worried that Greitens could cost them the race have pleaded for Trump not to endorse Greitens, but Trump World appears to be rallying behind the disgraced former governor with endorsements from Donald Trump Jr., his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle and former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Greitens is just one of numerous Republican candidates accused of violence against women, a list that also includes Trump-backed Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker and Trump-endorsed Ohio House candidate Max Miller, who was accused of assault by Trump's former press secretary Stephanie Grisham.

Joe Kent — Washington, 3rd congressional district

Kent is running to unseat Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who voted to impeach Trump after the Capitol riot, and is the most prominent candidate backed by the "Insurrection Caucus," meaning Trump allies like Greene, Boebert, Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The Washington Post reported last week that the group has little appetite for direct battle with Democrats and instead aims to push House Republicans even further right.

Kent told the Post he wants to force the party to vote on articles of impeachment against Biden and a full congressional investigation into the 2020 election, which he has claimed (without evidence, of course) was stolen. "A lot of it will be shaming Republicans," he told the Post. "It's put up or shut up," he said.

Trump critics are particularly alarmed about the extremist pro-Trump wing gaining power.

"We're looking at a nihilistic Mad Max hellscape," former Republican strategist Rick Wilson, who co-founded the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, told the Post. "It will be all about the show of 2024 to bring Donald Trump back into power. … They will impeach Biden, they will impeach Harris, they will kill everything."

Mark Finchem — Arizona secretary of state

While most eyes will be on prominent gubernatorial and congressional races, the 2022 slate of secretary of state races may be the most consequential. Secretaries of state, who oversee elections, certified the election results in all the states Trump sought to contest, regardless of party affiliation. Next time may be different.

Finchem, a state lawmaker who attended the "Stop the Steal" rally ahead of the Capitol riot and spoke at a similar protest the previous day, has earned Trump's endorsement — and has also espoused QAnon-linked conspiracy theories and been linked to extremist groups.

A Finchem win could prove consequential in a state that was decided in 2020 by fewer than 12,000 votes. But Trump is also backing Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., another election conspiracist, against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who pushed back on Trump's attempts to overturn his loss. The ex-president has also thrown his support behind Kristina Karamo, an election conspiracist who hopes to challenge Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat.

Democrats increasingly worry that prominent election conspirators may soon be in charge of overseeing the votes. "That is 'code red' for democracy," Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, chairwoman of the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, told Reuters.

David Perdue — Georgia governor

At the start of the COVID pandemic, there appeared to be no governor closer allied with Trump than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. But Kemp's refusal to help Trump try to block Biden's win forever cost the governor Trump BFF status and put him squarely in the former president's crosshairs. Trump has made it a point to back primary challenges to his perceived enemies, throwing his support behind former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. — who lost to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January 2021 runoff — even as the state's Republican lawmakers pleaded for him to stay out after many blamed him for costing the party both of its Georgia U.S. Senate seats.

Perdue was already out of the Senate last Jan. 6, but now says he would have voted to block Biden's win. After landing Trump's endorsement earlier this month, Perdue filed a dubious lawsuit calling for an investigation of absentee ballots in his Senate race over vote-rigging allegations against Democratic election officials, some 11 months after his defeat. He also said earlier this month that he would not have certified Biden's victory if he had been governor.

Ron Watkins — Arizona, 1st congressional district

Watkins has long been a prominent QAnon conspiracy theorist and many believe he outed himself as the mythical "Q" in a recent HBO documentary. As former administrator of the far-right imageboard 8kun, for years he has pushed nonsensical conspiracy theories alleging that a cabal of liberal Satan-worshipping pedophiles are running a global child sex-trafficking ring and plotting against Trump. Earlier this year, he filed paperwork to run for Congress in Arizona — in a Phoenix-area seat now held by Rep. Tom O'Halleran, a Democrat — after moving back to the U.S. from the Philippines.

But Watkins is just one of at least 49 federal candidates who have publicly expressed some support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to the watchdog group Media Matters.

Adam Laxalt — Nevada, U.S. Senate

While many Republicans cheered Trump's bogus voter fraud lawsuits from the sidelines, Laxalt, Nevada's former attorney general, filed multiple lawsuits contesting Biden's victory in the state. Though all of the challenges were rejected by the court, Laxalt has continued to stoke voter fraud conspiracies, leading the Las Vegas Sun editorial board to label him the "Nevada version of Rudy Giuliani." Laxalt, who is now running for the Senate seat held by Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, vowed to file lawsuits to "tighten up the election" more than 14 months before a single vote is cast. Democrats in the state say Laxalt is using Trump's "Big Lie playbook" for his campaign and seeking to "limit Nevadans' voting rights and potentially overturn the election when he loses."

Mellissa Carone — Michigan state House

Readers may remember Carone from her bizarre testimony to Michigan lawmakers alongside Giuliani last December or the subsequent mockery she received on "Saturday Night Live." Carone, a former IT contractor for Dominion Voting Systems who has continued to espouse debunked claims of election rigging, is now running for the Michigan state House as a Republican and pushing white nationalist talking points about liberals seeking to "eliminate white people in America" with so-called critical race theory and transgender rights.

Carone is one of hundreds of pro-Trump diehards running in state legislature races in 2022, a trend that could have severe implications. Republican-led state legislatures this year pushed hundreds of voting restrictions, measures undercutting COVID regulations, legislation barring the teaching of certain history in school, and bills cracking down on LGBTQ rights.

J.D. Vance — Ohio, U.S. Senate

Vance, a longtime venture capitalist and the best-selling author of "Hillbilly Elegy," is running for U.S. Senate in Ohio, where incumbent Republican Rob Portman is retiring. Vance and fellow Republican candidate Josh Mandel have desperately tried to rebrand themselves as Trump-style, anti-immigrant, anti-Big Tech zealots. Vance's politics appear to be closer to that of Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., than to the former president, but it's his financial backers who have raised the most concern.

Vance is backed by the Mercer family, who funded Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Trump adviser Steve Bannon and many of the key players involved in stoking election lies and the subsequent Capitol riot.

Vance's biggest benefactor is venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who has increasingly thrown big money at Trump and other far-right Republicans. Thiel, who has worked with Vance for years, dropped $10 million to back his Senate bid and another $10 million to support his protégé Blake Masters' Senate bid in Arizona, along with maximum donations to several House campaigns. Though Thiel largely keeps a low public profile, he is "in many ways further to the right than Trump," author Max Chafkin, who profiled Thiel in a recent book, told Salon earlier this year, and "wants to be the patron of the Trump wing of the Republican Party."

Noah Malgeri — Nevada, 3rd congressional district

Trump has frequently drawn condemnation for calling for "locking up" political opponents but some Republicans have gone even further, calling for actual violence against their adversaries.

William Braddock, a Republican running for a Florida House seat vacated by outgoing Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla. (who is running for governor), threatened to send a "hit squad" to make his Republican primary opponent "disappear." His opponent was granted a restraining order.

Wyoming state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, who is running to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., earlier this year suggested executing White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, which the state's Democratic Party reported to the FBI.

Earlier this week, Noah Malgeri, who is running in the Republican primary to face Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., called for the execution of Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been targeted by Republicans for a call he made to a Chinese general to reassure him that the United States was not planning to attack.

"We don't need a congressional commission to investigate the crimes of Mark Milley, all the evidence is out there," Malgeri said in a Facebook Live interview this week. "What did they used to do to traitors if they were convicted by a court? They would execute them," he added. "That's still the law in the United States of America. I think, you know, if he's guilty of it by a court martial, they should hang him on CNN. I mean, they're not going to do it on CNN. But on C-SPAN or something."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 04, 2022, 01:15:16 PM
Marge is having a tough go of it lately. 

Pro-Trump pastor buries Marjorie Taylor Greene: She 'spouts racist sounding stuff and wants us to defend it'


Pro-Trump Pastor Darrell Scott on Monday hammered Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), whom he accused of putting Black conservatives "in a bad position."

Writing on Twitter, Scott took Greene to task for criticizing GOP outreach efforts to Black voters as "pandering."

"I’m tired of White Conservatives LIKE MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN putting Black Conservatives in a bad position by spouting racist sounding stuff and wanting us to defend it and/or her," he wrote. "She called outreach to Black voters 'pandering.' I’m not standing next to that drivel."

Scott followed this up by noting people like Greene "don’t think 'formulating strategy to attract white suburban women' is pandering."

Some of Scott's followers tried to defend Greene by asking him to point to racist things she's said, and Scott pointed to videos she made before being elected in which she said it was impossible for Muslims to be loyal to the United States, as well as infamous remarks she made comparing pandemic-related restrictions to the Holocaust.

Greene has been suspended from Twitter for repeatedly violating the platform's ban on spreading misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read tweets in link
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 05, 2022, 11:36:41 AM
More madness in Wisconsin as Republican floats way to nullify elections


In the waning hours of 2021, a Republican legislator in Wisconsin named Timothy Ramthun wasn’t chilling champagne or relaxing with his family. No, he was still scheming to subvert our democracy.

Ramthun, who in November introduced a resolution to rescind Wisconsin’s Electoral Colleges votes that were certified on Jan. 6, introduced a bill on Dec. 30 that would permit the nullification of an election and the mandating of a do-over 30 days later in some circumstances.

Those circumstances include where the total number of absentee ballots exceeds the margin of victory, which, under his bill, would necessitate a forensic audit. (In the November 2020 elections, almost 2 million Wisconsinites voted by absentee ballot, and Biden won by about 21,000 votes.)

After such an audit, if the Wisconsin Elections Commission or the Attorney General or a district attorney “having jurisdiction over the matter determines that a violation of the laws relating to election threats, bribery, or fraud occurred,” then the election is null and void.

This is way off the charts. There’s no precedent for nullifying elections in Wisconsin.

And note that Ramthun has totally aced out the judiciary, which up to now has had the authority to resolve election disputes.

Ramthun sidelines the judges and would conveniently hand power over to partisan officials.

This is an assault not only on our right to vote but on the separation of powers and our very system of checks and balances.

The anti-democracy madness in Wisconsin has got to stop!

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 05, 2022, 11:41:25 AM
Biden debuts $1 billion meatpacking competition plan

President Joe Biden unveiled plans Monday to allocate $1 billion in federal money to increasing competition in the meatpacking industry.

“Without meaningful competition, farmers and ranchers don’t get to choose who they sell to,” Biden said. “Put another way, our farmers and ranchers have to pay whatever these four big companies say they have to pay.”

The top four companies in the pork, beef and poultry industries control more than half of their markets. Biden said the lack of competition allows those companies to drive up the prices of meat at the grocery store without paying more to farmers.

“This reflects the market being distorted by lack of competition… Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation,” Biden said in a livestreamed address.

Biden’s initiative to increase competition has four components, he explained:

- Investing $1 billion in new and expanded meat and poultry processing. The funding will come from the American Rescue Plan and is meant to give farmers more options than “giant processing conglomerates.”

- Strengthening federal rules to protect meat producers. Biden ordered the USDA to rewrite rules in the Packers and Stockyard Act, a 1921 law that regulates meatpackers.

- Enforcing existing competition laws “vigorously,” including launching a new program to make it easier for individuals to report violations of laws that restrict anti-competitive behavior. 

- Making the industry more transparent by requiring additional reporting on meat prices

Congress is also working to address competition in the industry. Iowa lawmakers have led an effort to increase price transparency between packers and producers. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst introduced the bill in the Senate, and all four of Iowa’s representatives introduced it in the House.

.@ChuckGrassley and I have been working across the aisle to return fairness to the cattle marketplace and improve market transparency for Iowa’s hardworking cattle producers.

Our bipartisan effort needs to be part of President Biden’s conversation with farmers today.

“I will continue to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and the White House to pass the legislation to help level the playing field for family farmers,” Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday.

Biden has led several initiatives in the past year to address meatpacking competition.

In July, Biden ordered the Department of Agriculture to write new rules that would give farmers more power in pricing their livestock. He pointed toward meatpacking monopolies as the cause of increased meat prices in the U.S.

“Four large meatpacking companies dominate over 80% of the beef market and, over the last five years, farmers’ share of the price of beef has dropped by more than a quarter — from 51.5% to 37.3% — while the price of beef has risen,” a July White House fact sheet read.

The USDA announced a $500 million grant program to establish new meat-processing facilities or support existing small operations.

The White House announced in September that the USDA would invest $1.4 billion in pandemic assistance to small producers and processes.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 05, 2022, 11:45:15 AM
Schumer says U.S. Senate to consider changing the filibuster if voting rights stalls

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned on Monday that the Senate is prepared to debate changes in the filibuster if Republicans continue to block the advancement of voting rights legislation.

In a sternly worded letter to other senators, the New York Democrat set a deadline of Jan. 17 for the chamber to consider revising the filibuster rules, which require a 60-vote threshold for legislation to move ahead in the evenly divided Senate.

Jan. 17 is also Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?” Schumer wrote in the letter.

It’s unlikely that enough Senate Republicans will join Democrats to pass the current versions of voting rights legislation.

Another sticking point for Schumer is that not all Democrats are on board either with reforming or pushing for a carve out of filibuster rules.

With the midterm elections approaching, congressional Democrats have without success pushed for enactment of broad voter rights protections. Since the 2020 presidential election, Republicans at the state level have introduced hundreds of bills that would impose strict voting requirements, in response to former President Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the presidential election.

Schumer argued that with the first anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol this week, Congress needs to understand that the attack “was a symptom of a broader illness — an effort to delegitimize our election process, and the Senate must advance systemic democracy reforms to repair our republic or else the events of that day will not be an aberration — they will be the new norm.”

“Given the urgency of the situation and imminence of the votes, we as Senate Democrats must urge the public in a variety of different ways to impress upon their Senators the importance of acting and reforming the Senate rules, if that becomes a perquisite for action to save our democracy,” he said.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked debate on a voting rights bill. Only one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said in November that she would back Senate Democrats in a compromise voting rights measure named after a civil rights icon, the late Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

In his letter, Schumer did not specify which voting rights bill the Senate aims to pass — Democrats have introduced several.

But Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota has spent the last few months working on a package that has the support of West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin III, a Democrat who has expressed his opposition to changing the Senate’s rules.

The same stance is shared by Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who opposes any type of filibuster reform.

“As she has throughout her time in the U.S. House and Senate, Senator Sinema also continues to support the Senate’s 60-vote threshold, to protect the country from repeated radical reversals in federal policy which would cement uncertainty, deepen divisions, and further erode Americans’ confidence in our government,” her office wrote in a statement, the same one she made in December in response to questions about her position on the filibuster.

The bill backed by Klobuchar, known as the Freedom to Vote Act, has the support of every Senate Democrat, including Sinema.

The legislation would establish Election Day as a national holiday and set minimum standards that each state must have for elections, such as two weeks of early voting and an option for same-day voter registration. Manchin has vowed to get 10 Senate Republicans on board, but so far has not succeeded.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 06, 2022, 01:41:47 AM
President Biden is creating a record number of jobs and the Biden Boom continues.

U.S. added 807,000 private jobs in December, more than twice the number expected

Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Private companies in the United States added more than 800,000 jobs during the month of December, an amount more than twice what analysts expected.

ADP and Moody's Analytics said in their monthly report on Wednesday that private employers made about 807,000 hires last month.

Most experts projected the report would show around 380,000 new jobs.

According to the report, larger businesses -- those with more than 500 employees -- made the most hires, about 389,000. Medium-sized businesses made 214,000 and smaller businesses about 204,000.

"December's job market strengthened as the fallout from the Delta [coronavirus] variant faded and Omicron's impact had yet to be seen," Nela Richardson, ADP chief economist, said in a statement.

"Job gains were broad-based, as goods producers added the strongest reading of the year, while service providers dominated growth."

The services sector was responsible for most of the growth, almost 670,000 jobs, particularly in leisure and hospitality. The goods-producing sector added close to 140,000, with manufacturing contributing more than half of that figure.

"December's job growth brought the fourth quarter average to 625,000, surpassing the 514,000 average for the year. While job gains eclipsed 6 million in 2021, private sector payrolls are still nearly 4 million jobs short of pre-COVID-19 levels."

The report from ADP and Moody's came two days before the Labor Department issues its official December jobs report. Most analysts expect that report, which includes the public sector, to show about 400,000 new jobs.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 28, 2022, 01:45:47 PM
Thanks President Biden! 

The US economy grew 5.7% throughout last year, the fastest expansion since 1984

It's "Morning in America" all over again.

US gross domestic product grew 5.7% through 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Thursday morning.

That marks the strongest annual economic growth since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan was hoping for his second term in the White House. The 40th president ran with the now famous "Morning in America" message as he looked to pull the US out of its inflation nightmare and into a new era of economic prosperity.

Similarities abound with the country's present situation. Thursday's GDP print caps a standout year for the US economy. Job growth was the strongest in the country's history, with the US adding 6.4 million jobs. Consumer spending fully recovered and then some. The economy isn't just booming; it's recovering at a pace much faster than in the wake of previous recessions.

Biden isn't seeking reelection for another couple years, but the latest GDP data gives the president another metric to tout as he hits the campaign trail ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

It also places his first-year economic scorecard far above what most economists anticipated. GDP growth through 2021 exceeded forecasts from the Federal Open Market Committee, Congressional Budget Office, and the country's top business economists, according to Jason Furman and Wilson Powell, researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 28, 2022, 01:53:00 PM
The Biden Boom is going strong and even bigger than we thought.



Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 28, 2022, 01:58:27 PM
'Get tested' for COVID if you run into potential super spreader Sarah Palin: NYC mayor's spokesman


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been spotted dining out on the town in Manhattan despite the fact that she recently tested positive for COVID-19 and should be in isolation.

The New York Daily News reports that a spokesman for New York Mayor Eric Adams has now put out an advisory warning New Yorkers about the danger of coming in contact with Palin.

"We encourage any New Yorker who came into contact with Sarah Palin to get tested, just as we encourage all New Yorkers to get tested regularly, especially those who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19,” Adams spokesman Jonah Allon said.

The Daily News notes that Palin, who has steadfastly refused to get vaccinated, was spotted on Wednesday at an Upper East Side Italian eatery just days after she revealed her infection.

Luca Guaitolini, the manager of the restaurant, tells the Daily News that Palin's visit was "unfortunate" but that "we’ve moved on" from talking about it.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on January 28, 2022, 03:35:52 PM
Thanks President Biden! 

The US economy grew 5.7% throughout last year, the fastest expansion since 1984

It's "Morning in America" all over again.

US gross domestic product grew 5.7% through 2021, the Bureau of Economic Analysis announced Thursday morning.

That marks the strongest annual economic growth since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan was hoping for his second term in the White House. The 40th president ran with the now famous "Morning in America" message as he looked to pull the US out of its inflation nightmare and into a new era of economic prosperity.

Similarities abound with the country's present situation. Thursday's GDP print caps a standout year for the US economy. Job growth was the strongest in the country's history, with the US adding 6.4 million jobs. Consumer spending fully recovered and then some. The economy isn't just booming; it's recovering at a pace much faster than in the wake of previous recessions.

Biden isn't seeking reelection for another couple years, but the latest GDP data gives the president another metric to tout as he hits the campaign trail ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

It also places his first-year economic scorecard far above what most economists anticipated. GDP growth through 2021 exceeded forecasts from the Federal Open Market Committee, Congressional Budget Office, and the country's top business economists, according to Jason Furman and Wilson Powell, researchers at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


This propaganda reminds me of Bagdad Bob and his proclamations of victory during the Iraq war.  Biden's polls numbers have cratered to Watergate-like numbers.  Even the leftist media has conceded that he is a disaster.  The Dems closed the country down in 2020 bringing it to ruin.  When it is reopened (ironically with even more virus cases than when this started - thanks Joe!) and the people go back to work, they proclaim economic success.  HA HA HA.  It's a miracle!  You can't make that up.  Imagine the economy improving after being closed down for a pandemic?   Amazing Joe!  Another record to add to inflation, crime, illegal immigration, and possibly WWIII due to his blundering.   As Cool Hand Luke said, "Wish you'd stop being so good to me Captain."
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 29, 2022, 12:11:49 AM
This propaganda reminds me of Bagdad Bob and his proclamations of victory during the Iraq war.  Biden's polls numbers have cratered to Watergate-like numbers.  Even the leftist media has conceded that he is a disaster.  The Dems closed the country down in 2020 bringing it to ruin.  When it is reopened (ironically with even more virus cases than when this started - thanks Joe!) and the people go back to work, they proclaim economic success.  HA HA HA.  It's a miracle!  You can't make that up.  Imagine the economy improving after being closed down for a pandemic?   Amazing Joe!  Another record to add to inflation, crime, illegal immigration, and possibly WWIII due to his blundering.   As Cool Hand Luke said, "Wish you'd stop being so good to me Captain."

:D :D :D

Hilarious how people like Richard Smith continue to deny reality. Criminal Donald was a disaster and President Biden saved America in one year. Dems can't "close a country down".   

U.S. economy grew by 5.7 percent last year, fastest pace since 1984
The nation’s gross domestic product has bounced back from the 2020 coronavirus recession

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 29, 2022, 12:57:40 AM
President Biden went to Pittsburgh, PA today to speak about his historical economic success and his historical Infrastructure Bill. Tragedy happened as a bridge collapsed injuring 10 people. This is why the passing of President Biden's Infrastructure Bill was so important, because we have structurally deficient bridges all across America in desperate need of repairs. Only a few Republicans voted for this Bill while the rest attacked the Bill and voted against it.

How can anybody be against a Bill that revitalizes American cities, keeps Americans safe, and provides millions of new good paying jobs which will give us an economic boom? That just goes to show you how partisan and anti American these right wingers are. There's a few frauds in the GOP who are trying to falsley take credit for all the new infrastructure projects starting up in their states when they voted against this Bill. All these right wing frauds are being called out and we won't allow them to take credit for this Bill they opposed and voted against.       

Pittsburgh bridge collapses, injuring 10 people
Several vehicles were on the Forbes Avenue bridge over Fern Hollow Creek in Pittsburgh's Frick Park when the span collapsed

PITTSBURGH —The Forbes Avenue bridge over Fern Hollow Creek in Pittsburgh's Frick Park collapsed Friday morning, with several vehicles, including a Port Authority bus, on the span at the time.

Ten injuries were reported in the collapse, which happened in the area of Forbes and South Braddock avenues near the city's Point Breeze neighborhood. Four people were taken to area hospitals.

The bridge that collapsed is known as the Fern Hollow Bridge, used by an estimated 14,500 vehicles daily. Video above shows the collapse.

President Joe Biden visited the site of the bridge collapse, just after he arrived in the city for a previously scheduled speech on infrastructure.

"You realize, I’ve been coming to Pittsburgh a long time and as a former Pennsylvanian, but I didn’t realize there are literally more bridges in Pittsburgh than any other city in the world. More than Venice. I knew there were a lot of bridges – I had no idea of that. And we’re gonna fix them all. It’s not a joke. This is going to be a gigantic change. There’s 43,000 nationwide and we’re sending them money," Biden said.

City officials said the bridge came down at 6:39 a.m. Witnesses said the loud noise from the collapse was followed by a hissing sound and the smell of natural gas.

A major gas leak caused a strong odor in the area. Some homes were evacuated due to the leak, but all residents have been able to return to their homes.

Rescuers had to rappel nearly 150 feet and form a human chain to reach the people in the articulated bus that fell with the bridge into the ravine.

Port Authority officials said a driver and two passengers were on the 61B bus, which was headed outbound from downtown Pittsburgh to Braddock when the collapse happened. Pittsburgh Public Safety officials said the passengers were taken to the hospital for treatment.

According to officials, there were a total of ten injuries. Four people were taken to hospitals, with UPMC reporting that the patients were in fair condition. One of the patients was treated and released Friday afternoon.

There were no life-threatening injuries, officials said.

Authorities flew drones to make sure no one was under any collapsed sections of the bridge, and a spokesman for Mayor Ed Gainey said a search-and-rescue team combed the area for any other possible victims.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the collapse.

Owned by the city, the bridge is an important artery that leads to Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill and Oakland neighborhoods. Public Safety officials say the span was most recently inspected in September.

The bridge was in "poor" overall condition, according to a statewide listing of bridge conditions on the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website. The report listed the deck condition as poor and said the substructure was satisfactory.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 29, 2022, 11:50:46 AM
Economic growth so strong, the GOP is literally at a loss for words
Economic growth was so good in President Joe Biden's first year that Republicans literally found themselves at a loss for words

"The public learned that economic growth in 2021 reached its highest level in nearly four decades, on the heels of news that the economy created 6.4 million jobs last year and saw the sharpest one-year improvement in the unemployment rate on record."


'This is no accident’: Biden takes credit for soaring economic growth

Jared Bernstein, one of President Biden’s economic advisors, tells Lawrence O’Donnell that in addition to fast economic growth, unemployment dropped at a record rate in 2021. “Those statistics make the connection between a strong growing economy on the GDP side and with that growth reaching working families through an extremely tight labor market.” - Jan. 27, 2022

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on January 29, 2022, 01:02:26 PM
The Biden Boom: Economic Recovery in 2021
President Joe Biden took office one year ago amid one of the worst economies in generations, but the U.S. economy has since made tremendous progress toward recovery, and workers are benefiting.

January 20 marks one year since President Joe Biden took office: It’s time to take stock of the historic economic boom under his leadership.

Though the United States faces serious economic challenges amid the ongoing global pandemic, 2021 was an extraordinary year of economic growth and recovery. The country saw record job gains and an unprecedented drop in unemployment. The economy likely grew faster than in any year since 1984, as measured by real gross domestic product (GDP). In 2021, the economy not only regained all pandemic-related GDP losses—it also surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Despite elevated inflation, Americans’ disposable incomes were higher in 2021 in real (inflation-adjusted) terms than they were in 2019 and 2020. Additionally, by many important measures such as savings and bank balances, Americans are more financially secure. The United States also made dramatic progress in lowering its exceptionally high rate of child poverty.

None of this was inevitable. Rather, it was the result of bold policies that bolstered the recovery and provided direct aid to households, most importantly the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the COVID-19 vaccine program. Much of this aid was disbursed to families hit hardest by the devastating economic impact of the pandemic: the unemployed, the poor, and families struggling with the high costs of raising children. Bold federal action helped families make ends meet through additional stimulus checks; expanded unemployment insurance benefits; expanded monthly child tax credit payments; and other policies. These policies addressed weaknesses in the social safety net that became more acute during the pandemic but existed well beforehand. And many of these interventions were temporary. Much work remains to not only ensure a strong recovery but also to extend progress beyond the pre-pandemic status quo toward an economy that works for all.

While the challenges are urgent and real, the fact is that, by so many key measures, the economy today is booming. This Biden Boom has been particularly strong for workers—who have access to better-paying jobs—and are seeing their wages growing after decades of seeing economic benefits accrue to the wealthy and corporations.

More jobs were added, and unemployment fell faster than ever before

The U.S. economy has added jobs in record numbers since President Biden took office, gaining an average of 565,000 per month, and 6.2 million in total from January 2021 through December 2021. (see Figure 1)

Under Biden, we have seen the most jobs created on record
Change in U.S. nonfarm payroll employment from January to December, in thousands, 1939–2021



The unemployment rate fell at a record pace (see Figure 2)—and much faster than economic experts projected before the passage of ARPA. (see Figure 3) Last February, the Congressional Budget Office forecasted that the U.S. unemployment rate would not reach 3.9 percent until 2026. Thanks to ARPA, that benchmark was reached four years earlier.

Under Biden, we have seen the fastest decline in the unemployment rate on record
Percentage-point change in the U.S. unemployment rate from January to December, 1948–2021



Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan, unemployment has fallen much faster than expected
Actual U.S. unemployment rate vs. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projection, by month, January to December 2021


Strong growth brought output above its pre-pandemic level

In the second quarter of 2021, the United States surpassed its pre-pandemic level of economic output. The United States was the first country in the G-7—the seven leading advanced economies—to recover all real GDP lost during the pandemic. (see Figure 5) Real GDP growth is estimated to be 5.5 percent for 2021, which would be the highest rate of GDP growth in nearly four decades.

Real disposable incomes were up and poverty fell despite inflation

Severe pandemic-related disruptions to supply chains amid the global recovery, coupled with changing consumer buying patterns, led to increased levels of inflation in 2021. Prices were substantially higher for many goods and services. But even with inflation taken into account, Americans still had more disposable income—that is, money available to spend or save as one wishes—in 2021 than in either 2020 or 2019. (see Figure 6) This is the result of several factors, including employment gains, wage growth—particularly amongst low-wage workers—and the direct aid to families provided by ARPA, including the $1,400-per-person economic impact payments and the major expansion of the child tax credit.

Though rising prices led to a sense of unease, by a host of measures, Americans’ financial security was generally stronger than in prior years. Propelled by gains in home values and retirement savings, the net wealth of the bottom 80 percent of Americans by income increased by $4 trillion during the first three quarters of 2021. Retirement security was greatly enhanced for many Americans, with the stock market seeing large gains in 2021: The S&P 500 went up 27 percent and notched 70 all-time highs in 2021, a record that is second only to 1995. Americans also had more money in their checking accounts, particularly low-income families.

One of the most important parts of ARPA was a substantial expansion of the child tax credit. ARPA increased the credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000—and $3,600 for children under age 6. Crucially, ARPA extended the full benefit of the child tax credit to the families of 27 million low-income children who had previously been fully or partially excluded. And, for the first time, the child tax credit was paid out on a monthly basis, with families receiving up to $250 or $300 per child beginning in July 2021. The child tax credit had an immediate and dramatic impact when monthly payments started in July. The child poverty rate was nearly 30 percent lower than it would have been without the expanded child tax credit and fell 38 percent over the course of the year. (see Figure 7) And the number of families with children reporting that they were experiencing food insufficiency dropped by 37 percent.

Poverty among children fell by 38 percent from 2020 to 2021
Poverty rate among U.S. children, November 2020 to November 2021

Workers were empowered to take better jobs

In 2021, workers, particularly low-wage workers, regained power in the labor market and used that power to demand better quality jobs and higher wages. Contrary to what headlines heralding a “Great Resignation” may suggest, workers are not quitting jobs to sit on the sidelines. (see Figure 9) Instead, they are switching jobs for higher pay and better benefits and working conditions. Low-wage workers in particular experienced strong wage growth. Americans also applied to start new businesses in record numbers in 2021. (see Figure 10)

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 02, 2022, 03:48:25 AM
Thanks President Biden for this historic success!

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 02, 2022, 03:59:35 AM
Biden cites 40-day timeline for Supreme Court confirmation


WASHINGTON — The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin, and the panel’s top Republican, Chuck Grassley, met with the president Tuesday afternoon to discuss a 40-day confirmation timeline for a new Supreme Court pick.
“The Constitution says, ‘advise and consent, advice and consent,’ and I’m serious when I say that I want the advice of the Senate as well as the consent to arrive on who the nominee should be,” President Joe Biden told reporters, according to pool reports.

Biden said that once he announces a nominee to replace Justice Stephen Breyer by the end of the month, he’s hoping for a 40-day confirmation process, a similar timeline to other nominees. That would put the final Senate vote sometime this spring, since Biden has said he will make an announcement by the end of February.

Biden has vowed to pick the first Black woman to serve on the court.

“He’s looking at the nominees and going to report to us,” Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said to reporters after he returned from the White House.

Breyer, 83, was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994. He will retire at the end of the 2022 term.

“I had the chance to tell him that I want somebody that’s going to interpret the law, not make law,” Grassley, an Iowa Republican, said after the White House meeting.

The last Supreme Court nominee, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, took 27 days to confirm in a Senate controlled by Republicans in 2020.

During a Tuesday press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden has been looking at potential Supreme Court nominations for about a year.

“The president’s view is that after 230 years of the Supreme Court being in existence, the fact that not a single Black woman has served on the Supreme Court is a failure in the process, not a failure or a lack of qualified Black women to serve as Supreme Court justices,” she said.

Senate leaders of both parties had little to say about a prospective Supreme Court pick following their weekly caucus lunches, reserving most of their remarks for the economy and tensions with Russia.

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said Biden’s pledge to select a Black woman would help make the Supreme Court more reflective of the U.S. population.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the No. 4 Senate Democrat, noted that Tuesday was the first day of Black History Month and said the prospect of confirming a Black nominee was “very exciting.”

Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota, pledged to treat Biden’s nominee with respect during a “thoughtful process.”

“It’s pretty hard to comment on a nominee until you get one,” McConnell told reporters.

“The Republican minority will treat the nominee with respect and go through the process in a serious, thoughtful way,” he said.

Biden’s pledge to choose a Black woman to serve on the court would allow him to fulfill a campaign promise from 2020.

So far, Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas have been the only Black members of the court. One woman of color, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, has served.

Some top contenders include 51-year-old Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was previously vetted by the Obama administration in 2016 as a possible nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is also pushing for the nomination of 55-year-old Michelle Childs, a federal judge in South Carolina who has been nominated to serve on the federal appeals court in Washington.

Childs also has the approval of South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who praised her as a “highly qualified” candidate during an interview on “Face the Nation.” Graham is a top member of Senate Judiciary.

Another possible front-runner is 45-year-old California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger and 47-year-old Georgia U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Abrams Gardner, the sister of Stacey Abrams, who is currently running for governor in Georgia.

Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 02, 2022, 11:29:59 AM
What a total disaster failed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is. He let 1 million COVID tests expire in a warehouse. 1 million people who desperately needed covid tests couldn't get them because of DeSantis' negligence. He allowed a covid test shortage to occur in Florida. What is absolutely disgusting is that DeSantis lied and said President Biden didn't send the COVID tests. DeSantis let them expire and he tried to cover it up. He pathetically lied falsely accusing the President when it was his own negligence and the lying right wing media pushed DeSantis' same lie. Despicable!

DeSantis admits to finding 1 million expired COVID-19 tests stockpiled in warehouse

In a press conference Thursday morning, Governor DeSantis admitted state officials found 1 million unused COVID-19 tests in a warehouse. The admission came as DeSantis unveiled a plan to get 1 million COVID-19 tests to Florida’s seniors.

Kevin Guthrie joined DeSantis at today’s press conference. Guthrie, the head of Florida’s Department of Emergency Management said, “We had between 800k and a million Abbott test kits in our warehouse that did expire.”

Today’s revelation follows allegations by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried that the governor was stockpiling tests which were soon expiring. On Wednesday, the Governor’s office called that allegation “bizarre.”

The governor said he’s asking the federal government to extend the expiration date on these newly-discovered tests. They are awaiting an answer.

“We actually wanted to send a bunch of those [tests] to long-term care facilities at the beginning when we got them,” DeSantis said.

He went on to claim facilities didn’t have adequate staff on hand to accept them.

“So while families all over the state of Florida were waiting in line 4, 5 hours taken away from their vacation, families holidays and while the governor was sitting on these tests,” Fried said on Thursday.

“A million tests that should have gone out to nursing homes, state run facilities that have not been opened up. There are no testing sites statewide run testing sites in our state,” said Fried.

“The question is was this intentional or a complete derelict of his responsibilities? People of our state and people should be outraged,” Fried stated.

“I’m sorry he’s the governor of the state of Florida. The buck stops with you” Fried concluded.

April Masa was frustrated when she heard the state had expired tests. She said she had been trying for days to get tested after she became ill. Masa, like many people waiting in line, wanted an investigation to find out what happened.

“Someone needs to be held accountable to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she said.



LEE COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried announced Wednesday in Lee County that she believes nearly one million COVID-19 tests have been stockpiled by the state’s executive branch of government.

The explosive allegation comes as thousands of people wait hours in long lines to receive a COVID-19 test. Fried visited a plant farm in Alva to announce a clean water initiative and plans to randomly test for nutrients being used around Florida.

“This is definitely something we have concrete information coming from inside the governor’s office,” Fried said. “It may not be his executive suite but certainly the different agencies he oversees but there is a stockpile of these tests either to expire Dec. 31 or soon thereafter.”

NBC2’s Dave Elias spoke with Fried after announcement in Lee County:

Dave Elias: What proof do you have to prove this?

Nikki Fried: I believe my staff this morning sent a public records request asking for this information.

Dave Elias: I reached out to the governor’s office. Press secretary Christina Pushaw said this is a very bizarre allegation and that they don’t have a stockpile. Your reaction?

Nikki Fried: It’s not a bizarre allegation when I know it’s to be true. We’ve not alleged that the governor’s office has them. It’s the agencies he controls.

Governor Ron DeSantis was in Collier County on Tuesday downplaying vaccines and testing while pushing more monoclonal treatment.

Dave Elias: Your thoughts on the way the governor is handling this?

Nikki Fried: His leadership on this is void.

Dave Elias: The governor believes people are hysterically running out to get tested. Do you believe that?

Nikki Fried: I don’t know a single person that would sit in four or five hours over hysteria.

Dave Elias: Finally, there are a lot of people who do support the way the governor is handling this and concerned about their freedoms, who some argue are making the situation worse?

Nikki Fried: I do say to those individuals this of course is your choice at this point. There of course is no mandate. Nor should there ever be a mandate, and I’ve said that very publicly. I do not agree with mandates or bans. I think they’re two extremes, one from the governor’s office and one from the president’s office. It needs to be in the middle. 

The governor’s press secretary did pass along the claims to the Department of Health. So far they have not responded.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 02, 2022, 01:52:33 PM
Biden to announce relaunch of Cancer Moonshot program started under Obama
The president is expected to lay out a goal of reducing the cancer death rate by 50 percent over the next 25 years.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Wednesday will announce a relaunch of the Cancer Moonshot program that was started during the Obama administration to end a disease that kills more than 600,000 people a year in the U.S., the White House said.

Biden's revamped Cancer Moonshot aims to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experiences of people diagnosed with cancer and their families, according to a fact sheet shared by the White House.

Biden is scheduled to make the announcement Wednesday afternoon in an event in the East Room of the White House, where he will be joined by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first lady and the second gentleman.

In a call with reporters, an administration official said the initiative was deeply personal to both Biden and Harris. Biden lost his son Beau in 2015 to brain cancer, and Harris' mother, a breast cancer researcher, died of colon cancer in 2009.

Biden previously oversaw the Cancer Moonshot program, which was announced during former President Barack Obama's last year in office, and he later founded the Biden Cancer Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cancer prevention and research. The initiative closed in 2019 after Biden announced his White House bid.

An administration official said the Cancer Moonshot program was being revamped now because "a lot has changed that makes it possible to set really ambitious goals."

Congress provided $1.8 billion for the Cancer Moonshot program in 2016, very little of which is left.

The Biden official said the administration is "very confident that there will be robust funding going forward," arguing that few issues garner as much bipartisan support as cancer research.

