It is impossible to comprehend why Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema believe that keeping the filibuster, designed specifically to prevent Black Americans from being treated equally, is more important than preserving our democracy itself.
Their claims that the filibuster somehow fosters bipartisanship are based on fantasies, or distant memories of what once was but is no more. Since 2008, the Republican Party (while providing almost no legislation that benefits the many rather than the few) has made it nearly impossible for Democrats elected by the majority to follow through on the mandates that those elections had given them to do the peoples’ work. Moscow Mitch has said repeatedly in public that his “Number one goal is to block the Democrats’ agenda”.
Joe’s and Kyrsten’s continued insistence that bipartisanship is made better by keeping the filibuster makes me wonder if they’re on drugs – or maybe they’re both suffering from some type of dementia or delirium – because the Republicans have made it clear they no longer have any interest in preserving our democracy as we have always known it to be, and have no intention of doing anything that will reflect well on the Biden administration.
Not only have Republicans lost all interest in actually governing or legislating for the good of the country or the people within, they are now hellbent on returning to power BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, including by extreme gerrymandering and passing laws giving them the ability to overrule the voters if they lose. Republicans in 43 states are passing voter suppression laws specifically targeting voters of color and those in areas known to vote Democratic.
Despite Biden winning the election, most elected Republicans continue to spread lies about the 2020 election results in order to undermine our entire election system and enable states led by Republicans to steal future elections. Those few willing to speak the truth are being pushed out of the party (although many like Liz Cheney continue to insist they still support the Republican Party and “election integrity”), and the new ones coming in to take the place of those leaving the party are more extreme and even less likely than McConnell to “reach across the aisle”. People of the caliber of Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Boebert have no interest in anything other than spreading their conspiracy theories and increasing their visibility on social media.
Joe Manchin has capitulated to the Kochs, insisting that preventing Republican-led legislatures from passing voter suppression laws and election rigging is “partisan” because there are no Senate Republicans who will vote for it. To call this circular reasoning gives circles a bad name; NO bill will get Republican support if it is in any way going to derail their states’ plans to prevent “urban” voters from having their voices heard. Kyrsten Sinema, with her misplaced belief in allowing the minority to obstruct everything seems, frankly, clueless, and needs simply to be voted out of office and replaced by someone with some common sense and a realistic view of what is actually going on in this country.
These two are providing cover for other Democratic Senators who aren’t ready to do the right thing and eliminate (or at least reform) the filibuster to allow the things that they were elected into office for in the first place; because Sinema and Manchin are so loud and proud in their refusal, the others can hide their acquiescence to that view. They also allow the Republicans, who have no worries that Manchin might in fact be willing to consider something more drastic, to just stonewall everything the Democrats try to do. Then the Republicans can use the lack of progress under the Democrats in their attack ads, benefiting at the ballot box from their complete and utter abdication of their role as representatives of the people.
It’s apparent to most of us that the Republicans feel nothing but disdain towards anyone in the country other than their donors and corporate overlords. Their refusal to address the ongoing and catastrophic hair-on-fire financial and healthcare emergencies raging through the country because they’ve suddenly remembered that deficit spending creates a deficit in the federal budget – something that only matters to the Republicans when there is a Democratic President (or the likelihood of one in the near future) – is the latest affront. They were mum in 2017 as they passed that $3 trillion dollar tax cut that not only gives the majority of the benefits to the top 1% over the next ten years, it also serves to enrich those who passed the legislation.
The Republicans enacted tax breaks on seven classes of assets held by many of the wealthier members at the time, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes while their corporate holdings value increased because of the corporate tax breaks. The ten richest Republicans in Congress who voted for the tax bill held more than $731 million in assets, almost 2/3 in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other instruments, assets they included in their tax cut. In fact, only one of the Republicans on the three committees that wrote the tax bill did not own stocks and mutual funds. Those Republicans also benefited by the ‘repatriation’ of corporate funds from outside the country, since the result was to increase the value of their stocks and dividends from companies like Apple.
All these Republicans reaped the rewards of their tax legislation, increasing their wealth along with the federal deficit. This deficit increase was just fine and dandy, since the benefits from their legislation lined their own and their corporate handlers’ pockets. Besides, later they can use the deficit they created with their self-enriching tax cuts to further erode the social safety net programs of Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, Welfare and Social Security that benefits those of us who were not fortunate enough to be in millionaires in Congress.
