Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Last Call For Move, Mitch, Get Out The Way

With Vice President Harris swearing in both Georgia Democrats and her replacement, Alex Padilla, Democrats officially took control of the Senate this evening with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now leading the Most August Deliberative Body and Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy as President Pro Tempore.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is officially Senate majority leader after the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris and the swearing-in of new Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).

Why it matters: With a 50-50 Senate, Schumer will control a narrow majority with Harris as the tie-breaking vote. Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to President Biden's agenda, from getting his coronavirus relief proposal passed to forgiving student debt.

The big picture: After more than 20 years in the Senate, Schumer will be taking the position from Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who became majority leader in 2015. McConnell and Schumer met on Tuesday to discuss a power-sharing agreement for the new Senate and to sort out when to hold President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Context: The last time the Senate was divided 50-50 was in 2001, under former President George W. Bush. The Senate agreed on a power-sharing plan that gave Republicans "a narrow advantage on setting the agenda on contentious issues," Roll Call writes
Yes, but: The parties have become more divided since then and negotiations on how the power-sharing will work are likely to drag along, meaning Biden will not have any confirmed Cabinet members on his first day in office.

Details: Ossoff is Georgia's first Jewish senator. Warnock is Georgia's first Black senator. Padilla is the first Latino senator in California.

One fun thing: As Harris addressed "the certificate of the appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California," she burst into laughter, adding: "Yeah, that was very weird."

New tags for our new Democratic senators. We'll need every one of them. And frankly, Chuck Schumer ain't Harry Reid, who was much better as both Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader than Schumer is capable of.

We'll see.

Hello Preisdent Biden And Vice President Harris!

 Damn but this feels good.

Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday, offering a message of unity and restoration to a deeply divided country reeling from a battered economy and a raging coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans.

Standing on the steps of the U.S. Capitol exactly two weeks after a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building, Biden called for a return to civic decency in an inaugural address marking the end of Trump’s tempestuous four-year term.

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: unity,” Biden, a Democrat, said after taking the oath of office.

“We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue, rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this - if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

The themes of Biden’s brief speech mirrored those he had put at the center of his presidential campaign, when he portrayed himself as an empathetic alternative to the divisive Trump, a Republican.

The inauguration itself, one unlike any other in U.S. history, served as a stark reminder of both the tumult that defined the Trump era as well as the pandemic that still threatens the country.

Amid warnings of possible renewed violence, thousands of armed National Guard troops circled the Capitol in an unprecedented show of force. The National Mall, typically packed with throngs of supporters, instead was filled with nearly 200,000 U.S. flags. Attending dignitaries - including former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton - wore masks and sat several feet apart.

Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, became the first Black person, first woman and first Asian American to serve as vice president after she was sworn in by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s first Latina member.

The president spoke forcefully about the Jan. 6 Capitol siege when Trump backers breached the building, sending lawmakers fleeing for safety and leaving five dead, including a police officer. But Biden never mentioned his predecessor by name.

The violence prompted the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives to impeach Trump last week for an unprecedented second time, accusing him of incitement after he exhorted his backers to march on the building to press false claims of election fraud.

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work on our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground,” Biden said. “It did not happen; it will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”


New tag.

President Biden.

God bless these United States.

The End Before The Beginning

No matter what happens today, there is no conceivable way we can say that this was a smooth transition of power, and Donald Trump's legacy will be that of nearly destroying the Republic.

Twelve U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after they were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views online, according to two U.S. officials. There was no threat to President-elect Joe Biden, they said.

The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe group the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Their removal from the massive security presence at the nation’s capital comes as the FBI worked to vet all of the 25,000 National Guard troops headed to the area for Biden’s inauguration Wednesday. U.S. defense officials have been worried about a potential insider attack or other threat from service members following the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 by Trump supporters that shocked the nation.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller said in a statement Monday that vetting of National Guard troops continues and that the Pentagon has found no intelligence so far that would indicate an insider threat.

Washington has been on edge since the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, which has prompted extraordinary security measures ahead of Biden’s inauguration. A fire in a homeless camp roughly a mile from the Capitol complex prompted a lockdown Monday during a rehearsal for the inauguration.

U.S. Secret Service tightened security in and around the Capitol days earlier than usual in preparation, and the city center is essentially on lockdown with streets blocked, high fencing installed and tens of thousands of troops and law enforcement officers stationed around the area.

Federal law enforcement officials have also been wary of increased surveillance of military and law enforcement checkpoints and other positions after National Guard troops reported people taking pictures and recording them, said the law enforcement officials, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing security matters.

The Secret Service issued a bulletin over the weekend about what it sees as an “uptick” in National Guard troops posting pictures and details of their operations online.

The Associated Press obtained the “all concerned” message sent to all National Guard troops coming to Washington. Without getting into specific postings, the bulletin read: “No service members should be posting locations, pictures or descriptions online regarding current operations or the sensitive sites they are protecting” and urged them to stop immediately.

We've still got a long way to go back to the light of day. 

StupidiNews, Inauguration Day Edition!

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