Biden on Wednesday will announce a new position, that of Cancer Moonshot coordinator in the White House, as well as a “Cancer Cabinet,” which will include such agencies as the departments of Health and Human Services, Defense and Energy, in addition to the Environmental Protection Agency. He also will announce plans to host a Cancer Moonshot summit at the White House.

The president and the first lady will urge more people to get screened for cancer, especially after millions of screenings have been skipped during the Covid pandemic.

Biden has spoken extensively about his experience losing his son to cancer and has said he wants to be the president remembered for ending the disease.

During a visit last year to Pfizer’s vaccine manufacturing facility in Michigan, Biden said, "I want you to know that once we beat Covid, we're going to do everything we can to end cancer as we know it."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 03, 2022, 12:25:54 AM
Republicans are now out in the open and very vocal with their full on racism. 

GOP senator worried Biden’s SCOTUS pick won’t know a 'law book from a J.Crew catalog'


Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., joined a growing chorus of Republicans bashing President Joe Biden's Supreme Court nominee — well before the president has picked anyone — even as Republican leaders try to avoid a losing fight ahead of the midterms.

Republican Senate leaders worry that picking a fight over Biden's nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, when they lack enough votes to block the nomination, would be "counterproductive" and could "backfire" by distracting from key election issues, according to Wednesday's edition of Politico Playbook. (Judicial nominations cannot be blocked through a Senate filibuster, a change introduced by Republicans when they held the majority.) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told members on Tuesday that replacing a liberal justice with another liberal would not affect the balance of the court, especially after the party packed the court with conservatives under former President Donald Trump.

But some Republican senators have repeatedly attacked Biden for vowing to nominate a Black woman to the court, even though Trump and former President Ronald Reagan similarly vowed to nominate women to diversify a court that has been dominated by white men for generations.

"No. 1, I want a nominee who knows a law book from a J.Crew catalog," Kennedy told Politico Tuesday after meeting with the GOP leaders. "No. 2, I want a nominee who's not going to try to rewrite the Constitution every other Thursday to try to advance a 'woke agenda.'"

Kennedy, an Oxford-educated lawyer and career politician, rebranded himself as a folksy Republican after a long stint as a Democrat. Louisiana publications have likened his one-liners to Foghorn Leghorn but people who knew him before he became a prominent Republican told BuzzFeed News last year that it's all an act (which he denies).

"John Kennedy is not folksy — he's just offensive," MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan tweeted in response to Kennedy's comment to Politico.

"Kennedy manages to squeeze in sexism, racism, and his fake down home Foghorn Leghorn bit all in about 15 words," wrote Fred Wellman, the former executive director of the Lincoln Project. "Enough is enough with this con artist."

Kennedy rejected GOP leaders' pleas to tone down the rhetoric on Biden's nomination.

"I think some members of leadership think they can control what people want to talk about," he told Politico. "I don't agree with that proposition. I'm going to talk about what I want to talk about, and if they don't like that, they can call somebody who cares."

Kennedy has frequently used the puzzling J.Crew quip in response to a range of issues.

"Anyone who knows a law book from a J.Crew catalog does not take this charge seriously," he declared during Trump's first impeachment.

"Anyone who knows a law book from a J.Crew catalog knows that Democrats' attempt to add D.C. as a state is unconstitutional," he said in a Fox News interview last year.

"Nobody knows what he even means by 'a law book,'" tweeted attorney Max Kennerly. "A casebook? Only students use those. The Federal Reporter? No one calls that a 'book.' A John Grisham novel?"

Other Republican senators have also attacked Biden for vowing to nominate a Black woman.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., suggested last week that Biden's nominee would be a "beneficiary" of affirmative action policies.

The White House fired back by citing Wicker's very different response to Trump's promise to nominate a woman.

"When the previous president followed through on his own promise to place a woman on the Supreme Court, Sen. Wicker said, 'I have five granddaughters, the oldest one is 10. I think Justice Amy Coney Barrett will prove to be an inspiration to these five granddaughters and to my grown daughters,'" White House spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN. "We hope Sen. Wicker will give President Biden's nominee the same consideration he gave to then-Judge Barrett."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said over the weekend that it would be "offensive" and "insulting" to select a Black woman because Black women only make up 6% of the population.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted on Tuesday that Cruz "had no objection to Donald Trump promising he'd nominate a woman in 2020" and had praised Barrett as a "role model for little girls."

"There is no outcry around that," Psaki said. "The president's view is that after 230 years of the Supreme Court being in existence, the fact that not a single Black woman has served on the Supreme Court is a failure in the process."

That sentiment was echoed by Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Graham is backing the same potential nominee as Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., that being South Carolina District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs.

"Put me in the camp of making sure the court and other institutions look like America. You know, we make a real effort as Republicans to recruit women and people of color to make the party look more like America," Graham told CBS News on Sunday. "Affirmative action is picking somebody not as well qualified for past wrongs. Michelle Childs is incredibly qualified. There's no affirmative action component if you pick her. I can't think of a better person for President Biden to consider for the Supreme Court than Michelle Childs."

Biden is also reportedly considering D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a former editor of the Harvard Law Review who clerked for three federal judges, including retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, a former editor of the Yale Law Journal who argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court while serving in the Justice Department under Barack Obama, is also in the running.

Republicans' attacks have little to do with the candidates' qualifications, and even less to do with the makeup of the court, given that 108 of 115 Supreme Court justices in U.S. history have been white men.

The attacks are intended to "reiterate the narrative that liberals elevate unqualified Black Americans at the expense of others who are truly deserving" to reinforce the messages that "advocacy for equal rights is turning white conservatives into an oppressed class," wrote The Atlantic's Adam Serwer. "If the Republicans seeking to stoke resentment over this appointment can successfully turn the story of the first Black woman on the Supreme Court into another example of Black people getting free stuff they haven't earned, they will be perfectly satisfied, even if she is confirmed," he wrote. "The important battles over the future of the Court have already taken place, and the right has already won them."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 03, 2022, 01:51:29 PM
President Biden heading to NYC Thursday to talk gun violence

NEW YORK (PIX11) — As the city lays to rest another NYPD officer, and more officers face gunfire in Queens, President Biden will make his way to New York City.

“We’re going to have the president of the United States here in this city, and we’re going to lay out clear items on the federal level,” said Mayor Eric Adams early Wednesday morning.

He spoke while visiting another NYPD officer in the hospital, after he was shot during a carjacking in the Rockaways on his way to work. Police said the suspects fired upon more officers before being arrested.

The mayor doubled down on his pledge to protect the city during Officer Mora’s funeral hours later.

“We will work to end the gun violence that has engulfed our city with pain and despair, and protect those who put their lives on the line every day,” Adams said.

Adams has called for more crime intelligence sharing coordinated at the federal level.

He also wants federal funding for trauma intervention at hospitals, DNA testing to close gun cases and anti-gun trafficking efforts.

Ideally, Adams wants to see federal gun law changes, including measures long blocked by Republicans like background checks on all gun sales.

“We support the mayor and his effort to keep the city safe which we wholeheartedly understand,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

She said President Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland will seek to better understand the needs of NYC and other cities experiencing gun violence by meeting with police and community based violence interrupters on Thursday.

She said the administration has already been funding many efforts through the American Rescue Plan, and the President hopes to do more through his currently stalled social spending plans and the upcoming budget.

“There’s $300 million for community policing for cities, $200 million for community based violence interrupters, we know all of this will reduce crime,” Jean-Pierre said.

The White House also points to 37,000 DOJ gun cases opened in recent months working in coordination with local authorities.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 03, 2022, 02:38:52 PM
Breaking News: President Biden says US military forces have “taken off the battlefield” the Islamic State’s leader during an operation in Syria, and that all Americans returned safely. Just another example of what a strong capable leader we have to make America and the world a safer place.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on February 03, 2022, 04:57:15 PM
The top anti-Trump propagandist Jeff Zucker has resigned in disgrace at CNN.  Joining Chris Cuomo and his disgraced brother Andrew Cuomo in the halls of shame.  The chickens are really coming home to roost for all their fake stories. 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 12:04:22 AM
The top anti-Trump propagandist Jeff Zucker has resigned in disgrace at CNN.  Joining Chris Cuomo and his disgraced brother Andrew Cuomo in the halls of shame.  The chickens are really coming home to roost for all their fake stories.

Glad to see Jeff Zucker gone from CNN. The dishonest attacks against President Biden for ratings has gone on for too long.   
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 12:29:54 AM
Trump stooge Greg Abbott is an absolute failure. He knew no improvements were made to fix this problem and now  70,000 Texans are freezing in the dark without power again. Once again, this is a reminder that Republicans can't be trusted to be in charge and proves how vital sound infrastructure is to a state. Right wing Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn both voted against President Biden's Infrastructure Bill that will help keep the power on during Texas Winter storms. Greg Abbott is up for re-election in November. Time to vote this clown out. I wonder if Ted Cruz booked his flight to Cancùn?

'Déjà vu all over again’: Despite Gov. Abbott’s promises 70,000 now without power in Texas as winter storm hits


70,000 electric customers in Texas are without power once again after a winter storm hit the Lone Star state, despite Republican Governor Greg Abbott‘s promise after last year’s massive outage that reportedly killed about 700 people, that the lights would stay on this winter.

Certified Broadcast Meteorologist for Fox San Antonio and NBC San Antonio, Brad Sowder posted a photo of some of the damage from the storm:


Austin, Texas NPR affiliate KUT on Tuesday reported how Abbott was preemptively breaking his promise: “Gov. Abbott promised last fall that ‘the lights will stay on.’ Now he says there’s no guarantee.”

“I can guarantee the lights will stay on,” he said in an interview with Fox 7’s Rudy Koski in November.

Apparently not, Texans are learning today.

“It’s a little traumatic. It’s like last year. Déjà vu all over again,” Angelica Carlin told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times as she “stood in line at an Austin H-E-B on Wednesday night with bags of dog food and water bottles in her cart.”

Carlin lost power for three days during last year’s massive power outage. “She remembers lying in bed crying and seeing steam from her breath — inside her home.”

Many Texans believe state lawmakers did not require all the necessary infrastructure improvements to guard against a repeat of the widespread blackouts, when millions went without power and at least 246 people died.

Also on Tuesday, Abbott was bragging that “Energy is the centerpiece of the Texas economy.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 12:41:58 PM
Biden to sign executive order boosting rights of 200,000 construction workers


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Friday requiring "project labor agreements" in federal construction projects over $35 million, a potential boost to construction workers and unions that negotiate these deals, and a shift the administration says will speed up building times.

The order will apply to $262 billion in federal construction contracting and impact nearly 200,000 workers, according to a draft of the executive order seen by Reuters.

Project labor agreements are collective bargaining agreements between building trade unions and contractors, which set wages, employment conditions, and dispute resolution on specific projects. Democratic presidents in the past have typically supported applying such agreements to the massive U.S. federal contracting budget, while Republican presidents have rescinded them.

The order, which will go into effect immediately, comes on the heels of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed into law by Biden that invests in the country's roads, ports and bridges.

Much of that money will flow through federal agencies to states and local governments. The new executive order excludes projects funded by grants to non-federal agencies, a senior administration official said, adding that will make up for a bulk of the projects under the bill. But it will apply to billions of other federal spending on waterways, military bases and other areas.

Biden will visit Ironworkers Local 5 in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Friday to sign this executive order, the White House has said. Details on the contents of the order have not been previously reported.

The U.S. construction industry - including workers, owners, developers, contractors - has been one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, due to a slowdown of available goods and labor and the termination of entire projects.

Biden has vowed to strengthen unions and increase membership in the United States after years of steady decline, and to increase salaries for hourly workers in construction, health care and other jobs.

"Contractors who offer lower wages or hire less qualified workers will need to raise their standards to compete with other high-wage, high-quality companies," the order says. Earlier executive action by Biden requires federal contractors in new or extended contracts to pay a $15 per hour minimum wage.

Biden's move also found support from some contractors.

"This streamlines the negotiation process and gives employers access to a highly skilled pool of craftworkers," Daniel Hogan, chief executive of the Association of Union Constructors, that represents 1800 contractor companies, told Reuters.

© Reuters
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 12:59:04 PM
The GOP is the party of cancel culture. They cancel their own real conservatives as the radical extremists have taken over. The extremists are afraid of the truth coming out against Criminal Donald and the GOP extremists involved in the January 6th insurrection.   

GOP planning to censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for investigating January 6 insurrection: report

On Thursday, POLITICO reported that the Republican National Committee is planning to vote on a resolution formally censuring Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for serving on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"The resolution, which RNC officials said cleared an RNC committee vote on Thursday, is likely to be approved by the RNC’s full body at its winter meeting on Friday," reported David Siders and Natalie Allison. "The measure rebukes Cheney and Kinzinger for their involvement on the Jan. 6 select committee investigating Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the result of the 2020 election."

"The resolution would amount to a weaker admonishment of Cheney and Kinzinger than initially proposed," noted the report. "Led by David Bossie, a longtime Trump ally and RNC member from Maryland, ardent Cheney and Kinzinger critics had lobbied for a resolution calling for their ouster from the House conference. That proposal had drawn resistance from some RNC members, who said they feared the language was unnecessarily inflammatory."

Cheney and Kinzinger were among ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection, and have been vocal against conspiracy theories in their party that the presidential election was stolen.

They are the only two Republican members of the Select Committee investigating the matter, because Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an outside bipartisan commission, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) boycotted the creation of the Committee.

Already, these members have been censured by state and local party chapters, respectively.

@Liz_Cheney "The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy. (1/2)

I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what. (2/2)"


@AdamKinzinger "My statement on the RNC censure.  I am now even more committed to fighting conspiracies and lies:


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 01:31:44 PM
Biden praises Mayor Adams’ anti-crime plan, unveils new gun crackdown while in NYC: ‘We are not about defunding’


NEW YORK — President Biden praised Mayor Adams’ crimefighting agenda Thursday and unveiled a new federal initiative to stem the flow of illegal weapons from southern states that has contributed to a recent surge in violence in New York.

Marking his first visit to the city since Adams’ inauguration, Biden gave his seal of approval to the mayor’s anti-crime push during a press conference at the NYPD’s downtown Manhattan headquarters, where they also received a classified briefing from the department’s joint gun violence task force.

“I want to help every major city follow New York’s lead,” said Biden, who was flanked by Adams, Gov. Hochul, Attorney General Merrick Garland, members of the state’s congressional delegation and various police officials.

Vowing to be Adams’ “partner” in public safety, Biden said his administration is embarking on a new crackdown on so-called “ghost guns,” homemade weapons that typically aren’t subject to background checks and lack traceable serial numbers.

The NYPD confiscated a record number of the eerily-named weapons in the city last year, and Biden said the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are deploying teams of specialized prosecutors and investigators to every district in the country to help local law enforcement track down the weapons and catch those who use them in crimes.

“If you commit a crime with a ghost gun, not only your state and local prosecutors are going to come after you, but expect federal charges and federal prosecution as well,” Biden said.

Adams, who has politically aligned himself with the president, vowed to work hand-in-hand with the commander-in-chief on the anti-ghost gun program.

“Mr. President, Eric Adams is reporting for duty and ready to serve,” Hizzoner said.

Like Adams, Biden has distanced himself from progressives in their party who have advocated for scaling down police departments in favor of finding alternative solutions for public safety.

Instead, Biden and Adams have pushed a muscular approach for addressing an uptick in violent crime in the U.S. during the pandemic.

Last summer, the president released a comprehensive anti-crime blueprint that called on Congress to earmark $300 million for local police departments to hire more cops. Adams, for his part, announced his own public safety plan last month, replete with stipulations for beefing up the NYPD, including by reintroducing a modified version of the department’s controversial plainclothes units, which were disbanded in 2020 in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

"The answer is not to defund the police,” Biden said at Thursday’s event. “It is to give you the tools, the training, the funding, to be the partners, to be the protectors communities need.”

“We are not about defunding. We are about funding,” the president added.

Adams, who often calls himself the “Biden of Brooklyn,” said the president was right on target.

“The president is here because he knows what the American people want: Justice, safety, and prosperity, and they deserve every bit of it. He wants to end the gun violence in our city and in our country,” said Adams, who served in the NYPD for over two decades before turning to politics.

But local progressives, who have clashed with Adams on various issues since he took office, slammed the tough talk on crime as a rehash of failed policies.

“We cannot continue to throw policing at every problem. We have the largest police department in the entire country, and we can’t keep doubling and tripling down on these same strategies and keep thinking that we’ll get different results,” Queens Councilwoman Tiffany Caban told the Daily News.

Caban, a former public defender and democratic socialist, specifically referenced the newly reinstated plainclothes units, which were involved in some of the city’s most infamous police killings, including the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

“That’s the style and legacy,” Caban said.

After the sit-down at the NYPD’s headquarters, Biden and Adams visited a public school in Long Island City, Queens, where they met with community violence interrupters who use de-escalation techniques to reduce crime.

Adams’ public safety plan calls for more funding for violence interrupters and community-based public safety solutions.

But NYPD Commissioner Keeshant Sewell signaled that the Adams administration views the NYPD as the top priority.

“This violence is not acceptable against our citizens or our police officers, and we know it has to be stopped, and we know this starts here, at the NYPD, with action,” she said at the department’s headquarters.

Biden’s visit came at a perilous time for the Big Apple.

According to NYPD data, shootings overall in the city spiked by 31.6% last month compared with January 2021.

Among last month’s shooting victims were six NYPD cops. Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora died from their injuries after a gunman attacked them in a Harlem apartment where they were responding to a call of a domestic dispute.

Biden said he spoke to the families of the two slain officers and called them the personifications of “the who and what law enforcement ought to be.”

On ghost guns, Hochul noted that it’s illegal to sell, produce or possess them in New York under a bill she signed into law last year.

But the problem lies in illegal guns coming into New York from mostly southern states via the so-called “iron pipeline,” the governor noted.

“It is an American crisis,” she said.

Federal strike forces were deployed last year to New York and other big U.S. cities to hunt down traffickers of illegal firearms, and Biden said those teams have confiscated thousands of weapons since then.

The president conceded, though, that New York and other states with strict weapons laws will likely continue to see an influx of illegal guns due to a refusal by congressional Republicans to pass long-stalled gun control bills, like mandating background checks for all firearms purchases on a federal level.

During an evening press conference at City Hall after Biden’s visit, Adams also acknowledged it appears unlikely Congress will act anytime soon on the bills.

“We may not get them unless we get the control we need in Washington, D.C.,” Adams said of the bills, which his public safety plan describes as critical for disrupting the iron pipeline.

Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the dean of New York’s congressional delegation, shared the frustration over the lack of gun control action in Congress.

“Legislation that we’ve passed in Congress is wholly inadequate,” Nadler said.

© New York Daily News
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 01:54:45 PM
House Democrats have the lead as shown on The Cook Political Report's 2022 redistricting scorecard. They're on track to net 2-3 seats from new maps vs. the old ones.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 03:52:52 PM
Here is the fake news from Faux Propaganda.

January jobs report could be ugly after recent omicron surge: White House is bracing for disappointing January jobs figure

And here is the actual facts. President Biden continues to deliver creating nearly a half a million jobs as the Biden Boom is still surging. December's numbers were severely undercounted again as it was revised up to 510,000 jobs. That's almost 1 million jobs in the last 2 months!     

January jobs report 2022: US adds 467,000 jobs, 4 percent unemployment
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/02/04/january-jobs-report-unemployment-2022/ ​

U.S. employers shrug off omicron, add 467,000 jobs in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a burst of 467,000 jobs in January despite a wave of omicron inflections that sickened millions of workers, kept many consumers at home and left businesses from restaurants to manufacturers short-staffed.

The Labor Department’s report Friday also showed the unemployment rate ticked up from 3.9% to 4%. Estimated job growth for December was also revised much higher, from 199,000 to 510,000.

The strong hiring gain, which was unexpected, demonstrates the eagerness of many employers to hire even as the pandemic maintains its grip on the economy. Businesses appear to have seen the omicron wave as having, at most, a temporary impact on the economy and remain confident about longer-term growth.

The still-high number of people who have remained on the sidelines of the workforce has exacerbated a labor shortage and led employers to raise pay to try to draw them back in.

The overall outlook for the job market remains bright, with openings near a record high, the pace of layoffs down and the unemployment rate having already reached a healthy level. The nation gained more jobs last year, adjusted for the size of the workforce, than in any year since 1978. The unemployment rate fell by nearly 3 percentage points — from 6.7% to 3.9% — the sharpest yearly decline on records. Much of that improvement represented a rebound from record job losses in 2020 that were driven by the pandemic recession.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on February 04, 2022, 04:50:09 PM
Glad to see Jeff Zucker gone from CNN. The dishonest attacks against President Biden for ratings has gone on for too long.

Whew.  You can't be for real.  That is far out stuff.  CNN runs almost continuous anti-Trump stories even over a year after he has left office.  It should be called the Jan. 6 Network.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on February 04, 2022, 09:39:22 PM
Michael Avenatti - that darling of the leftist media who they once touted as a presidential candidate - has now been convicted.  Heading to the slammer for an actual crime and not one made up for political purposes.  Joining disgraced Chris Cuomo, Andrew Cuomo, Jeff Zucker, and a parade of anti-Trump establishment GOP and Dems leaving Congress into the hall of shame.  What a great week for Trump!  He keeps on winning even after leaving office.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 11:32:56 PM
Whew.  You can't be for real.  That is far out stuff.  CNN runs almost continuous anti-Trump stories even over a year after he has left office.  It should be called the Jan. 6 Network.

Far out stuff? Trump's coup and January 6th insurrection was the worst attack against the United States so it will be discussed. Faux Propaganda tries to cover it all up.  You call CNN "leftist" but they hire right wing Trump hacks to come on the air to push anti Biden propaganda.

CNN's hiring of serial liar and Trump propagandist Alyssa Farah is a huge mistake
Farah’s only relevant professional experience is promoting right-wing lies

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 04, 2022, 11:43:40 PM
Biden takes victory lap with January jobs report
“America’s job machine is going stronger than ever,” Biden said at the White House.

President Joe Biden sounded a triumphant note Friday after the monthly jobs report came in significantly above expectations.

“America’s job machine is going stronger than ever,” Biden said at the White House.

Employers in the U.S. added roughly 467,000 jobs in January and the numbers for November and December were revised significantly upward — an unexpected jolt to the economy that came in the midst of the surging Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“America is back to work,” the president said.

Biden said that with Friday’s news, the economy has added more than 6.6 million jobs over his first year in office.

“If you can't remember another year when so many people went to work in this country, there's a reason. It never happened,” Biden said. “History has been made here.”

The strong jobs numbers seemed to have caught the White House off guard, as officials had been signaling in the run-up to its release that the January report may have been weighed down by the spike in Covid-19 infections.

The jobs figures also offers a political tailwind to the administration, which in recent weeks has seen key parts of its legislative agenda sputter in Congress and Biden’s poll numbers sink.

Biden also used the January jobs report to make the case for his stalled Build Back Better plan, which has floundered on Capitol Hill since late last year, when lynchpin Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced his opposition to the massive social spending package.

“The bottom line is this, the United States is once again in a position to not only compete with the rest of the world, but outcompete the rest of the world once again,” he said.

Biden did acknowledge that more work still needs to be down to tamp down the rate of inflation, which has eaten into economic progress on other fronts.

“We still need to ease the burden on working families by making everyday things more affordable and accessible,” he said, arguing that his spending blueprint would help do so.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 05, 2022, 12:06:19 AM
Once again, the November and December 2021 jobs report was severely undercounted just like it was from June-September 2021. All of those job numbers has been revised and added to the totals. Remember, the GOP voted against President Biden's American Rescue Plan last year which is one of the factors in this historic job growth. Just another reminder that the GOP does nothing for the American people and the economy.   

The economy added 709,000 more jobs than originally reported in the final 2 months of 2021
"The bottom line is that the recovery has been faster and steadier than measured," a former top Obama economist wrote on Twitter.

The US economy is steamrolling its way into a remarkable stretch of job growth.

The latest jobs report released Friday showed the economy added 467,000 jobs in January. .

But January's strong hiring wasn't the only good news in the report. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised its previous data for November and December, finding that the economy added 709,000 more jobs than previously reported, closing out 2021 with the labor market gaining steam.

"January 2022 will be remembered as the month the virus ceased to be boss. It wreaked havoc & death at a terrible scale. But the economy no longer cares," Jason Furman, a former top Obama administration economist, wrote on Twitter. "People returned to the workforce. The economy added jobs. Wages rose. You would barely know it happened from the economic data."

BLS also made other regular annual adjustments to their previous data releases. The changes reflected how the pandemic disrupted the federal government's ability to measure the health of the economy. The agency revised figures for June and July downward, making overall figures from one month to the next seem less turbulent than they originally did through 2021.

"The bottom line is that the recovery has been faster and steadier than measured," Betsey Stevenson, a professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan, wrote on Twitter.

At the industry level in January, leisure and hospitality businesses experienced the largest jump in hiring with firms adding 151,000 payrolls. The sector has led the hiring recovery throughout the pandemic, largely due to the sector shedding the most jobs when the pandemic slammed into the economy.

Other revisions showed warehousing and storage as the sector adding the most jobs in recent months, per Indeed economist Nick Bunker. Wages climbed as well, though inflation continues eating into workers' paychecks. Bunker told Insider that the revisions mean "recovery has been stronger than we previously thought" and that "it's been more stark in terms of its distribution than we previously thought."

"The nice nature of this report, it was not just what happened in January, but also finding out that payroll gains were so much stronger in 2021. [It] looked like that monthly average gain in payrolls was over a half million a month, which is great to see," Bunker told Insider. "I do think it's also noticeable to see how the distribution of gains when it comes to employment changed as well. There's even more transportation and warehousing jobs than we thought and even fewer leisure and hospitality positions."

"Hopefully we can keep up this strong pace of payroll gains while also potentially seeing some more gains from some of the sectors that have been hit hardest," Bunker said.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 06, 2022, 01:14:39 AM
Biden signs executive order aimed at strengthening union construction jobs

"The Executive Order I signed today is all about making sure federal construction projects get completed efficiently, saving taxpayers money, clearing construction zones quickly, and ensuring that everything the federal government signs a contract to build is built to last." - President Biden 2/4/22


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 06, 2022, 01:22:07 AM
Thanks to President Biden, 2021 was the greatest year of job creation in U.S. history. Notice that Trump was in the minus losing jobs as the worst jobs "president" in the modern era.     

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 06, 2022, 02:14:58 PM
'She doesn't have any friends': Kristi Noem's political future in danger as Republicans turn on her


According to a report from the Daily Beast's Tom Lawrence, Gov. Kristi Noem's plan to break out of South Dakota and became a high-profile figure in the Republican Party is blowing up in her face because has she alienated GOP lawmakers in her state who have grown tired of her act.

Noem, has closely allied herself with Donald Trump in an effort to raise her profile and set herself up for a run for national office, is finding few allies at home among the Republican leadership despite her popularity with voters in her home state.

According to the Beast's Lawrence, "Gov. Kristi Noem, who has been riding high in polls in her state, has never lost an election. She served four terms in Congress before being elected governor in 2018. The South Dakota legislature has supermajorities in both chambers, with Republicans holding 94 of 105 seats. No Democrat holds statewide office. But Noem has suddenly found plenty of opponents with whom to wage bitter political battles: fellow Republicans."

According to political observers who have been watching Noem's political star rise, she will likely still win re-election but may stall out there due to her war with her Republican colleagues.

"University of South Dakota political science professor Michael Card told The Daily Beast that Noem has raised hackles in part by the very nature of how she performs duties essential to her job. Specifically, he pointed to her repeatedly referring to South Dakota issues with terms like 'my bill' and 'my budget' in a state with old-school lawmakers who like to maintain their fiefdoms."

That, in turn, has angered GOP lawmakers who are the ones creating and passing the bills that she is attempting to take credit for.

With a GOP insider bluntly stating, "She doesn’t have any friends," the Beast's Lawrence adds, "State political insiders suggest Noem is basically alone in Pierre, and that even if she remains beloved by large swaths of the Republican base, her image has taken a serious dent among the very people she needs to get things done."

Add to that, Noem is the subject of investigations in her state which her opponents within her own party could use against her.

"One is Noem’s use of state airplanes for multiple trips out of state to appear at conservative political gatherings. For months, the governor has claimed she needed to keep details of her travels private for security reasons. Now the Republican-dominated legislature is interested in digging into those trips," The Beast report states. "Noem also has taken heat for her involvement in her daughter Kassidy Peter’s efforts to obtain a real estate appraiser license from the state. That led to a meeting between the governor, the state employee who oversaw the process, that employee’s boss, and other officials—as well as Noem’s daughter—as the Associated Press reported."

According to State Sen. Reynold Nesiba (D), Noem's problems with her GOP colleagues are self-inflicted.

"She’s not very good at being governor,” Nesiba explained.

You can read more here:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 06, 2022, 11:20:14 PM
What a miserable failure Ron Johnson is. You can never have enough jobs and a Senator who refuses to fight for good paying jobs to help his state has no business being in Senate. This is another Trump stooge that needs to be voted out in November.       


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) doesn't think that his state needs more jobs.

Over the weekend, Johnson revealed he wouldn't work to keep a Wisconsin manufacturer to add new jobs in his hometown.

"It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers," Johnson said about Oshkosh Corp.'s plans to relocate 1,000 jobs to South Carolina.

While all elected officials tend to serve as kind of ambassadors to their state, on Saturday, Johnson explained he would be taking another route.

"I wouldn't insert myself to demand that anything be manufactured here using federal funds in Wisconsin," Johnson told reporters while in Washington County. "Obviously, I'm supportive of it. But in the end, I think when using federal tax dollars, you want to spend those in the most efficient way and if it's more efficient, more effective to spend those in other states, I don't have a real problem with that."

The Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce hasn't commented on the issue through their website or social media.

'It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin': Ron Johnson won't try to land Oshkosh Corp. postal vehicle work

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Saturday he won't try to persuade a Wisconsin manufacturer to place more than 1,000 new jobs in his hometown.

"It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers," Johnson said about Oshkosh Corp.'s plans to locate the jobs in South Carolina.

Johnson, who is seeking a third term this fall, said he supports having more manufacturing jobs in the state but indicated the company is best suited to make the call on where to build vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service.

"I wouldn't insert myself to demand that anything be manufactured here using federal funds in Wisconsin," Johnson told reporters after appearing at a "Parent Empowerment Rally" in Washington County. "Obviously, I'm supportive of it. But in the end, I think when using federal tax dollars, you want to spend those in the most efficient way and if it's more efficient, more effective to spend those in other states, I don't have a real problem with that."

Johnson's approach contrasts with Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who says she's trying to get the trucks built here by the company's Oshkosh Defense segment.

"To me, it’s simple — I want Oshkosh Defense to manufacture trucks in Oshkosh with Wisconsin workers," Baldwin said in a statement.

The two stances show the dramatic fault lines between the two senators.

But they also hint at what's to come over the coming months as Johnson, up for, re-election, faces a campaign where economic issues are likely to be front and center.

While Johnson has sought to frame the economic debate on his terms: blasting the Biden administration for soaring debt and rising inflation. The crowded field of Democratic contenders has stressed the need to create family-supporting jobs for more Wisconsinites.

When told of Johnson's remarks, Democratic candidate and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson was dumbfounded, declaring that the added jobs — and money — would help the wider community.

"He wants a third term and he just doesn't understand economic development," Nelson said. "It's mind blowing, breathtaking."

In February 2021, Oshkosh Corporation's Oshkosh's Defense division won a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to produce up to 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles.

In June, Oshkosh Defense announced its decision to manufacture the vehicles at a new facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it planned to hire more than 1,000 employees.

Under the plan, more than 100 employees in engineering and program support for the project would be based in Oshkosh at the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Technical Center.

Unionized workers in Oshkosh, along with their national counterparts, have asked the company to reconsider the decision. Baldwin and others have contended production in South Carolina would likely be done by non-union labor.

In late November, Baldwin and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, sent a letter to Oshkosh Corp. management to get more information on the plans to manufacture in South Carolina as well as information the firm supplied to USPS.

In a statement, Baldwin said she would "continue to urge Oshkosh Defense and the Postal Service to further scrutinize the final production location in South Carolina based on the strength of our existing, experienced workforce in Wisconsin."

Last week, the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency sent letters to USPS asking it to reconsider its plans to buy primarily gas-powered vehicles. Oshkosh Defense said it could make adjustments to meet new requirements for all-electric vehicles if the contract changes.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 07, 2022, 02:03:19 PM
Van Hollen Discusses American Rescue Plan Funds, Future Collaboration With Southern Maryland Delegation

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D) met virtually with the Southern Maryland Delegation in the General Assembly to answer questions about the running issues in Southern Maryland and to reassure the region of their importance. The meeting highlighted the regional impact of the American Rescue Act Plan.

“Bless Southern Maryland because Southern Maryland is where it all started many years ago, and we thank you for an abundance of Natural Resources that we have here in Southern Maryland,” Delegate Gerald “Jerry” Clark said.

The meeting started with Senator Van Hollen explaining that the meeting was to cultivate a relationship with Southern Maryland because local government is vital to helping the federal government keep track of the money.

“The federal government has been providing lots of resources to counties, municipalities, and the state,” Senator Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen continued to explain that the American Rescue Plan Act had two goals. One was to deploy vaccines quicker and in greater volumes, and the other was to provide a “safety net” for the economy. The American Rescue Plan helped the state and local regions receive funds.

Charles County received $44 million. Calvert County received $26 million. St. Mary’s county received $26 million. Meanwhile, the state of Maryland will receive $3.7 billion overall. The first half of the money already came in, and the second half will come during the summer for the state and local governments, according to Van Hollen.

Besides the general funds, the federal government put $300 million towards the American broadband issue. Southern Maryland benefits from these specific funds through a rapid transit project.

After, C.T. Wilson mentioned there is a disconnect between improving the environment and the average citizens in Southern Maryland. The changes that help the environment become expensive if the federal government does not fund the plans, according to C.T. Wilson. Wilson used the example of the government raising gas prices by 17 cents to get people to buy electric cars.

“I believe there’s a disconnect between the average citizen and the environmental ideology,” C.T. Wilson said. “I would ask how I could create a committee that can work with your office to get access to the monies [infrastructure and transmission funds].”

Van Hollen responded that Wilson and his committee would have to work with the Maryland General Assembly since they gave the money to the state.

Last, Clark asked if there are any more ways to expand the use of nuclear energy, so they are more clean energy-based.

“Nuclear power needs to be part of the solution,” Van Hollen said. “Most of that is in the second Build back better agenda, but we are making it clear that clean power is again part of the solution. We are going to be pushing that it is not treated unfairly.”

At the end of the meeting, everyone thanked Van Hollen for appearing at their meeting. They had all their questions answered for the time being, and they look forward to working with him in the future.



Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 07, 2022, 11:40:55 PM
Conservative baffled by the 'stupidity' of the Republican National Committee


Writing for Commentary this Monday, conservative Noah Rothman contends that the current political environment "feels as or more hostile toward Democratic candidates as it was toward Republicans in the Trump era."

In his new article, titled "Staggering Stupidity from the RNC," Rothman points to the Republican National Committee's formal censure of Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for “actions in their positions as members of the January 6th Select Committee not befitting Republican members of Congress."

According to Rothman, it’s bad enough "that this language tacitly suggests that this congressional investigation into a historic and unprecedented attack on the seat of government is somehow illegitimate, but the resolution later makes this implicit contention explicit. The resolution further condemned Cheney and Kinzinger for participating in the 'persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.'"

Rothman wonders who the RNC were pandering to when they not only censured their own members for investigating January 6 but glossed over the events of that day. "They certainly were not talking to the universe of persuadable voters that the GOP will need to win over next November," Rothman writes. "It’s not even clear that they were appealing to their fellow Republicans, who polls have shown are as offended by the attack on the Capitol and the agitation that preceded it as is everyone else."

According to Rothman, GOP voter "just want to move on" from the Trump presidency, but Trump and the RNC won't let them. "And now, this act of political malpractice will be hung around the necks of Republican candidates and incumbents, through no fault of their own."

Read the full op-ed over at Commentary:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 08, 2022, 01:37:44 PM
GOP senators melt down on the RNC after Pence criticizes Trump


The Republican Party is in disarray following the Republican National Committee's controversial move to lash at at GOP members of Congress for participating in the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"Senate Republicans are not happy with the Republican National Committee," Politico reports. "In interviews on Monday evening, GOP senators lashed out at their own national party's overwhelming vote to censure Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) for working on the House's investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. They warned that alienating a portion of the party for being overly anti-Trump is not a political winner heading into the midterms, a sharp message from sitting members that goes far beyond criticism already aired by a handful of GOP pundits."

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel has been a particular target of scorn.

“A very unfortunate decision by the RNC and a very unfortunate statement put out as well. Nothing could be further from the truth than to consider the attack on the seat of democracy as legitimate political discourse,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), McDaniel's uncle, said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the Republican Party is heading in the "wrong direction."

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “I don’t think you can kick out of the party everybody you disagree with. Or it’s going to be a minority party.”

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said the RNC shouldn't censure members of Congress.

“I wish they wouldn’t. I would leave it up to the states," she said.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) said, “We’ve got a lot of issues that we should be focusing on besides censuring two members of Congress because they have a different opinion."

The comments criticizing the Trump-controlled RNC come against the backdrop Mike Pence's comments noting "President Trump is wrong" in claiming the vice president can overturn an election.

"Trump remains the party’s most dominant figure and its most likely nominee in 2024. But perhaps for the first time since he left office, some in his party have concluded that criticizing him is not tantamount to swallowing a poison pill," Howard Kurtz wrote for Fox News. "Trump still commands huge support among the rank and file, if not at the stratospheric level he did earlier. This may turn out to be a passing wave, or it may be that Mike Pence was the little boy who removed his finger from the dike."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 08, 2022, 01:44:19 PM
Cheating and stealing elections is the only way the GOP think they can win. The GOP taking advantage of the elderly is disgraceful and illegally changing their registration to Republican is a crime.   

WATCH: Elderly Floridians speak out to CNN after Republicans secretly switched their voter registration


In an interview aired on Monday, CNN's Randi Kaye talked to elderly residents of a Florida housing complex who allegedly had their party registrations switched from Democratic to Republican without their permission by voter registration volunteers — focusing in particular on the plight of a man named Juan Salazar.

"This is the old card," said Kaye. "And it says, right here, Democratic Party."

"Yeah," said Salazar.

"And the new card says Republican Party of Florida," continued Kaye. "And that's not what you want?"