Now, we are in the throes of these converging disasters caused by the Republicans abdication of legislating and governing for anyone other than themselves. Led by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, the Republicans in both chambers have dropped any pretext of giving a damn about their own constituents, let alone those whose votes they know they have no chance of getting. In Texas, they are fighting tooth and nail to make it neigh on impossible for people to register to vote, and those who are registered are limited in their ability to vote by mail (unless they are over the age of 64, a demographic that is historically slanted towards Republicans), because they are fully aware that they have a choice to make – either become more inclusive or limit the ability of Democrats to cast votes against them. Of course, they have chosen to impede free and fair elections, including by Trump naming a Republican donor with $75 million invested in shipping companies and postal service contractors as Postmaster General, where he has already worked to slow down the mail, gut management, and try to raise the rates municipalities may have to pay to bulk mail ballots to voters (from $0.20 to $0.55). The rate increase may not be enacted, but the threat of it may be enough for some municipalities to not even try to send out ballots, which may be all it takes to give Trump the electoral college win he so needs to avoid all sorts of legal repercussions if he leaves the White House in January 2021 instead of 2025.
Those Republicans who have used their ability to legislate to remain in power in order to enrich themselves continue to reveal that they care only about doing more of the same. How ironic that they can say out loud that the $600 weekly unemployment enhancement has led to the unemployed bringing home more than they were paid to do actual work while it doesn’t occur to them that the problem with this is that those workers are not being paid a living wage in the first place, not that finally they’re able to buy food and pay rent without having to choose one over the other. Their assertion that the additional unemployment payment is what is keeping people from returning to work is ludicrous – people aren’t returning to work because businesses aren’t reopening with the virus running rampant throughout the country. The fact that many of those who are making this ridiculous statement are millionaires makes it even more infuriating.
They refuse to do anything to benefit the citizens of this country who have been systemically and systematically stripped of what little they may have managed to squirrel away for a rainy day with regressive taxes, onerous regulations for safety net programs that punish those most in need for bogus offenses and withholding desperately needed financial and nutritional assistance that actually serves to prop up the economy at large by providing a lifeline that will be redistributed by those who cannot otherwise remain fed and housed in these perilous times. The refuse to address this because it isn’t a factor in their own lives, or the lives of those around them. Few if any have ever needed to apply for any kind of assistance from the government, and they refuse to consider what that really feels like to those of us who have been required by circumstances out of our control to do so.
Citizens have for decades fallen for the Republican’s lies and voted against their own best interests by putting them into office, in large part because they believed that the ‘other’ (the ‘welfare queen’, for example) was robbing them of benefits rightly theirs. The right-wing media bubble has successfully stuffed their heads with the bullshit Republicans have spewed for decades, and without taking any time to consider whether those things were actually true, they let their own prejudices and pain drive them to re-elect these scumbags who then use their elected positions to continue their assault on our democracy and our ability to make an actual living wage.
How many more must die, whether by Covid-19 or despair, before those still willing to vote for Trump realize they’ve been duped for generations? How many must be made homeless by the Republicans refusal to authorize real financial support required because their leader and his administration have so incompetently refused to deal with the pandemic before the 38% who still believe that Trump is doing a good job at anything other than enriching himself see how wrong they’ve been?
Sadly, I think that the answer is going to prove to be all 38% of them.
I read the Washington Post every day on my Kindle, and every time I come across an article like the one in Monday’s edition by Erica Werner and Seung Min Kim with the headline “Congress is doing what it does best: Nothing. Meanwhile, coronavirus ravages the country and the economy stalls” it makes me so mad. The entire article is based on the premise that the cause for the delay in another relief bill is that ‘bipartisan urgency’ has faded, which is disingenuous if not a baldfaced lie.
Nowhere in this article do the writers mention that the HEROES Act was passed by the Democratically-led House in mid-May and sent to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell sat on it while continuing to focus on approving judges. Not until July 28 did the Republicans in the Senate even attempt to come up with their own plan, which somehow found billions of dollars for construction of a new FBI building a block from Trump’s Hotel as well as funds to replace the money Trump stole from the military to build his ’emergency wall’ but not to continue the $600 per week of enhanced unemployment benefits. Somehow, these old wealthy white men in the Republican Party see this as a problem, claiming that people who are making more money on unemployment won’t return to work, when the whole point is to avoid a repeat of the Great Depression. That $600 per week payment is mostly being put back into the economy by people who would be homeless, starving, and completely unable to live without it.
