Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Last Call For Tales Of The Trump Depression, Con't

Not only is GOP Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell deliberately sabotaging any COVID-19 deal in December, the White House is now doing the same.

The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed an economic relief package that would offer far skimpier federal unemployment benefits than what has been proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, adding an element of uncertainty into the fragile stimulus negotiations, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Instead, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has proposed that lawmakers approve another stimulus check worth $600 per person and $600 per child, the people familiar with the plan said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share details of private deliberations.

The new White House proposal was a nonstarter for Democrats and a sharp rejection of the bipartisan efforts that have brought the two parties closer to a compromise on a legislative package amid signs that the U.S. economy is deteriorating under the increasing strain of the coronavirus.

Under the bipartisan framework released last week by a group of moderate lawmakers, Congress would approve about $180 billion in new federal unemployment benefits for tens of millions of jobless Americans. That would be enough to fund federal supplementary unemployment benefits at $300 per week while extending various unemployment programs that are set to expire at the end of the year. The framework did not include another round of stimulus payments.

By contrast, Mnuchin has submitted a plan to provide about $40 billion in new funding for federal unemployment benefits. Mnuchin’s plan would extend expiring benefits but does not include any supplementary federal benefit, meaning millions of jobless workers would receive no additional federal help, one person familiar with the plan said. A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department declined to comment.

The plan submitted by Mnuchin is almost certain to be viewed as a nonstarter by congressional Democrats, who have been adamant that the federal government provide additional income support to laid-off workers. It could also imperil revived talks over stimulus negotiations.

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) strongly criticized the proposal by the White House.

“The bipartisan talks are the best hope for a bipartisan solution,” the statement said. “The President’s proposal starts by cutting the unemployment insurance proposal being discussed by bipartisan Members of the House and Senate from $180 billion to $40 billion. That is unacceptable.”
I'm glad the Washington Post is being honest here for once instead of blaming Pelosi and Schumer for this, but the bigger problem is that the GOP is more than happy to deliberately hand a depression to Joe Biden, and then to stop him from fixing it.


The Coup-Coup Birds Take Flight, Con't

At this point, what the Trump regime is doing is fomenting terrorism and sedition, and I wish people would call it that.

With a key deadline passing Tuesday that all but ends his legal challenges to the election, President Trump’s frenzied campaign to overturn the results has reached an inflection point: Certified slates of electors to the Electoral College are now protected by law, and any chance that a state might appoint a different slate that is favorable to Mr. Trump is essentially gone.

Despite his clear loss, Mr. Trump has shown no intention of stopping his sustained assault on the American electoral process. But his baseless conspiracy theories about voting fraud have devolved into an exercise in delegitimizing the election results, and the rhetoric is accelerating among his most fervent allies. This has prompted outrage among Trump loyalists and led to behavior that Democrats and even some Republicans say has become dangerous.

Supporters of the president, some of them armed, gathered outside the home of the Michigan secretary of state Saturday night. Racist death threats filled the voice mail of Cynthia A. Johnson, a Michigan state representative. Georgia election officials, mostly Republicans, say they have received threats of violence. The Republican Party of Arizona, on Twitter, twice called for supporters to be willing to “die for something” or “give my life for this fight.”

“People on Twitter have posted photographs of my house,” said Ann Jacobs, the chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, who alerted her neighbors and the police about the constant threats. She said another message mentioned her children and said, “I’ve heard you’ll have quite a crowd of patriots showing up at your door.”

Mr. Trump himself has contacted numerous Republican state officials, pressing them to help him overturn the election he clearly lost. He has subjected others to repeated public shamings, lambasting governors to take action they are not legally allowed to take to keep Mr. Trump in power.

But absent a single significant victory in his dozens of lawsuits — and with a key defeat delivered by the Supreme Court on Tuesday — the president’s crusade is now as much a battle against the electoral process itself, as he seeks to cast doubt on free and fair elections and undermine Joseph R. Biden Jr. before he takes the oath of office.

“There is long-term damage when this kind of behavior is normalized,” Jeff Flake, a former Republican senator from Arizona, said on Twitter. “It is not normal, and elected Republicans need to speak out against it.”

Last week, a top Republican election official in Georgia, Gabriel Sterling, implored the president to stop attacking the voting process in the state, saying it had prompted threats against officials and poll workers.

Tuesday’s procedural deadline, known as safe harbor, serves as something of a guarantee that Congress must count the slate of electors certified by the deadline, and acts as an accelerant to resolve any outstanding election disputes. It also likely limits further legal challenges to halt or disrupt the official certification of electoral votes that Mr. Biden needs to claim the presidency.