"No," said Salazar. "I want to be Democrat."

"There are hundreds of these third-party voter registration organizations throughout the state, and it is legal for them to reach out to voters," said Kaye. "When it becomes a problem is if they didn't register with the state or if they are filling out these forms for the voters, instead of having the voters do it themselves. Or if they are changing party affiliation without the voter's consent. Then it becomes illegal, and that's what they are investigating."

Watch below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 08, 2022, 02:31:10 PM
RNC calls this "legitimate political discourse"?

Pro-Trump rioters beat and stomped DC police officer with American flag pole

The Republican National Committee formally declared the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election “legitimate political discourse.” The Republicans think that destroying the peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of our democracy since our founding, and attacking the seat of our government while threatening the lives of lawmakers, staff, police, and hunting down the vice president of the United States “legitimate political discourse.” Well, of course they do.

Meanwhile, did our state rep and state senator have any idea what was in the “Back the Blue“ bill the governor signed? Welcome to Republican governance. No platform, no direction, no boundaries they won’t cross.

The RNC censure resolution accuses Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger of “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse,” and of “utilizing their past professed affiliation to mask Democrat abuse of prosecutorial power for partisan purposes.” Funny, we all thought the bipartisan effort was justified “congressional oversight.”

Now they’re into banning books. As B.B. Alston points out, “when you erase the history/experience of one kid to protect another, what you’re also saying is that there is one type of kid worth protecting.” It’s astonishing that so few American people are making the connection between banned books and Nazism. It really is an indicator of just how effective the dumbing down of American society has really been. Let’s hope Iowans will choose better in the future.

William Windsor

Fort Madison


Watch video of Pro Trump terrorists beating cops:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 08, 2022, 03:25:37 PM
Press: Clubbing cops is not 'legitimate political discourse'


Abraham Lincoln was only 28 years old, a young lawyer in Springfield, Ill., when he gave one of the most important speeches in his life and made one of his most profound reflections on the survival of our democracy. Right at the top of what became known as his “Lyceum Address,” in addressing “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” Lincoln raised the question of where the danger to our democracy might someday come from. “If it ever reach us,” he declared, “it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” 

No words could more accurately describe what happened on Jan. 6, when the greatest threat to our democracy since the Civil War came — not from foreign invaders — but from an armed mob of MAGA zealots sicced on Congress by a power-mad president as the climax of his efforts to overturn an election and destroy our democracy.

Nor could any words more accurately describe what happened last week in Salt Lake City, when the Republican National Committee (RNC) adopted a resolution censuring two Republican members of Congress — Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — for serving on the House select committee investigating Jan. 6. The RNC condemned Cheney and Kinzinger for “participating in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in” — and here’s the key phrase: engaged in “legitimate political discourse.”

Calling the violent attack on the Capitol “legitimate political discourse” defies belief. We know what happened. We saw it live on television. As described by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) in his new book “Unthinkable,” we saw the mob “taunt, push, shove, punch, gouge, scratch, spray, smash, jab, and harass the U.S. Capitol Police force.”

And when it was over, Raskin continues, the insurrectionists left “at least five people dead (with several more to come by suicide of officers) and more than 140 officers wounded and injured, many of them hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries, concussions, broken arms, broken legs, broken ribs, broken vertebrae, black eyes, broken noses, lost fingers, broken necks, broken jaws, post-traumatic stress syndrome and every manner of emotional and psychological damage.” Only the sickest mind could label such violent assault on police officers “legitimate political discourse.”

And make no mistake about it. The RNC was not just speaking, as its feckless chair Ronna McDaniel tried to claim, about a handful of peaceful protestors who remained outside the building. Read the language of the resolution. It makes no such distinction. The RNC is dismissing the actions of everybody who participated in the sacking of the Capitol — including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and QAnon followers — as “legitimate political discourse.”

Shocked at how far the RNC will go to please Donald Trump by downplaying the violence of Jan. 6, several leading Republicans — including Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah), Bill Cassidy (La.), and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and former RNC Chair Michael Steele — rushed to condemn the RNC’s action. The National Review called it “both morally repellent and politically self-destructive.”

But the damage has already been done. In reality, the Republican Party barely exists anymore. Certainly not the party of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. They’re no longer the “law-and-order” party. They’re no longer the party of ideas. They don’t even have a party platform. Today’s Republican Party’s nothing more than a quasi-religious personality cult. Much like Italy under Mussolini (except Mussolini had a better hair job).

Donald Trump has forced Republicans to choose between being “pro-democracy Republicans” and “anti-democracy Republicans.” Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are on the right side.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 08, 2022, 11:12:57 PM
Conservative Charlie Sykes wants to know if Nikki Haley realizes how ridiculous she sounds


Nikki Haley has mastered the art of the political windsock, quickly changing direction depending on who she's talking to, Republican Ana Navarro once said. When the political winds change, Haley moves fast to make it sound like it was her belief all along.

"Does Nikki Haley have any idea how ridiculous she sounds?" Charlie Sykes asked opening his Tuesday newsletter for The Bulwark. "That is, of course, a rhetorical question, because she is, apparently beyond caring."

Sykes explained that it might not seem fair because Haley is merely doing what every other Republican is attempting as they're stuck between the Republican Party and Donald Trump.

Republicans like Haley are being asked to defend the expulsion of fellow Republicans like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for participating in the investigation into Jan. 6. In wake of Vice President Mike Pence disagreeing that he could overturn the election, Republicans are also being asked whether they believe Pence or Trump.

"They are clarifying questions, but deadly ones," wrote Sykes, "because they force the GOPers to take sides on the issue that the Orange God King in Exile has made a litmus test for political survival in his party. Their choice: embrace Trump’s vast array of lies and his unconstitutional attempt to overturn the election — or tell the truth. It’s a bitter conundrum for Republicans in the Overtime Age of Trump."

It's the reason that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was twisting himself in knots trying to avoid giving an answer that angered either side.

It wasn't long ago that Haley was decisively saying that Jan. 6 was wrong and so was Trump for attacking Pence.

And then there was Nikki Haley, whose desperate attempts at political contortionism have brought us to this moment.

"We need to acknowledge he let us down," she told Tim Alberta. "He went down a path he shouldn’t have, and we shouldn’t have followed him, and we shouldn’t have listened to him. And we can’t let that ever happen again."

Sykes noted that "ever" lasted just a few months until she was crawling back to Mar-a-Lago to beg Trump's forgiveness.

Monday night, Haley embraced a different kind of dodge.

“Mike Pence is a good man,” Haley said. “He’s an honest man. I think he did what he thought was right on that day. But I will always say, I’m not a fan of Republicans going against Republicans."

"So Nikki clutches her pearls as she insists that she doesn’t cotton to Republicans criticizing other Republicans. Because Trump, or something," Sykes characterized.

He closed by saying that no one should expect Haley to take umbrage with Trump when he goes after other Republicans, but her Monday statements were "still a clarifying moment" because she drew the line of what is and isn't acceptable in the world of GOP civility.

"Trump is wrong," is where Haley draws the line.

Read the full column at The Bulwark:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 09, 2022, 02:00:29 PM
Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers apologizes for cursing at Democrat over masks

WASHINGTON —A senior Republican lawmaker from Kentucky apologized late Tuesday for using an expletive when Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty asked him to put his mask on while in the Capitol.

The confrontation was just the latest dust-up in the House over mask-wearing, which many Republicans have refused to do.

Earlier Tuesday, Beatty, D-Ohio, ran into Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., outside her congressional office. Rogers, who has served in Congress since 1981, was maskless when they entered an elevator.

Beatty asked him to put on his mask and Rogers begrudgingly agreed, she said in an interview with The Associated Press shortly after it happened. Rogers proceeded to take his mask off when they got off the elevator and the two crossed paths again upon entering a train in the Capitol complex. That is when the interaction became hostile.

Beatty once again asked Rogers to put his mask back on.

"He poked me in the middle of my back and said, 'Get on the train,'" she said. "And I said, 'Don't you ever touch me.'"

According to Beatty, Rogers replied, "Kiss my a—."

In a video obtained by The AP, Beatty can be heard asking Rogers for an apology on the train.

"I hate to think if it had been reversed and a man of color ... they would have ushered him off the floor," Beatty said.

In a statement shortly after the incident, Rogers said he met with Beatty and apologized.

"My words were not acceptable and I expressed my regret to her, first and foremost," the congressman said.

The apology came less than two hours after all 56 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which Beatty chairs, stood on the steps of the House and demanded Rogers' apology.

"For a member of the U.S. House of Representatives tells another member to kiss his a—, I'm telling you today that is not the America that we will accept," Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., told reporters on the steps.

Beatty said she alerted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., about the incident and will file a complaint with House Committee on Ethics. Several Republican lawmakers have racked up thousands of dollars in fines for going maskless on the House floor.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 10, 2022, 01:23:35 PM
Florida Senator Marco Rubio attempted to dishonestly distort Val Demings record on crime and she totally owned him in this tweet. Demings is challenging Rubio in the Florida Senate race.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 10, 2022, 01:39:02 PM
Hate and division is all the GOP promotes. They ban books at schools and implement bogus "critical race theory" laws in order to go after teachers who taught about slavery and civil rights for decades. Now DeSantis wants to go after gay people. Just more of the GOP fascism and oppression they want to install in America.

Florida GOP's 'Don't Say Gay' bill ignites national condemnation


Opponents of bigotry and censorship are raising their voices in protest after Florida's GOP-controlled Senate Education Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would effectively prohibit teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in primary grades or at any level "in a manner that is not age-appropriate."

"It is always appropriate for kids to talk about themselves, their experiences, and their family. These are not taboo subjects, but banning them makes them seem so."

Dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, S.B. 1834 and its companion, H.B.1557, would also require all school districts' trainings on "student support services" to adhere to the guidelines, standards, and frameworks established by the Florida Department of Education (DOE). But as the ACLU of Florida pointed out, the state DOE "currently excludes anti-bullying resources intended to help prevent LGBTQ+ youth suicides."

Kara Gross, legislative director of the ACLU of Florida, said Tuesday in a statement that "this government censorship bill seeks to ban classroom discussions related to sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. If passed, it would effectively silence students from speaking about their LGBTQ+ family members, friends, neighbors, and icons."

In addition, said Gross, "it would bar LGBTQ+ students from talking about their own lives and would deny their very existence. It is always appropriate for kids to talk about themselves, their experiences, and their family. These are not taboo subjects, but banning them makes them seem so."

After Florida's Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis voiced support for the legislation earlier this week, President Joe Biden tweeted: "I want every member of the LGBTQI+ community—especially the kids who will be impacted by this hateful bill—to know that you are loved and accepted just as you are. I have your back, and my administration will continue to fight for the protections and safety you deserve."

Equality Florida, the state's largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, has launched a petition people can use to tell lawmakers to oppose legislation that the group says "is meant to stigmatize LGBTQ people, isolate LGBTQ kids, and make teachers fearful of providing a safe, inclusive classroom."

"If we don't speak up now, and act, Republicans will keep fighting to make laws like DeSantis' hateful 'Don't Say Gay' bill the norm," warned Patrick Gaspard, president of the Center for American Progress.

According to Gross, the "dangerously vague provisions" in S.B. 1834 and H.B. 1557 "would have a chilling effect on support for LGBTQ+ youth because it creates new costly liabilities for school districts. Under the bill, any parent who thinks that a classroom discussion was inappropriate or who is unsupportive of a district's policies would be given broad powers to sue for damages and attorneys' fees."

Jeffrey Sachs, a researcher at PEN America, recently noted that GOP lawmakers across the U.S. have introduced at least 137 bills that aim to limit the ability of teachers and students to discuss gender, racism, and other topics—including a growing number of proposals to establish so-called "tip lines" that would empower parents to discipline teachers.

In an opinion piece published Wednesday, Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent argued that this tidal wave of restrictive education bills has "an obvious purpose: to make teachers feel perpetually on thin ice, so they shy away from difficult discussions about our national past rather than risk breaking laws in ways they cannot themselves anticipate."

"But there's another, more pernicious goal driving these bills that might well succeed politically precisely because it remains largely unstated," Sargent continued. "The darker underlying premise here is that these bills are needed in the first place, because subversive elements lurk around every corner in schools, looking to pervert, indoctrinate, or psychologically torture your kids."

The "combination of... vagueness and punitive mechanisms such as rights of action and tip lines" is intentionally designed to promote self-censorship, wrote Sargent. "Precisely because teachers might fear that they can't anticipate how they might run afoul of the law—while also fearing punishment for such transgressions—they might skirt difficult subjects altogether."

He added:

Florida-based strategist Rick Wilson, who has broken with the GOP and knows from within how Republicans prosecute such culture wars, calls this a new "snitch culture" that's taking hold of his former party.

"They want teachers to be scared in the classroom," Wilson says. "We're going to see test cases... all over this country." As Wilson notes, the entire point is to put the base on high alert for "apostasy."

The roots of this run deep. As a great episode of the "Know Your Enemy" podcast details, calls for maximal parental choice and control in schools have been used by the right for decades as a smoke screen to sow fears and doubts about public education at its ideological foundations. The move from restricting race discourse to more "snitch" lines is perfectly in sync with that history.

Gross, meanwhile, said that the Florida bill "does nothing to help and support our youth." To the contrary, it "will have a real and devastating impact on LGBTQ+ youth, who already experience higher rates of bullying, homelessness, and suicide."

"Legislators," she added, "should oppose this bill and instead pass proposals that protect all students and truly address the challenges so many LGBTQ+ youth face in Florida schools."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 10, 2022, 01:44:56 PM
The only way the GOP can win is by cheating and stealing elections which is why they keep trying to do it.

Ohio Republicans throw temper tantrum as attempts to cheat with gerrymandering shot down

It takes a real dirtbag sensibility to claim the Ohio Supreme Court demanding districts in line with the Ohio Constitution voters overwhelmingly amended that actually represent Ohioans’ political preferences and still give your party a majority is somehow the real gerrymandering.

Nevertheless, that’s what we’re seeing from many Ohio Republican Statehouse politicians confronted with the possibility they may have to finally actually compete in competitive elections.

The childish temper tantrum being thrown by Ohio politicians upset they’ve been stopped from cheating their way into reelection with rigged districts is sadly completely unsurprising.

This is what happens when people who never face accountability are actually held accountable.

Just because the Ohio Supreme Court won’t let them get away with cheating, the politicians who keep trying to cheat don’t get to complain now about election calendar disruptions when they could’ve just acted constitutionally from the beginning.

First, we need to go over the history. Ohio Republicans have controlled redistricting since the 1990’s, and since the 1990’s they’ve stacked the deck in their favor, more egregiously with each passing decade. In 2015, more than 71% of voters amended the Ohio Constitution to snuff out gerrymandering of state House and Senate districts, and nearly 75% did so again for U.S. Congressional districts in 2018.

Instead, this fall, Ohio Republicans gave voters more supermajority gerrymandering of the Ohio House, more supermajority gerrymandering of the Ohio Senate, and absurdly disproportionate continued gerrymandering of Ohio’s U.S. Congressional districts.

Maps were proposed to the commission that actually represent the 54-46 Republican to Democratic political split of Ohioans, as averaged over 16 partisan statewide elections, directly mirroring the 1.9 million to 1.6 million Republican to Democratic registered voter split of Ohioans.

GOP leaders instead awarded themselves more supermajorities, with a House breakdown of 62 seats to 37 Dems, and 23 to 10 in the Senate, according to their own figures. Dave’s Redistricting App projected a 65-seat GOP supermajority in the House. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state legislature passed a congressional map along party lines that awarded themselves a 11-2 GOP-to-Democratic map with two potential toss-ups.

The Ohio Supreme Court declared these efforts unconstitutional gerrymanders and ordered them to be redrawn.

The Ohio Redistricting Commission returned to work this winter and produced a second map, based on their original gerrymandered map, and once again it passed along partisan lines, this time with Republicans giving themselves a 57 GOP to 42 Dem split in the Ohio House, and a 20 GOP to 13 Dem breakdown in the Senate.

In the House, 12 of the “Democratic leaning” seats in the GOP plan were tossups, with a Dem favor of only 50-51%. All of the GOP-leaning seats favored Republicans by more than 52%.

On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down this second attempt as well.

“The (Ohio Redistricting Commission’s) choice to avoid a more proportional plan for no explicable reason points unavoidably toward an intent to favor the Republican Party,” the 4-3 majority wrote in its ruling.

This is when the childish hysterics began.

Even though the deciding vote came from Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, GOP politicians whined of a “liberal” court, not standing up against gerrymandering, but somehow trying to enforce Democratic gerrymandering.

That might be a line that sells to unthinking rubes, but anybody paying attention knows that at no point did either Democrats or anti-gerrymandering advocates offer a map that would give Democrats a majority in either chamber of the General Assembly or U.S. Congressional districts.

In fact, all maps offered by Democrats and independent groups preserved the GOP’s majority, and the court itself cited the same 54/46 partisan split of Ohioans statewide election results bear out.

The infantile GOP response to the court can be summed up thusly: How dare you hold us accountable for trying to cheat. By not letting us cheat, you’re gerrymandering yourselves!

Fair, competitive maps are not gerrymandering. Acting in bad faith to produce imbalanced maps that maximize every advantage possible for your party and maximize every disadvantage possible for the opposition party, that’s gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering pushes politicians to extremes, denies voters their voice, opens the door to corruption, radicalizes political discourse, kills compromise, and disintegrates democracy. Gerrymandering poisons everything.

Politicians who would gerrymander themselves to victory in rigged districts are not acting in good faith. They’re afraid of competing on a level playing field in a general election. Why? I don’t know.

Maybe they’re more comfortable appealing to their rabid base than they are to the broad general electorate that actually comprises all Ohioans and all of their constituents.

Maybe they’re more comfortable knowing they can get away with doing whatever they want without ever facing any accountability because their primary voters will just keep returning them to positions of public trust no matter what corruption goes down on their watch.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t really matter because Chief Justice O’Connor has stood up for the American Republic despite them. And of course, now she’s facing calls for her impeachment because of it.

Vying to replace her, as she is prevented by age from running for reelection, is Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy who dissented in the rulings and would’ve allowed GOP politicians to cheat voters every four years ad infinitum.

Elections really do have consequences, and this whole spectacle in many ways is Ohio’s last stand for fair elections.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 10, 2022, 02:02:27 PM
Trump’s mishandling of classified material lands under investigation by House Oversight Committee


Donald Trump is facing yet another investigation into alleged misconduct as president of the United States.

On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced it has launched an investigation into the boxes of Trump documents that the Archivist of the United States obtained at Mar-a-Lago, citing a Washington Post report.

"The National Archives and Records Administration has asked the Justice Department to examine Donald Trump’s handling of White House records, sparking discussions among federal law enforcement officials about whether they should investigate the former president for a possible crime, according to two people familiar with the matter. The referral from the National Archives came amid recent revelations that officials recovered 15 boxes of materials from the former president’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida that were not handed back in to the government as they should have been, and that Trump had turned over other White House records that had been torn up," the newspaper reported. "Archives officials suspected Trump had possibly violated laws concerning the handling of government documents — including those that might be considered classified — and reached out to the Justice Department, the people familiar with the matter said."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the committee's chairwoman, said she was "deeply concerned that these records were not provided to [National Archives and Records Administration] promptly at the end of the Trump Administration and that they appear to have been removed from the White House in violation of the Presidential Records Act (PRA)."

“I am also concerned by recent reports that while in office, President Trump repeatedly attempted to destroy presidential records, which could constitute additional serious violations of the PRA," she added.

Legal experts have blasted Trump for taking the documents.

“Former President Trump and his senior advisors must also be held accountable for any violations of the law,” Maloney said. “Republicans in Congress obsessively investigated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server for official communications. Former President Trump’s conduct, in contrast, involves a former president potentially violating a criminal law by intentionally removing records, including communications with a foreign leader, from the White House and reportedly attempting to destroy records by tearing them up.”


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 11, 2022, 12:24:25 AM
Another phony right wing Republican trying to look "tough" in a commercial. And as usual, they have to depict violence against Democrats. GOP hatred and their violence is despicable.

Arizona GOP candidate's Super Bowl ad features him firing a gun at likenesses of Biden and Pelosi
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 12, 2022, 12:00:09 AM
GOP fascists hate America and their dream is to overthrow the government by force and turn it into an authoritarian dictatorship. They already tried on 1/6 and now they have their right wing funded "convoy" in Canada attempting to shut down the Canadian and American economies. Now GOP fascist Thomas Massie is openly endorsing an overthrow the government by force from a minority of their seditious traitors. These GOP fascists want far right wing extreme Americans to own nuclear and biological weapons to unleash on Americans they don't like. These fascists are mentally ill.   

Thomas Massie says Americans must own enough weapons to overthrow the government if 30-40% agree on ‘tyranny’


A U.S. Congressman is calling on Americans to own "sufficient" weaponry to overthrow the government, suggesting they should do so "if 30 to 40 percent agree" the nation is living under "tyranny."

"If 30 to 40 percent could agree that this was legitimate tyranny and it needed to be thrown off they need to have sufficient power without asking for extra permission – it should be right there and completely available to them in their living room in order to effect the change," U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said in a video (below) posted by Right Wing Watch.

Congressman Massie, who recently came under fire for tweeting a quote by a neo-Nazi and falsely attributing it to French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire, appeared on far-right Youtuber Tim Pool's show.

Pool's videos get "millions" of views each day, according to The Daily Beast, which adds he "has racked up more than a billion views and millions in earnings while dangerously whitewashing the far right."

Massie, known for his assault-weapons brandishing Christmas family photo this week was widely mocked for arguing against Medicare for All, because "Over 70% of Americans who died with COVID, died on Medicare.”

During Pool's show, according to Right Wing Watch, the YouTuber added that he believes the Second Amendment entitles Americans to own nuclear and biological weapons.

Watch video in link below:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 12, 2022, 12:03:37 AM
Ron DeSantis wants to rig Florida's congressional maps against Black voters — but GOP lawmakers think he's going too far.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported on how Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is attempting to push the GOP-controlled legislature to pass a more aggressive gerrymander of the state's congressional maps — in particular urging they carve up a North Florida district spanning from Tallahassee to Jacksonville that exists to allow Black voters to elect a candidate of their choice.

The new report notes that even some Republicans who are normally allied with him are pushing back on the idea.

Florida is a rare example of a Republican-controlled state that was not already gerrymandered going into this decade's redistricting process. The Florida Supreme Court struck down the GOP's original 2011 gerrymander in 2015, citing the state's Fair Districts Amendment, and forced implementation of a fair map. But Republican appointees taking over the state Supreme Court, combined with Florida gaining a new seat from the Census, led some GOP activists to hope the state could draw an aggressive gerrymander that would survive the whole decade, possibly giving Republicans 3 to 4 more seats.

DeSantis has led the charge — but, according to the report, his fellow Republicans in the legislature aren't on board, believing a map that too aggressively denies seats to Black voters won't hold up in court.

It ... shocked even fellow Florida Republicans when, in the midst of a pressure campaign from Donald Trump’s former senior adviser Stephen K. Bannon, DeSantis incited a redistricting battle with his own party, roping the state’s two legislative chambers into the fray and asking the state’s highest court to pick sides," reported Colby Itkowitz, Lori Rozsa, and Michael Scherer. "Days before the Florida state Senate was to vote on new congressional district lines in January, DeSantis presented a dramatically more partisan map that boosted Republican seats and eliminated a district where a plurality of voters are Black."

"The state Senate ignored DeSantis’s last-minute appeal and passed its version, a map that received support from every Republican and all but four Democrats in the chamber," noted the report. "DeSantis responded by asking the state Supreme Court to weigh in on whether his map’s erasure of the 5th Congressional District, where Black Democrats are advantaged, would withstand legal scrutiny ... On Thursday, in a rare legal setback for DeSantis, the state Supreme Court rejected his request for an advisory opinion, saying the governor’s request was 'broad and contains multiple questions that implicate complex federal and state constitutional matters and precedents interpreting the Voting Rights Act of 1965.'"

State Sen. Ray Rodrigues, who heads up redistricting efforts in the Florida Senate for Republicans, put things bluntly: “I’m a proud Republican, a very conservative Republican, but when I was elected, I was sworn into office on an oath to follow and protect the Constitution whether I like it or not. I have a responsibility to be in compliance with our Constitution.”

The Florida State House's proposed map is a bit more favorable to Republicans than the Senate's; it reduces Black voters' representation in the Tampa-based 10th District and makes the currently Democratic-held 7th District in suburban Orlando more Republican-leaning. But neither the House nor Senate plan, which will need to be reconciled in a compromise draw, will be much like the aggressive racial gerrymander that DeSantis sought.

You can read more here:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 14, 2022, 02:08:58 PM
President Biden to visit Cleveland, Lorain to discuss bipartisan infrastructure law

CLEVELAND — The White House announced Saturday that President Joe Biden will visit Northeast Ohio this coming week to talk about infrastructure and how it affects Ohioans and other Americans.

He is set to visit Cleveland and Lorain on Thursday. Specific times and locations have not been announced.

According to the White House, Biden will "discuss how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers for the American people by rebuilding roads and bridges, upgrading water systems, cleaning up the environment, and creating good-paying, union jobs."

When Biden signed the bill into law in November, he touted the legislation as "a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America." He highlighted provisions that would rebuild America's roads and bridges, as well as expand public transportation and rail travel. He also touched on how the law would replace lead pipes across the country that carry drinking water as well as providing expanded access to high-speed internet.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 14, 2022, 02:25:59 PM
Biden’s Infrastructure Bill Includes an Unprecedented $1.1 Billion for Everglades Revitalization
The money will go toward funding projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, a Florida law passed in 2000 that consists of 68 different projects that will cost a total of $23 billion.


ORLANDO, Fla.—When the tide is right, the ink-colored water spreads like a shadow across the aquamarine Indian River Lagoon.

The dark water represents one of the most startling symptoms of what silently is killing the 156-mile lagoon, an estuary on Florida’s east coast that is among the most biologically diverse on the continent: nutrient pollution.

Nutrients are a component of fertilizers used on farm crops and front lawns. In the Indian River Lagoon the pollution has wreaked havoc, nourishing harmful algae blooms that can cloud the historically crystaline water, preventing sunlight from reaching the seagrass undulating beneath the surface. Most notably widespread seagrass losses led in 2021 to a record die-off of some 1,100 manatees in Florida, prompting wildlife agencies to resort to providing supplemental lettuce for starving manatees in the lagoon, where the majority of the deaths occurred.

The problem is among those targeted with an unprecedented $1.1 billion in federal funding aimed at revitalizing Florida’s treasured and troubled Everglades, a watershed responsible for the drinking water of more than 8 million Floridians and the subject of one of the most ambitious attempts at ecological restoration in human history.

In the Indian River Lagoon, the money is intended to improve water quality by helping to manage polluted water flowing from area farms, said Eve Samples, executive director of Friends of the Everglades.

“That black plume of polluted water, which comes from agricultural lands west of the lagoon,” she said, “will no longer exist. So it’s really going to help water quality in that specific section of the Indian River Lagoon.”

The money also is intended to fortify the Everglades against the rising seas and other impacts of climate change. The funding is part of the infrastructure measure President Joe Biden signed into law in November and represents the single largest investment ever in Everglades restoration, according to the White House.

The money comes at a somewhat heady time in Everglades restoration. In recent years, millions of dollars in new funding has helped jumpstart the massive federal-and-state effort, which had languished initially after the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan became law in 2000. Today construction is underway on several CERP projects, and the first major project is complete: a reservoir and engineered wetlands aimed at filtering water of nutrients before the water flows into the south end of the Indian River Lagoon.

Samples and other leaders also celebrated the completion last year of a separate project predating CERP: a major restoration of the Kissimmee River, which along with its tributaries represents the headwaters of the Everglades. 

“We are absolutely seeing more ribbon cuttings occurring and more groundbreakings,” said Kelly Cox, director of Everglades policy at Audubon Florida. “Now we get to see how (the projects are) working and how well they’re working. And from the projects that we’ve already seen come online just in the past several years, we know that Everglades restoration works, and the Kissimmee River restoration project is a good example of that. That project was done in phases, and we saw ecological returns with every single phase of that project.”

The Everglades begin in central Florida with the Kissimmee River, which historically meandered lazily to Lake Okeechobee. The lake, a shallow depression in the land, spilled its excess water over its southern brim, forming a shallow sheet that was the river of grass. Draining large swaths of the Everglades has made modern Florida possible and left the state’s most important freshwater resource on the brink. The new federal money will fund a series of projects together aimed at improving water quality and flow and adding water storage in the Everglades.

For instance, one project relies on yet another reservoir to help improve water quality and address that shadow of dark water that occurs in the south end of the Indian River Lagoon. Another is designed to manage polluted water that flows from western Broward County and eventually ends up in Everglades National Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says that project will improve habitat for fish and wildlife, including five federally listed species. Yet another project is meant to improve water flows into Biscayne Bay.

Indian River lagoon is pea-soup green, raising fears of another 'bloom of doom'

Conspicuously missing from the list is one that is considered crucial in restoring the Everglades’ historic flow south: a large reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee in the Everglades Agricultural Area. That reservoir is aimed at alleviating harmful discharges east and west from Lake Okeechobee to fragile coastal estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon, which in recent years triggered widespread blooms of toxic algae. The omission prompted outrage among the state’s Republican leadership, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2024 and has made Everglades restoration a priority of his administration. U.S. Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) went as far as to characterize the omission as a “middle finger” from the Biden administration for Florida.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency overseeing Everglades restoration, answered Mast’s criticism by saying that the corps remains committed to the reservoir, and construction is scheduled to begin this year. The Army Corps says the remaining work is projected to cost more than $3 billion, more than the $1.9 billion available in the infrastructure measure for restoration projects nationwide.

“That’s the centerpiece of restoration,” said Steve Davis, chief science officer at the Everglades Foundation. “That’s the project that does it all, really. It takes water from Lake Okeechobee. So it reduces discharges to the east and west coasts by substantial amounts, over 50%. And it sends enormous quantities of water south.”

While the new federal money is significant, it is not enough to fully fund CERP, which involves some 68 projects, most massive on their own. Altogether the cost is projected to be some $23 billion.

“We will see some progress, but this is a multigenerational effort,” said Samples of Friends of the Everglades. “We’re going to be waiting until my 13-year-old son is a grown man to see the results of some of these long-term infrastructure projects.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 14, 2022, 10:47:56 PM
Shots fired at Louisville Democratic mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A person fired multiple gunshots at Louisville Democratic mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg in his campaign office Monday morning, missing him but striking his clothing.

"We consider ourselves very fortunate," Louisville Metro Police Chief Erika Shields said at a press conference about a block away from Greenberg's offices in the Butchertown Market building.   

She said a person had been detained by police and no motive was known. "We also have no reason to believe at this time that this individual was acting anything but alone."

Shortly after the shooting, Greenberg tweeted that he and his team were safe and thanked others for their "outpouring of support." He said he would provide an update soon.

Police said they responded to the four-story building about 10:15 a.m. after receiving reports of "an active aggressor." They said multiple shots were fired and it was determined that Greenberg's office had been targeted, So officers evacuated Greenberg and his staff, LMPD said in a statement.

Shields said a round struck a "piece" of Greenberg's clothing but was not more specific.

Besides police, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called to the scene.

Shields said the police would be investigating the incident "from all angles" to determine a motive. She said it was unknown if the incident could be related to politics, the fact that Greenberg is Jewish or if the person could have had mental issues. 

"We have to really keep an open mind and really just be diligent in taking care of our community," she said.

Matt Goldberg, director of community relations for the Jewish Federation of Louisville, noted that Greenberg is an "active member" of the local Jewish community but was cautious about assigning a motive.

"I think until we hear from LMPD or any of the investigators ... that he was specifically targeted because he was Jewish, there isn't anything specifically we're doing," he said of the Jewish community.

"You don't expect to see anything like that in Louisville or anywhere, but to see it for someone you know is very, very frightening," he said. "We're thinking about his family of course and his friends and the people on his campaign."

Other mayoral candidates swiftly commented on the shooting and offered support to Greenberg and his team.

Philip Molestina, a Republican running for mayor, said the news that Greenberg was targeted in a shooting is surreal but the most important thing is the safety of Greenberg and everyone else at his office.

This shooting, he said, "makes it even more important for us to have a safe city and work, all of us together, to make sure that happens regardless of political affiliations or anything else."

David Nicholson, a Democrat in the race, said the news of the shooting led him to take extra security precautions.

"I was immediately notified of the shooting by LMPD, and I have since spoken with Mr. Greenberg," Nicholson said. "While our campaign received no prior threats or indication of danger, my campaign has taken the necessary precautions to protect my family, campaign team and myself."

Greenberg launched his campaign for mayor last year and quickly built up a big fundraising lead (which he has since maintained) in the race to succeed outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer.

Before he got into politics, he worked as CEO of 21c Museum Hotels and also served on the University of Louisville board of trustees for a couple of years. He became a co-owner of Ohio Valley Wrestling alongside Kentucky Sports Radio founder Matt Jones last year and started a firm, Greenberg Group, that's centered on urban revitalization projects.

Runner, trustee, JCPS grad:What to know about Louisville mayor candidate Craig Greenberg

Greenberg has said public safety would be his No. 1 priority if he's elected mayor this year.

He released his public safety plan for Louisville last month, which called for "fully" funding and staffing a "community-oriented police force" and expanding mental health treatment, among other things.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 15, 2022, 02:40:11 PM
Why accelerationist Proud Boys latched on to big conservative rallies in DC last month


The weekend of Jan. 21-23 brought the annual anti-choice March for Life to Washington, DC, followed two days later by the Defeat the Mandates rally to oppose vaccine mandates. The two events brought thousands of conservatives to the nation’s capital, along with throngs of far-right extremists looking to recruit from their ranks.

A phalanx of members from the avowedly fascist group Patriot Front formed their own column along the March for Life, under heavy police protection as antifascist counter-protesters confronted them. Patriot Front’s appearance, in turn, appeared to act as a magnet for other extremists. Two young men wearing khaki pants, camouflage jackets, work boots and skull masks, as captured in a video by a team member of the veteran-owned open-source intelligence firm Sparverius, showed up and heckled the counter-protesters as Patriot Front members marched past.

One of the men signaled his white power beliefs in ways that were both subtle and blatant: a patch with the red-and-white checkered insignia of the Croatian Legion, a division of the German Army during World War II; stickers on his helmet depicting the image of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell and the slogan “White Lives Matter”; and a Confederate battle flag patch on his military-style backpack.

Two days later, the two men joined members of the Maryland DC Proud Boys chapter at the Lincoln Memorial for the anti-vaccination rally. Among the group of more than a dozen men, about half wore skull masks. Their coats concealed bulky tactical vests, and they carried heavy backpacks. After marching from the Washington Monument, the Proud Boys entourage gathered at the end of the reflecting pool, holding a position at the edge of the large anti-vaccination crowd and near a handful of counter-protesters clumped together at a nearby knoll. At one point, some of the Proud Boys went over to confront the counter-protesters, but then walked off without incident.

“These accelerationists — the guys wearing skull masks, they wear that because they… were signaling to each other that they are extremists, but to the general public they are telegraphing that they are tough, something to be feared, masculine,” Kristofer Goldsmith, Sparverius’ CEO, told Raw Story. “They’re attracting people who think it’s a drinking and street brawler club, and they’re putting them in a pipeline to extremism that ends in domestic terrorism.”

Goldsmith, who is also a senior fellow at the Innovation Lab of Human Rights First, said the Proud Boys’ public presence in DC last month marked a significant turn, following a year in which members across the country have mostly focused on flashpoints of local controversy like school board meetings.

“That weekend Friday through Sunday, between the anti-choice and anti-vax events, was the first major return to DC after the attack on the Capitol,” Goldsmith said. “Though it wasn’t the same numbers and there wasn’t violence the way there had been the year prior, what it did establish to these groups in their psychology is that it is now safe to return to DC in an election year.”

Members of the Proud Boys group also distributed stickers at the anti-vaccination rally with the Proud Boys logo and text, “We are watching.” When a journalist posted a photo of herself holding up the sticker in front of the crowd gathered at the Lincoln Memorial on Twitter, the Proud Boys chapter confirmed responsibility with a post of its own on its Telegram channel that read: “Local antifa scum wanted a business card. That’s right, we are watching.

Matthew Kriner, the managing director of the Accelerationist Research Consortium, told Raw Story that he views the text as a signal that the Proud Boys and their affiliates who attended the rally “are looking for circumstances to insert themselves to instigate further violence and destabilize the political system.” Kriner is also a senior research scholar at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

“After January 6th, this stands out to me as something that shows they’re not afraid to engage in instigator behavior, because we saw them do that on January 6th,” Kriner added. “They instigated a crowd at a right-wing event that became a riot.”

The Maryland DC Proud Boys chapter commemorated its appearance at the anti-vaccination rally by posting a photo of a member nicknamed “Ghost” posing with a plate carrier in front of the Washington Monument, accompanied by the text, “We’re back!” Another heavily stylized photo posted on Telegram shows a handful of members, including the neo-Nazi wearing the Croatian Legion patch, marching away from the Washington Monument. A variation of the image posted on Telegram shows the members superimposed on a war-ravaged urban landscape with the chapter logo slapped in the middle.

Members of the chapter did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Raw Story was able to reach Brandon Heffner, who was identified as the recipient of funds from a GiveSendGo campaign to raise money for a recent Christmas toy drive. Heffner told Raw Story that he is not involved in the chapter, but agreed to handle the funds for the toy drive.

Raw Story also left a voicemail at a phone number listed on the Telegram account for a user named “Joe Bonadio,” eliciting no response.

Notwithstanding Heffner’s claim to not be involved in the chapter, a Telegram user named “HEFF,” along with the “Joe Bonadio” account expressed enthusiasm for a planned White Lives Matter rally in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area last March. In a channel set up to promote the planned rally, “HEFF” commented, “#f**kantifa proudboys will be the there [sic] in plain clothes or not,” while “Joe Bonadio” wrote, “I’m with ya.” The person behind the “HEFF” account also appears to have a family member involved in the chapter. A user named “LadyHeff” periodically comments on content on the chapter’s Telegram channel, including a post last month blaming people of color for urban decay in which she wrote, “They can take their diversity and shove it up their *ss.”

The ethno-nationalist content shared on the chapter’s Telegram channel echoes the white power symbols displayed in public by some of its members. Since December, the channel has forwarded at least two posts from Greyson Arnold, a podcaster who has spoken approvingly about Nazi Germany and who once duped a Republican National Committee member into saying that white nationalist Nick Fuentes should have a voice in picking candidates to run for office in Republican primaries. Later that month, the channel for the Maryland DC chapter forwarded a post by Lauren Witzke, a former US Senate candidate from Delaware who has retweeted posts from VDARE, a white nationalist website.