This article doesn’t mention that Mitch McConnell shut the Senate down for a long weekend, or that the House has had it’s August recess put on hold until the relief legislation is signed by the idiot in chief, President Stupid.
It would be so much less while also avoiding misleading the less informed in the public at large to be honest when writing articles like this. It isn’t Congress that’s doing nothing. It’s the Republicans and the administration that are doing nothing. The White House offering to extend the unemployment benefit for a week while they continue to dither and complain just puts things off another week. Nancy Pelosi isn’t stupid – she and the rest of the Democrats know that they cannot let the Senate Republicans have their way in this legislation, because their goal is to withhold as much help from the rest of us as possible. This, from (mostly) old white men who are being paid $174,000 a year of our tax dollars are more worried about making sure that businesses can deduct 100% of their meal and entertainment costs from their taxes than they have ever been in making sure that the other 90% of us can remain fed and housed, with utilities on and healthcare coverage.
So please, when you see the next headline claiming that the entire legislative branch is not functioning in our best interest, take a minute and do a little research. It’s likely inaccurate, like so many ‘both sides’ arguments are, tossing the Democrats in the House who have been passing legislation for the past two years to benefit us in with the non-governing, non-legislating Republicans. They have decided that their only purpose is to approve right-wing, incompetent judges, cut taxes for themselves, their donors and corporations, and keep their minority hands gripped firmly on every lever of power then can. Every dollar cut from the social safety net has been tucked into their pockets.
Mitch McConnell and his cronies in the Senate have abrogated their responsibility to do their jobs – for which they continue to be paid $174,000 a year. Do you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth from them?
Listening to Mitch McConnell whine in a Trump campaign video that Obama showed a “lack of class” labeling Trump’s response to the Covid-19 crisis as a “chaotic disaster” made me see red. After three plus years of Trump saying and doing things that in another time would have caused both Republicans and Democrats to speak up in the interest of common decency, it is unbelievable that McConnell said this with a straight face. Those of us outside the right-wing media sphere see Moscow Mitch’s con job for what it is – a blatant attempt to normalize everything Trump and the Republicans have done and continue to do while claiming that the one whose behavior is beyond the pale is actually Obama. Here’s the thing, though: all over the country, in both red and blue states, people are getting sick and dying from an epidemic that continues unabated because of Republican sycophants’ unremitting support of President Idiot. Of course neither of the Bush’s (41 or 43) had anything negative to say about the Democratic Presidents who followed them, since both Clinton and Obama left the White House with the country in much better shape than it was in when they entered at the start of their terms. Clinton’s big scandal involved an extramarital affair, and Obama, despite millions of tax dollars wasted on multiple Republican-led investigations, left office having had NO scandals at all. Credit that in part to his credo, “Don’t do stupid shit.” McConnell’s false assertion that the lack of preparedness by the Trump administration was because Obama didn’t leave “any kind of game plan for something like this” is beyond ridiculous. History, no matter how hard Republicans try to remake the past, shows that the pandemic response team put in place during the Obama administration was in fact disbanded after Trump took office. Trump’s claim during a presser that he didn’t have anything to do with the removal of the team was ludicrous.
Like most Republicans in positions of power, the fact that the IHME models have rapidly increased the number of Americans we’re going to lose by early August to 147,000 means nothing to Moscow Mitch. McConnell and his Senate cohorts also have no interest in the suffering of the vast number of citizens and residents who have lost their jobs and employer-sponsored healthcare because of Trump’s incompetence. Neither he nor his donors are members of the social class that is being forced to choose between a paycheck and Covid-19 for themselves and their families, so they have no ‘urgency’ to legislate additional financial stimulus payments even after Jerome Powell made a public plea for just such that. It is unconscionable that Republicans as a group find it not just acceptable but necessary for thousands more to die to improve the financial status of the wealthy – as long as the people dying on their altar of greed are the rest of us. What I still cannot fathom is how there are still people supporting them, especially now.