Twenty-seven GOP representatives are urging President Trump to direct Attorney General William Barr to appoint a special counsel to investigate election irregularities.

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), said in a letter to the president that Americans “deserve a definite resolution” into uncertainty around the election, according to the letter obtained by Politico. They added that “legitimate questions of voter fraud remain unanswered.”

Gooden originally sent the letter to Trump with his signature alone on Thursday, shortly after Barr told The Associated Press that the Department of Justice has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”

The comment drew the ire of the president, who has repeatedly argued that the election was stolen from him due to widespread fraud without presenting evidence.

"Inaction from the Department [of Justice] along with public comments made by the Attorney General indicate a lack of willingness to investigate the irregularities your campaign and other elected officials across the nation have alleged,” the lawmakers wrote.

“The appointment of a Special Counsel would establish a team of investigators whose sole responsibility is to uncover the truth and provide the certainty America needs,” they said.
Understand that Republicans will do to Biden what the GOp believes the Democrats did to Trump, every day, for the next four years. They will fight him for every inch, every cabinet appointment, every executive order, every bill, every judicial opening, every time, every day.
Something the Democrats simply refused to do because of the damage it would have done to the country. The Republicans of course have the added advantage that they simply don't care, and will gladly welcome the coming violence and chaos as political assistance for them in the years ahead.
And I'm still not 100% sold that Biden will prevail, because Trump could just say "screw it" and declare himself President.
Who's going to stop him?  Mitt Romney? The Media?
Better think long and hard about that one, folks.

Florida Man Unleashes Cops On Scientist

Back in May I told you about Rebekah Jones, the Florida data scientist fired from GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis's administration when she wouldn't go along with his plans to manipulate the state's COVID-19 data, Jones has been running a web site for the last six months documenting Florida's descent into viral hell. On Monday, Ron DeSantis ordered police to raid her home at gunpoint and take her computer, threatening her and her family.

Florida police raided the home of a former state coronavirus data scientist on Monday, escalating a feud between the state government and a data expert who has accused officials of trying to cover up the extent of the pandemic. 
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement executed a search warrant Monday morning at the home of data scientist Rebekah Jones, who was fired by the state Department of Health in May. The agency is investigating whether Jones accessed a state government messaging system without authorization to urge employees to speak out about coronavirus deaths, according to an affidavit by an agent working on the case. 
Jones told CNN that she hadn't improperly accessed any state messaging system and that she lost access to her government computer accounts after she was removed from her position. 
About 10 officers with guns drawn showed up to her Tallahassee home around 8:30 a.m., Jones said. A video taken from a camera in her house, which she posted on social media, showed an officer pointing a gun up a stairwell as Jones told him her two children were upstairs. Jones said that the officer was pointing his gun at her 2-year-old daughter, 11-year-old son and her husband, who she said were in the stairwell, although the video doesn't make that clear. 
Officers also "pointed a gun six inches from my face" and took all of her computers, her phone and several hard drives and thumb drives, Jones said. 
Gretl Plessinger, a spokesperson for the law enforcement department, said that agents knocked on Jones' door and called her "in an attempt to minimize disruption to the family." Jones refused to come to the door for 20 minutes and hung up on the agents, and Jones' family was upstairs when agents did enter the house, Plessinger said. She didn't respond to questions about why the officers drew guns. 
"At no time were weapons pointed at anyone in the home," Rick Swearingen, the department's commissioner, added in another statement. 
According to the affidavit by an investigator with the department, an unauthorized individual illegally accessed a state government emergency management system to send a group text message to government officials last month urging them to speak out about the coronavirus crisis. 
"It's time to speak up before another 17,000 people are dead," the message said, according to the affidavit. "You know this is wrong. You don't have to be part of this. Be a hero. Speak out before it's too late." 
Officials traced the message, which was sent on the afternoon of November 10 to about 1,750 recipients, to an IP address connected to Jones' house, the investigator wrote in the affidavit. 
Jones told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Monday night that she didn't send the message.
"I'm not a hacker," Jones said. She added that the language in the message that authorities said was sent was "not the way I talk," and contained errors she would not make.

DeSantis sure didn't need Jones's help to expose to the state and the world how much of an incompetent oaf he is, so frankly I'm willing to believe her story over what Florida has to say.  Even if this didn't involve previous examples of bad faith and autocratic tyranny on the part of DeSantis,  I'd still side with anyone raided by a GOP governor.

Especially this governor.


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