Beyond forwarding content from other white nationalists, the channel has contributed its own white power messaging. Without specifying the target, a Dec. 29, 2021 post declared, “Special place in hell for these people. Day of the rope mutha f**a.”

“Day of the rope” is an explicit reference to The Turner Diaries, a novel written by neo-Nazi William Pierce that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing and an numerous other acts of terrorism and racist violence by perpetrators seeking to emulate the novel’s protagonist by “stockpiling biological weapons, engaging in a racist shooting spree, robbing banks, and assembling pipe bombs with Jewish and Black targets in mind,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“I would portray the Proud Boys as antisemitic, racist bigots; they would not see themselves as such,” said Michael Loadenthal, an advisory board member at the Accelerationist Research Consortium. “It’s undeniable when they start sharing content that is explicitly racist and antisemitic.”

Loadenthal and Goldsmith both said the barriers between Proud Boys and hardcore neo-Nazi groups, always permeable, are becoming increasingly porous.

Goldsmith said antifascist researchers have identified current members of the openly fascist group Patriot Front who had previously been identified as Proud Boys, indicating a migration between the two groups and a radicalization path towards more extreme violence and racism.

Last week, the Maryland DC Proud Boys chapter reshared a propaganda video produced by the fascist media outfit Media2Rise, which was embedded with Patriot Front during its surprise march through DC in December 2021 and produced high-quality video from the event. Goldsmith told Raw Story that one of Patriot Front leader Thomas Rousseau’s lieutenant’s, Graham Whitson, operates Media2Rise’s online store. Whitson was arrested with Rousseau in August 2020 for plastering Patriot Front stickers on the grounds of county courthouse in Grapevine, Texas.

“Here, we’re establishing the skeleton of how the Proud Boy-fascist pipeline works,” Goldsmith said.

Proud Boys Telegram channels, including the Maryland DC chapter, routinely share content from the “Western Chauvinism” channel, which is named after a primary tenet of Proud Boys doctrine.

“Western Chauvinism produces high-production quality video that is targeting Proud Boys,” Goldsmith said. “It’s shared in Proud Boys channels. It’s encouraging people to embrace fascism as the true law-and-order ideology. I recognize the propaganda videos are deadly serious, and they’re created by people who are deadly serious.

“The actual absurdity of trying to whitewash Hitler and put on pedestal Hitler himself and the rise of the Nazis is deliberately too far,” he continued. “It’s part of the Proud Boys’ claim that ‘we’re not actually Nazis, just edge lords; we’re just trolling the libs.’ The reason we had kids in their early twenties showing up in Charlottesville is they started out on the internet making jokes about the Holocaust, and then they started to believe in it."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 16, 2022, 01:55:54 PM
They don't even hide it anymore. The GOP is the party of white nationalists and white supremacists.

Arizona Republican hyping far-right event featuring notorious white nationalist: report


The America First Political Action Conference in Orlando is receiving a major boost from a prominent Arizona Republican, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

"Organized by white nationalist and 'Unite The Right' attendee Nick Fuentes, the conference is a watering hole for people who think the Conservative Political Action Conference (also next week) needs to use more slurs," Kelly Weill reported. "But the fringe conference is also playing footsie with elected officials, this year with Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers, who promoted the event on Telegram. It’s the second year in a row that an Arizona politician has backed the conference, putting them in league with [Tim 'Baked Alaska' Gionet] and other legally challenged extremists."

The 2021 America First Political Action Conference was addressed by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). Gosar recently defended Fuentes, who is described as a white nationalist by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"The post was far from Rogers’ first in support of Fuentes, an open bigot. ('This is going to be the most racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denying speech in all of Dallas this weekend,' Fuentes boasted of one of his upcoming speeches after he was kicked out of CPAC in 2021.) Rogers has authored at least two dozen fawning posts about Fuentes, according to Left Coast Right Watch," The Beast reported. "Fuentes has returned the favor, using Rogers’ posts to hype AFPAC and even hinting that the state senator might be involved, researcher Arizona Right Wing Watch reported."

The conference is seen as a vehicle for Republicans to reach out to younger racists.

"Both Gosar and Rogers have well-documented ties to the militant right, particularly the paramilitary group the Oath Keepers. Rogers announced her membership to the group several years ago and gave a speech for members in March 2021, while Gosar allegedly told an Arizona Oath Keepers leader that the U.S. was already in a civil war, 'we just haven’t started shooting yet.' But their friendliness with Fuentes and his “America First” movement signals an effort to ingratiate themselves with a younger generation of racists—an effort both cringe-worthy and at times downright dangerous for the Arizona politicians’ constituents," The Beast reported.

Read the full report:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 17, 2022, 11:10:27 AM
New data shows retail sales increased by 3.8% in January. This is no accident, President Biden has taken concrete action to get Americans back to work, battle COVID-19, and address supply chain issues. Biden's strong leadership is helping our economy continue to build on what has already been a historic period of growth in 2021 moving into 2022.

January retail sales surge 3.8%

NEW YORK (AP) — Fueled by pay gains, solid hiring and enhanced savings, Americans sharply ramped up their spending at retail stores last month in a sign that many consumers remain unfazed by rising inflation.

Retail sales jumped 3.8% from December to January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, a much bigger increase than economists had expected. Though inflation helped boost that figure, most of January’s gain reflected more purchases, not higher prices.

Last month’s increase was the largest since last March, when most households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400. The fact that consumer spending remains brisk even after government stimulus has faded — enhanced unemployment aid ended in September — suggests that Americans’ pay is rising enough to drive a healthy pace of spending and economic growth.

Job growth is strong, wages are increasing and household wealth is way up thanks to rapidly rising home values and, until recently, stock prices.

Retail sales rose solidly across the spectrum in January. Sales at general merchandise stores rose 3.6% and at department stores 9.2%. Purchases at furniture and home furnishings stores increased 7.2%. Online sales jumped 14.5%.

Restaurants were an outlier in January: Sales fell 0.9%, likely a reflection of many people refraining from dining out at a time when reported omicron infections were exploding.

Gasoline sales fell 1.3%, possibly a result of the cost and cases of omicron, which rose in tandem, according to Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com.

Since the pandemic erupted two years ago, spending has continued to be heavily weighted toward goods — things that people can own. But as COVID-19 cases decline, Americans are expected to begin spending more on concerts, movies and dinners out.

At the same time, Wednesday’s retail report covers only about one-third of overall consumer spending; it doesn’t include such services as haircuts, hotel stays and plane tickets.

The New York clothing company Untuckit has registered a rebound in recent weeks, with more people preparing for an eventual return to the office, said Aaron Sanandres, the CEO and a co-founder.

“I am optimistic that this time there is a bit more momentum,” Sanandres said.

The omicron variant that emerged in late November caused widespread worker shortages, with many employees calling in sick. Yet the wave of the most recent variant appears to have been short-lived. Reported infections began to decline by mid-January as fast as they rose late last year. Cases have plunged from 436,000 a day two weeks ago to 136,000 Monday.

January’s robust increase in retail purchases followed gains in October and November before a sharp drop in December, a month when sales are normally high. By January, despite surging inflation — consumer prices soared 7.5% last month from 12 months earlier — Americans appeared ready to renew spending.

The strong January report comes as major retailers, including Walmart, are slated to release their fiscal fourth-quarter financial figures, starting as early as Thursday. Bryan Eshelman, a managing director in the retail practice at AlixPartners, believes the earnings reports, which cover November through January, will be strong as stores have been able to wield their pricing power. But he questions whether consumers will continue to pay full price or go back to their old behaviors of waiting for a sale.

“Will retailers be willing to have the discipline to hold the line?” he asked.

The volatility in retail sales data is also emerging after the pandemic and related supply crunches drastically altered the behavior of Americans, particularly at the end of 2021. Major retailers companies urged people to shop early to avoid shortages, and Americans did, in huge numbers.

Services spending, at least in some sectors, is rising along with goods purchases. Joseph Aquino, who runs a real estate services firm in New York, says leasing activity for retail spaces is picking up, recovering from a steep downturn in that sector.

Still, the sector’s recovery has a long way to go. Rents on Madison Avenue had ranged from $1,500 to $1,800 a square foot before the pandemic, Aquino said. Now, the same space is now going for between $600 to $800 per square foot.

“There is a sense of optimism, ”Aquino said. “People are realizing that the virus is slowly dissipating.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 17, 2022, 11:25:09 AM
Every single Republican senator refused to show up to their jobs on the Banking and Housing committee to consider President Biden's Federal Reserve nominees. The committee could not conduct business because there was not a quorum. The Federal Reserve is the most important institution in America in the fight against inflation. But five critical positions are unfilled because Republican Senate partisans are blocking a vote. Republicans also boycotted the committe vote in order to prevent these important positions from being filled. The GOP goal is to keep inflation rising to sabotage President Biden's presidency because they think it will help them politically. Senate Republicans are purposely hurting Americans and our economy for their own lust for power.


Senate Republicans boycott committee vote on Biden's Federal Reserve nominees

Senate Republicans are blocking all President Biden's nominees for the Federal Reserve from advancing as they raise questions over his pick to be the top banking regulator. In a statement early Tuesday, ranking member Pat Toomey announced Republicans would not attend the meeting, meaning Democrats would not have the quorum necessary to hold the votes.

The Senate Banking Committee was forced to delay votes Tuesday on advancing the nominations of Jerome Powell to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve and Lael Brainard as vice chair. The committee was also supposed to move forward with the nominations of Sarah Bloom Raskin as vice chair of supervision and Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson as members of the Board of Governors.

Democrats warned the boycott could hurt American workers amid soaring inflation and hamper the recovery from the pandemic. But Republicans skipped the meeting over one specific nominee – President Biden's choice of Raskin as the Fed's top banking regulator, responsible for developing regulatory policy recommendations.

"They're not showing up to do their constitutional duty that they were elected to do," said Senator Jon Tester, who pointed out Republicans showed up during the last administration to vote for nominees who he said were not qualified.

All 12 Democrats during the meeting signaled they would support all of the nominees even as Republicans were absent. Brown dismissed the idea of breaking up the votes to advance Biden's picks for the Central Bank.

Democrats also blasted Republicans Tuesday, saying if they cared so much about inflation and the impact of rising prices on Americans, they would show up to make sure the Fed has a fully functioning board.

"They're taking away probably the most important tool that we have, and that's the Federal Reserve to combat inflation," Brown said of his Republican colleagues.

There are three empty seats on the Federal Reserve board. Powell and Brainard are serving in their roles in an acting capacity. If Mr. Biden's nominees are confirmed, it would be the first time the Fed has its full seven-member board in a decade.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 17, 2022, 01:42:18 PM
Embrace of accelerationism signals a potential escalation of violence by Proud Boys (Part II)


The caption under the video, despite being couched in edgy humor, leaves little to the imagination.

The 27-second video compiling screengrabs of news headlines about a Planned Parenthood clinic in Knoxville, Tenn. that was destroyed by arson on New Year’s Eve backed with a hip hop track went out on the Great Basin Proud Boys Telegram account, with the giddy commentary: “Bro this year is about to be LIT.”

This is part two in a three-part series on accelerationism in the Proud Boys movement.

You read part one here: https://www.rawstory.com/accelerationist-proud-boys/

At least one other Proud Boys chapter, Maryland-DC, forwarded the post.

An earlier post on the channel was even more direct.

“When I hear that California is going to be an abortion sanctuary state and I live less than an hour from the California border,” the caption reads. Text superimposed on an image of a cartoon donkey completes the thought: “I’m makin’ pipe bombs.”

According to the pinned message on the Great Basin Proud Boys channel, the account is primarily run by the president and vice president of the northern Nevada chapter. Raw Story was not able to determine their identities.

In January, the Maryland DC chapter distributed a TikTok video of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan discussing COVID control measures that featured the absurd headline “Military state is beginning” on its Telegram channel. The commentary accompanying the video on the Maryland DC Proud Boys channel included a personal attack on the governor, ending with the hashtag #bringbackpublichanging.

Content advocating for terrorism and the execution of elected officials swapped on Telegram by Great Basin and Maryland-DC along with other hardline chapters reflects a kind of rhetoric wouldn’t be out of place in discussions among members of The Base and Atomwaffen, said Matthew Kriner, the managing director of the Accelerationist Research Consortium and a senior research scholar at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Following a law enforcement crackdown beginning in 2017, several members of the two groups are either serving sentences or awaiting trial on charges of murder, conspiracy to threaten journalists, swatting, stockpiling explosive material and firearms violations.

“That kind of rhetoric is indicative of accelerationist tactics and views,” Kriner said. “That kind of rhetoric is far more likely to be found in chat rooms of The Base, Atomwaffen or Feuerkrieg Division discussing tactics that they believe are necessary for the overthrow and collapse of the political system.”

Content promoting accelerationism, proactive violence and overt white power ideology is becoming increasingly prevalent in online spaces where Proud Boys interact, while the group as a whole serves as a bridge from mainstream conservative entities like the GOP to more extreme far-right activity. As an example of the content that blatantly celebrates violence, posts on the Great Basin Proud Boys channel routinely celebrates Ted Kaczynski, the eco-terrorist who carried out a bombing campaign over the course of 17 years that resulted in three deaths and dozens of injuries.

“We’re seeing that these communities are absorbing and interacting with neo-fascist content that is distinct from the broader Proud Boys community,” Kriner said. “The broader Proud Boys community tends to be far-right conservative or crypto-fascist.”

Progressives and centrists might not see much difference between the two positions, Kriner said, but the distinction is critical to understanding when extremists feel justified in resorting to violence.

“The difference is that the crypto-fascists and far-right conservatives don’t generally call for proactive violence,” he said, “whereas the neo-fascist accelerationists explicitly call for violence as a means of generating action.”

Michael Loadenthal, who serves on the advisory board of the Accelerationist Research Consortium, said accelerationism should not be understood as a movement in the same way that MAGA or the anti-vaccination mobilization are.

“It’s more of a brand and an aesthetic and a tactical repertoire,” he said. “Use of firearms, scary posters with black, white and red colors, advocacy for violence, actively racist and homophobic, advocacy for industrial sabotage — if you do these things, you’re accelerationist.”

The Telegram channels for the Great Basin, Mid-Missouri and Maryland-DC Proud Boys chapters promote particularly accelerationist content, alongside posts that are openly racist and antisemitic as well as violent. The appearance of more than a dozen men attached to the Maryland-DC chapter who wore Proud Boys clothing, skull masks and tactical gear to the Defeat the Mandates rally in Washington DC last month showed that the accelerationist tendency has moved beyond digital space and into the streets.

In one example of antisemitism, a user named “Simon Bolivar” commented on a post in the Maryland-DC channel last month purporting to show immigrants from Latin America who were secretly smuggled into the country on a flight into New York City.

“How ironic would it be if we turn these migrants into national socialists and have them go after the jews?” “Simon Bolivar” commented. “Just tell them Henry Kissinger destroyed their nation and they need to avenge their ancestors.”

Meanwhile, a post in the Mid-Missouri advocating for “decentralized banking” uses the “triple echo” parentheses — a code used by white supremacists for Jews — to charge that “(((They)))” create wage slaves by encouraging usury,” while another post displaying a Jewish caricature suggests that Jews don’t like talk about “natural immunity” because they’re behind the pharmaceutical industry’s push for bigger profits.

The overt antisemitism displayed on the Mid-Missouri and Maryland-DC channels is at odds with the Proud Boys party line, which discourages discussion of the “JQ” — a shorthand among white supremacists for “Jewish question.”

The Great Basin chapter’s endorsement of fascism is not veiled. Twice in December the Telegram channel for the chapter shared a video with the headline “It’s f***ing Mussolini Monday” that showed the fascist dictator striking various poses accompanied by a goofy dance music soundtrack. Another video shared on the channel in December depicts a speech by British fascist Oswald Mosley.

Kristofer Goldsmith, a senior fellow at the Innovation Lab of Human Rights First, has noted that a Telegram channel named “Western Chauvinism” — named for the Proud Boys foundational doctrine — generates fascist content that specifically targets Proud Boys and is widely circulated in the digital spaces where they interact.

Most Proud Boys propaganda is implicitly racist and antisemitic, but where the accelerationist faction marks a departure is in their willingness to express it openly, Loadenthal said.

“I would portray the Proud Boys as antisemitic, racist bigots,” he said. “They would not see themselves as such. But it’s undeniable when they start sharing content that is explicitly racist and antisemitic. You see more and more of that — some call it ‘siege culture’ or accelerationist aesthetic — in the mainstream versions of the Proud Boys, the nationalist version of the far right. Those groups want to see themselves as nationalist. They’re interacting more with people who would identity as fascist or eco-fascist. Those walls used to be higher. They’re not higher anymore.”

Beyond the Proud Boys, Loadenthal said the broader accelerationist network appears to be poised for a “second renaissance,” following a period of reshuffling after the law enforcement disruption campaign that took place from 2017 to 2020.

“We have observed in recent history, specifically the period after the January 2021 assault at the US Capitol building the expanded recruitment by accelerationist groups such as The Base and Atomwaffen, and individuals involved in those groups documenting their presence throughout the United States and Western Europe,” Loadenthal said.

The Base and Atomwaffen jointly released a 90-second propaganda video depicting a “winter survival training” on their respective Telegram channels in late January, Loadenthal said. The text accompanying the video describes the two groups as “brothers in arms” and invites viewers to “Join us in the struggle to Save Our Race.”

“Someone in Atomwaffen and someone in The Base got together and made a video,” Loadenthal said. “It could be two people, it could be four people, it could be more. What it shows is some degree of coordination.”

Another indicator of a rise in accelerationism within the Proud Boys is content shared on Telegram that glorifies Kaczynski — no less than nine times on the Great Basin channel since the beginning of December 2021. Last week, the Great Basin chapter shared a TikTok video that explicitly traces a radicalization path from enthusiasm for Donald Trump to support for terrorism. It begins with footage of Trump dancing to “YMCA” by the Village People, captioned, “My political beliefs in 2016,” and then turns to static, before a new frame shows Kaczynski being led away in handcuffs, with the caption, “My ‘political’ beliefs in 2021.”

Admiration for Kaczynski on the far right extends beyond the Proud Boys. Ryan Sanchez, a neo-Nazi from southern California who is affiliated with the Groyper movement, noted news that Kaczynski had been diagnosed with cancer with the hashtag #PrayForTed on his Telegram channel. Sanchez is currently organizing a “team” to accompany the truckers convoy that planned to begin in southern California on March 6 and travel to DC.

"They embrace the unmitigated nature of the attack, and it shows they don’t feel the need to go through representative democratic systems,” Loadenthal said, explaining the appeal Kaczynski holds for the far right. “They don’t feel the need to go through communities of affinity. They don’t care if they alienate people. They are apocalyptic, and they are not concerned with the optics.”

Samantha Kutner, who has extensively interviewed members of the Proud Boys and is at work on a book about the group, said she is concerned about the potential for an escalation of violence, citing the mobilization around trucker convoys and the upcoming mid-term elections. She said it’s impossible to predict when someone will decide to carry out an act of violence, or whether it will be a member of the Proud Boys or someone who holds no organization affiliation.

“There are incidents like in 2018 during the mid-terms with the MAGA bomber where you can see how Trump’s rhetoric acts as a mobilizing force,” she said. “There’s no consideration of these disastrous effects.

“My fear is that he’s going to incite further violence and there will be, if not the Proud Boys, other of his followers who act on it,” Kutner continued. “Individuals who commit violence might be identified as MAGA, but they might not have any affiliation. The likelihood of violence based on past precedent and Trump’s rhetoric right now is incredibly high.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 17, 2022, 11:54:12 PM
The radical right is getting more radical each day. Far right wing extremist Kansas candidate for Governor Kandiss Taylor has a slogan "Jesus Guns Babies”. Once again, the radical right is advocating for more violence with guns. The right has no issues except this nonsense. Guns don't put food on the table or get you better healthcare.     


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 22, 2022, 12:56:06 PM
Never forget

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 22, 2022, 01:10:42 PM
'Embrace the hate': Accelerationism has been a part of the Proud Boys all along


When Proud Boys from the Maryland-DC chapter showed up at the anti-vaccine Defeat the Mandates rally in Washington, DC last month, about half of the dozen-plus members wore skull masks, an aesthetic associated more with accelerationist terror groups like Atomwaffen and The Base than the street brawler network that asserted itself as shock troops for the MAGA movement.

This is installment three in a three-part series on accelerationism in the Proud Boy movement.

You can read part one: https://www.rawstory.com/accelerationist-proud-boys/

and part two here:

Two of the men wearing skull masks at the anti-vax rally had heckled antifascist counter-protesters on the sidelines of a march held by the avowedly fascist Patriot Front two days earlier. One of the men wore a helmet with a sticker depicting American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell and the slogan “White lives matter.” These were overtly white nationalist signals distinctly at odds with the Proud Boys' claim to be a civic nationalist organization that welcomes men of all races.

In truth, since the Proud Boys were founded in 2016, only a thin membrane has separated rank-and-file members from hardcore neo-Nazis, providing a degree of plausible deniability while also maintaining enough elasticity to draw together a broad coalition of far-right extremists. But accelerationism — a posture that advocates hastening societal collapse — has become increasingly prominent among the Proud Boys’ membership.

A video posted on the Maryland-DC Telegram channel two days before the chapter’s appearance at the anti-vax rally dispenses with the filters that typically camouflage Proud Boys messaging. The video features images of Adolf Hitler and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet along with images of the World Trade Center attack juxtaposed with photos of prominent Jews like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The caption under the video openly declares, “Hate has built our nation.” Building through a tirade against public education and “celebrities, rappers and false gods,” it concludes, “We hate that the clock has begun for the [New World Order], and covid is just the beginning. Embrace the hate.”

Alongside Maryland-DC, the Telegram channels for the Mid-Missouri and Great Basin chapters are rife with the endorsements of white power ideology and antisemitism.

Samantha Kutner, who has interviewed numerous Proud Boys and is writing a book about the organization, said it doesn’t surprise her to hear “there are overtly neo-Nazi chapters,” but the national leadership would likely brush aside questions about such transgressions through a strategy of “deny, disavow, deny, disavow.”

Experts say the tension between a kind of inclusive patriotism that claims skin color is irrelevant and ethno-nationalism has been baked into the Proud Boys’ identity since the beginning. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described founder Gavin McInnes as playing “a duplicitous rhetorical game: claiming to reject white nationalism while espousing a laundered version of popular white nationalist tropes,” while noting that McInnes “has contributed to such hate sites as VDARE.com and American Renaissance, which publish the work of white supremacists and so-called race realists.”

A Jan. 28 post on the Mid-Missouri Proud Boys channel that was forwarded by the Maryland-DC chapter transparently displays the laundering. The Mid-Missouri chapter forwarded a post from White Lives Matter USA that promotes natalism, which read, “Love the Mothers. Make White Babies.” The Mid-Missouri chapter subtly tweaked the message by incorporating one of the Proud Boys’ doctrinal principles and substituting the word “Western” in place of “white”: “Venerate the housewife. Have Western babies.”

Another post from the Mid-Missouri chapter on Jan. 19 chillingly expresses opposition to mixed-race relationships while nostalgically suggesting the Allied forces should have appeased Adolf Hitler during World War II. It features a photo of a white woman standing beside a Black woman juxtaposed with a video depicting a white man looking at his cell phone and addressing the camera. “I just have a question,” he says. “I wonder if this image alone was enough, if shown to your great grandfather in a foxhole at the Battle of the Bulge to convince him: Maybe you should have at least heard the other side out.”

Experts say that accelerationism exists more on a continuum than as a distinct offshoot of the Proud Boys’ more mainstream conservative tendencies. Matthew Kriner, the managing director of the Accelerationism Research Consortium, told Raw Story that the Proud Boys as a whole are “mobilized around broader grievance narratives that are accelerationist in nature,” even if not every individual member is necessarily motivated by a desire for accelerationist violence.

But the Great Basin, Maryland-DC and Mid-Missouri chapters, which frequently share each other’s content, have self-consciously embraced accelerationism.

A Feb. 5 post by the Great Basin chapter most clearly articulates the underlying philosophy, using homophobic language.

“Stop looking back at 2019 with rose-tinted glasses,” the post reads. “Everything has been gay for a long time. The only way forward is with three feet on the gas pedal. Accelerate the world; decelerate your tribe.”

A screengrab of an anonymous post on 4chan that was circulated on Telegram on Feb. 2 by Maryland-DC and forwarded by Great Basin and Mid-Missouri appears to apply the concept to the trucker convoys that are currently crippling commerce in Canada. Also deploying homophobic language to imply inferiority on the part of their enemies, the author writes, “The honking is so incredibly effective at causing accelerated menticide in normalfags, it is tantamount to a miracle. There is no need to boil the frog or slow roll the honkening [sic]. These people have no principles or convections [sic], they will not fight for anything because they stand for nothing. Honking is literally the ACCELERATE meme applied in real-time. They are breaking down so fast that the narrative writers don’t know what to do.”

The tension between the classical liberal position that the Proud Boys attempt to project to outsiders and unrepentant ethno-nationalism continues to play out. In a post last November, the Cape Fear chapter in southeastern North Carolina articulated an exceptionalist view of the United States as uniquely color-blind.

“There is no ‘American race,’" the chapter leaders wrote on Telegram. “Instead, America is an idea. This idea has been enshrined in our constitution. Anyone who was born here or comes to this country legally and believes in our constitution can be American."

The Northern Nevada Proud Boys (now known as Great Basin) rebuked the Cape Fear chapter, responding on their channel with a position almost indistinguishable from Patriot Front.

“While we love you, Cape Fear, you guys are so unbelievably wrong," they wrote. "We are not an idea. We are a people. Our ancestors fought and died to secure a nation for US. NOT FOREIGNERS.” The post concluded: “Get your head out of your *ss and actually take pride in your heritage.”

Inextricably entwined with questions about white power ideology and accelerationism in the Proud Boys is internal controversy over the leadership of Enrique Tarrio. The Great Basin, Mid-Missouri and Maryland-DC chapters all posted mocking memes depicting Tarrio leaving jail after completing a prison sentence in January. Tarrio is a Cuban-American man who describes his skin color as “brown” and who by some accounts stepped down as chairman of the Proud Boys after completing a prison sentence last month.

“We disavow and have zero association with Enrique Tarrio,” the Mid-Missouri chapter posted. “He is not to be trusted.”

The Maryland-DC chapter derided Tarrio with the photo of him leaving jail modified that included a yellow arrow pointing towards an accordion folder stuffed with documents that reads, “Lists of new grifts and ways to f**k over Proudboys.”

The post from the Great Basin chapter was equally derisive: “I really do wonder why anyone thought appointing this embarrassment as chairman of anything was a good idea.”

Kriner noted that Tarrio’s leadership has always been challenged, and the accelerationist faction has vied for primacy since the beginning of the organization.

“Throughout the history of the Proud Boys, one of the dissenting voices was also the faction leader of the accelerationist tendency,” Kriner said. “That was Kyle Chapman, the leader of the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knight, which was both the hyper-violent accelerationist faction and paramilitary faction.”

The Proud Boys’ history of overlap with accelerationist neo-fascists also includes the brief leadership of Jason Van Dyke, a lawyer who briefly led the organization after founder Gavin McInnes stepped down in 2018 and before Tarrio became chairman. After leading the Proud Boys, Van Dyke reportedly attempted to join The Base but was rejected because he was considered a “liability.”

Kutner said that regardless of his current status in the Proud Boys, Tarrio has utility for the group, noting that when she’s talked to him he has projected “a laissez faire approach” that provides plausible deniability and allows leaders to deploy a “no true Scotsman” argument to address almost any transgression.

“When an individual in this ‘rogue chapter’ commits a crime of violence or goes to a rally wearing a shirt saying ‘6 Million Wasn’t Enough,’ they can say, ‘Not one of our chapters. Rogue chapter. Not us.’” Kutner said. “Or, ‘He only made first degree. Not sure about him.’”

In the larger universe of the far right, Kriner said “groups like the Proud Boys" act "as a bridge between overtly extremist violence and obscure justified violence.”

There may be less contradiction between the mainstream faction of the Proud Boys that built inroads with the GOP in late 2020 and provided the backbone for the Jan. 6 attack, and accelerationist faction that is flirting with terrorism, Kutner said.

When she interviewed Tarrio before he served his prison sentence, Kutner said he told her that he would give every journalist a different story about his plans with regard to whether he intended to relinquish his role as national chairman.

“That serves the accelerationist function of eroding trust in the media,” Kutner said. Whether he is still the chairman or not might be beside the point.

“I would say that he’s incredibly valuable to the group at a national level because of the optics,” Kutner said. “Whether or not he remains the chairman or not, he is seeking political legitimacy by encouraging people from every chapter to run for office.” She added that running Proud Boys for office “serves an anti-establishment function” that aligns with former White House strategist Steve Bannon’s goal to achieve the “deconstruction of the administrative state."

"Whether it’s military training camps similar to The Base that are trying to hasten the collapse of society or using the remnants of the GOP to try to destroy the Republican Party from the inside, it’s the same agenda,” Kutner said.

Kutner said the Proud Boys can best be understood as “a radicalization vector,” noting that not every member will harbor explicitly neo-Nazi views.

“There are narratives that concern me,” Kutner said, “like Tarrio stating, ‘I used to be for God, family and country; now, I’m for God, family and tribe.’”

Kriner described the Proud Boys membership as a “tapestry” with a loose governance structure that “allows for a wide range of behaviors and viewpoints that can make it seem like people are at odds with each other.” Regardless, he said, “the goal is to move everyone towards a more antagonistic stance towards the liberal, democratic state.”

And the crisis in liberalism is ultimately the reason accelerationism is on the rise, he said.

“There is a growing dissatisfaction with the liberal democratic order among many individuals of many different ideological views,” Kriner said. “The unchecked proliferation of accelerationist narratives in spaces like Telegram and previously on the mainstream social-media platforms has allowed those views to take hold, where in the past they would have been more stymied by normal barriers to communication. The ease of communication of those views makes it more likely people will come across them.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 22, 2022, 01:14:04 PM
"I have signed an Executive Order to deny Russia the chance to profit from its blatant violations of international law. We are continuing to closely consult with Allies and partners, including Ukraine, on next steps." - President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on February 23, 2022, 02:26:04 PM
White Supremacy and White nationalism are the members and values of MAGA.   

Arizona Republicans are flocking to attend white nationalist Nick Fuentes’ far-right conference


Some of the leading MAGA voices in Arizona are giving political cover to far-right extremism by supporting the America First Political Action Conference organized by white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

The Daily Beast explained the conference "derives its name from a merger of Fuentes’ America First podcast and the event it is designed to siphon crowds from: the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)."

The CPAC conference has been a mainstay in GOP politics for decades, but Fuentes' counter-programming conference has been embraced by top Arizona Republicans, who went all-in on Trump's "big lie" of election fraud with the widely-panned Cyber Ninjas' "audit" of the vote in Maricopa County.

"Arizona’s Rep. Paul Gosar opened for Fuentes at last year’s AFPAC conference and has continued to root for the young white nationalist. Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, popular with Trump and other 2020 election deniers nationwide, has also sung Fuentes’ praises online. Both Arizona politicians are slated to appear at AFPAC this weekend, in addition to former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio and Iowa Rep. Steve King, both of whom hold notoriety for harboring unusually cruel anti-immigrant attitudes. Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was advertised as a speaker on one iteration of the event’s flier, though she has since denied that she plans to attend," The Beast reported

.Writing for The Beast, domestic extremism researcher Jared Hold noted that Fuentes was once considered politically toxic.

"There was a period in time where associating with Fuentes and his posse’s naked extremism and hate was a mark of death on conservative political figures’ mainstream careers, and rightfully so. Though Fuentes often denies considering himself a white nationalist, he espouses the ideology verbatim in public settings often and specifically. Fuentes also regularly proclaims anti-semitic beliefs; he has engaged in Holocaust denialism and once denounced far-right commentator Matt Walsh as a 'shabbos goy race traitor' because Walsh, who is white, works for an outlet run by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who is Jewish," Holt reported. "Fuentes was a leading figure in 2020’s 'Stop the Steal' election-denial movement and has been resultantly subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot. At last year’s AFPAC, Fuentes praised the deadly attack and told the crowd at his conference that 'we need a little bit more of that energy in the future.'”

The month following Trump's 2020 defeat to Joe Biden, Fuentes led a crowd at a "Stop the Steal" rally in booing Shapiro.

"There has been an apparent lack of interest in condemning or correcting those who have effectively sanitized Fuentes to a portion of the post-Capitol riot conservative landscape. After attending last year’s AFPAC conference, Gosar appeared on a panel at CPAC the next morning without fuss from CPAC organizers or other conference speakers. This indifference has enabled Fuentes to expand his tent to include more far-right figures," The Beast reported. "This year’s conference will also host an expanded rogues gallery of extremist movement figures and disgraced far-right media personalities. Gavin McInnes, the Canadian media figure who founded the violent Proud Boys group, is new to this year’s roster.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 02, 2022, 12:08:56 PM
State of the Union: Joe Biden pledges to make Putin pay for Ukraine invasion
President condemns attack and seeks to reassure Americans exhausted by pandemic and its economic fallout


Joe Biden vowed in his first State of the Union address to defend democracy threatened by war in Europe, pledging to punish Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine, while also promising to tame rising inflation and return the nation to a “more normal” state as the coronavirus pandemic appears to wane.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, at a perilous moment for his presidency and the world, Biden accused the Russian president of trying to “shake the foundations of the free world” with a “premeditated and unprovoked” invasion of its Democratic neighbor.

But he said the Russian leader had “badly miscalculated”, underestimating the response of the US and its allies, including ordinary Ukrainians.

“He thought he could roll into Ukraine and the world would roll over,” Biden said. “Instead he met a wall of strength he never imagined … Putin was wrong. We were ready.”

The president’s hour-long address was divided between the two biggest challenges confronting Biden’s presidency: the war in eastern Europe threatening an international order he spent much of his political career promoting and domestic travails threatening Democrats’ control of Congress in this year’s midterm elections.

From the wood-paneled House chamber, now a reminder of the fragility of democracy at home following the 6 January 2021 insurrection by supporters of Donald Trump, Biden declared that in “the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment”.

Speaking to an anxious nation, Biden detailed the administration’s efforts to prevent an invasion of Ukraine by declassifying intelligence and making Moscow’s plans public while claiming credit for rallying a global response, to impose crippling sanctions on Russian banks, industries, companies, elite oligarchs and Putin himself.

Biden again affirmed that the US would not send troops to fight Russia in Ukraine, but he made clear he would “defend every inch of territory of Nato countries with the full force of our collective power”.

As part of the White House’s efforts to isolate Putin, Biden announced on Tuesday night that the US would shut its airspace to Russian aircraft, following similar decisions by European Union nations and Canada, and would seek to mitigate the consequences of isolating oil-rich Russia by agreeing with other world powers to release 60m barrels of oil from their strategic reserves.

“When dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos,” Biden warned.

The war in Ukraine brought rare bipartisanship to the House chamber, where members of both parties rose to applaud Biden when he disparaged Putin. Hailing the “fearlessness” and the “iron will” of the Ukrainian people, Biden introduced the visibly emotional Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova. He asked the chamber to stand with him and send “unmistakable signal”, a message of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“Light will win over darkness,” he told her.

In his address, traditionally one of the most widely viewed speeches a president makes, Biden sought to assure Americans demoralized after two years of a global pandemic that transformed American life, and, now, rattled by a land war in Europe.

“I want you to know that we are going to be OK,” the president said.

Biden spoke before daybreak in Ukraine, where Russia’s missiles rained down on cities across the country, killing civilians as an armored Russian military convoy advanced toward the capital, Kyiv. Between rehearsals of his address on Tuesday, Biden spoke by phone to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

“Last year Covid-19 kept us apart,” Biden said, surveying the chamber filled with lawmakers, cabinet officials and the justices of the supreme court as he opened his prime-time address. “This year we are finally together again.”

In a hopeful sign of the virus’s retreat, Biden arrived without a mask and hugged and clasped hands with attendees as he made his way to the rostrum. The chamber was nearly full for the first time since the pandemic began, with all 535 members invited to attend. Mask and vaccine requirements were dropped, but lawmakers had to test negative for the virus before entering the chamber.

Even as the crisis abroad overshadowed many of the political debates at home that have hurt his standing, Biden spent considerable time addressing concerns over inflation and the prolonged pandemic. Expressing empathy with Americans who were “tired, frustrated, and exhausted”, he highlighted the improving public health and economic outlook and declared that the country had reached a “new moment” in the fight against Covid-19.

“Let’s use this moment to reset,” Biden said. “Let’s stop looking at Covid-19 as a partisan dividing line and see it for what it is: A God-awful disease.”

In his remarks, Biden highlighted passage of his coronavirus relief package, known as the American Rescue Plan, and the bipartisan infrastructure law, which he plans to tout at an event in Wisconsin on Wednesday.

He also emphasized his nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the first Black woman to serve on the US supreme court, while praising the service of retiring Justice Stephen Breyer, whom she would replace on the bench.

Refusing to abandon his hopes of bipartisanship, even in the face of a Republican party that had broadly refused to accept his legitimacy as president, Biden outlined a “unity agenda” that he said could find bipartisan support. The list included combatting the opioid epidemic, expanding mental health resources, supporting the nation’s veterans and supercharging the “moonshot” effort to fight cancer, which is deeply personal for Biden, whose son Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015.

In rat-a-tat fashion, Biden unveiled several policy proposals and initiatives on a host of issues, including to invest in clean energy, improve supply chains, protect nursing home residents, and address mental health. Speaking to the members of Congress present, he asked for a long list of legislation, much of it unlikely to pass.

And pushing back on progressive activists in his party, he denounced calls to defund the police, stating loudly that the answer was to “fund the police” – a declaration that brought Republicans to their feet in agreement.

In closing, Biden offered a positive assessment of the strength of democracies around the world.

“We are stronger today than we were a year ago. And we will be stronger a year from now than we are today. Now is our moment to meet and overcome the challenges of our time – and we will,” he said.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 02, 2022, 12:22:06 PM
While democracy is under attack in Europe, GOP plots to destroy democracy in America


While Russia was invading Ukraine, prominent Republicans instead were condemning another “invasion” — which isn’t an invasion at all.