Listening to Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pierro or Britt Hume (whose willingness to spread propaganda wasn’t apparent during his tenure at ABC News) spewing outrageous conspiracy theories and outright lies has to be leading to thousands of their own viewers getting sick and spreading the virus to others, yet their survivors still they keep watching and believing the bullshit. If those who consume right-wing media lived in isolated communities of only Fox News meat bags then sure, let them go about their business while Covid-19 culls the herd. That is unfortunately not the way it works – these selfish, ignorant fools don’t just infect other like-minded people, they infect everyone they come in contact with, including those of us who understand the reality as it is. Wisconsin, a state I will now avoid like the plague in my future travels, has a Republican-majority supreme court that once again placed partisanship over science and good sense when they overturned Governor Evers safer at home orders; today they’re having their second in-person election since the start of the pandemic. WTF????
We are all suffering from some level of anxiety while this pandemic continues to spread around the country unchecked by any efforts from the federal government to protect us. Clearly, Trump is completely incapable of doing anything that does not directly benefit his reelection chances, no matter the cost to the country and its people. Anyone who believes that Trump has done anything at all try to focus on the pandemic in order to contain, control and eliminate it must immediately see a physician to surgically address the severe case of cranio-rectal inversion from which are clearly suffering. Obviously, it’s really difficult to understand the full scope of negligence by Trump and his administration if your head is stuck up your ass.
Trump’s one go-to is distraction, and he has the cooperation of people like Barr and McConnell to further his plan. Dropping the charges against Mike Flynn, making up something called “Obamagate”, pushing governors across the country to relax Covid-19 mitigation efforts required because of Trump’s mistakes – all are happening in large part to distract the media and therefore the rest of us from the ‘chaotic disaster’ that we are all living through because of Trump. His lack of empathy and complete self-absorption has led him to the mistaken impression that we’ve been fooled into believing his lies, despite the devastation this pandemic has brought to the entire country.
Trump lacks the capacity to do what is best for the country, because he is incapable of putting anyone other than himself first, no matter what the outcome. Trump does not care how many Americans die as a result of his ‘leadership’ of the entire federal government, mismanaged by a cadre of lackeys so unqualified for the positions they hold that their only purpose is to destroy the agencies they occupy. Trump does not care how many Americans lose their small businesses, homes, livelihoods, cars, or future prospects, because these people and their lives are insignificant to him. When he reports the number already lost, it means nothing to him, and the racial disparity of the effects of this pandemic does not matter to him, either.
This is what the Republican Party has wrought – an administration filled to the brim with greedy, scum-sucking nihilists whose only interest is to remain in power in order to bleed the system dry. They do not care about the planet. They do not care about the country. They do not care about us.
They must be removed from ALL positions of power. Forever.
I am not a ‘warrior’ in Trump’s battle against the poorly-paid, people of color, immigrants, meat packers, nursing home residents, prisoners, the detained, the disabled, and the elderly. Trump is no warrior either. He is a whiney little bitch (as Bill Maher says), incapable of doing his job to protect the American people, and the submission of the Republicans as Trump goes further and further out on a limb in an effort to save his reelection has left me at a loss for words to effectively express my outrage.
Republicans remain silent while William Barr’s lackey in the ‘Justice’ Department tries to get Michael Flynn’s case dismissed, despite repeated statements under oath that he was freely pleading guilty. The years of work by previous Attorneys General to repair the damage done to the Justice Department during the Nixon administration have been tossed out by Barr’s repeated kowtowing to Trump.
Barr’s politicization of the Justice Department is just the beginning of the destruction. What is making it so much worse are the continued lifetime appointments of unqualified, right-wing dingbats to federal and appeals courts by Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans. McConnell forced the Senate back to Capitol Hill this week, not to work on another relief package to address the current pandemic and economic crisis, but to nominate an unqualified federal judge put on the bench just two months ago for an appeals court position that won’t even be available until September. But try to get the Senate to help the American people and that’s another matter entirely.
Lindsey Graham said that he and Tom Scott would extend the $600 per week unemployment benefit beyond July “over our dead bodies.” As more and more Republicans reveal who they really are to the voters who put them in office, their constituents are being sickened and killed by a pandemic that at least some Republicans knew was coming while millions have lost their jobs. Despite this knowledge, they did absolutely nothing to prepare for the inevitable or to let the public know the truth. Now, while the country is suffering through the worst pandemic in modern history along with an associated financial crisis that may be greater than the Depression, the Republicans in the House refuse to consider moving the body into the 21st century because of “200 years of precedent”. If Parliament can learn to vote remotely, why can’t the Republicans in the House? Because they don’t want to legislate, they want to obfuscate and obstruct, not because that helps the American people in this time of such overwhelming misery and need, but because remaining in power is all they care about.