Promoting the white supremacist conspiracy of replacement theory, Donald Trump and other GOP politicians and leaders at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando discussed the “invasion” on the border with Mexico — and actually made comparisons between besieged immigrants seeking asylum and Putin’s armed troops storming Ukraine.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado said that the U.S. and Canada — where anti-vax truckers obstructed the streets of Ottawa protesting vaccine mandates — need to be liberated like Ukraine.

And many discussed a convoy of trucks headed to a capitol — but it wasn’t the Russian convoy headed to Ukraine intent on seizing the city of Kiev. Instead is was a pathetic, dwindling copy-cat convoy of the Canada anti-vaxers, which had been on its way from California to Washington to protest Covid restrictions — even though mask mandates have been lifted everywhere and the federal government isn’t mandating truckers get vaccinated.

While democracy is under attack in Europe against America’s allies, the GOP in the U.S. is plotting to destroy democracy in the U.S. They held panel discussions at CPAC that promoted banning books and passing laws to stop the teaching of history regarding slavery and race in schools. They planned out how they would further attack transgender teens and censor discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

And they continued the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, while promoting ways to steal it in the mid-terms via voter suppression laws, gerrymandering and propaganda campaigns to demonize Democrats.

Trump, in his speech at CPAC, doubled down on his statements heralding Putin as “genius” and “smart” (even as he perfunctorily, and passionlessly, called the invasion an “atrocity,” helping give the GOP cover as Republicans suddenly scramble to look like they’re not pro-Putin as the American public is outraged by the images it is seeing from Ukraine.)

Trump also came close to announcing he’s running in 2024. “We did it twice, and we’ll do it again,” Trump said, falsely claiming again that he won the 2020 election. “We’re going to be doing it again a third time.” The crowd thundered, heralding the idea of having an authoritarian back in the White House, one who bowed to Putin, a dictator who’s currently engaged in war crimes.

CPAC was a white supremacist conference in and of itself. But to some MAGA, it’s not extreme enough. So they organized a whiter supremacist conference at the same time a few miles away, the America First Political Action Committee, organized by Nick Fuentes, who’s been kicked off social media for promoting white supremacist hate and was involved in the infamous Charlottesville Unite the Right rally.

At AFPAC Fuentes, in discussing Putin, defended both Putin and Adolf Hitler. And Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon cultist from Georgia, spoke at the conference, getting applause while she viciously attacked transgender youth. Later, after criticism, she feigned ignorance that it was a white supremacist conference — though it received enormous attention last year when GOP Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona (who sent a video message this year to the conference) attended and spoke. Greene went back to CPAC, where she wasn’t barred but was instead welcomed, because, as one of the CPAC organizers said, we don’t “cancel” people.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made weak statements this week about how “wrong” it was for Greene to attend and how white supremacy supposedly doesn’t have “a place” in the GOP.

But when asked again about it by reporters today, McCarthy refused to discuss it. There is no plan by him and GOP leaders in the House to censure or expel Greene, so obviously there is a “place” for white supremacists in the GOP — as well as anti-vaxers, QAnon supporters and anti-LGBTQ extremists.

As we watch democracy under attack abroad, Republicans are making it even easier for Democrats to make a clear connection back to the GOP and the insurrection heading into the mid-term elections. And they must hit on it every day.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 04, 2022, 12:44:10 PM
Our economy created over 6.5 million new jobs just last year. More jobs created in one year than ever before." - President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 04, 2022, 03:29:02 PM
Well, the greatest jobs President in history, President Joe Biden keeps on creating record numbers of jobs and lowering unemployment with another spectacular jobs report. Not only that, 92,000 more jobs were revised for December and January.

Economy added 678,000 jobs in February as omicron faded, dining, travel picked up, unemployment fell to 3.8%

Employers added a roaring 678,000 jobs in February as COVID-19’s omicron variant faded, spurring idled employees to return to work and reviving dining, travel and other activities.

The unemployment rate fell from 4% to 3.8%, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that 400,000 jobs were added last month.

The 678,000 gains marks the strongest showing since July.

The drop in unemployment came even as the number of people working or looking for jobs grew by 304,000, pushing the labor force participation rate to 62.3% from 62.2%. That means more people caring for children and others on the sidelines are returning to a favorable labor market with rising wages.

Also encouraging: Job additions for December and January were revised up by a total 92,000.

Meanwhile, COVID cases have fallen more than 90% since peaking in mid-January as omicron eased, according to Oxford Economics. That has led to a pickup in dining, travel and hotel occupancy, along with beefed-up hiring in those sectors, says Diane Swonk, chief economist of Grant Thornton.

The number of businesses open, employees working and hours worked all increased sharply in February, according to Homebase, which supplies payroll software to small businesses.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 04, 2022, 11:43:28 PM
‘Longest streak on record’: Economists praise ‘very strong’ jobs report


The economy continues to explode. The February jobs report released Friday morning is being called "very very strong" and "very solid" by economists.

The economy added 678,000 new jobs, greatly beating expectations (one Harvard economist admits he projected 150,000.) Unemployment dropped to nearly pre-pandemic levels.

The AP calls it "another gain that underscored the economy’s solid health as the omicron wave fades and more Americans venture out to spend at restaurants, shops and hotels."

"The Labor Department’s report Friday also showed that the unemployment rate dropped from 4% to 3.8%, extending a sharp drop in joblessness as the economy has rebounded from the pandemic recession."

Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

@DeanBaker13 "as expected, another very strong report 678k jobs, unemployment down to 3.8 percent."

@DavMicRot "US has gained 506,000 more jobs in Biden's first 13 months, than it did in Trump's first 37 months (i.e., our peak month before the COVID crash)."


Calling it "longest streak on record," New York Times economics, business, and data reporter Ben Casselman notes: "We've added at least 400k jobs every month since May."

@bencasselman "Time for charts! (Will update as I get time.)
First off, the 678k gain in February was another in a streak of strong growth. We've added at least 400k jobs every month since May. That's the longest streak on record."


"This was an unambiguously strong jobs report," writes economist and public policy scholar Justin Wolfers, a professor the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

"Strong payrolls growth. Similar strength in the household survey. Broad-based gains. People getting back to work. Robust revisions. And signs that wage growth may not be the constraint some had feared."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 07, 2022, 04:46:44 AM
We're finally getting it done': President Joe Biden talks infrastructure in Wisconsin

On Wednesday on the heels of his State of the Union address, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden traveled to Superior, Wisconsin. The purpose of the visit was to talk up the president’s bipartisan infrastructure law.

"When I signed that infrastructure law 100 days ago, we hit the ground running announcing $100 billion in new investments to create jobs for millions of Americans, modernizing our roads, our airports, our ports, our waterways," he said.

Biden touted some keys points in his speech at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

He said the legislation will replace all the lead pipes in the country, so people have access to clean water. And he saif the funding will provide affordable high-speed internet access to every American whether in urban, rural, suburban or tribal areas.

Biden also referenced Tuesday’s State of the Union address. In it, he talked about plans this year to improve 65,000 miles of highways and repair 1500 bridges.

Superior borders Duluth, Minnesota, and the Blatnik Bridge crosses both cities. Biden said folks know its value because many used the bridge to get their families to safety when the Husky Oil Refinery exploded in 2018.

"What you may not know, the bridge is 61 years old at the end of its useful life. The corrosion over the years has lowered the weight it can sustain to safely handle. This bridge also has outdated design — tight curves led to higher-than-average crash rates on this bridge," he said.

Biden added that there are 971 bridges in Wisconsin and 661 bridges in Minnesota in poor condition. And, he said there are nearly 7,000 miles of highway between the states that need repair.

"And now after years of talking about infrastructure, we’re finally getting it done," Biden said.

Ahead of the visit by the Democratic president, Wisconsin Republican Congressman Tom Tiffany said he supports an improvement project on the Blatnik Bridge. But he also wanted Biden to mention rebuilding the refinery in Superior and getting pipeline projects done.

"Like Line 5 — there is a permit that’s being held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources right now for Ashland County. It is critical to get that done," he said.

Tiffany said that is some of the infrastructure that fuels America.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 07, 2022, 11:26:38 AM
Jen Psaki - White House Press Secretary 

When it comes to U.S. energy production – and how we achieve energy security – it’s important to look at the facts. So here are 9 specifics:

1. Production is up, rising, and approaching records, yet Russia’s actions still leave our consumers vulnerable. It’s a reminder that real energy security comes from reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

2. U.S. production of natural gas and oil is rising and approaching record levels: More natural gas than ever this year, more oil than ever next year, and, even with a global pandemic, more oil production this past year than during the previous administration’s first year.

3. The trendlines also point up. Oil production is up more than 700K b/d from Jan to Dec of last year, and is projected to be up more than 700K b/d from Jan to Dec this year, and to rise nearly 500K b/d to new record over the course of next year.

4. In fact, the U.S. was a net exporter of petroleum + petroleum products in each of the last two years, and will be a net exporter of natural gas for years to come.

5. We also know that producers have no shortage of opportunity, nor – after the high profits experienced last year – do they have any shortage of capital.

6. And on public lands and waters (and let’s not forget that nearly 90% of onshore oil production in the U.S. takes place on non-federal land): The industry holds more than 9,000 unused, approved permits to drill onshore.

7. Despite all this, even at this scale, domestic production has not insulated us from the price volatility of fossil fuels or the whims of those who control them, such as President Putin. Americans know that.

8. The only way to protect US over the long term is to become energy independent. That is why the President is so focused on deploying clean energy technologies that don’t require fossil fuels bought and sold on the global market, which will always be vulnerable to bad actors.

9. So as we navigate how to protect Americans and the global community from Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, let’s remember to move past the talking points and ground this discussion in facts.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 07, 2022, 11:30:50 AM
"This afternoon, I took a virtual tour of two Siemens facilities — one in California and one in Texas. Because of the investments our infrastructure law delivers, Siemens is upgrading and expanding these facilities — creating 300 new good-paying jobs."- President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 07, 2022, 11:35:06 AM
"The Blatnik Bridge connects Wisconsin and Minnesota — and is one of the most important bridges in the region. Bridges like this are critical to our economy and keep us connected. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will invest in fixing over 15,000 bridges." - President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 10, 2022, 09:40:37 AM
Trump-backed Arizona candidate threatens Australian journalist: ‘Your days are numbered’


Kari Lake, the Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor, has made international news for her ongoing denial of the fact Donald Trump lost both her state and the country in the 2020 election.

Lake is featured in a new "60 Minutes" Australia exposé on the former president and his supporters.

"On '60 Minutes,' Donald Trump eyes off another go at the top job," the narrator says in a new tease of the program. "Only this time, he and his followers, aren't taking no for an answer."

The preview features Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland during the Trump administration. Taylor argued that the MAGA movement is "the biggest cult phenomenon in western history."

The video features Lake, a former local Fox broadcaster, threatening an interviewer while walking off set.

"You want to keep pushing propaganda, your days are numbered," said conspiracy theorist said, whom CNN has described as a "serial promoter of election lies."


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 10, 2022, 10:20:40 AM
The GOP plan is to raise taxes on Americans, cut social security, and gut their healthcare. It's the "Tax and Gut" GOP plan! 



Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), a multimillionaire member of the Senate GOP leadership and chair of its election committee, has released his “11 Point Plan to Rescue America” that he says Republicans will pursue if they win back power. It’s no surprise that it recycles many of the worst GOP ideas over the years and attacks working families while protecting corporate tax cuts and billionaire tax cheats.


- The Republican leadership plan shows once again that they are on the side of the wealthy and corporations, rather than here to help working families. Their plan will raise taxes on 100 million Americans, most of them of moderate means.

- Under the GOP plan working families will pay $100 billion more in federal income taxes this year alone. Those making less than about $27,000 annually—would pay an average of nearly $1,000 more in taxes in 2022. Low-income families with children would see their after tax incomes slashed by more than $5,000 – about 20%.

- Meanwhile the GOP plan will not require the rich and corporations to pay a dime more in taxes. Not one tax loophole benefiting the rich and corporations will be closed. Not one billionaire will pay more in taxes. We need to create a tax system where the wealthy and corporations start paying their fair share of taxes like the rest of us do.


- The GOP plan calls for raising taxes on 100 million low- and moderate-income Americans, while making it easier for billionaires and huge corporations to evade paying their fair share.

- It would increase federal income taxes by more than $100 billion this year alone. More than 80% of the tax increase would be paid by households making about $54,000 or less. 97% would be paid by those making less than about $100,000. [Tax Policy Center]

- Working families struggling to pay their bills already pay a larger share of their income in federal and state taxes compared with the wealthy. They pay Social Security and Medicare  payroll taxes, federal excise taxes like the gas tax, and state and local taxes. But the head of the Republican Senate campaign committee thinks they should pay even more.

- Requiring everyone to pay some federal income taxes would mean that low-income households would no longer receive much benefit from tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, which rewards work, and the Child Tax Credit, which helps lift families with children out of poverty. These credits are fully or partially ‘refundable’ which means that even a family whose tax liability is zero, can still get a refund back at tax time. For example, if the credit is worth $600 and the family’s tax is $400, they would get a $200 check. Under the GOP plan, they would owe $100.

- The plan would also reduce the value of the standard deduction for millions of low- and middle-income households, requiring them to pay a lot more in taxes. Low-income households making less than about $27,000 a year would pay about $1,000 more in taxes in 2022, on average. Low-income families with children would see their after tax incomes slashed by more than $5,000 – about 20%. [Tax Policy Center]

- McConnell has tried to deny that the GOP would raise taxes on the most vulnerable half of the country if given the chance, but his record gives the American people little reason to trust him. So long as McConnell continues to hide what he’ll do if he regains power, the Scott plan is the only insight we have for the whole Senate GOP.


- The GOP plan seeks to defund the IRS, the cop on the beat trying to prevent the wealthy and corporations from evading their taxes. The nation’s richest 1% evade $160 billion in lawfully owed taxes every year.

- Yet, the GOP plan would slash the IRS budget in half. Because the GOP slashed funding for the IRS, between 2010 and 2019 IRS audit rates of millionaires declined by 71% and of large corporations by 54%.


- The Senate GOP leadership’s 31-page plan makes no mention of closing the gaping loopholes in the tax code that allow billionaires and huge corporations to legally dodge their taxes, or that encourage multinational corporations to move jobs and profits offshore.

- In several recent years, billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg, have paid zero federal income taxes.

- In the three years since passage of the Trump-GOP tax scam in 2017, which mostly cut taxes for the rich and corporations, 39 big corporations—including FedEx and T-Mobile—paid zero federal income taxes, despite over $120 billion in collective profits.


- The GOP’s reckless, radical plan appears to promote the end of federal guarantees of vital services like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits, clean air and water. Under this plan, the GOP would abandon Americans to corporations and local governments with a long history of profiteering and discrimination, and even make it easier to hide the racist impact of public programs and practices.

- As with every other GOP plan in recent memory, this one claims to balance the budget and reduce debt—but not by catching rich tax cheats or stopping billionaires and big firms from paying little or nothing. Instead, the GOP once again plans to cut services and benefits that working families depend on. We’ve seen this GOP playbook over and over again.

- The GOP plan would make it harder for the federal government to respond to national disasters like the coronavirus, the 2008 financial crisis and climate catastrophes. As was shown during the pandemic, robust federal action is often the only way to keep workers employed, families fed and housed, and the economy afloat in times of national emergency. Choking off federal resources would leave Americans without help when they need it most.



When @SenRickScott says “all Americans should pay some income tax” does he mean the billionaires who routinely pay nothing, or does he just mean the lowest-income Americans he considers “moochers?” Asking for a friend.

Once and for all, the 47% of Americans who have  too little income to pay federal income taxes aren’t “moochers.” The billionaires and their billion-dollar corporations who pay $0 in federal income taxes are.

“Billionaires got $2.1 trillion richer during the pandemic”
“Billionaires pay an effective tax rate of just 8.2%”
“Corporations see fattest profit margins since 1950”
“55 Fortune 500 companies paid $0 federal income tax”

Republicans: *raise taxes on 100 million lower-income Americans*


Johnson backs Scott: Calls plan to raise taxes and cut social security “A positive thing”

Today, during a Breitbart News Daily interview, Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson agreed with “most of” NRSC Chair Rick Scott’s 11 point plan to raise taxes on half of all Americans, while also cutting Social Security and Medicare, calling it “a positive thing.”

According to the Associated Press, Scott’s “11-point plan [would] would impose a modest tax increase for many of the lowest paid Americans, while opening the door for cutting Social Security and Medicare.” Already, the new Republican agenda has put GOP candidates in tight positions, especially in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Florida, and highlighted the “growing civil war” within the GOP.

Scott’s plan is facing fierce backlash and Johnson — who last month told Wisconsin workers he “wouldn’t insert [him]self” to fight for jobs in his own hometown and was caught complaining that he’s “only doubled” his wealth as a U.S. Senator — will now have to explain to voters why he thinks we should raise taxes on seniors and sunset entitlement programs millions of Wisconsinites rely on.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 14, 2022, 01:31:55 PM
Revealed: New GOP plan to raise taxes on working people and end Social Security


They’re at it again: Republicans want to raise taxes on poor and working-class Americans, end Social Security and Medicare, jack up pollution and corporate profits, all while continuing to pamper their billionaire donor base.

This time it’s the guy in charge of getting Republican senators elected and re-elected, Florida’s Senator Rick Scott.

You may remember him as the guy who ran the company convicted of the largest Medicare fraud in the history of America, who then took his money and ran for Governor of Florida, where he prevented the state from expanding Medicaid for low-income Floridians for all the years he ran the state.

Now he’s the second-richest guy in the senate and, IMHO, the leading candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2024. And, true to form, he’s echoing the sentiments of the richest guy in the Senate, Mitt Romney, the last guy before Trump to have that nomination.

“There are 47 percent who are with him,” Romney said of Obama voters back in 2012, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.”

Low income working people in America generally pay a higher percentage of their income as taxes than do most of our billionaires and multi-multi-millionaires. They pay Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, taxes in the form of fees for everything from a driver’s license to road tolls to annual car inspections.

As Romney pointed out, though, about 47 percent of Americans in 2012 made so little money that, after applying the standard deduction, they paid no income tax.

This doesn’t just reveal how few people pay taxes, though. To the contrary, it reveals how many Americans are living in or on the edge of poverty.

The simple reality is if you want more people to pay income taxes, all you have to do is raise working people’s pay. We saw this in a big way between 1950 and 1980, when Keynesian economics reigned and labor unions helped wages — and the taxes they paid — steadily rise for working people.

But Republicans don’t like the idea of what they call “wage inflation.” They’d rather just squeeze working people harder, while continuing their subsidies of the lifestyles of the morbidly rich “donor class.”

More than half of Americans make so little money from their employment that they can’t deal with an unexpected $1000 expense like a car accident or medical bill. And it’s these very people who Rick Scott and the GOP believe need to be further taxed so they’ll have what Scott calls “skin in the game.”

In the early years of the Reagan administration, before his neoliberal “trickle down” and “supply side” policies started to really bite Americans, only 18 percent of Americans were so poor that their income didn’t qualify to be taxed.

As “Right to Work for Less” laws spread across America and Republicans on the Supreme Court made it harder for unions to function, more and more working people fell below the tax threshold.

Today it takes two working adults to maintain the same lifestyle that one worker could provide in 1980, so an estimated 61 percent of working Americans this year will make so little pay that their income isn’t subject to taxation.

Rick Scott and the GOP’s solution to this situation isn’t to raise the income of working-class people. Quite to the contrary, they’re suggesting that low-income people should be hit with their very own income tax — in addition to the dozens of other taxes they’re already paying — all so multimillionaires and billionaires like Scott and his friends can hope to see their own taxes go down a tiny bit.

Doing his best imitation of Newt Gingrich, Scott has rolled out his 11-point-plan to soak the American middle class, lock down elections, destroy consumer protections, increase pollution and climate change, and squeeze a few more dollars out of every family, no matter how tight their budgets may already be.

Scott calls that “rescuing America.” And it may be true, if you’re morbidly rich and made your money spewing pollution or hustling opioids.

His plan not only calls for a 50 percent cut in the IRS workforce, presumably to end all audits of rich people like Scott, but also demands all federal legislation to “sunset” within five years. That would almost certainly end Social Security and Medicare, programs that have been in the crosshairs of Republicans since Reagan’s day.

Realizing how “raising taxes on 60% of American voters” will play in campaign ads, Mitch McConnell has backed away from Scott’s bizarre proposal. But Fox “News” is all over it, inviting Scott on repeatedly to hawk his plan and prepare the ground for his candidacy. After all, billionaires like Rupert Murdoch and his family need their tax breaks!

As Sean Hannity told Scott during a recent appearance, “I want to applaud you. I'd like to see the House and the Senate come together on these issues, make these promises to the American people, get elected and then fulfill those promises.”

No doubt multi-millionaire Hannity was speaking his own truth. But for the majority of Americans who are so poor they barely have to pay income taxes, Scott’s plan is just the latest in a 40-year barrage of assaults and insults coming from the GOP.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 16, 2022, 11:35:14 AM
Senate votes to make daylight saving time permanent
Daylight saving time began Sunday and runs through Nov. 6.

WASHINGTON — The Senate approved legislation Tuesday that would make daylight saving time permanent in the U.S. starting next year.

The bill, called The Sunshine Protection Act, was passed by unanimous consent, meaning no senators opposed it. If it is enacted, Americans would no longer need to change their clocks twice a year.

"We got it past the Senate, and now the clock is ticking to get the job done so we never have to switch our clocks again,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said on the Senate floor. “So I urge my colleagues in the House to act as swiftly as the Senate — let’s get this bill on President Biden’s desk and deliver more sunshine to Americans across the country.”

Daylight saving time started in the U.S. in 1918 to create more daylight hours during warmer months. It was extended by four weeks starting in 2007. States are not required to follow daylight saving time — Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe it.

Under the legislation, states with areas exempt from daylight saving time would be permitted to choose standard time for those areas.

"It’s time for Congress to take up our bipartisan legislation to make Daylight Saving Time permanent and brighten the coldest months with an extra hour of afternoon sun," Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a co-sponsor of the legislation, said in a tweet.

Whitehouse reintroduced the measure last week with Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., James Lankford, R-Okla., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Ed Markey, D-Mass.

The bill now heads to the House, where passage would send it to President Joe Biden's desk. Daylight saving time began Sunday and lasts until Nov. 6.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 16, 2022, 11:49:49 AM
Biden signs government funding bill that includes $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid

President Joe Biden signed a funding bill to keep the government running through September and send $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine.

The money for Ukraine will go both to helping refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion and to defensive equipment and training for the country’s military.

Biden is set to travel to Brussels next month for a summit among NATO leaders.

President Joe Biden, center, signs H.R. 2471, the “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022,” in the Indian Treaty Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a $1.5 trillion bill that funds federal operations through September and sends billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine as the country fights off a Russian invasion.

Washington had to approve a spending plan by the end of the day to prevent a government shutdown.

The bill includes $13.6 billion for assistance to Ukraine, which fits into a broader U.S. effort to bolster Ukrainian defense, hamper Russia’s economy and support civilians displaced by the war. The money will fund defensive military equipment and training, along with aid for Ukrainian refugees both within the country and in neighboring nations.

“We’re moving further to augment support to the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country,” Biden said Tuesday before he signed the bill. He added that the U.S. will be “better positioned to provide for the rapidly growing humanitarian need of the Ukrainian people.”

Biden signed the bill shortly after the White House announced he would travel to Brussels this month for an extraordinary summit about Russia’s attack on Ukraine. He also approved the funding hours before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s planned address to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday morning.

While the bill includes critical funding for U.S. efforts in Ukraine, it also stamps out some risks in the U.S. for now. The federal government will avoid a shutdown, which can damage the economy and put many federal employees out of work temporarily.

The bill provides enough money to cover federal spending through the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30 after Congress passed multiple stopgap plans to keep the lights on in recent months.

Lawmakers will have to approve another funding bill later this year as the midterm elections approach.

The funding legislation did not include $15.6 billion in supplemental coronavirus relief that was originally tucked into the plan. The White House has warned its efforts to curb and treat infections will suffer if Congress does not approve more aid.

While the Democratic-held House could pass more pandemic relief money, Senate Republicans may block it from getting to Biden’s desk.


White House says U.S. will run out of money to fight pandemic if Congress doesn’t pass Covid funding bill

The White House is urging Congress to pass $22.5 billion in Covid spending, warning that the U.S. is running out of money to fight the virus.

House Democrats last week stripped $15 billion in Covid funding from a broader spending bill after failing to reach a bipartisan agreement with Republicans.

The White House said the U.S. will not have enough money for booster shots, antiviral pills, monoclonal antibodies and robust testing if Congress fails to approve more funding.


The White House on Tuesday warned the U.S. won’t have enough booster shots and lifesaving Covid treatments for Americans if Congress fails to pass $22.5 billion in additional pandemic funding.

Senior Biden administration officials, on a call with reporters, said the U.S. could face another wave of Covid infections in the coming months, even as new cases and hospitalizations have dramatically declined from the peak of the unprecedented omicron surge in January. Infections are already on the rise again in major European nations, such as the U.K. and Germany. China is battling its worst outbreak since 2020.

The officials warned the funding is urgently needed to get ahead of another Covid wave. House Democrats last week stripped $15 billion in coronavirus funding, which was already less than Biden requested, from a broader spending bill after failing to reach a bipartisan agreement with Republicans. The GOP has insisted that Congress offset new Covid money by cutting funds for state and local governments allocated for the spring, a demand many Democrats were unwilling to accept.

The senior administration officials told reporters the federal government will not be able to purchase enough booster shots, vaccines that target specific variants or more antiviral pills beyond the 20 million already on order from Pfizer if more funding isn’t approved.

There is also no more funding for additional monoclonal antibody treatments, including an order planned for March 25, the officials said. If more funding doesn’t come through, the federal government will have to cut state allocations of monoclonal antibodies by more than 30% starting next week, they said.

The federal government will also not be able to maintain sufficient Covid testing capacity beyond June in the event of another surge, the officials said. During the omicron wave, there was a run on at-home tests and in-person clinics, resulting in hourslong lines and empty pharmacy shelves.

Uninsured people will also no longer have coverage for Covid testing and treatments, according to the White House. The fund that covers them will stop accepting new claims a week from now, forcing health-care providers to either absorb the costs or turn patients away, the officials said. The fund will completely end in early April and the uninsured will no longer have coverage for vaccinations, they said.

Some investments made in surveillance of new Covid variants will also have to be wound down, the officials said, leaving the U.S. without the capabilities it needs to stay on top of how the virus is evolving. The emergence of the highly mutated omicron variant blindsided the U.S. and much of the world in November.

The White House said the money is also needed to fund the development of a vaccine that covers a range of Covid variants, and support the administration’s efforts to help increase the vaccination rate in developing nations. Without the money, the risk will rise that new variants will emerge, the officials said. Omicron emerged in South Africa and Botswana, and the delta variant was first identified in India.


Biden heading to Brussels for NATO meeting

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to travel to Brussels next week to meet with NATO allies about bolstering support for Ukraine as it fights to fend off Russia’s unprovoked attack.

The “extraordinary summit” on March 24 will bring together North American and European leaders to discuss “further strengthening NATO’s deterrence & defence,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

The alliance is expected to call on its military commanders Wednesday to send more troops and missile defenses to eastern Europe, Reuters reported. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is also scheduled to address U.S. lawmakers Wednesday morning.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 17, 2022, 12:02:04 PM
Biden urges city leaders to take advantage of billions in federal relief funds


WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday urged local and city governments to continue to use the $130 billion in funds allocated to them from the American Rescue Plan to help during the pandemic.

The president of the National League of Cities, Vince Williams of Union City, Georgia, introduced the president to attendees of the organization’s Monday conference.

In Biden’s brief speech, he said he was proud that nearly 6,000 local governments were able to directly receive funding to help with job training and reopen schools that were shuttered during the pandemic.

“A big part of the reason we’re so successful is because the rescue plan went directly to you without having to ‘Pass Go,’ without having to go to the statehouses,” Biden said.

More importantly, he urged local leaders to take advantage of the flexibility afforded by the ARP.

“One year later, the rescue plan is still delivering,” Biden said. “So (I) urge you all to use the flexibility we built in the law to spend these funds wisely to reduce violence in your communities, like members are doing in Baton Rouge and Baltimore and New York City.”

He also touted the bipartisan infrastructure bill he signed into law that would help bring jobs and help strengthen local governments’ economy.

“The law is going to create millions of jobs — you’re building Americans’ roads, bridges, highways, ports and airports,” he said.

Biden said that states should use the funds from the ARP to help with job training so that Americans can partake in nearly 4,000 jobs that have been authorized through the implementation of the infrastructure bill.

“Build a strong, diverse workforce to take on these infrastructure jobs,” he said. “So that families in your communities can deal themselves into this booming economy.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 17, 2022, 12:20:19 PM
Proud to join @POTUS today as he authorized an additional $800M in security assistance to further support #Ukraine’s Armed forces – the 5th emergency support pkg. the Biden-Harris Admin. has authorized since August. @SecBlinken


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 17, 2022, 07:48:09 PM
Biden urges city leaders to take advantage of billions in federal relief funds

Imagine having to "urge" government bureaucrats to "take advantage" (irony) of available funds.  LOL.  Even they can't find ways to spend the Biden pork that resulted from the fake COVID relief package.  That resulted in hyperinflation for the American people and a DOJ investigation for approximately $10 billion in fraud.  That's $10 billion.  The incompetence of the Biden administration will cost Americans for generations.  Way to go Brandon.   Per Cool Hand Luke:  "I wish you'd stop being so good to me, Cap'm"
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 17, 2022, 08:16:52 PM
Hunter Biden is another step closer to the big house per the NY Times.  He apparently somehow got a "loan" to pay his $1 million delinquent tax bill.  Imagine who gave him that loan.  Nothing suspicious about that.  And the NY Times has finally acknowledged the fact that the emails on Hunter's laptop are authentic.  After dismissing this as a hoax until after Biden could be elected.  Way to go NY Times!  All the news fit to print (eventually).

"People familiar with the investigation said prosecutors had examined emails between Mr. Biden, Mr. Archer and others about Burisma and other foreign business activity. Those emails were obtained by The New York Times from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop. The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation."
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 17, 2022, 10:55:30 PM
President Biden took over an absolute disaster created by Donald Trump with the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression. In just a few months time, we started to witness the turnaround President Biden made to our economy starting with the "COVID Relief Bill", then the "American Rescue Act" which put money in people's pocket and started the economic boom. Not one Republican voted for it but now they falsley want to take credit for it. Since President Biden came into office he has created over 7 million jobs the most of any President and the lowest unemployment claims in over 50 years.

Unemployment claims in U.S. decline again; total jobless figure lowest since 1970

March 17 (UPI) -- New unemployment claims in the United States continue to decline and indicate a strong labor market that's come a long way since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

The Labor Department said in its weekly report on Thursday that there were 214,000 new filings last week -- beating forecasts from most economists, who expected the report to show about 220,000 new jobless claims.

The figure is a decline of about 15,000 filings from the previous week.

First-time filings are typically viewed as a reflection of the national pace of layoffs.

A total of about 1.4 million U.S. workers were collecting unemployment benefits for the week ending March 5, the department said, which is the lowest total figure since 1970. The total decreased by more than 70,000 last week.

The weekly jobless figure of 214,000 is the lowest so far for any week in 2022. With the exception of two historically low weeks in November and December, Thursday's report continues a steady decline in unemployment claims as the U.S. economy rebounds from disruptions ushered in by COVID-19 in early 2020.

Thursday's figures came about a week after the department reported that there were 11.3 million job openings in the United States at the end of January, a historically high number.

Earlier this month, the department said that the U.S. economy added close to 700,000 new jobs during the month of February -- a total that shattered expectations and surprised analysts. The jobs report said the national unemployment rate declined to 3.8% last month.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 17, 2022, 11:26:06 PM
Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson admitted Russia interfered in the 2016 election, then backtracked after visiting Moscow on the 4th of July. He then voted against every election security bill. Now he's blaming Biden for Putin's invasion of Ukraine.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 18, 2022, 12:41:27 AM
Does Hunter have a "go fund me" page to pay back that $1 million "loan" to pay the delinquent taxes that the media suggested where the product of Russian disinformation?  Maybe he can get free legal advice from Avenatti when they share the same jail cell.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 18, 2022, 04:09:08 AM
Mark Meadows now under investigation from NC state officials over shady voter registration address


Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows has come under scrutiny for using a North Carolina mobile home that he allegedly never used as his voter registration address -- and now it's sparked a formal investigation.

The Washington Post reports that state investigators in North Carolina have launched a probe into Meadows's shady voter registration address.

“Local district attorney Ashley Welch has referred this matter to the Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Section, and we have agreed to her request,” Nazneen Ahmed, press secretary for the North Carolina Department of Justice, said in a statement given to the Washington Post. “We have asked the SBI to investigate and at the conclusion of the investigation, we’ll review their findings.”

It is unclear at the moment whether Meadows using the mobile home as his voter registration address would constitute fraudulent activity, although the Post notes that "it is illegal to provide false information on a voter registration, and while Americans can have multiple residences, they can have only one official domicile, which is tied to their voter registration."

A Meadows spokesperson did not respond to the Post's request for comment.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 18, 2022, 04:19:59 AM
Yesterday, @POTUS and @FLOTUS stopped by a Cancer Cabinet meeting with senior White House officials and leadership from across the Biden-Harris Administration. During the meeting, the Cabinet announced initial steps for the reignited Cancer Moonshot: https://whitehouse.gov/ostp/news-updates/2022/03/17/fact-sheet-white-house-announces-initial-steps-for-reignited-cancer-moonshot/


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 18, 2022, 11:19:33 AM
When the Congress passed President Biden's American Rescue Plan, every Republican in Congress voted against it. They pounded the podium and screamed it would balloon the deficit, kill jobs, and destroy the economy. Did any of those lies that Republicans were screaming ever happen? Of course not. It was all right wing propaganda to get Americans to turn against this extraordinary plan that saved America. So, then why would you believe anything the GOP tells you? 

Let's not forget that when President Biden was inaugurated on January 20, 2021 he was taking over the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression caused by Donald Trump. Trump was a job killer and is the worst jobs "president" in the modern era. Trump also destroyed the great economy that President Obama and Vice President Biden created in 2009, the same one he took credit for by doing nothing. As of Dec. 31, 2020, the national debt had jumped to $27.75 trillion, up 39% from $19.95 trillion when Trump was sworn in. So, the "King of Debt" who bankrupted his casinos, bankrupted the United States as well. We can see this was all projection coming from the GOP because Donald Trump was the one who ballooned the deficit, killed jobs, and destroyed the economy. So, why would anybody trust Republicans with the economy? Bush put us into an economic crisis in 2008 and Trump did the same in 2020. Republicans are terrible with the economy and it's always Democrats who are left to fix their mess. It's always been that way going back to Herbert Hoover.       

Because of President Biden's American Rescue Plan, we have seen the greatest job creation on record with over 7 million jobs in just one year and the lowest unemployment rate in over 50 years. Not only that, people have money to spend with retail spending up 4.9% in January. People are quitting their jobs in record numbers and taking on better high paying jobs. That's something we haven't seen in over 40 years.

The American Rescue Plan also provided a total of $360 billion for direct fiscal assistance to state and local governments that have health care workers, firefighters, police officers. Remember the fake right wing talking point that "Democrats want to defund the police"? Yeah, that was another lie being pushed by the right. President Biden and Democrats funded the police with this bill and every single Republican voted against it. So, it's Republicans who refused to fund the police. They clearly don't want to "back the blue", do they?         

President Biden's American Rescue Plan also put billions of dollars into state governments which is now being used for infrastructure projects and other essential government funding. We now see right wing Governors touting all the new projects going up in their states as they falsely try to take credit for what President Biden and the Democratic Congress gave them. Kim Reynolds, a right wing Governor of Iowa, is investing $100 million from President Biden's American Rescue Plan to modernize airports in Iowa. She is another one who was against the bill but is now gushing to her constituents about what "a vital investment" it is to the state. Never once did she give credit to President Biden for making it all possible, but she pretended it was "her idea" to invest in the state with $100 million she never would have had. Reynolds isn't the only one, every right winger knows how popular this plan is and they are falsely taking credit for a bill they either voted against or opposed as Governor.         

The simple fact is if there was a Republican President in office along with a Republican Congress, there would be no great economy, record job creation, infrastructure act, or American Rescue Plan that saved America. It was a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress who gave it to you. There were 13 Republicans that voted for the Infrastructure Bill, and they deserve credit for investing in America, but it was Democrats and President Biden that wrote the bills and passed them to make it law.       

Republicans don't want to invest into American infrastructure or the working class which is the backbone of our country. They had plenty of opportunities over the last decade and they ignored blue collar workers, working families, single mothers, and senior citizens. Who did they invest in? Billionaires, multi millionaires, and corporations. The top 1% got the huge tax breaks and all the benefits as our debt exploded and ended up nearly collapsing our economy twice under Bush and Trump.

Did Republicans invest in infrastructure under Trump? No, they couldn't even get two sentences on paper to start a bill.

Did Republicans invest in the middle class, working families, and senior citizens under Trump?. No, they gave the largest tax break on record to the top 1%.

Republican Florida Senator Rick Scott has his "11 point GOP plan" which will raise taxes on Americans including seniors who won't be able to afford a Republican tax hike. The GOP plan will gut healthcare, including Medicare, as well as Social Security. This disastrous plan also calls to eliminate the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare by throwing millons of people off their insurance plans while we are still facing a global pandemic. And this is all because the GOP wants to go back to giving the top 1% money they don't need and will make the overwhelming majority of Americans suffer with less money and no healthcare. 

We remember the dark days of Donald Trump and George W. Bush when millions of people were losing their jobs and the economy was collapsing. The GOP wants to return back to those days with an exact carbon copy of the same failed plans and policies. Why would anybody in their right mind would want to do that all over again?

President Biden is the greatest economic President in history along with a Democratic Congress who passed his agenda to make it possible. And nobody can argue against that. Let's keep building on this great success and not go backwards into the darkness again with GOP plans that will destroy all the progress we made.                                   
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 18, 2022, 11:36:11 AM
Biden touts one-year anniversary of American Rescue Plan in Philadelphia


(CNN) - President Joe Biden marked the one-year anniversary of signing the American Rescue Plan into law with a trip to Philadelphia, where he celebrated the pandemic recovery plan's passage with Democratic members of Congress and touted the law's educational funding at a local elementary school.

During his keynote speech at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference, the President credited members in the room for successfully passing the American Rescue Plan, saying, "Few pieces of legislation -- no hyperbole -- in American history have done more to lift this country out of a crisis than what you did."

Biden discussed what times were like for many Americans before the landmark law was passed last year and Covid-19 vaccines were not widely available, recalling long lines at food banks, job insecurity and eviction fears. He underscored how Democrats passed the law without the help of any GOP members.

"We did it alone, without one single solitary Republican vote. The American economy was flat on its back. It was the Democrats -- it was you -- that brought us back," he said.

The Philadelphia visit also included a stop at the Hon. Luis Muñoz-Marín Elementary School, which was intended to highlight how that $1.9 trillion package's education funding delivers "critical resources to keep schools safe and open, combat learning loss and address student mental health," a White House official told CNN.

The White House told CNN that the School District of Philadelphia received $1.1 billion from the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The funds are being used for facilities, mental health supports, as well as before-school, after-school and summer programs.

The President spoke with teachers about the school's use of the Covid-19 funds, visiting a classroom and hold conversations with students at the majority-Hispanic school.

While visiting students in a classroom, one student thanked the President for being able to return to in-person learning.

"Makes a big difference being in school than on a computer, doesn't it?" he asked.

Muñoz-Marín Elementary School, the White House official said ahead of the visit, has used funding for a number of the measures he outlined. Already, the school has set up after-school reading intervention groups for students in first through third grades for those who are struggling to transition back to the classroom or are Spanish speakers, the official said. With the American Rescue Plan funds, the school has hired more academic coaches for teachers and funded after-school "enrichment programs" to improve classroom culture.

Signed last year on March 11, the emergency assistance package secured about $128 billion for K-12 schools to help them facilitate remote learning or reopen and operate safely while combating learning losses. Money was also targeted to help students with disabilities and youth experiencing homelessness.

Biden, in his State of the Union address last week, had called on the nation to "take on mental health."

"Especially among our children, whose lives and education have been turned upside down," he said in those remarks. "The American Rescue Plan gave schools money to hire teachers and help students make up for lost learning. I urge every parent to make sure your school does just that."

According to a fact sheet, the White House credits the American Rescue Plan with increasing school operations from 46% open before the measure to 99% of schools currently open. The White House also credits the emergency package with leading to record growth in local education jobs that it says "are critical to meeting students' academic and mental health needs," among other benefits.

"Although there is more work to do to address longstanding educator shortages and return to pre-pandemic levels, ARP has led to record jobs growth in the education sector," the fact sheet states."Local governments added more than 279,000 education jobs in 2021 -- the best calendar year of jobs growth since records began in 1956 -- and added an additional nearly 46,000 jobs in the first two months of 2022."

Earlier this year, the Biden administration sought to keep schools open as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus swept the US.

The administration announced in January that it would distribute 5 million free rapid tests and 5 million free PCR tests to schools each month in an effort to keep classrooms open. In October, it had released a seven-point plan to address rising mental health concerns among students across the country.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 18, 2022, 02:31:21 PM
Biden touts one-year anniversary of American Rescue Plan in Philadelphia


Hunter will soon need a "rescue plan" to escape the big house.   Maybe he and Avenatti can dig a tunnel together. 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 18, 2022, 10:57:11 PM
WATCH: Ted Lieu hilariously shames GOP's failure to discipline members who attended white nationalist conference


Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) on Friday took some time on the House floor to shame his Republican colleagues for failing to do anything to discipline Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for being featured speakers at a white nationalist conference last month.

Lieu started out his speech by touting the Democrats' passage last year of the American Rescue Plan, which he credited for helping create millions of jobs and lowering unemployment to under 4 percent.

He then turned his attention to the GOP.

"What are Republicans doing? I don't know," he said. "But I do know that two of them attended a white nationalist conference last month. And let me now tell you all the actions that House Republican leadership took against these two Republican members who attended and spoke at a white nationalist conference last month."

Lieu then stood in complete silence for more than 15 seconds before saying, "I yield back."

Watch the video below:

Lieu: Let me now tell you all the actions that House Republican leadership took against these two Republican members who attended and spoke at a white nationalist conference

I yield back

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 19, 2022, 10:32:48 AM
Every single day President Biden is working hard for every American regardless of their political preference. That's what a REAL President does!

"Today, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion announced that they’ll no longer record most medical debt on credit reports. This is a step in the right direction, thanks to @CFPB. We'll keep fighting for consumers - from increasing transparency to preventing surprise billing and more. - President Joe Biden

Big scoop from ⁦@AAndriotis: ⁩Credit bureaus will remove tens of billions of dollars in medical debt from consumers’ credit reports.

Most Medical Debts to Be Removed From Consumers’ Credit Reports
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion are making sweeping changes to how they report medical debt in collections beginning this summer
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 19, 2022, 10:57:57 AM
President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law on Friday.

He then pulled Dr. Breen's family from the ropeline at departure and gave them an impromptu tour of Marine One. What a great President we have.


If you are not aware of what the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Protection Act is, the article below explains it in detail.

Doctors and nurses had to go through excruciating hours during the surges of the covid pandemic. It was exacerbated by the anti vaxxers and anti maskers who ended up getting seriously sick in hospitals putting even more strain on these overworked medical professionals. There was absolutely no need for that when widely available masks and vaccines would have prevented it. But they chose to put themselves in that predicament because of spite and stubbornness and our amazing health professionals were forced to go through that nightmare.     

Family of ER doctor who died by suicide early in pandemic reacts to new law in her name

The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act provides federal grants for mental health programs for health care professionals combating stress during the pandemic.

The family of Dr. Lorna Breen vowed two years ago to do everything they could to help other health care professionals combat burnout and mental health issues after Breen's death by suicide in the early days of the pandemic.

Their tireless effort has brought life to the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, a bill expected to be signed into law and mentioned by President Joe Biden at his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

The new law is the first legislation of its kind and provides federal grants for training programs on treatment to reduce burnout for health care professionals, offer mental health services and prevent deaths by suicide by health care workers.

Breen's sister, Jennifer Feist, and brother-in-law, Corey Feist, spoke to Savannah Guthrie in an exclusive interview on TODAY Tuesday about honoring Breen's legacy by helping others in her profession.

“My mom texted me right before we started talking to you, and she said, 'Here’s my two cents. I think Lorna is in heaven smiling down at all the good that has come about,'" Jennifer Feist told Savannah. "We are so pleased and honored to be turning it into something positive and turning it into an experience that will help others for years to come. I think my sister would be thrilled by that."

Breen, 49, was an emergency room doctor at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in New York City who was on the front lines in March 2020 when the first wave of COVID-19 patients overwhelmed the hospital system.

She suffered from the virus herself before going back to working 12-hour days during the surge of patients and deaths. Breen's family shared on TODAY in 2020 that she reached out to them for help while dealing with mental health issues from the stress of the pandemic.

Her sister had a pair of friends drive Breen from New York to Baltimore, where Jennifer picked her up to take her to her home in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Breen stayed for 11 days.

Breen died by suicide at the Feists' home, putting a spotlight on the question of who is helping the frontline workers cope with the overwhelming stress of their jobs during the pandemic.

Breen had never had any previous mental health issues, according to her family.

“I never could have imagined losing my sister ever,” Feist said. “I thought we would be old ladies together.

“But if she can’t be here with me, I’m happy that Corey and I can carry the flag for her.”

Since the pandemic began, nearly half of the 13,000 physicians across 29 specialties surveyed by Medscape last year reported feeling burned out.

Nearly one in five health care workers has quit their job during the pandemic, while another 12% have been laid off, according to Morning Consult.

"We heard from hundreds and hundreds of health care workers across the country, in some cases across the world, who said to us, 'We have not been able to get help ourselves. We’ve not been able to take a break,'" Corey Feist said.

The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act easily passed both houses of Congress and is now headed to Biden's desk to be signed into law. Funding for it was included in the American Rescue Plan Act that was passed last year, according to Corey Feist.

The money has been allocated to 46 institutions across the country working to help health care professionals. The Feists said they are also about to take part in a nationwide awareness campaign with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The couple also announced on TODAY last year that they had formed the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation, dedicated to funding research and programs aimed at reducing burnout among health care workers and reducing the stigma of health care professionals seeking assistance for mental health issues.

"It is making an impact, and we are hearing from the health care workforce that it is already working and helping," Corey Feist said. "And the the gratitude and appreciation for this right now, given what they’ve been through is, frankly, even more important than the dollars."

Watch video in link:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 19, 2022, 11:32:48 AM
Many politicians over the years, especially Presidents, have made bold claims that they were going to invest in research to find cures for diseases. They all made big promises telling people what they wanted to hear and when it came time to make good on their pledge it never came through.

In 2020, Joe Biden made medical research one of his main priorities as a candidate. His goal as President was to continue his Cancer Moon Shot program and find cures for other diseases that affect people all around the world. After President Biden was elected, he made good on his campaign promise and developed ARPA-H to find cures for various diseases. No other President has come through for Americans like President Biden has and this program will be instrumental in changing lives for the better and curing all these horrible diseases. Results matter and President Biden is delivering for the American people like he has promised. That's what a true leader does.       

President Biden

"ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, and more. We can do this.

Tune in as I meet with researchers and patients to discuss ARPA-H – a new cutting-edge health research agency that will accelerate progress on curing cancer and other health innovations."

Watch video: https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1504935486573453319
Watch Biden meet with researchers: https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1504874750455300104

Biden touts new agency he says will drive breakthroughs in biomedicine


President Biden on Friday touted the newly launched biomedical research agency, the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), saying it will pursue bold ideas and drive breakthroughs in medicine.

“ARPA-H will have a singular purpose: to drive breakthroughs in biomedicine to prevent, detect and treat diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.

ARPA-H officially launched this week, after a government spending bill Biden signed into law on Tuesday included $1 billion for the agency.

“ARPA-H will pursue ideas that break the mold on how we normally support fundamental research and commercial products in this country. Ideas so bold, no one else, not even the private sector, is willing to give them a chance or to sink a lot of money into trying to solve,” Biden said. “Ideas so audacious that people say they just might work only if, only if, we could try. Well, we’re about to try in a big way.”

ARPA-H is modeled after the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that develops emerging technologies for military use.

It will focus on equity, “because every American should have access to cutting edge health care and innovations and to make the impossible, possible,” Biden said.

Biden met with researchers and patients to discuss the new agency and its goals to accelerate progress on curing cancer and other diseases, produce medical innovation and address disparities in health outcomes.

DARPA Director Stephanie Tompkins joined the meeting, as well as Alondra Nelson, the head of the White House Office on Science and Technology, and Francis Collins, White House science adviser and former director of the National Institutes of Health.

The president also heard from a patient who he said benefited from DARPA research that enabled him to use a prosthetic arm to move and provide a sense of touch.

The launch of ARPA-H is part of Biden’s focus on cancer research and follows him reigniting the "cancer moonshot" initiative last month. The initiative is focused on reducing the cancer death rate by 50 percent in 25 years, and its goals include diagnosing cancer sooner by increasing access to ways to screen for the disease, with a focus on equity and addressing inequities across race and region.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 19, 2022, 02:39:54 PM
Hunter is ever closer to the slammer.  The stripper he impregnated is cooperating with the authorities to finally bring him to justice.   Turning over the financial documents that she obtained when Hunter refused to pay child support for his love child (who he has never bothered to see).  What a great guy!  The "big guy" must be proud to have raised such an upstanding son.   Now it is America's turn.  Way to go Brandon! 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 19, 2022, 10:34:15 PM
Biden Touts $409 Million in New Infrastructure Projects

President Biden touts $409 million in new funding for infrastructure projects, including fleets of electric busses for cities and towns.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 19, 2022, 10:40:19 PM
Biden signs law on reporting critical infrastructure cyber attacks

President Joe Biden signed a law that requires critical infrastructure entities to report cyber attacks within 72 hours and report ransom payments in 24 hours.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed into law a federal cyber attack reporting requirement aimed at protecting critical infrastructure in the United States.

The Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act of 2022 was created to shore up cyberdefenses and increase the power of agencies investigating cybersecurity incidents. The Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 is a part of the new law that focuses on how critical infrastructure organizations must report cyber attacks to the federal government, specifically the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The Critical Infrastructure Act states that an entity in the critical infrastructure sector "shall report the covered cyber incident to the Agency not later than 72 hours after the covered entity reasonably believes that the covered cyber incident has occurred." It also says that the director of CISA may not require a report any earlier than that 72-hour mark.

Peter Guffin, chair of law firm Pierce Atwood's privacy and data security practice, discussed the aim of the law with SearchSecurity.

"As its name suggests, the Strengthening American Cybersecurity Act, passed by the U.S. Senate last week, aims to bolster the defenses of federal government agencies and critical infrastructure owners, such as energy and healthcare facilities, against major cyberthreats and cyber incidents, including ransomware attacks," Guffin said. "The expectation is that the prompt reporting and subsequent sharing of such information will arm federal agencies and critical infrastructure owners with the information they need to be able to defend themselves against major cyberthreats and incidents."

On top of the initial report, any entity that submits a ransom payment to a threat actor must also report that they did so to CISA within 24 hours of delivering the payment.

The law details not only the timeline for reporting cyber attacks and specifically ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure, but also outlines the new powers and responsibilities given to CISA.

The law identifies CISA as the head agency in charge of collecting and analyzing the data on cyber incidents, but it also dictates that the agency must "coordinate and share information with appropriate Federal departments and agencies to identify and track ransom payments, including those utilizing virtual currencies."

Sharing information with other agencies was a sticking point when the bill got to Congress, as it did not explicitly require CISA to assist other agencies, something that the Department of Justice took issue with.

The bill was passed by the House, however, and was adjusted so that all federal agencies were able to see what reported incidents CISA was handling if they wished. It also stated that CISA was required to share relevant findings with not just federal departments, but local entities as well.

Subsection (a)(4-5) of section 2241 states that the agency must provide "timely, actionable, and anonymized reports of cyber incident campaigns and trends, including, to the maximum extent practicable, related contextual information, cyber threat indicators, and defensive measures," to all "appropriate entities, including sector coordinating councils, Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations, State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments, technology providers, cybersecurity and cyber incident response firms, and security researchers."

Another key part of the law comes from a subsection titled "Periodic Briefing," which states that on the first day of each month, the director of CISA must collaborate with the national cyber director, attorney general and the director of national intelligence to give a briefing on the "national cyber threat landscape." This briefing would feature the total number of reports received by CISA in the previous month, new trends in cyber incidents and ransomware attacks, and how the past month compares to the month before it. It also says that the briefing must have a summary of how the information in the received reports was used by CISA.

The law requires the briefings to be delivered to the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the House, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 22, 2022, 11:47:33 AM
New details emerge about indicted GOP lawmaker — including a 'brown bag with $30,000' from Nigerian billionaire


Testimony resumed on Monday for the federal corruption trial of Nebraska Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. One main witness in the trial was a Los Angeles doctor who gave personal accounts of his role in funneling money to the official.

The Omaha World-Herald quoted Dr. Eli Ayoub, who confessed that he funneled money from Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury in a brown paper bag to the Fortenberry campaign.

"A go-between handed the money to Ayoub. Ayoub set the bag of cash in the back seat of his car. After arriving for lunch following a funeral, Ayoub handed his keys to a valet and went inside the restaurant," said the report.

The bag of cash was still sitting on the seat when he got the car back, however.

Prosecutor Mack Jenkins asked to confirm if he really left $30,000 in cash on the back seat of his car.

"Yes, I remembered I forgot it in the car during lunch, and I was very nervous about it," Ayoub told the court.

Fundraiser Alexandra Kendrick also testified about a Los Angeles event for Fortenberry she helped organize where she saw "some red flags."

"I had many concerns. For one, we weren’t given an RSVP list before the event. ... That’s not normal. I was apprehensive," she said.

She remembered a fundraiser she ran for former Republican Rep. Jack Kingston (GA). After the event was over, the host revealed that the cash raised for Kingstone was "dirty, siphoned to the campaign through a foreigner. Different nationalities had been at the fundraiser. The FBI was involved."

The event for Fortenberry brought back a lot of those fears, she explained. The LA event was a result of Fortenberry's advocacy for the Yazidis, Christians often persecuted by ISIS. About 3,000 Yazidis refugees have moved to Lincoln, Nebraska.

“He was excited because he finally had a group of people who were willing to financially support him to thank him for the work that he had done,” Kendrick said.

A big part of the trial has been about whether Fortenberry should have known if the money was dirty. Kendrick said that it was clear to her. Fortenberry's attorney asked if she was just a racist because many of the people on the event list weren't white.

“It was more than that,” Kendrick said. “Any time you can’t get a list of names and know where the money is coming from … it’s concerning for a multitude of reasons."

Fortenberry asked the go-between of the Nigerian billionaire if everything was above board, and was assured it was, even if it wasn't.

"Eventually, Ayoub doled out more of Chagoury’s money to other politicians’ campaigns: $50,000 to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney; $30,000 to California Rep. Darrell Issa; and $20,000 to former Nebraska Rep. Lee Terry," said the Herald. In those cases, the candidates returned the money.

Fortenberry is charged with three felonies. The first charge is that he tried to conceal illegal foreign donations and lied twice to the FBI.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 23, 2022, 10:41:45 AM
These right wingers sure aren't shy about their racism anymore. The GOP wants to take us back to the 1950's and some want to go even further back to the 1700's.

Republican Senator Mike Braun Says Supreme Court Should Have Never Legalized Interracial Marriage
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 23, 2022, 10:45:59 AM
US to offer funds of $2.9 billion for major infrastructure projects

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House will announce on Wednesday a funding opportunity of $2.9 billion earmarked by the Transportation Department for major infrastructure projects this year, as part of a $1-trillion law Congress approved in 2021.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu will unveil the plans at an event held at a major bridge linking the U.S. capital of Washington with Arlington, Virginia.

The grant funding offers "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix our outdated infrastructure and invest in major projects for the future of our economy," Buttigieg said. Applications are due by May 23.

The figure includes $1 billion for projects of national or regional significance that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs, which Buttigieg described as the "cathedrals of our infrastructure."

Such structures could be bridges or tunnels linking two states, new rail and transit lines or freight hubs integrating ship, train and truck traffic.

The department also plans to award $300 million for rural projects and $1.55 billion for other highway, multimodal freight and rail projects.

A potential funding recipient is a $12.3-billion project that aims to build a new tunnel between New York City and New Jersey and reconstruct an existing one.

Buttigieg said he expected the project to apply for funding but it would face review, like all the rest. On a visit to the existing tunnel, Buttigieg added, he saw a "sense of urgency around those much needed upgrades."

The Hudson Tunnel Project is a key component of the Gateway Program, a major project to overhaul much of the aging rail infrastructure in the New York City area.

The New York City-area rail tunnel, which opened in 1910, was damaged in 2012 when Superstorm Sandy flooded parts of the city.

Congress approved $66 billion for rail as part of the massive infrastructure bill, with passenger railroad Amtrak receiving $22 billion. The bill also sets aside $36 billion for competitive grants.

© Reuters
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 23, 2022, 02:44:00 PM
These right wingers sure aren't shy about their racism anymore. The GOP wants to take us back to the 1950's and some want to go even further back to the 1700's.

Republican Senator Mike Braun Says Supreme Court Should Have Never Legalized Interracial Marriage

Maybe check the history books and learn which party promoted racism in the US.  Here's a hint.  Lincoln was a republican. 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 23, 2022, 11:33:05 PM
Every single Republican voted against President Biden's American Rescue Plan that saved America from the Trump Economic Disaster.

American Rescue Plan boosts environmental work in Chesapeake region

When Congress hit the start button one year ago on a massive $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid measure, it also sent a surge of spending toward environmental efforts.

The American Rescue Plan Act was largely directed at providing a financial stimulus to households and speeding the country’s response to the pandemic.

The rooftop of the Maycroft Apartments in the District’s Columbia Heights neighborhood is covered with 192 photovoltaic panels, squeezed in among air conditioning units, skylights and vents. Electricity generated by the solar array goes to the grid, earning the building’s residents sizable credits on their power bills. Credit: Timothy B. Wheeler

But the aid package also delivered $100 million to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which was split in half: $50 million for environmental justice initiatives and $50 million for air-quality monitoring.

It also set aside $350 billion for states and local governments, with modest restraints on how it could be spent. The fate of much of that total is up in the air, as jurisdictions grapple with spending plans and, in some cases, the capacity to implement them.

Last summer’s first wave of payments largely went toward plugging budget gaps caused by the pandemic’s economic fallout. To prepare for the second wave, due to begin in May, many cities and counties over the past few months arranged in-person and online meetings to seek ideas for how to best spend the money. In some places, officials and community members are advocating for clean water and conservation projects, pointing out that some projects bring multiple benefits, such as outdoor space for recreation, “green” jobs and the reduction of urban “heat islands.”

All funds must be committed by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026.

Across the Chesapeake Bay region, some funding announcements are trickling in. Here is a look at some of the recipients (and proposals) in the “green” sector.

District of Columbia

The District received $2.3 billion. As of the end of last August, the deadline for the first federal reporting period, the District had spent $83 million of that sum.

$16 million to the DC Department of Energy & Environment and the DC Sustainable Energy Utility to provide grants to “under-resourced” buildings to conduct energy audits and predevelopment design and construction work. Eligible facilities include senior care centers, schools, hospitals and places of worship.

$17.5 million to DOEE’s Solar for All program to provide solar energy assistance funds to an additional 3,800 low– and moderate-income households and install more community solar projects.


The act set aside about $3.9 billion for state government. This year’s budget swallowed about $2.1 billion of that sum. About $1.7 billion remains.

City and county governments across Maryland will divvy up a separate pot of $2.3 billion.

$200,000 for Baltimore’s YH2O mentoring program, an on-the-job training program for young adults. Participants are involved in water quality monitoring, sampling and reporting — skills that will help them transition into water infrastructure jobs. To be eligible, they must be 18–24 years old, have a high school diploma or GED and be unemployed or underemployed. The new funding is drawn from $50 million set aside nationwide from EPA funds dedicated to environmental justice.

$13,000 to the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art in Salisbury to develop materials for a new series of artwork highlighting Black experiences on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The funding comes from an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant program tied to the rescue plan.

$1.5 million to Baltimore County (proposed) to plant trees in less-affluent areas where the existing tree canopy is often thin.

$6.6 million to Baltimore County (proposed) to complete a living shoreline and aquatic habitat project along the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

Nearly $23 million to Prince George’s County to address stormwater problems, flooding and stream restoration needs, including $2.3 million to develop a stormwater management plan. One of the projects will restore 3,100 linear feet of streams in the historically Black community of Eagle Harbor, where a nearby power plant has exacerbated flooding in recent years.


Virginia received $4.3 billion at the state level, while its cities and counties got $2.9 billion. The current state budget is absorbing $3.2 billion of the funding, leaving $1.1 billion to be spent in the future.

$50 million to the Department of Health to support equal access to clean drinking water in small and disadvantaged communities.

$125 million to the Department of Environmental Quality to help pay for sewage treatment plant upgrades aimed at reducing the frequency of overflows. Alexandria and Richmond would each receive $50 million, while Lynchburg would get $25 million. Each city must provide 100% matching funds.

$75 million to DEQ for septic, pipe and sewer system repairs and upgrades.

$2 million to Norfolk (proposed) to reduce flooding along Surrey Crescent, a residential road in the low-lying Larchmont/Edgewater neighborhood.

$850,000 to Norfolk Botanical Garden (proposed) to establish “Nature’s Wonderland,” which would include a new destination exhibit, renovations to the butterfly house and the creation of a staff-guided kayak program on Lake Whitehurst.

$1.5 million to Richmond to acquire land for new parks on the Southside, a historically underserved section of the city. The goal is to reduce the number of residents who don’t have access to park space within a 10-minute walk of their homes.

$19 million to Richmond in environmental spending, including $12.5 million in stormwater system upgrades and

$1.5 million for a climate-risk assessment plan.

$1 million to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation to be provided to Fairfax County for trail system connections at Lake Royal Park.

$25 million to DCR to cover outdoor recreation area maintenance and construction needs.


The act made available about $7.2 billion for the state government. The state’s current budget used about $1 billion of that total, leaving $6.2 billion to be spent by the 2026 deadline.

Federal officials allotted $6 billion for local governments in Pennsylvania. In Lebanon County, Palmyra Borough received $752,000 to bore a stormwater pipe below a rail line and extend the system elsewhere.

Also, bills are pending in the General Assembly that would apply more still funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to clean water projects across the state.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 12:20:10 PM
Maybe check the history books and learn which party promoted racism in the US.  Here's a hint.  Lincoln was a republican.

Perhaps you should check your calendar. It's March 2022 not March 1862.

People don't care about the Republicans of 1862, they care about Republicans in 2022 promoting racism.

Abe Lincoln wouldn't be welcome in today's Republican Party. Trump would call him a RINO trying to kick him out.

Republicans are promoting racism today and this is a horrible racist statement by Mike Braun. And he isn't the only Republican who feels this way. Racism like this should not be tolerated. It's disgusting.

Republican Senator Mike Braun Says Supreme Court Should Have Never Legalized Interracial Marriage
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 12:24:52 PM
That's why he's known as Criminal Donald. Lock him up in the big house!

Trump committed ‘numerous’ felonies, said resigning New York prosecutor – report
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 12:32:17 PM
President Biden continues to do great things and now he's working on eliminating Russian fossil fuel in Europe.

Biden to announce sweeping plan to get Europe off of Russian fossil fuel dependency: report


On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that President Joe Biden is planning a sweeping new initiative to ship liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe, in an effort to wean them off of reliance on Russian energy amid the invasion of Ukraine and embargo against the Kremlin.

"The announcement, a dramatic effort to deprive Russia of leverage as it continues to batter Ukraine, would mark an unusual move to reorder the world’s energy flow — a shift that could have an impact long after the war is over," reported Tyler Pager, Ashley Parker, John Hudson, and Jeff Stein. "It comes as European officials have asked the United States to do more to help them cut their reliance on Russia for oil and natural gas."

"Biden is also expected to use his stop in Brussels on Thursday and Friday — where he is meeting with NATO, the Group of Seven and the European Council — to announce additional sanctions against Moscow, as well as a crackdown on evasions of the current sanctions," continued the report. "The sanctions are expected to hit numerous members of Russia’s parliament, defense companies and subsidiaries, and additional sectors of its economy, according to two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe matters not yet made public. They cautioned that planning was fluid and subject to change."

The United States is the world's largest producer of natural gas. Russia is second, meaning that it will require a lot of exports to keep European countries properly supplied if Russian energy markets are fully cut off.

Already, Germany took a major step as the invasion escalated by shutting down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would have increased capacity to deliver Russian gas to Europe. Oil exports to Western countries have plummeted too, although China is the largest buyer of Russian oil.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 24, 2022, 03:59:23 PM
Hard to believe it could get any worse but Biden's poll numbers continue to fall:

Biden approval rating falls to new low: poll

"President Biden's approval rating dropped to 40 percent this week, according to a Reuters-Ipsos poll, an all-time low for the president in that survey.

The survey showed that Biden had a 54 percent disapproval rating amid high inflation and tensions caused by Moscow's deadly invasion of Ukraine, according to Reuters."
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 24, 2022, 06:06:57 PM
Perhaps you should check your calendar. It's March 2022 not March 1862.

People don't care about the Republicans of 1862, they care about Republicans in 2022 promoting racism.

Abe Lincoln wouldn't be welcome in today's Republican Party. Trump would call him a RINO trying to kick him out.

Republicans are promoting racism today and this is a horrible racist statement by Mike Braun. And he isn't the only Republican who feels this way. Racism like this should not be tolerated. It's disgusting.

Republican Senator Mike Braun Says Supreme Court Should Have Never Legalized Interracial Marriage

You are the one who referenced turning America back to 1950.  Of course, in 1950, it was the Democrats who promoted segregation, blocked Civil Rights legislation, and joined the KKK.  Biden was part of that crowd in the Senate with his KKK buddy Robert Byrd.  So maybe understand the historical context that you are referencing before making such claims.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 11:03:48 PM
Racist Mike Braun should be removed from his seat. People like him have no business serving in Congress when his votes are clearly meant to be biased against African Americans. That goes for the rest of these racist Republicans who are just like him. All Democrats need to be asking their Republican opponents if they agree with Mike Braun's statement about the legalization of interracial marriage and watch how they duck the question.   

A 'disaster for Indiana': Mike Braun’s constituents revolt after GOP senator criticized legalization of interracial marriage


Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is facing serious blow back for his remarks arguing the legalization of interracial marriage should not have been a U.S. Supreme Court ruling but rather a decision left to individual states. The controversial remarks came during the confirmation hearings held for President Joe Biden's SCOTUS justice nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson.

At one point during his questioning of Brown Jackson, Brau complained about what he described as "judicial activism" as he highlighted a number of historic rulings he appeared to have issues — with interracial marriage being one of them.

"When it comes to issues, you can't have it both ways," Braun said. "When you want that diversity to shine within our federal system, there are going to be rules and proceedings, they're going to be out of sync with maybe what other states would do. It's the beauty of the system, and that's where the differences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express themselves."

Shortly after making the remarks, Braun attempted to backpedal. In a statement offering further explanation for his remarks, the Indiana lawmaker wrote: "Let me be clear on that issue — there is no question the Constitution prohibits discrimination of any kind based on race, that is not something that is even up for debate, and I condemn racism in any form, at all levels, and by any states, entities, or individuals."

However, that still wasn't enough to quell the critical reactions that followed. Shortly after reports began circulating about Braun's remarks, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, political candidates, Indiana residents and other Twitter users began flooding the social network with critical reactions.

Indiana Democrats

"There’s no typo in that headline. @SenatorBraun believes #SCOTUS was wrong to legalize interracial marriage nationwide.

This rhetoric is un-American and once again demonstrates how dangerous the @indgop’s culture wars are for Indiana. #INSen

Sen. Mike Braun said interracial marriage ruling should be left to states

Mike Schmuhl, who serves as the Indiana Democratic Party's chairman, quickly fired back with blistering comments in response to Braun's remarks which he described as "un-American."

"The United States Supreme Court has affirmed many times that marriage equality in our country extends to any committed couple regardless of sex, race, orientation, or religious affiliation, and to question that legitimacy questions the very fabric of America and its people," Schmuhl said.

Schmuhl went on to slam the Republican Party's "culture wars" which he believes are impacting America's future.

"Democrats implore all Hoosiers to ask themselves if they want to be associated with someone as embarrassing as Mike Braun and a form of partisanship that endorses white nationalist views — because these are the same views that led to the insurrection against our nation on January 6, 2021," he said. "If Mike Braun wants to question the legitimacy of anything, it should be his own standing as a United States Senator. He cheated his way into office and consistently shows that he does not represent us.”

However, Democrats aren't the only ones slamming Braun for his remarks. Some Republican lawmakers and candidates have also pushed back in disagreement. Speaking to The Indy Star in an emailed statement, Indiana Republican Party chairman Kyle Hupfer said he believes "some rights are so 'intrinsic' that they cannot be left up to states, and one of those is ensuring 'racial equality.'"

Others took to Twitter to express their concerns. "It is appalling that a US Senator from IN claims that the US Supreme Ct shouldn’t decide the right of people to marry inter-racially," tweeted Mayor Thomas McDermott (D), who is running for the Indiana Senate. "I condemn [Senator Braun] ‘s comments and I urge [Sen. Todd Young] to join me in condemning views that should be left behind in our nation's past.

From a second Twitter account, McDermott tweeted, "The modern-day GOP has become a disgrace. Comments like these, from a sitting US Senator, were wrong in the 1950’s, and are appalling in the year 2022. It’s up to us #Hoosiers to take care of business and drive backwards thinking politicians out of Washington DC."

Members of interracial families have also pushed back against Braun for his offensive remarks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) went a step further in dissecting Braun's statement. The lawmaker shared her interpretation of his statement as she challenged him to speak publicly again and denounce his previous remarks.

"Senator Braun’s statement does not walk back what he said," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

She concluded, "He needs to go on the record to clarify whether he believes states should be allowed to reinstate anti-miscegenation laws, and whether it’s his belief SCOTUS should overturn Loving v. Virginia as he does w/ Roe v. Wade."

Read all tweets in link: https://www.rawstory.com/a-disaster-for-indiana-mike-brauns-constituents-revolt-after-gop-senator-criticized-legalization-of-interracial-marriage/
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 11:24:41 PM
Marjorie Taylor Greene faces new lawsuit that seeks to disqualify her as an insurrectionist: report


A new lawsuit filed Thursday seeks to bar U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from holding federal elected office based on the 14th Amendment's ban on engaging in insurrection against the United States.

"The suit argues that Greene’s statements and activities related to the attack on the Capitol on January 6th make the congresswoman an insurrectionist," writes The New Yorker's Charles Bethea, who first reported the news. "A clause of the Fourteenth Amendment specifically prohibits those who have 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion' against the United States from holding public office. The suit, citing this clause, contends that Greene 'is constitutionally disqualified from congressional office and, as such, ineligible to run as a candidate under state and federal law.'”

The lawsuit is being brought by Free Speech For People, a nonprofit that brought a similar lawsuit against Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), The group's legal director is Ron Fein. A Trump-appointed federal district judge blocked the Cawthorn lawsuit under reasoning disputed by legal experts. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals "sent it back to that judge for expedited reconsideration," Bethea notes.

Today's lawsuit cites "numerous instances in which Greene, on social media or in person, has 'advocated for political violence, up to and including, her encouragement of the insurrectionists on January 6.'"

Among the examples is a tweet that Greene sent out on January 5, 2021, calling the next day “our 1776 moment!” (Fein said that the year 1776, with its invocation of the American colonists’ rebellion against British authority, has become “a code word for violence.”) The lawsuit also points to a video on Facebook in which Greene says, “You can’t allow it to just transfer power peacefully like Joe Biden wants and allow him to become our President because he didn’t win this election.” Taken together, the suit insists, “Greene’s actions and the events of January 6 provide, at a minimum, a prima facie case” for disqualification.

Georgia’s secretary of state, the Republican Brad Raffensperger, is required to put any challenge to a candidate’s eligibility before an administrative-law judge, who will then consider the lawsuit’s claims. (Greene has been a vocal critic of Raffensperger, who refused Trump’s request, days before the insurrection, that Raffensperger “find” votes to tip Georgia in Trump’s favor.) “There are many possibilities along the way for different actors to evaluate it in different ways,” Fein told me, of the suit. He said that he expects Greene to appeal the case all the way to Georgia’s Supreme Court, and he was not inclined to guess how its judges would rule should it reach them. “But just looking at the facts and law,” he said, “it’s a strong case.”

© 2022 AFP
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 24, 2022, 11:48:17 PM
New jobless claims under Biden are lower that in ANY period under Donnie's self-proclaimed "greatest economy in history." And don't forget that President Obama and Biden created the previous economy that Criminal Donald tried to take credit for and then he destroyed it by putting the United States into an economic crisis. President Biden has turned around Criminal Donald's economic disaster and has created the best economy on record.

New jobless claims hit a low not seen since 1969

'Americans are getting back to work,' President Joe Biden said.


The Department of Labor announced on Thursday that initial unemployment claims for the week ending March 19 had decreased by 28,000 from the previous week to 187,000. That figure is the lowest number of applications since 1969, and lower than at any time during the four-year presidency of former President Donald Trump.

"This morning, we learned that new unemployment claims are now at a level not seen since 1969. America's historic economic recovery is strong. Americans are getting back to work," President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter in response to the news.

The number of unemployment claims was below the 210,000 predicted by a Bloomberg survey of economists. Additionally, continuing claims for state unemployment benefits numbered 1.35 million, the lowest that figure has been since the 1970s.

During Trump's time in office, Republicans in Congress praised his leadership for levels of unemployment claims that were above those reported under Biden.

In May 2018, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy touted jobless claims for being at their "lowest level since 1973" and argued that the figure was evidence that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed under Republicans in 2017 was working. That policy significantly added to the national deficit, overwhelmingly benefitted large corporations, and failed to prevent an economic downturn after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) praised the level of jobless claims under Trump in April 2019, while Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) hailed "good economic news" in response to jobless claims reports in November 2017.

The report on jobless claims follows the release of the jobs report in early February that showed 467,000 jobs had been added to the economy in January, despite the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. That report revealed that job gains for November and December 2021 had been upwardly revised to 709,000 and that the unemployment rate is 4%.

The unemployment rate hit a five-year high of 14.7% in April 2020 when Trump was in office.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 25, 2022, 11:20:47 AM
So long Jeff....Happy Trails!

‘Guilty’: Jury convicts Republican Jeff Fortenberry on three felony charges


The Republican Caucus in the House of Representatives now includes a convicted felon.

"After just two hours of deliberation, a California jury found Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) guilty on all three charges: one count of scheming to falsify or conceal material facts and two counts of making a false statement to a government agency," KOLN-TV reported. "Fortenberry is out on bond until sentencing on June 28 in California. Fortenberry faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Har had harsh words for Fortenberry during her closing arguments, Politico reported.

"The evidence has proven the defendant guilty and he can no longer avoid the consequences of his actions," she said.

Fortenberry's defense had said he did not lie, it was just a "failed memory test."

"Fortenberry, 61, a nine-term Republican congressman facing reelection, has pleaded not guilty to charges he deliberately misled FBI agents and prosecutors who were investigating the 2016 donations. It is illegal for U.S. politicians to accept foreign funds," Politico reported. "Prosecutors allege Fortenberry lied about what he knew during an interview at his Lincoln home in March 2019 and a follow-up meeting four months later in Washington. He allegedly didn’t properly disclose the contribution received at a Los Angeles fundraiser."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 25, 2022, 07:41:35 PM
Biden meets with troops, humanitarian leaders in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — President Joe Biden’s visit to Poland as his final stop in Europe this week has given him a chance to underscore the U.S. commitment to protect a key NATO member on Ukraine’s doorstep.

Biden met on Friday with American soldiers who are serving alongside Polish troops on NATO’s eastern flank.

"We're in a new phase, your generation. We're in an inflection point," Biden told the troops. "I don't want to sound philosophic here, but you're in the midst of a fight between democracies and oligarchs."

Biden also made time to have pizza with members of the 82nd Airborne Division.

The president then went on to meet with Humanitarian leaders in Poland. Sitting beside Polish President Andrzej Duda, Biden reiterated his feelings about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The single most important thing that we can do from the outset is keep the democracies united in our opposition and our effort to curtail the devastation that is occurring at the hands of a man who, quite frankly, I think is a war criminal, and -- and I think will meet the legal definition of that as well," Biden said.