Why do Republicans believe that their refusal to do their jobs for the people is beneficial to them in their reelection campaigns? The Fox/right-wing media bubble’s propaganda and lies enrages the viewers and distracts them with extraneous bullshit. I have several people in my life who appear to be getting their information from right-wing sources, and I still can’t figure out how to snap them out of the trance. Those who complain about “big government” and profess “fiscal conservatism” don’t seem too bothered by all these Republican representatives getting paid taxpayer money while refusing to do their jobs, yet they worry about people on welfare because they’re ‘lazy’ and getting ‘free money’.
For those who have never had the pleasure of applying for public assistance, let me enlighten you. I know what a pleasure it is to be on “the dole”, and I can tell you for sure that there is nothing about it that anyone with another choice would pick as a means of support. I was forced by circumstances to apply for assistance in the early 90’s, and there was nothing about the experience that I would choose to repeat without dire circumstances forcing my hand.
I was approved for all the assistance – Medicaid, cash welfare and food stamps – ‘awarded’ around $450 in cash and $265 in food stamps to support myself and my two kids for a month. Even in ’91, $265 wasn’t even close to enough to buy food for three, and $450 per month didn’t cover my monthly expenses (electric, gas, car insurance, homeowners’ insurance, real estate taxes, cable), and having a paid-for home wasn’t the benefit you might think it was. Fact – food stamps/SNAP doesn’t pay for toilet paper, laundry detergent or other cleaning products, soap, feminine hygiene products, or really any other non-food necessities.
Housing subsidies are only available for renters – for reasons I don’t understand, people who have a home they own outright who have hit a rough spot and need assistance aren’t able to do anything to offset things like real estate taxes. If I’d had to pay a mortgage payment on top of the taxes, I never could have stayed here, but even without the loan I was still not getting enough to keep my bills paid. The common but mistaken impression that people who are on welfare and food stamps/SNAP are somehow living their best lives is ridiculous.
Did I buy lobster tail using that first book of food stamps? I did – since I was given two or three months’ worth of benefits all at once (it took that long to process the application) and couldn’t retroactively pay for the food we’d already eaten during that time, why not? I didn’t do it again, because I couldn’t justify using so much of my benefit for such a costly item, but of course the other customers in the store when I bought that lobster tail had no way of knowing it was a once and done event.
My point is this – Republicans have chipped away at benefits meant to keep us out of poverty when times are rough, and now, when so many are in such need, hearing people like Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell flat-out refusing to use our own tax dollars to keep us going is beyond cruel. They all seem to forget that the money they’re refusing to spend to keep the American people out of despair is our money, not theirs. We all pay taxes willingly with the expectation that we can depend on the government to be there for us when we need the help. Republicans who so gleefully voted to give tax cuts to their donors and big business have no shits left to give for the rest of us.
The crickets are singing while Republicans watch minorities die in disproportionate numbers from Covid-19 and the CDC and experts are silenced by Trump. Why would anyone refuse to publish the CDC recommendations for reopening businesses safely except that they prove that Trump continues to press governors to put their own residents at risk? The Republicans continued silence while the Trump administration limits, silences, reverses and de-legitimizes its own agencies and professionals in sole pursuit of a reelection victory is proof that, as a party, they are no longer capable of governing anyone, anywhere. Period.
Trumpism isn’t separate from the Republican Party. It is the inevitable outcome since the party decided that Newt Gingrich, the Tea Party, and the Freedom Caucus were the way to go. Instead of changing their platform to attract new voters, they have spent years working towards disenfranchising Democrats, or those they believe will vote for Democrats, via gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and now, refusing to push for all eligible voters to obtain mail-in ballots. They have stood in the way of anything that will make it easier for everyone to vote, although there is no proof that making voting more accessible benefits one party over the other.
We welcome all Republicans who have seen the light and want to vote with us. For those who still support Trump and the Republican Party, know that you are truly putting your lives on the line by following this cult. Since only 45% of Republicans think wearing a face mask in public is a good idea, and the party base is old, it is likely that more of them will be adversely affected by Covid-19 and may not survive the disease. Their media bubble continues to spew lies that are detrimental to their health and well-being, and I am finding it more and more difficult to feel empathy or sympathy for those viewers while the people they’ve put in office do nothing to help.