Biden also thanked everyone for their work in support of the Ukrainian people.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 25, 2022, 08:07:47 PM
Joe Manchin says he plans to vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 26, 2022, 10:51:53 AM
Carl Bernstein says it's time to investigate Ginni Thomas -- and gives a tip of the hat to old partner Bob Woodward


The latest reports about the efforts of Ginny Thomas to encourage the overturning of the 2020 presidential election are occurring in a far different media environment than during Richard Nixon's downfall, but legendary Watergate journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein are once again teaming up

After winning the Pulitzer Prize for their Watergate reporting in 1973, the pair's 1974 book All the President's Men was turned a hit 1976 movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

On Thursday, Woodward's name was first on the byline in a bombshell report in The Washington Post.

"Virginia Thomas, a conservative activist married to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, repeatedly pressed White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in a series of urgent text exchanges in the critical weeks after the vote, according to copies of the messages obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News. The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results," Woodward reported with Robert Costa.

Bernstein took to Twitter to offer his thoughts on what comes and his message was retweeted by Woodward.

"Time for an investigation of Justice Clarence Thomas & his wife, Ginni, after Woodward (yeah, him) and Costa revealed her unrelenting campaign inside the Trump White House to overturn the 2020 presidential election (and the Constitution)," Bernstein wrote.


Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 26, 2022, 11:19:00 AM
We’re seeing the lowest unemployment claims since 1969 because the American Rescue Plan got Americans back to work faster. The American Rescue Plan was President Biden's plan to Build Back Better and not one single Republican voted for this bill that has transformed America. Unemployment claims are at the lowest level since 1969. This is further evidence that President Biden and Congressional Democrats' investments in jobs and the economy are getting Americans back to work and getting the economy back on track.

U.S. weekly jobless claims lowest since 1969; continuing claims shrink

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 26, 2022, 11:22:36 AM
Great to see the President thanking our troops -- on the front line of NATO -- for their service.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 26, 2022, 11:46:20 PM
"I visited Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland this afternoon. You don’t need to speak the same language to feel the roller-coaster of emotions in their eyes. I want to thank my friend Chef José Andrés, his team, and the people of Warsaw for opening your hearts to help." - President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 27, 2022, 12:26:02 AM
The authoritarian aggression is also here at home with a Republican Party who attempted an illegal coup to keep Trump in power via an insurrection.

Biden says Putin ‘cannot remain in power’ in sweeping speech on Russian invasion of Ukraine

President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power” over his invasion of Ukraine.


In a sweeping speech in Poland that marked the finale of a three-day trip to Europe, Biden urged democracies around the world to unify and commit to a long fight against authoritarian aggression.[/i]

President Joe Biden on Saturday said Russian leader Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” ratcheting up international pressure and further uniting NATO allies against Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

“A dictator, bent on rebuilding an empire, will never erase the people’s love for liberty,” Biden said at the end of a sweeping speech in Poland. “Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”

“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said.

Biden has hurled invective at Putin throughout the crisis in Ukraine, labeling him a “murderous dictator” and a “war criminal,” but has previously stopped short of calling for his removal from power.

Later Saturday, a White House official attempted to clarify that Biden “was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change,” but rather was making the point that Putin “cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.”

The president’s address at the Royal Castle in Warsaw marked the grand finale of a three-day trip to Europe. While in Poland, Biden met with Ukrainian refugees who had fled Russian aggression, as well as with U.S. troops stationed in Rzeszow, near Ukraine’s border.

In his speech, Biden urged democracies around the world to unify against Russia and commit to a historic battle against authoritarian aggression.

“In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed,” he said. “We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead.”

Biden directly and repeatedly condemned Putin throughout the speech, accusing the Russian president of “using brute force and disinformation to satisfy a craving for absolute power and control.”

Biden slammed Putin for invoking Nazi imagery as a pretext for an invasion, calling it an “obscene” lie. And he said it is “Putin who is to blame” for the mountain of international sanctions that are crushing Russia’s economy and its currency, noting that the Russian ruble has been reduced to “rubble.”

Biden also spoke past Putin, attempting to deliver an appeal to whichever Russian citizens may be able to hear the speech.

“This is not the future you deserve for your families and children,” Biden said. “I’m telling you the truth, this war is not worthy of you, the Russian people.”

Biden’s message to Ukraine was more direct: “We stand with you. Period.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 27, 2022, 02:59:36 PM
WATCH: Marjorie Taylor Greene throws tantrum over Constitution's ban on insurgents running for Congress


Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) lashed out over a lawsuit challenging her eligibility to run for office following her efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

"A lawsuit filed on behalf of a group of Georgia voters on Thursday seeks to bar Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for re-election over her support for rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol last year," MSNBC's Ja'han Jones reported. "The complaint resembles a lawsuit filed against Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) in January, which also cited the 14th Amendment’s language prohibiting people who have 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion' from serving in Congress."

Greene lashed out at the constitutional eligibility requirement.

"They are trying to take away my district's right to vote for me," she said, even though the lawsuit says her district has no such right to vote for her after she broke her oath.

"Their lawsuit is such a scam, it is so ridiculous, it's obvious they've never read the Constitution before," she argued, even though the Constitution appears quite clear on the point.

"No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress...who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress...to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same," reads Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

Watch: https://twitter.com/BobBrigham/status/1507816756898787330
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 27, 2022, 03:07:56 PM
Rogue FBI informant tried to keep Whitmer kidnap plot alive, destroy evidence, feds say


DETROIT — A rogue FBI informant tried to keep the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnapping plot alive, obstruct justice and destroy evidence after federal agents arrested more than a dozen men in fall 2020, prosecutors said Friday.

The informant, Wisconsin resident Stephen Robeson, urged others to destroy evidence, warned accused plot ringleader Barry Croft that he was wanted by the FBI and told another to destroy evidence by throwing a gun in a lake, according to a court filing.

Prosecutors leveled the allegations while trying to prevent Robeson from being called as a defense witness during the ongoing trial of four men charged with plotting to kidnap the governor.

Defense lawyers are expected to call Robeson as a witness in the next week or two and ask about his work as an FBI informant and leader of a fake militia who organized trainings and meetings and recorded members of the alleged kidnap plot.

Prosecutors Friday said Robeson is likely to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination due to the possibility he would be charged with new crimes related to the kidnap plot.

Prosecutors Friday said Robeson is likely to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination due to the possibility he would be charged with new crimes related to the kidnap plot.

The court filing Friday provides new details about Robeson's breakup with the FBI and wrongdoing that led to the convicted felon being indicted on a gun charge and dropped from the kidnap case in October 2020.

That is the same month FBI investigators arrested 13 men in connection with the alleged plot.

"The reason: Steve had been breaking the law without authorization and surreptitiously assisting the other conspirators," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote.

FBI agents sanctioned Robeson's activities, paid him, rewarded him, gave him secret recording equipment and let him commit illegal activities while working for the government, defense lawyers wrote in a request earlier this week to have Robeson testify.

"Robeson now seeks to assist the government to avoid answering for their actions by hiding behind the pretense of self-incrimination despite being given nearly carte blanche authority by his agents and handlers to gallivant across the country, parading himself as the leader of a national militia and being a significant link in the defendants’ case," defense lawyers Joshua Blanchard and Christopher Gibbons wrote.

They represent accused plotters Croft, 46, of Delaware and Adam Fox, 38, of Potterville. They are standing trial alongside Lake Orion resident Daniel Harris, 24, and Brandon Caserta, 33, of Canton Township.

The group was arrested in early October 2020. Robeson knew about the looming arrests and was instructed not to tell anyone. He warned Croft anyway, and told another person, who was secretly working as an FBI informant, to encrypt a training roster, according to prosecutors.

Robeson also said despite the arrests, he was willing to continue helping with the kidnap plot, prosecutors wrote. He called another FBI informant, Dan Chappel, and told him to throw Croft's gun in a lake and get rid of a vehicle that was used during surveillance, according to the government.

"Steve dubiously claimed in a statement to agents that he did the above things to try and avoid being 'outed' as a source," Kessler wrote.

Robeson was indicted in March 2021 and accused of illegally obtaining a sniper rifle in what amounted to the first sign of trouble with a high-profile case of domestic terrorism that has revealed and raised questions about FBI agent misconduct.

He pleaded guilty in October and avoided a prison sentence under terms of a deal with prosecutors.

Prosecutors Friday asked Chief U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker to schedule a hearing outside the presence of jurors so Robeson can be questioned. Then Robeson's testimony in front of jurors should be barred, according to the filing.

"The government believes that — at a minimum — Steve will invoke his privilege against self-incrimination in response to the government’s questions on cross-examination," the prosecutor wrote. "Assuming he does, his refusal to testify will be based on a well-founded fear of incriminating himself arising from his obstructive and other potentially criminal actions outside the scope of his work as a(n informant)."

Meanwhile, defense attorneys on Friday in court Friday tried to blunt the testimony of a man who said he plotted to kidnap Whitmer, getting him to admit that after his arrest he had referred to the group as a “bunch of jokers” just playing roles.

But Kaleb Franks, who pleaded guilty in February, said he had lied to the FBI because he feared going to jail for his part in a staggering scheme to grab Whitmer from her vacation home in northern Michigan just before the 2020 national election.

Franks said he was hoping that “LARPing” — live-action role-playing — would “explain the firearms ... all the stuff that was a part of the crime."

“If you were LARPing, would you have pled guilty?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Roth asked.

“No,” Franks replied.

He testified on the 10th day of trial of the four men charged with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer. Franks agreed to cooperate with prosecutors with the hope of getting a lighter sentence in June.

He said Fox believed Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions were “tyrannical” and that the U.S. Constitution gave the men a right to strike back. Earlier in the week, another man who pleaded guilty, Ty Garbin, said a kidnapping could ignite a U.S. civil war involving anti-government groups and possibly prevent the election of Joe Biden.

Franks' main testimony occurred Thursday in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He described training in summer 2020 for an eventual assault on Whitmer's second home in Elk Rapids, reinforcing testimony earlier in the week from Garbin, the first person to plead guilty.

“I was going to be an operator,” Franks said. “I would be one of the people on the front line, so to speak, using my gun.”

He said he stayed with the group because he was depressed and had hoped he would be killed in a shootout with police.

Defense attorneys on Friday tried to trip Franks up by highlighting inconsistencies.

“Your testimony from the last couple days has been, ‘These guys were serious.’ That's not what you said to the FBI when you were arrested,” Croft lawyer Joshua Blanchard said. “You referred to the group as a whole as a bunch of jokers, that they're LARPing. ... When we use that term we're referring to people who go to the comic con to dress up as Pokemon."

Franks acknowledged telling investigators that Fox, described as the leader, was regularly egged on by a man who turned out to be an FBI informant secretly recording conversations for months. It conflicted with his earlier remarks that Dan Chappel didn’t try to steer the group.

“I was untruthful in that interview because I was trying not to go to jail,” Franks told the jury.

He also acknowledged a heroin problem and that he had illegally used an opiate substitute while in custody in the case.

Defense attorneys were trying to show the jury that there was no credible plot, just a lot of profane, violent and crazy talk about Whitmer and other politicians trampling their rights during the pandemic.

The jury was sent home about 50 minutes early Friday because a government witness hadn't arrived yet. Jonker was unhappy.

© The Detroit News
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 27, 2022, 03:23:10 PM
This is a landmark proposal from President Biden, a minimum tax that also applies to unrealized gains—as a prepayment against future capital gains. This should get serious consideration as a fair and efficient way to raise significant revenue.


President Biden to unveil new minimum tax on billionaires in budget

Biden budget seeks minimum tax on households worth $100m

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden intends to propose a minimum tax of 20% on households worth more than $100 million and cut projected budget deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a fact sheets released Saturday by the White House budget office.

The introduction of the minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans would represent a significant reorienting of the tax code. It would apply to the top 0.01% of households with half of the expected revenue coming from households worth $1 billion or more. The minimum tax would effectively prevent the wealthiest sliver of America from paying lower rates than families who think of themselves as middle class, while helping to generate revenues to fuel Biden’s domestic ambitions and keep the deficit in check relative to the U.S. economy.

In his proposal expected Monday, the lower deficits also reflect the economy’s resurgence as the United States emerges from the pandemic. It’s a sign that the government’s balance sheet will improve after a historic burst of spending to combat the coronavirus.

The fading of the pandemic and the growth has enabled the deficit to fall from $3.1 trillion in fiscal 2020 to $2.8 trillion last year and a projected $1.4 trillion this year. That deficit spending paid off in the form of the economy expanding at a 5.7% pace last year, the strongest growth since 1984.

For the Biden administration, the proposal for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 shows that the burst of spending helped to fuel growth and put government finances in a more stable place for years to come as a result. One White House official, insisting on anonymity because the budget has yet to be released, said the proposal shows that Democrats can deliver on what Republicans have promised before without much success: faster growth and falling deficits.

Yet the Biden budget would pledge to do so through a kind of wealth tax that many Republicans say would hurt the economy by diminishing private investment in companies that create jobs and cause the wealthy to put their fortunes to work abroad.

Biden inherited from the Trump administration a budget deficit that was equal in size to 14.9% of the entire U.S. economy. But the deficit starting in the upcoming budget year will be below 5% of the economy, putting the country on a more sustainable path, according to people familiar with the budget proposal who insisted on anonymity to discuss forthcoming details.

The lower deficit totals will also be easier to manage even if interest rates rise.

The expected deficit decrease for fiscal 2022 reflects the solid recovery in hiring that occurred in large part because of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The added jobs mean additional tax revenue, with the government likely collecting $300 billion more in revenues compared to fiscal 2021, a 10% increase.

Still, the country will face several uncertainties that could reshape Biden’s proposed budget, which will have figures that don’t include the spending omnibus recently signed into law. Biden and U.S. allies are also providing aid to Ukrainians who are fighting against Russian forces, a war that could possibly reshape spending priorities and the broader economic outlook.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 28, 2022, 12:31:08 AM
This is a landmark proposal from President Biden, a minimum tax that also applies to unrealized gains—as a prepayment against future capital gains. This should get serious consideration as a fair and efficient way to raise significant revenue.


President Biden to unveil new minimum tax on billionaires in budget

Biden budget seeks minimum tax on households worth $100m

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden intends to propose a minimum tax of 20% on households worth more than $100 million and cut projected budget deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a fact sheets released Saturday by the White House budget office.

The introduction of the minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans would represent a significant reorienting of the tax code. It would apply to the top 0.01% of households with half of the expected revenue coming from households worth $1 billion or more. The minimum tax would effectively prevent the wealthiest sliver of America from paying lower rates than families who think of themselves as middle class, while helping to generate revenues to fuel Biden’s domestic ambitions and keep the deficit in check relative to the U.S. economy.

In his proposal expected Monday, the lower deficits also reflect the economy’s resurgence as the United States emerges from the pandemic. It’s a sign that the government’s balance sheet will improve after a historic burst of spending to combat the coronavirus.

The fading of the pandemic and the growth has enabled the deficit to fall from $3.1 trillion in fiscal 2020 to $2.8 trillion last year and a projected $1.4 trillion this year. That deficit spending paid off in the form of the economy expanding at a 5.7% pace last year, the strongest growth since 1984.

For the Biden administration, the proposal for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 shows that the burst of spending helped to fuel growth and put government finances in a more stable place for years to come as a result. One White House official, insisting on anonymity because the budget has yet to be released, said the proposal shows that Democrats can deliver on what Republicans have promised before without much success: faster growth and falling deficits.

Yet the Biden budget would pledge to do so through a kind of wealth tax that many Republicans say would hurt the economy by diminishing private investment in companies that create jobs and cause the wealthy to put their fortunes to work abroad.

Biden inherited from the Trump administration a budget deficit that was equal in size to 14.9% of the entire U.S. economy. But the deficit starting in the upcoming budget year will be below 5% of the economy, putting the country on a more sustainable path, according to people familiar with the budget proposal who insisted on anonymity to discuss forthcoming details.

The lower deficit totals will also be easier to manage even if interest rates rise.

The expected deficit decrease for fiscal 2022 reflects the solid recovery in hiring that occurred in large part because of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The added jobs mean additional tax revenue, with the government likely collecting $300 billion more in revenues compared to fiscal 2021, a 10% increase.

Still, the country will face several uncertainties that could reshape Biden’s proposed budget, which will have figures that don’t include the spending omnibus recently signed into law. Biden and U.S. allies are also providing aid to Ukrainians who are fighting against Russian forces, a war that could possibly reshape spending priorities and the broader economic outlook.

Inflation, crime, open borders, record gas prices, and world war are not enough?  Biden has to add more taxes to the misery that he has unleashed on the American public.  That sounds like a winning agenda for the Dems.  Keep up the good work bungling Joe!  The mid-term elections are just around the corner.  And when the republicans control the House and Senate, Joe can blame his failures from that point onward on the republicans.  His only hope to now avoid going down as the worst President in history.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 01:10:27 AM
Inflation, crime, open borders, record gas prices, and world war are not enough?  Biden has to add more taxes to the misery that he has unleashed on the American public.  That sounds like a winning agenda for the Dems.  Keep up the good work bungling Joe!  The mid-term elections are just around the corner.  And when the republicans control the House and Senate, Joe can blame his failures from that point onward on the republicans.  His only hope to now avoid going down as the worst President in history.

More BS:

Criminal Donald handed a total disaster off to President Biden including an economic crisis and COVID disaster. President Biden has created the best economy on record and the most jobs of any President in history with 7.4 million. And now the pandemic is under control for a second time. Crime, inflation, and gas prices all started under Criminal Donald. Those are the facts. And once again, you have zero sources for your propaganda.         

We had record crime and homicide under Criminal Donald.   

Provisional data from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, released early Wednesday, suggest the homicide rate for the United States rose 30% between 2019 and 2020. It is the highest increase recorded in modern history.

Researchers noted that provisional data on gun-related deaths also increased last year, climbing from a rate of 11.9 firearm deaths per 100,000 in 2019 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2020 -- a 14% increase.

The FBI released its annual Uniform Crime Report for 2020, showing that the number of homicides increased nearly 30% from 2019, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s.

Inflation started in 2020 under Criminal Donald.           

More Groceries, Less Gas: The Pandemic Is Shaking Up The Cost Of Living
September 11, 2020


Oil companies are setting gas prices high for profit. 

Excluaive: oil companies’ profits soared to $174bn this year as US gas prices rose
Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP among group of 24 who resisted calls to increase production but doled out shareholder dividends[/i]

Biden is doing what Americans demand by taxing billionaires. The overwhelming majority of Americans support taxing billionaires and corporations who pay nothing while Rick Scott's tax America plan will soak working Americans and seniors while ending social security and Medicare. The GOP will get wiped out in November.     

Poll: Two-thirds of voters say billionaires should pay a wealth tax

GOP's new plan: Raise taxes on working people, end Social Security and Medicare

Criminal Donald is already the worst "President" ever.     

Trump Ranks Among The Worst Presidents In History, According To Survey

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 28, 2022, 01:26:19 AM
More BS:

Criminal Donald handed a total disaster off to President Biden including an economic crisis and COVID disaster. President Biden has created the best economy on record and the most jobs of any President in history with 7.4 million. And now the pandemic is under control for a second time. Crime, inflation, and gas prices all started under Criminal Donald. Those are the facts. And once again, you have zero sources for your propaganda.         

We had record crime and homicide under Criminal Donald.   

Provisional data from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, released early Wednesday, suggest the homicide rate for the United States rose 30% between 2019 and 2020. It is the highest increase recorded in modern history.

Researchers noted that provisional data on gun-related deaths also increased last year, climbing from a rate of 11.9 firearm deaths per 100,000 in 2019 to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2020 -- a 14% increase.

The FBI released its annual Uniform Crime Report for 2020, showing that the number of homicides increased nearly 30% from 2019, the largest single-year increase the agency has recorded since it began tracking these crimes in the 1960s.

Inflation started in 2020 under Criminal Donald.           

More Groceries, Less Gas: The Pandemic Is Shaking Up The Cost Of Living
September 11, 2020


Oil companies are setting gas prices high for profit. 

Excluaive: oil companies’ profits soared to $174bn this year as US gas prices rose
Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP among group of 24 who resisted calls to increase production but doled out shareholder dividends[/i]

Biden is doing what Americans demand by taxing billionaires. The overwhelming majority of Americans support taxing billionaires and corporations who pay nothing while Rick Scott's tax America plan will soak working Americans and seniors while ending social security and Medicare. The GOP will get wiped out in November.     

Poll: Two-thirds of voters say billionaires should pay a wealth tax

GOP's new plan: Raise taxes on working people, end Social Security and Medicare

Criminal Donald is already the worst "President" ever.     

Trump Ranks Among The Worst Presidents In History, According To Survey

That is music to republican ears!  A sure strategy to lose by an historic margin in the midterms.  Blaming all the ongoing disasters of Biden's administration on Trump.  Two years into his term Biden is going to say he failed and it was all somehow Trump's fault?  And then raise their taxes.  What an inspirational message to voters!  The red tsunami has formed and will coming crashing down on the Dems in November.   That's the best thing that can happen to Old Joe as he can then use the Obama excuse to blame everything on the republicans.  This is the same guy who promised during the campaign that his experience in Congress would allow him to work across the aisle.  But when he gets into office he suddenly can't to do it.  That's the classic political bait and switch that led to Trump's election in 2016.   The American public is fed up with the political establishment lying to them and failing to deliver.  If you were truly interested in defeating Trump in 2024, it would not be through phony conspiracy theories and politically driven investigations to "lock him up" but through actual results that benefit Americans.  Unfortunately, that is not something Biden can deliver.  He is prototype swamp creature.  Promise the moon, fail to deliver, then blame someone else.  Stay in power so that your family acquires incredible wealth.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 01:34:11 AM
Adam Kinzinger hints at Ginni Thomas subpoena: 'We'll call in whoever we need to call in'


Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) on Sunday suggested that the House Select Committee to Investigate Jan. 6 may ask for testimony from Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, because she allegedly sent texts to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows about overturning the 2020 presidential election.

During an interview on Face the Nation, guest host John Dickerson asked Kinzinger about reports that the committee has seditious text messages exchanged by Thomas and Meadows.

"I can't as a member of the committee confirm or deny the existence of those," Kinzinger replied. "We are going to in a methodical, fact-driven way get to the answers here. We'll call in whoever we need to call in."

"I think the bottom line for the committee is this: Was there an effort to overturn the legitimate election of the United States?" he continued. "What was Jan. 6 in relation to that and what is the rot in our system that led to that and does it still exist today?"

"So no one is disputing the authenticity of these texts," Dickerson followed up. "It's the question, will the committee subpoena Ms. Thomas and question her?"

Kinzinger said that he wanted to "make sure" that the committee's actions are not driven by political motivations.

"So when it comes to any future potential calling in of Ms. Thomas, we'll take a look at what the evidence is and we'll make a decision and you all will know as soon as we do," the congressman added. "I think what we don't want to do is get into speculating too much."

Dickerson wondered if the "rot in the system" that Kinzinger was referring to reaches the Supreme Court.

"I'm not going to say that," the Republican lawmaker remarked. "I'm not going to say that it does or doesn't. We're just going to present the American people with what the answer is. And the Supreme Court handles its own ethics, they handle their own internal stuff."

Kinzinger concluded: "But what we need to is present to the American people where they've been lied to, where they've believed lies, where there are bad actors out there. ... That kind of stuff is very important so in five or ten years when kids are reading in the history books about Jan. 6, they're not buying into any of these conspiracy theories, they're getting the truth."

Watch the video below from CBS:

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 02:43:16 AM
The GOP's plan is to raise taxes on hard working Americans and seniors. They are also going to cut social security and Medicare. Something they've been dreaming about for decades. Even a Fox News host called out Rick Scott on his "Tax and Gut plan".

Fox News Anchor Calls  BS: on GOP Senator’s Spin Over Taxing the Poor: ‘It’s in the Plan!’

"It's not a Democratic talking point! It's in the plan,” Roberts exclaimed on Sunday when Scott attempted to spin his proposal on taxing the poor and sunsetting Social Security.


Even Fox News isn’t buying Sen. Rick Scott’s ridiculous spin on his proposal to possibly “sunset” Social Security and force poor people to pay more in taxes.

Ostensibly appearing on Fox News Sunday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s European trip, the Florida Republican soon found himself being grilled by anchor John Roberts over the legislative agenda he recently unveiled.

As the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Scott hoped to give GOP candidate a platform to run on by putting forth his “11-Point Plan to Rescue America” last month. The plan, however, was roundly mocked across the political aisle, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly dismissed it.

We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years,” McConnell said earlier this month.

During Sunday morning’s interview with Scott, Roberts brought up two of the most contentious items in the politically ambitious senator’s proposal.

“Two of the big points are ‘all Americans should pay some income tax to have skin in the game, even if a small amount. Currently over half of Americans pay no income tax,’” the Fox News moderator stated. “It also says, ‘All federal legislation sunsets in five years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.’ So that would raise taxes on half of Americans and potentially sunset programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Why would you propose something like that in an election year?”

Despite Roberts reading directly from his plan, the conservative lawmaker immediately objected and insisted that the anchor was echoing “Democrat talking points,” prompting Roberts to push back.

“No, no, it’s in the plan! It’s in the plan!” Roberts dramatically exclaimed.

“But here’s the thing about reality for a second,” a clearly flustered Scott begged, only to find the Fox host continue to grill him.

“But, Senator, hang on," Roberts declared. “It's not a Democratic talking point! It's in the plan!”

Defending his policy proposals, Scott went on to say that his plan “says we ought to every year talk about exactly how we are going to fix Medicare and Social Security,” adding that “no one that I know of wants to sunset” those programs. Additionally, he appeared to paint poor Americans as freeloaders that need to be taxed more by the government.

“Here’s what’s unfair. We have people that don’t—that could go to work and have figured out how to have government pay their way. That’s not right. They ought to have some skin in the game. I don’t care if it’s a dollar. We ought to all be in this together.”

Roberts, meanwhile, pointed out that McConnell doesn’t agree with Scott’s plan, noting that the Florida senator followed that up with a Wall Street Journal op-ed declaring that he was standing up the “Beltway cowardice” with his proposal.

“Are you calling Mitch McConnell a coward?” Roberts wondered.

Dodging the Fox News Sunday host’s question, Scott instead sounded a familiar right-wing refrain about culture war issues and the “woke left” destroying America.

© 2022 The Daily Beast Company LLC
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 04:53:53 AM
That is music to republican ears!  A sure strategy to lose by an historic margin in the midterms.  Blaming all the ongoing disasters of Biden's administration on Trump.  Two years into his term Biden is going to say he failed and it was all somehow Trump's fault?  And then raise their taxes.  What an inspirational message to voters!  The red tsunami has formed and will coming crashing down on the Dems in November.   That's the best thing that can happen to Old Joe as he can then use the Obama excuse to blame everything on the republicans. This is the same guy who promised during the campaign that his experience in Congress would allow him to work across the aisle.  But when he gets into office he suddenly can't to do it. That's the classic political bait and switch that led to Trump's election in 2016.   The American public is fed up with the political establishment lying to them and failing to deliver. If you were truly interested in defeating Trump in 2024, it would not be through phony conspiracy theories and politically driven investigations to "lock him up" but through actual results that benefit Americans.  Unfortunately, that is not something Biden can deliver.  He is prototype swamp creature.  Promise the moon, fail to deliver, then blame someone else.  Stay in power so that your family acquires incredible wealth.

:D :D :D

Hilarious! More falsehoods and made up nonsense which is why you never cite any sources because it's all fiction.

President Biden promised to Build Back Better from the 4 year Trump disaster and he already has delivered for the American people in less than a year.

7.4 million jobs created and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. Plus manufacturing jobs are booming where Criminal Donald had manufacturing in a recession. And now a historic bipartisan infrastructure bill implemented into law. 

President Biden already worked across the aisle to pass his historic bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. That's what bipartisan means, working across the aisle. Why are you making up blatant falsehoods again saying "he can't do it"? Biden already did it last year.

No other President has ever gotten an historic bipartisan bill like this passed.

Here are the facts which is sourced and documented.

Congress passes $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, delivering major win for Biden

Congress Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

Late November 5, the House of Representatives passed the long-awaited bipartisan infrastructure bill, totaling $1.2 trillion over five years, including $550 billion of new spending. These investments will go toward “hard infrastructure” such as roads, bridges, water and energy systems, and broadband, including some provisions that could be beneficial for schools. The Senate had passed the legislation in August.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 28, 2022, 03:30:43 PM
The bottom has dropped out on Biden.  Even the radical leftist NBC media poll numbers have him now at historic lows after botching Ukraine.

Biden's job approval falls to lowest level of his presidency amid war and inflation fears
Seven in 10 Americans expressed low confidence in the president's ability to deal with Russia's invasion of Ukraine as his approval fell to 40 percent in the new NBC News poll.

"Amid Europe’s largest land war since World War II, 7 in 10 Americans expressed low confidence in President Joe Biden’s ability to deal with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a new NBC News poll, and 8 in 10 voiced worry that the war will increase gas prices and possibly involve nuclear weapons."
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 11:06:35 PM
Biden’s new plan: Tax the top 0.01% to lower the deficit by $1 trillion and fund clean energy independence.

GOP plan, per NRSC Chair Rick Scott: Raise taxes on households earning less than $50,000 by an ADDITIONAL $4,500 after CUTTING taxes for the rich.

Vote accordingly.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 11:32:37 PM
Today, President Biden released a budget outlining his vision to expand on the progress we’ve made in a fiscally responsible way — cutting deficits, improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook, and growing our economy from the bottom up and middle out.

During the last administration, the national deficit increased every year.


Under President Biden's leadership, America is on the move again.

- We created more than 6.5 million jobs in 2021.
- Our economy had the strongest growth in nearly 40 years.
- The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8%.
- And the deficit fell last year by over $350 billion.


The President's budget includes investments to keep our communities safe here at home and abroad.


President Biden's budget also includes funding that is focused on helping us Build a Better America for all by expanding opportunity and lowering costs for working families.


The investments laid out in President Biden's budget are more than fully paid for through tax reforms that ensure corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 28, 2022, 11:54:36 PM
America is on the move again because of President Biden's strategy to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. His budget details how to expand on our progress—cutting deficits, reducing costs for families, and ensuring our safety & security.

Biden is now the 3rd consecutive Dem President to have seen the annual deficit drop significantly on their watch.

It rose significantly under the last 3 GOP Presidents.

Biden on track to deliver on deficit reduction boast
The Democrat said he’d soon become the only president “ever to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year.” He’s on track to deliver.

March 11, 2022


It wasn’t necessarily the most memorable line in President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, but for some lawmakers in attendance, it stood out.

“By the end of this year,” the Democrat boasted, “the deficit will be down to less than half what it was before I took office.” Biden added that he would soon become the only president “ever to cut the deficit by more than $1 trillion in a single year.”

And while it’s impossible to say with certainly what to expect in the coming months, at least for now, the president appears to be on track to deliver on his boast. Bloomberg News reported yesterday:

"The U.S. budget deficit shrank by more than half in the first five months of the latest fiscal year as government pandemic spending wound down and revenue jumped. The shortfall in the October-to-February period was $475.6 billion, 55% smaller than the same five months a year earlier, and the least for the timeframe since the fiscal year ended in 2018, according to Treasury Department data released Thursday. The gap narrowed to $216.6 billion last month, compared with $310.9 billion in February 2021.

The deficit in Biden’s first year was $360 billion smaller than the budget shortfall from Donald Trump’s final year in office, and in the Democrat’s second year, it’s on pace to be $1 trillion smaller.

There’s no great mystery as to why: As the economic recovery continues, and spending related to the pandemic becomes less necessary, the deficit is predictably getting much smaller in a hurry.

As for why anyone should care, there are a few angles to this to keep in mind.

First, there’s Sen. Joe Manchin. The conservative West Virginia Democrat, having already effectively killed the Build Back Better plan, has signaled a willingness to support some kind of new package, just so long as deficit reduction is part of the plan.

The White House can now credibly tell the senator his priorities are already being addressed — in nominal terms, at a pace without precedent.

Second, there’s recent history to consider. As The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell explained before the Covid-19 crisis, “Federal deficits have widened immensely under Trump’s leadership. This is striking not only because he promised fiscal responsibility — at one time even pledging to eliminate the national debt within eight years — but also because it’s a historical anomaly. Deficits usually narrow when the economy is good and we’re not engaged in a major war.... Trump’s own policies are to blame for this aberration.”

That was plainly true. The White House and congressional Republicans swore up and down in late 2017 that they could slash taxes for the wealthy and big corporations without increasing the deficit because, as they repeatedly insisted, “tax cuts pay for themselves.” We didn’t need additional evidence that their ridiculous belief was, and is, wrong, but the evidence soon followed anyway.

Then, of course, the pandemic hit, at which point the annual deficit ballooned to over $3 trillion.

And finally, there’s the historical pattern. As we’ve discussed, when it comes to the deficit, Americans have endured a remarkably consistent pattern for four decades.

It starts with a Republican presidential candidate denouncing the deficit and vowing to balance the budget if elected. That Republican then takes office, abandons interest in the issue, and expresses indifference when the deficit becomes vastly larger. Then a Democrat takes office, at which point GOP lawmakers who didn’t care at all about the deficit suddenly decide it’s a critical issue that the new president must immediately prioritize.

During the Democratic administration, the deficit invariably shrinks — a development Republicans tend to ignore — at which point the entire cycle starts over.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 29, 2022, 12:48:18 PM
President Biden

"Here’s what my budget all adds up to:

- Historic deficit reduction
- Historic investments in our security at home and abroad
- An unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed
- And a plan to pay for the investments we need as a nation

My budget also invests in other areas of bipartisan common ground — what I call my Unity Agenda.
Beating the opioid epidemic, taking on the challenge of mental health, supporting our veterans, and ending cancer as we know it.

My budget invests in building more homes to help us deal with skyrocketing housing costs.

Let’s make college more affordable.
My budget doubles the maximum Pell Grant to nearly $13,000 and helps the more than 8 million students who rely on Pell Grants pay for college.

Let’s provide universal preschool and cap the cost of child care at 7% of a family’s income.
For many families, that will cut the cost of child care in half.

The budget provides the resources we need to keep Americans safe — ensuring that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.

My budget puts more police on the street for community policing and hires more agents. It funds body cameras, crime prevention, community violence intervention, drug treatment, mental health, criminal justice reform, and reentry for people coming home after incarceration.

My budget lowers family energy costs with tax credits to help people make their homes more efficient — and includes research and development investments to broaden the reach of solar and build a clean energy future.

Right now, billionaires pay an average rate of 8% on their total income.
A firefighter or teacher pays double that.
My budget contains a Billionaire Minimum Income Tax — a 20% minimum tax that only applies to the top one-hundredth of one percent of American households.

My budget also ensures that corporations pay their fair share. 
In 2020, 55 of the most profitable corporations paid zero dollars in federal income taxes on $40 billion in profit. 
My budget raises the corporate tax rate to 28%.

We can restore fiscal responsibility by rolling back the Trump Tax cuts.
Under my plan no one making less than $400,000 will pay an additional penny in taxes. But the wealthy and corporations will finally pay their fair share.

After my predecessor’s fiscal mismanagement, we’re reducing the Trump deficits and returning our fiscal house to order.

This year, my Administration is on track to cut the deficit by more than $1.3 trillion.
$1.3 trillion — that would be the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history.

My father had an expression: “Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget—and I’ll tell you what you value.”

The budget I’m releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security, and the investments needed to build a better America."


Tune in as I announce my budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
Watch: https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1508518313567166481
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 29, 2022, 01:01:02 PM
President Biden has already lowered the Trump deficit by over $350,000,000,000 and America is now on track for the largest deficit reduction in history this year: $1.3 TRILLION.

Republicans always talk about the debt, but the deficit rose every single year Trump was in office.


Meanwhile, the deficit has already fallen by $350 billion under Biden.

A new analysis shows that the 2022 Republican platform proposed by NRSC Chair Rick Scott would raise taxes on households with children earning less than $50,000 by an ADDITIONAL $4,500.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 29, 2022, 01:04:52 PM
RING THE ALARM: Republicans have a plan to end health coverage for MILLIONS.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 30, 2022, 02:56:35 AM
This is a landmark proposal from President Biden, a minimum tax that also applies to unrealized gains—as a prepayment against future capital gains. This should get serious consideration as a fair and efficient way to raise significant revenue.


President Biden to unveil new minimum tax on billionaires in budget

Biden budget seeks minimum tax on households worth $100m

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden intends to propose a minimum tax of 20% on households worth more than $100 million and cut projected budget deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a fact sheets released Saturday by the White House budget office.

The introduction of the minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans would represent a significant reorienting of the tax code. It would apply to the top 0.01% of households with half of the expected revenue coming from households worth $1 billion or more. The minimum tax would effectively prevent the wealthiest sliver of America from paying lower rates than families who think of themselves as middle class, while helping to generate revenues to fuel Biden’s domestic ambitions and keep the deficit in check relative to the U.S. economy.

In his proposal expected Monday, the lower deficits also reflect the economy’s resurgence as the United States emerges from the pandemic. It’s a sign that the government’s balance sheet will improve after a historic burst of spending to combat the coronavirus.

The fading of the pandemic and the growth has enabled the deficit to fall from $3.1 trillion in fiscal 2020 to $2.8 trillion last year and a projected $1.4 trillion this year. That deficit spending paid off in the form of the economy expanding at a 5.7% pace last year, the strongest growth since 1984.

For the Biden administration, the proposal for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 shows that the burst of spending helped to fuel growth and put government finances in a more stable place for years to come as a result. One White House official, insisting on anonymity because the budget has yet to be released, said the proposal shows that Democrats can deliver on what Republicans have promised before without much success: faster growth and falling deficits.

Yet the Biden budget would pledge to do so through a kind of wealth tax that many Republicans say would hurt the economy by diminishing private investment in companies that create jobs and cause the wealthy to put their fortunes to work abroad.

Biden inherited from the Trump administration a budget deficit that was equal in size to 14.9% of the entire U.S. economy. But the deficit starting in the upcoming budget year will be below 5% of the economy, putting the country on a more sustainable path, according to people familiar with the budget proposal who insisted on anonymity to discuss forthcoming details.

The lower deficit totals will also be easier to manage even if interest rates rise.

The expected deficit decrease for fiscal 2022 reflects the solid recovery in hiring that occurred in large part because of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The added jobs mean additional tax revenue, with the government likely collecting $300 billion more in revenues compared to fiscal 2021, a 10% increase.

Still, the country will face several uncertainties that could reshape Biden’s proposed budget, which will have figures that don’t include the spending omnibus recently signed into law. Biden and U.S. allies are also providing aid to Ukrainians who are fighting against Russian forces, a war that could possibly reshape spending priorities and the broader economic outlook.

That didn't take long to fall apart.  Maybe Old Joe should make sure his own party supports his massive tax increase before making a fool of himself   Another massive failure.  Back to the drawing board!

Per the NY Times:

Manchin Denounces Billionaires Tax as Divisive
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 02:42:42 PM
President Biden just signed the Emmett Till Anti Lynching Act into law. Lynching is now a federal crime in America. Should have been done a long time ago. Thanks to President Biden and the Democratic Congress for making this a priority to get done. 


The House just passed the bipartisan Better Cybercrime Metrics Act — and it is now headed to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law! This bill will help prevent cybercrime and equip America’s law enforcement to combat the next generation of cyberattacks.

President Biden and Democrats were able to work across the aisle to get an important bill passed to keep America safe. This is how it should be. Shame on the 48 Republicans who don't want to keep America safe from cyberattacks.

Once again, President Biden delivers and one more campaign promise has been kept.   

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 30, 2022, 03:08:59 PM
Even leftist CNN is now reporting that Hunter Biden is in big trouble.  The liberal media buried the Hunter Biden story for over a year but the chickens are coming home to roost.  A laundry list of crimes from tax evasion, money laundering, illegal purchase of a firearm, foreign lobbying laws, influence peddling. 

Federal investigation of Hunter Biden heats up
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 03:30:54 PM
"It was an honor to host Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore at the White House today. We are deepening the ties between our nations at a critical time in history." - President Joe Biden

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 30, 2022, 04:15:52 PM
Whenever new damaging information comes out against Criminal Donald, we get right wing conspiracies about Hunter for deflection. The whole thing is pathetic and has already been debunked. And yesterday, Criminal Donald was asking murderous dictator Putin to help him get "dirt" on Biden when after Russian State TV was calling for regime change in the U.S. to install Criminal Donald. This whole thing is one giant scam. Over 50 former U.S. Intel officials concluded that this is all Russian disinformation. Even Ukraine stated the same thing. What we do know is that Criminal Donald and his partner in crime Putin are colluding right out in the open with a criminal conspiracy.

Trump urges Russia to release dirt on Hunter Biden now that 'Putin is not exactly a fan of our country'

Russian Host Says Biden Should Be Ousted for Moscow 'Partner' Donald Trump

Ukraine found no evidence against Hunter Biden in case audit: former top prosecutor
June 4, 2020

KIEV (Reuters) - An audit of thousands of old case files by Ukrainian prosecutors found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Hunter Biden, the former prosecutor general, who had launched the audit, told Reuters.


Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say
More than 50 former intelligence officials signed a letter casting doubt on the provenance of a New York Post story on the former vice president's son.

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son“has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

The letter, signed on Monday, centers around a batch of documents released by the New York Post last week that purport to tie the Democratic nominee to his son Hunter’s business dealings. Under the banner headline “Biden Secret E-mails,” the Post reported it was given a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive by President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said he got it from a Mac shop owner in Delaware who also alerted the FBI.

While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work.

“If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

Nick Shapiro, a former top aide under CIA director John Brennan, provided POLITICO with the letter on Monday. He noted that “the IC leaders who have signed this letter worked for the past four presidents, including Trump. The real power here however is the number of former, working-level IC officers who want the American people to know that once again the Russians are interfering."

The former Trump administration officials who signed the letter include Russ Travers, who served as National Counterterrorism Center acting director; Glenn Gerstell, the former NSA general counsel; Rick Ledgett, the former deputy NSA director; Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer; and Cynthia Strand, who served as the CIA’s deputy assistant director for global issues. Former CIA directors or acting directors Brennan, Leon Panetta, Gen. Michael Hayden, John McLaughlin and Michael Morell also signed the letter, along with more than three dozen other intelligence veterans. Several of the former officials on the list have endorsed Biden.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Monday that the information on Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” though the FBI is reportedly conducting an ongoing investigation into whether Russia was involved.

The New York Times raised questions on Sunday about the rigor of the Post’s reporting process, revealing that several of its reporters had refused to put their name on the Biden stories because they were concerned about the authenticity of the materials. The Post stood by its reporting, saying it was vetted before publication.

But the release of the material, which POLITICO has not independently verified, has drawn comparisons to 2016, when Russian hackers dumped troves of emails from Democrats onto the internet — producing few damaging revelations but fueling accusations of corruption by Trump. While there has been no immediate indication of Russian involvement in the release of emails the Post obtained, its general thrust mirrors a narrative that U.S. intelligence agencies have described as part of an active Russian disinformation effort aimed at denigrating Biden’s candidacy.

“We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” the letter reads. But, it continues, “there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.”

“Such an operation would be consistent with Russian objectives, as outlined publicly and recently by the Intelligence Community, to create political chaos in the United States and to deepen political divisions here but also to undermine the candidacy of former Vice President Biden and thereby help the candidacy of President Trump,” the letter reads.

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director Bill Evanina said in August that Russia has been trying to denigrate Biden’s campaign, specifically through a Ukrainian lawmaker named Andriy Derkach who has met with Giuliani at least twice to discuss corruption accusations against Biden. Derkach was sanctioned by the Treasury Department last month for allegedly acting as a Russian agent and interfering in the 2020 election.

Giuliani brushed off concerns about Derkach in an interview with The Daily Beast this week, saying “the chance that Derkach is a Russian spy is no better than 50/50.” And he told The Wall Street Journal of the purported Biden email trove: “Could it be hacked? I don’t know. I don’t think so. If it was hacked, it’s for real. If it was hacked. I didn’t hack it. I have every right to use it.”

The former officials said Derkach’s relationship with Giuliani and fixation on the Bidens, along with Russia’s reported hack on Burisma — the Ukrainian energy company that gave Hunter Biden a board seat and is at the center of Trump and his allies’ corruption allegations — “is consistent with” a Russian operation.

“For the Russians at this point, with Trump down in the polls, there is incentive for Moscow to pull out the stops to do anything possible to help Trump win and/or to weaken Biden should he win,” the letter says. “A ‘laptop op’ fits the bill, as the publication of the emails are clearly designed to discredit Biden.”

Top Biden advisers who staffed him during his vice presidency, citing their own recollections as well as a review of Biden’s official schedules, have sharply rejected suggestions that Biden ever met with a representative of Burisma in 2015 or has otherwise been involved in Hunter Biden’s business interests.

"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said last week. “Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 30, 2022, 07:56:21 PM
So much for Hunter's laptop being "Russian disinformation" as Joe Biden lied to the American public.  The leftist NY Times, CNN, and now Wash Post have all confirmed the authenticity of the content.  All these leaks mean they are preparing the public for the indictment.  The noose is getting tighter and tighter.  It turns out Trump was right again.  The real disinformation and conspiracy theories were those of the mainstream and social media that tried to cover up the scandal.

"The Washington Post has authenticated thousands of emails from Hunter Biden's laptop after the paper joined other outlets in downplaying and disparaging the New York Post's reporting during the 2020 presidential election."
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 04:36:53 AM
Here's another fine example which proves there is no such thing as a "liberal media" that right wingers lie about.

In America, we have a far right wing media that is the political arm of Trump and the GOP,  and then we have a Mainstream Media which favors Trump and the GOP for ratings and clicks because that's what keeps them in business.

Here's the proof right here....this is CBS CEO Lee Moonves on tape showing his public bias support for Trump as the media protects him. He knows full well that Trump is a total disaster but is good for controversy and scandals which brings in high ratings so CBS favors Trump to get those ratings they want to beat the other networks.   

"It may not be good for America but it's good for CBS. The money’s rollin in…this is fun…this is going to be a very good year for us…It’s a terrible thing to say but … bring it on Donald. Go ahead. Keep goin.” - CBS CEO Lee Moonves

Listen: https://twitter.com/i/status/1509269538335985664
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:00:50 AM
Missouri Gov believes Eric Greitens beat his wife — but may back his Senate bid anyway


Disgraced former Gov. Eric Greitens (R-MO) may receive the support of his successor even after allegations of physical abuse from his ex-wife.

"Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Wednesday said he believed allegations of domestic abuse against former Gov. Eric Greitens, but stopped short of calling on him to drop out of the U.S. Senate race," The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday. "The allegations, made by Greiten’s ex-wife Sheena Greitens last week in an affidavit filed as part of an ongoing child custody dispute, accused the former governor of hitting their then 3-year-old across the face, yanking him by his hair and knocking her down. Greitens had been previously accused of blackmailing and se**ally assaulting his former hairdresser in 2018."

Greitens resigned in June of 2018.

"Parson, however, side-stepped questions about whether Greitens should drop out of the race and whether he would endorse and vote for Greitens in his bid for U.S. Senate," the newspaper continued. "Asked about supporting Greitens if he receives the Republican nomination for Senate, Parson said, 'We’ll see what that all comes about, the day it comes.'”

Other candidates in the GOP primary include state Attorney General Eric Schmidtt, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, Rep. Billy Long, legislator Dave Schatz, and gun rights activist Mark McClowsky.

"Sheena Greitens – and Greitens’ ex-hairdresser in 2018 – made their allegations under sworn testimony. While Greitens has denied their claims, he has never done so under oath," the newspaper noted. "While national Republicans have generally avoided comment, Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley have called on him to drop out, along with all of the major candidates who are running for U.S. Senate."

The winner of the GOP nomination is likely to face either Democrat Lucas Kunce or Trudy Busch Valentine.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:09:36 AM
President Biden

Americans are back to living their lives again. We can’t surrender all of that now. Congress must act immediately on COVID funding. The consequences of inaction are severe.

Just as we’ve reached a critical turning point in this fight, Congress must provide the funding America needs to continue to fight COVID-19.

We’re already seeing the consequences of Congressional inaction.

Take monoclonal antibodies. They’ve helped save lives. This isn’t partisan. It’s medicine. But Congress hasn’t provided enough money to keep purchasing them.

Without more funding we’ll start to run out by the end of May.

We’ve also had to scale back our plan to purchase more preventive therapies for Americans who are immunocompromised. Critical tools to protect the most vulnerable among us. Without more funding we risk running out of supply this fall.

The same is true for testing.

It took months to ramp up our testing capacity. But without funding, we won’t be able to sustain our testing capacity beyond June.

If we fail to invest now we’ll leave ourselves vulnerable if another wave hits. And on vaccines, we’re also running a risk.

If Congress fails to act we won’t have the supply we need this fall to ensure that shots are available for free and easy to access for all Americans.

We cannot allow that to happen. Congress needs to act now.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:12:59 AM
"My second booster didn’t hurt a bit. If you’re 50 and older or immunocompromised, get your second booster as soon as you’re eligible."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:21:34 AM
President Biden

"When I took office about 14 months ago, the pandemic was raging, the economy was reeling, and the deficit was soaring.

Most schools were closed. We didn’t have enough vaccines. And unemployment claims were sky-high.

But then we got to work, and we delivered.

Enough vaccines for every American. Effective treatments and at-home tests that are free and easily accessible. Over 99% of our schools are open again. Businesses are open again. A record 6.7 million jobs.

None of that happened by accident.

We were able to do it because we coordinated across government and partnered with state and local leaders and the private sector to leverage every resource we had against this virus.

We left no stone unturned.

Because of the strategy we executed over the past year on vaccinations, testing, treatments, and more, we are now in a new moment in this pandemic.

That does not mean that COVID-19 is over.

It means that COVID-19 no longer controls our lives.

Today, I am announcing the launch of http://COVID.gov. A one-stop shop where anyone in America can find what they need to navigate the virus."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:25:49 AM
President Biden’s budget makes sure billionaires pay their fair share, lowers costs for families, and cuts the deficit.

Senator Rick Scott’s Republican Party platform raises taxes on seniors and working families.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 11:40:39 AM
The Biden Boom is going strong. Robust private sector job growth remains STRONG. America is back to work and Biden is building back better. In 2021, the economy grew 5.7%, the strongest since 1984 and economists say 2022 will top last year's growth. 

Private payrolls rose by 455,000 in March, topping expectations: ADP

Private sector payrolls rose by 455,000 in this past month, ADP said in its latest report Wednesday. Consensus economists were looking for 450,000 jobs to return, according to Bloomberg data.

Later this week, the Labor Department's "official" jobs report will likely further underscore the hot labor market conditions at present, with non-farm payrolls set to rise anew as the unemployment rate falls to a fresh pandemic-era low, based on consensus economists. Namely, Wall Street economists are looking for jobs to rise by nearly half a million in March as the unemployment rate steps down to 3.7%, from the 3.8% posted for February.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 12:01:11 PM
New Jersey GOP mayor caught on tape repeatedly using racial slurs — and the city paid to cover it up


On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that Clark Township, New Jersey paid $400,000 to silence a whistleblower who came forward with recordings of the former Republican mayor, police chief, and his associates using racial slurs — but the whistleblower is now coming forward, claiming that the town is withholding his pension in retaliation.

"According to NJ.com, Antonio Manata, a former police lieutenant, recorded several Clark Township officials using racial slurs and making derogatory statements, then threatened to file a lawsuit exposing them. But Clark officials ultimately decided to fork over $400,000 to Manata under an agreement that required the ex-cop to turn over his recordings," reported Brooke Leigh Howard. "In seven recordings obtained and published by NJ.com, Manata captured the mayor and two top police officials referring to Black people as 'sp**ks,' 'sh*nes,' and 'n—s.'"

Per the report, Black people account for less than 2 percent of the population of Clark Township.

"In one recording from 2019, Clark Township Mayor Sal Bonaccorso, a Republican serving his sixth term, was leaving a meeting at the Clark Recreation Center when an officer pointed out some ropes hanging from above and asked what they were. 'We [expletive] hang the sp**ks up there,' Bonaccorso responded as laughter filled the audio," said the report. "In another recorded conversation from 2019, Clark Police Chief Pedro Matos spoke about reopening a bias crimes investigation into the high school incident. 'I’m going to prove that them [expletive] n—-s did it,' Matos can be heard saying. In another recording, Internal Affairs Sgt. Joseph Teston allegedly said a Black suspect’s mugshot reminded him of a National Geographic photo and said he had a 'big [expletive] monkey head.'"

According to the report, Bonaccorso also said that he "hopes there are never any" women police officers, and that every woman put on the force has been a "[expletive] disaster."

This comes amid heightened scrutiny on the culture in police departments around the country. According to another report in February, the police chief of Castroville, Texas used the N-word at least three times while investigating a murder scene.

Listen to the recordings here, first obtained by NJ.com: (strong language)

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on March 31, 2022, 01:41:31 PM
Can’t wait to hear what Desantis has to say about why he likely just lost most or all of the $300 million from the Florida state employees pension fund that he has tied up in Russia. His spokesperson assures us we just have to wait for the market in Moscow to come back around. Is there any Republican not involved with Russians?


Florida Dems call for state, Gov. DeSantis to end $300M in Russian investments

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — More than a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, Florida Democrats have continued calls for Gov. Ron DeSantis to formally end the state’s investments in Russian companies.

According to DeSantis’ Democratic critics and political opponents in the coming gubernatorial election, Florida’s governor has not taken enough action to move away from its economic ties to Russia. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg), who is running for governor against DeSantis, said he has “failed” to be tough on Putin. Crist has repeatedly urged the governor to divest state investments in Russian companies.

Current Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikkie Fried, another contender for governor against DeSantis, has taken a similar stance, calling for the state to divest from the companies and submitted a plan to do so, as well as move toward what she calls clean energy independence. Fried said the state must “act on it as soon as possible” to buffer its dependence on foreign energy.

To that end, an amendment in the state legislature came during appropriations votes to pull the money away from Russian investment, but failed to gather enough support to pass. Florida has about $300 million the wrapped up in what are called Russian domiciled entities, or a company based in Russia.

The amendment to divest was introduced by Hillsborough state representative Andrew Learned, a Democrat. In new comments that Rep. Learned posted to Twitter, he criticized Florida Republicans for their silence on the matter.

“Reminder: still crickets from Florida GOP about divesting our Russian investments,” Learned tweeted.

The state’s investments in Russian companies are managed by the State Board of Administration. The Florida SBA operates as an investment fiduciary, and before any decision to invest or divest is made, the board has to review the funds.

The SBA is, by law, under the control of the Governor, alongside the state’s Chief Financial Officer and Attorney General, Jimmy Patronis and Ashley Moody, respectively.

That said, a representative for DeSantis said investment and divestment decisions must be made in accordance with state law, and any federal regulations, which include Treasury Department sanctions. The representative also said the $300 million mentioned for investment was the amount held before the latest federal sanctions on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, and the value of the assets in question “may have changed due to volatility in the stock market.”

“The SBA has been reviewing investments in Russian domiciled entities,” according to the Governor’s Office. “Any decisions will be announced after the SBA has concluded its review.”

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Richard Smith on March 31, 2022, 05:31:08 PM
The media is really laying the groundwork before Hunter's indictment.  Trying to soften the blow by slowly acknowledging the obvious after years of denial and suppression of the topic as a conspiracy theory.  Will Hunter go to prison?  Probably not.  But he will cut a deal pleading guilty to numerous crimes that will expose his corruption (along with the entire Biden family) and the media coverup.  Trump will be vindicated once again. 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:07:37 AM
We are days away from the vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson, and the polling speaks volumes—Judge Jackson is more than qualified for SCOTUS and Americans overwhelmingly support her confirmation.   

Senate Republicans' attacks on Ketanji Brown Jackson have fallen flat

Americans broadly support confirming Judge Jackson to the Supreme Court, recent polling shows.


Senate Republicans have spent the past several weeks levying false attacks against Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden's nominee for the Supreme Court. But a new poll indicates the smears have not convinced the vast majority of American voters — two-thirds of whom back her confirmation.

A Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday found 66% of the nation's adults said they would vote to confirm Jackson — who would become the first Black woman in U.S. history to serve on the high court — if they were members of the Senate. Interestingly, 64% of poll respondents who were surveyed before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings began said they supported Jackson's confirmation, compared to 72% of poll respondents who were interviewed after the hearings began.

"It is an interesting and meaningful result given that some of the initial criticism before she was picked was, 'Why is Biden narrowing the field to just this demographic group?'" polling director Charles Franklin told USA Today. "Our evidence, at least, is that it certainly looks like a little bit of a net positive."

This poll matches the results of other recent polls, which indicated that Jackson is one of the most popular Supreme Court nominees in decades.

GOP senators started attacking Jackson's record as a judge and lawyer soon after Biden nominated her to the high court in February.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham first criticized Biden for picking someone who attended Harvard Law School, objecting to the fact that eight of the nine current justices earned law degrees from Harvard and Yale Universities — though he had himself voted to confirm six of them.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley began pushing widely debunked claims that "Judge Jackson has a pattern of letting child p*rn offenders off the hook for their appalling crimes, both as a judge and as a policymaker" and that she showed an "alarming trend of lenient sentencing." As Missouri's attorney general, Hawley had agreed to a plea deal in at least one s*x crime case that allowed a sheriff to avoid any jail time.

Republicans then used the very same "embarrassing antics" at Jackson's confirmation hearings to try to undermine her nomination that they had previously decried and vowed not to use.

Specifically complaining that Jackson — like GOP nominees before her — refused to weigh in on policy questions that are up to Congress, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, said last Thursday that he "cannot and will not support Judge Jackson for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court."

Minority Whip John Thune, Republican Conference Chair John Barrasso, Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker have also announced their intention to vote no.

So far, only one Republican — Maine Sen. Susan Collins — has indicated her support for Jackson.

Thune (R-SD) told the Hill on Wednesday that he does not expect Jackson to get more than one or two more GOP votes. "I think the universe of votes that she could get in the Senate among Republicans is probably similar to what happened in the appeals court," he said, referencing the three Republican votes she received in June 2021.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote next Monday to advance Jackson's nomination to the full Senate.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:38:40 AM
Why are Republicans so afraid to let people vote? Because when more people vote Republicans lose. 

Judge blocks all new Florida voter suppression laws — then knocks the Supreme Court for putting voting rights 'under siege'

In a 288-page document, District Court Judge Mark Walker blocked the Florida voter suppression bill and specifically called out judges and the Supreme Court for undercutting the Voting Rights Act. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate's court and law writer, cited several excerpts in the judge's decision that make the decision groundbreaking. Until the case goes to the Supreme Court, Florida's suppression laws will be stopped.

Republicans around the country have been pushing voter suppression laws after former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 election after a record-setting voter turnout. In Texas, for example, Republicans confessed that the law they passed putting additional barriers on vote by mail wasn't due to an outbreak of voter fraud. Instead, it was to make people feel better.

"This is a preventative measure for us," Republican state Rep. Travis Clardy said. "I think it is our job to make sure that doesn't blossom into a problem that disturbs the underlying and one of the underpinnings of our democracy, and that is confidence in our elections."

Florida SB 90 created their own restrictive legislation that Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in 2021. The Florida voter suppression law makes voter registration more difficult, puts additional barriers on vote by mail and changes the rules for election observers.

"Having reviewed all the evidence, this Court finds that, for the most part, Plaintiffs are right" wrote Judge Walker. "Thus, as explained in detail below, this Court enjoins Defendants from enforcing most of SB 90’s challenged provisions. In so ruling, this Court recognizes that the right to vote, and the VRA particularly, are under siege."

He went on to cite Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who wrote in a letter to the New York Amsterdam News in June 1965 about the VRA that “to deny a person the right to exercise his political freedom at the polls is no less a dastardly act as to deny a Christian the right to petition God in prayer."

Then he dropped the hammer on the Florida law, explaining that Florida "has repeatedly, recently, and persistently acted to deny Black Floridians access to the franchise," meaning the right to vote. He thus placed the state back under preclearance, which mandates that any election laws in the state must be approved by the federal government.

He went on to detail an extensive "horrendous history of racial discrimination in voting," and explained that when the Florida Legislature passes so many laws that disproportionately burden Black voters, "this Court can no longer accept that the effect is incidental."

Judge Walker then attacked the Supreme Court, recalling Chief Justice John Roberts 2013 majority opinion, "Voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that. The question is whether the act's extraordinary measures, including its disparate treatment of the states, continue to satisfy constitutional requirements."

"Nearly 50 years later, things have changed dramatically. Largely because of the Voting Rights Act, voter turnout and registration rates in covered jurisdictions now approach parity," the majority opinion continued. "Blatantly discriminatory evasions of federal decrees are rare and minority candidates hold office at unprecedented levels."

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg responded with a dissent, writing, "Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."

According to Judge Walker, "In short, without explaining itself, the Court has allowed its wholly judge-made prudential rule to trump some of our most precious constitutional rights."

He said that the parts of the Florida law were inspired by racist desires to suppress Black votes. He then put the state back under the VRA's preclearance restrictions and said that the state must get federal approval before passing any new laws limiting voter registration, drop boxes, or "line warming."

So-called "line warming" is when people bring food, water, blankets, jackets, or even chairs while people spend hours standing in line to vote. Georgia passed a law this year banning any efforts to help anyone in line trying to vote. So, if someone has to use the bathroom after several hours, they have to do it on the sidewalk outside the poll place or soil themselves, otherwise, they'll lose their place in line.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:47:15 AM
President Biden's plan will set us on a path to true energy independence.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:59:15 AM
President Biden is Building Back Better. Labor income up $1.2 trillion since Biden took office.

Wages Up by $1.2 Trillion Since Biden Takes Office, $9,400 per Household

Okay, this is not 100 percent kosher, but since we seem to have entered the political silly season, and the media have jumped in with both feet, these are real numbers from the Commerce Department. The $1.2 trillion increase refers to all labor income, which counts employer provided health care insurance, pensions, and other benefits. More importantly, these data are not adjusted for inflation, but even when price increases are factored in, labor income is still up by 1.6 percent from when President Biden took office.

This is worth noting, because the news media have filled their pages and broadcasts with stories of workers who are suffering because of the rise in gas prices and inflation more generally. There are undoubtedly many workers who are seriously suffering, but this is always true. Since labor income is higher today than it was before the pandemic, we can reasonably infer that many more workers were having trouble making ends meet in 2019 than today. If we hear more stories of hardship now, it is because of the decision by the media to give us more stories of hardship, not because more stories exist in the world.

For those who want a picture of how labor income growth since Biden took office compares with prior years, here’s the picture since 2010.

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and author’s calculations.

As can be seen, labor income generally rises. The one exception was 2011, when austerity measures slowed job growth and high unemployment dampened wage growth.

The other item that jumps out in this picture is that in 2014 and 2015, which were the second and third strongest year for labor income growth, oil prices fell sharply. Since wage growth and job growth don’t usually change much year by year, changes in the rate of inflation are a major determinant of the pace of real labor income growth. Oil and energy prices in turn, are major factors in the rate of inflation.

The jump in oil prices since the pandemic ended, which has been aggravated by disruptions, and the threat of disruptions, associated with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has been a major factor depressing real labor income growth since President Biden took office. The impact of higher oil prices, and other supply chain issues associated with the pandemic, have led to a big jump in inflation rates everywhere. For example, in the United Kingdom inflation has risen by 6.2 percent over the last year. In Germany, inflation has been 7.6 percent.

It is understandable that Republicans don’t like to call attention to the extent that the pandemic is responsible for higher inflation and its negative impact on living standards. It is a bit harder to understand why ostensibly neutral reporters don’t like to call attention to this fact. It’s a bit like reporting on a rise in homelessness in an area, without mentioning that much of the housing stock had been wiped out by a hurricane. But such is the state of reporting in the United States today. 
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 01:19:08 AM
Big news today: President Biden is taking on the greedy oil industry who is artificially keeping gas prices high for profit by releasing 1 million barrels of oil per day from the strategic reserve. "The action, which Biden will formally announce later Thursday, will represent the largest release from the reserve in its nearly 50-year history." He is also going to make sure these companies are producing oil in the U.S. like they are supposed to instead of just sitting on 9,000 permits while doing nothing with his "Use It or Lose It" policy. There is absolutely no need for these greedy oil companies to take  advantage of us. They already made enough profits at our expense. 

Biden to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from strategic reserve to drive down gas prices


WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will order the release of 1 million barrels of oil per day over the next six months from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in response to a spike in gas prices triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The action, which Biden will formally announce later Thursday, will represent the largest release from the reserve in its nearly 50-year history.

Gas prices at the pump have soared by nearly $1 per gallon in the month since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The war means less Russian oil is getting to the market, and the reduction in supply is raising prices at the pump.

Senior administration officials who briefed reporters ahead of Biden's announcement could not say how much the release of oil from the strategic reserves is expected to lower prices at the pump or how soon prices will start to fall.

The administration predicts that release of the oil will serve as a bridge until the end of the year, when domestic production ramps up. The Energy Department will use revenue from the release to restock the emergency stockpile in future years, the officials said.

What is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a stockpile to preserve access to oil in case of natural disasters, national security issues and other events. Maintained by the Energy Department, the reserves are stored in caverns created in salt domes along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coasts. There are roughly 605 million barrels of petroleum in the reserve.

The reserve was established by Congress in 1975 after the oil crisis in 1973, when oil-exporting nations throttled their production and caused energy prices to soar.

Biden promotes domestic oil production

Meanwhile, to encourage U.S. companies to ramp up domestic production, Biden also is proposing a "use it or lose it" policy for companies to produce more oil with the resources they already have. Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 9,000 approved but unused permits for production on federal lands.

Biden will call for Congress to force companies to pay fees on wells from leases that they haven't used in years. Companies that are producing from leased acres and existing wells won't be subject to the fees. But companies that continue to sit on non-producing acres will have to choose whether to start producing or pay a fee.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 06:06:51 AM
House Democrats have just passed a bill to cap insulin prices at $35. Republicans call saving Americans money for their necessary medication "socialist".

Anytime Democrats want to help people save money, radical Republicans bring out the old right wing "socialist" buzzword in order to turn off their own voting base from a bill that helps them. Republicans would rather have people go into debt or miss crucial insulin doses (in which they can die) than save them money on outrageous insulin prices. And yet Republican voters keep voting against their own interests as the party they vote for forces them to go into debt over their life saving insulin they need to survive.   

When a car dealership has a huge sale on cars and trucks to save folks some money, would Republicans call that "socialist" too?   

193 Republicans voted against capping insulin for their own supporters who need it. House Republicans would rather have them pay well over $100 as drug companies gouge them for profits. How can anybody be against saving people money for the necessary medication they need each day? This vote was not partisan or political. It was about saving Americans money from being gouged by drug companies so they can afford their necessary insulin. This vote was a no brainer, but almost every single Republican voted "no" to save lives and save people money, which includes their own voters.     

Once again, Republicans fail Americans, but mostly their own voters by proving they do not care about them. If Republicans cared about them, they would have voted "yes" to save them money on their insulin. Their "no" vote has proven they do not care.   

How can the GOP claim to be "Pro Life" when they voted against another pro life issue? If someone misses their insulin shot because they can't afford it that person is likely to die. Yet, the GOP made sure that was possible by voting no to cap insulin at $35 so people can afford to live. Thankfully we have Democrats in charge of the House to save lives and to make people's lives more affordable, otherwise this crucial bill never would have passed the House.           

Republicans already voted against "The American Rescue Plan" and the 'Infrastructure Bil" which has created the best economy on record, giving 7.4 million people new jobs, lowering unemployment to the lowest number since 1969, and putting more money in people's pockets. Republicans are more interested in banning books, banning transgenders from playing sports, taking away women's reproductive rights, and passing anti voter laws, none of which helps struggling families and individuals pay for the necessary medications they need to survive.

The GOP is not "Pro Life" and are not for the working man. Their voting record proves it each time they vote.

So my question is, "what has the GOP done to help the average American better their lives"? And the answer is absolutely nothing, because the GOP has already have voted "no" on every single bill in 2021/2022 that does exactly that. The GOP is the party of "NO". Remember that this November.                   

House passes bill to cap insulin prices

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to approve legislation that would limit cost-sharing for insulin under private health insurance and Medicare. The vote was 232-193, with 12 Republican members joining their Democratic colleagues to pass the measure.

The Affordable Insulin Now Act would cap insulin prices at either $35 a month or 25% of an insurance plan's negotiated price — whichever is lower. The legislation aims to take effect in 2023 but its fate in the Senate remains unclear.

"This is a kitchen table issue, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said to reporters ahead of the bill's passage on Thursday.

"One in four Americans is forced to skip or ration doses of insulin and that's life-threatening," she said, noting the legislation "paves the way" for further action on negotiating lower drug prices beyond insulin.

independent nonprofit that studies health care prices, which shows prices for insulin doubled between 2012 and 2016.

"No one should have to choose between taking their medication as prescribed and putting food on the table or a roof over their head," said Rep. Dan Kildee, one of three Democratic lawmakers who sponsored the legislation.

"As a father of a type 1 diabetic, I have seen firsthand how the high price of prescription drugs like insulin can harm patients and harm families," the Michigan Democrat said during debate on the House floor. "When my daughter turned 26 and got her own health insurance, there were months where she spent a third of her take home pay because she's diabetic on staying alive."

Critics of the bill argue the cap alone doesn't do enough to solve the underlying problem of rising prescription drug prices.

"We want lower prices for drugs, particularly for insulin," said Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga, during debate. "But instead of fixing a broken system, this bill aims to control it," he adding, calling the bill a "socialist plan."

House Democrats passed legislation in November as part of a broader spending package that would have enabled Medicare to negotiate lower prices for various prescription drugs.

Because that package remains stalled in the Senate, Democrats are working to more narrowly tackle making common drugs like insulin more affordable.

There is a similar bipartisan effort under way in the Senate but its path is unclear as Republicans have traditionally been opposed to price caps.

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 06:59:33 AM
It's been confirmed that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife Ginni Thomas was in a Lifespring cult. So, she went from the Lifespring cult to the Trump Qanon cult participating in an attempted coup.     

Cult expert claims this never-seen-before footage features Ginni Thomas discussing Lifespring experience


An expert on cults on Thursday published video that he says shows him interviewing Ginni Thomas in 1989.

Steven Hassen, "one of the world's foremost experts on mind control, cults and similar destructive organizations," is the author of the 1988 book Combatting Cult Mind Control, the 2012 book Freedom of Mind: Helping Loved Ones Leave Controlling People, Cults, and Beliefs, and the 2019 book The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control.

"I knew Ginni Thomas. Ginni Thomas was in a cult (the large group awareness training cult, Lifespring). Here she is in 1989 speaking at an event I hosted for former members," Hassan wrote on Twitter before posting his video.

The time that Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, spent in Lifespring has been previously reported.

"Ginni graduated from Creighton University, in Omaha, and then attended law school there," Jane Mayer reported in a January New Yorker profile. "Her parents helped get her a job with a local Republican candidate for Congress, and when he won she followed him to Washington. But, after reportedly flunking the bar exam, she fell in with a cultish self-help group, Lifespring, whose members were encouraged to strip naked and mock one another’s body fat. She eventually broke away, and began working for the Chamber of Commerce, opposing 'comparable worth' pay for women. She and Thomas began dating, and in 1987 they married."

In February, The New York Times reported Clarence Thomas attended one of her de-programming meetings.

"Clarence and Ginni met in 1986 at a conference on affirmative action, which they both opposed. After a stint at the civil rights office of the Education Department, he was running the E.E.O.C.; she was an attorney at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and mused that year to Good Housekeeping about someday running for Congress. She had extracted herself from a New Age-y self-help group called Lifespring, which she would denounce as a cult, but was still attending meetings held by a cult-deprogramming organization, and she took him along to one. He would describe her as a 'gift from God,' and they married in 1987 at a Methodist church in Omaha; it was her first marriage, his second," The Times reported.

It was also mentioned in a 1991 Washington Post profile titled, "The Nominee's Soul Mate."

"Some women's rights activists are upset by her lobbying against such issues as comparable-worth legislation and the Family Leave Act. Some religious rights groups are troubled by her anti-cult activities in light of her involvement with Lifespring, a controversial motivational group," the newspaper reported. "She has declined to talk with reporters until after the hearings. She's not the story, she said. Yet she is a compelling and persuasive figure."

Steven Hassan, PhD

"I knew Ginni Thomas. Ginni Thomas was in a cult (the large group awareness training cult, Lifespring). Here she is in 1989 speaking at an event I hosted for former members. Until today, almost NO one has seen this video.

Watch the video here: https://twitter.com/i/status/1509602849763778561
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 11:16:54 AM
President Biden

"I know gas prices are painful. My plan will help ease that pain today and safeguard against it tomorrow.

I'll continue to use every tool at my disposal to protect you from Putin’s price hike. And I’m calling on Congress to put aside partisanship. Let’s meet this moment together.

When you combine production here at home with less dependence on oil it means more energy security.
Between ramping up production in the short-run and driving down demand in the long-run we can free ourselves from our dependence on imported oil from across the world."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 11:22:49 AM
President Biden

"Clean energy made in America helps safeguard our national security, tackle climate change, and support millions of good-paying jobs for generations to come.

But the most important thing my plan will do right away is save your family money.

If you take advantage of the next generation of electric vehicles, the typical driver will save about $80 a month in perpetuity from never having to pay at the gas pump again.

If your home is powered by safer, cheaper, clean electricity like solar and heat pumps, you save about $500 per year on average.

This week, my Administration is making $3.2 billion — ten times the historical level — available to states, Tribes, and territories to retrofit homes.
A program that in the past has delivered the average family another $372 a year in savings.

We’re setting new standards to boost the fuel economy of vehicles an average of 10 miles per gallon within 5 years.

We’re setting similar standards for smaller appliances — just one of 100 actions we’re taking to save the average household another $100 per year on utility bills."

Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 11:57:30 AM
The Biden Administration wants effectively a "use it or lose it" clause in federal oil leases. The industry is probably going to kick up a fuss about any new restrictions, but this is widely how it’s done in contracts with private landowners - where the vast majority of production comes from. I'm sure Republicans will join in on attacking Biden when he's trying to drive down gasoline prices so let's see how long it takes them to do that. But this is criminal what the gas industry is doing to Americans by sitting on 9,000 unused permits while we pay high gas prices increasing their profits. Republicans and the right wing media lies claiming it's the "Keystone Pipeline" or "Biden policies" for the high gas prices but it's their oil buddies that refuse to drill to give us the oil we need.       


This is a very solid SPR release plan from the White House. Note the key detail about restocking to "provide a signal of future demand and help encourage domestic production today." President Biden is thinking ahead here while getting our allies around the world to help join us so it's not just us doing it alone. Smart and effective leadership.   


This is what's in White House gas plan that was released Thursday:

-- Release of 1 million barrels of oil per day from the SPR reserves - the biggest ever in history.
-- Urge Congress to enact fees on industry wells not being used (anti hoarding) to drive down prices.
-- Restock SPR to encourage production.
-- DPA to bolster critical materials for clean energy.

A truly solid plan that will drive down high gas prices and force the greedy oil industry to keep producing oil instead of gouging us with high prices on purpose.
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:13:20 PM
President Biden

"Today, I am issuing a directive to strengthen our clean energy economy. To use the Defense Production Act to secure American supply chains for the critical materials that go into batteries for electric vehicles and storage of renewable energy.

We need to reduce our dependence on oil altogether.
We need to choose long-term energy security over energy and climate vulnerability.

And we can do that by passing my plan to speed the transition to a clean energy future that is made in America with American values.

The oil and gas industry has nearly 9,000 unused permits for drilling on federal lands.
I’m calling for a “use it or lose it” policy.

Congress should make companies pay fees on idle wells on federal leases and on public lands they’re hoarding without producing.

U.S. oil companies made nearly $80 billion in profits last year.
This isn’t the time to sit on record profits.

This is the time to step up for the good of your country. To invest in the immediate production we need to respond to Vladimir Putin.

Americans are feeling Putin’s gas price hike at the pump.

That’s why today, I’m authorizing the release of 1 million barrels a day from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve — and taking steps to lay a new foundation for lasting American energy independence through clean energy."


"Tune in as I deliver remarks on my Administration’s actions to reduce the impact of Putin’s price hike on energy prices and lower gas prices at the pump for American families."

Watch: https://twitter.com/POTUS/status/1509588381893894148
Title: Re: U.S. Politics
Post by: Rick Plant on April 01, 2022, 12:47:20 PM
Biden uses Cold War powers to spark battery metals production


President Joe Biden will issue a directive Thursday to boost domestic production of metals and minerals used in large capacity batteries, electric vehicles and the energy sector, according to the White House.

Why it matters: Adding the materials under the 1950 Defense Production Act is part of the Biden administration's efforts to curb rising fuel prices from supply chain disruptions and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

What they're saying: The White House said the materials will include lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manga