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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
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Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 167,153

Journal Archives

'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid

'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid
Sat, March 6, 2021, 6:34 PM·6 min read


“Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview after the vote.

The outcome “gives us optimism about doing more big things in the future — because it worked,” he said.

Stewardship of the massive pandemic relief package was an inaugural foray of the new power dynamics of Washington, testing Democratic control of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade, and setting the foundation for what’s possible for Biden’s agenda.


But that tough topic was for another day. On Saturday, Democrats elbow-bumped and cheered in the chamber — Stabenow said some were almost in tears -- as they ushered the massive aid package they had promised voters to approval. With 10 million jobs lost and countless schools and businesses shuttered, it includes $300 a week in extra unemployment benefits, money school reopenings, eviction protections and small business assistance.

“Only 45 days after Joe Biden became president of the United States, to be able to do something so big, and so significant, that fundamentally is the glue for us,” she said.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said it was the “best day” he’d ever had in the Senate. That biting speech from McConnell, R-Ky., poking at Democrats' temporary disarray? Brown dismissed it as cynical and unsubstantial.

“So what,” Brown said. “Nobody cares about that. What they care about is, did we deliver on unemployment? Did we deliver on vaccines? Did we deliver on pensions? We cut the rate of child poverty in half. Think about that.”


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Mar 7, 2021, 12:05 AM (5 replies)

After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan


After marathon session, and Manchin antics, Senate ready to pass American Rescue Plan
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Saturday March 06, 2021 · 12:05 PM EST

The longest vote in Senate history finally ended Friday night at 10:53, ET having started at 11:03 AM. That vote was on Sen. Bernie Sanders' minimum wage hike to $15/hour, but the delay wasn't about the minimum wage. The vote was held open for 12 hours while Sen. Joe Manchin preened, forcing all of Senate leadership to court him as he held up an agreement on helping unemployed people. He got what he apparently wanted: a phone call from President Joe Biden.

Manchin was threatening to support a Republican amendment that would have dramatically restricted assistance to the unemployed, reducing the weekly emergency pandemic boost of $400 in the House bill to their checks to $300, and would have ended the program in mid-July. Republicans courted Manchin all afternoon while Democrats scrambled to get him on board with a last-minute agreement they'd come to with the White House. In the end, Manchin voted for both the Republican and Democratic amendments, with the Democratic one prevailing. What he got in forcing the Senate to a standstill for a day was shaving one month off the expiration date for the program.

The Democratic amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden gives unemployed people the $300/week federal boost to their regular checks through September 6. The agreement that he had secured with leadership and the White House would have added another month onto that, ending in the first week of October. Critically, though, Wyden prevailed on making sure that the first $10,200 in UI received in 2020 will be tax-free, meaning people won't be hit with surprise tax bills. Manchin did secure means testing on that—it will only apply to people with less than $150,000 in income for 2020. Importantly, though, even with the reduction in weekly benefits, the official poverty rate drops from 12.3% to 8.3% under Democratic plan, according to poverty experts.

Sen. Rob Portman was the Republican luring Manchin into the fold, and his efforts revealed exactly what Republicans really think about tax cuts. Namely, they should only go to the wealthy. "Suddenly, if you're on unemployment insurance you don't have to pay taxes. But if you're working, you do have to pay taxes. How does that work?" Portman said during the debate on the Democrats' amendment. This is the only tax cut Republicans will ever oppose, the one that actually helps working Americans, Wyden pointed out in response. "The party that claims to want to help workers on their taxes," he rejoins, "won't lift a finger."

That issue finally worked out, the Senate got to work on a variety of Republican poisoned pill amendments, after rejecting a bid by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to adjourn the Senate for the night. Republicans are short one vote in this process, as Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan had to fly home for a family emergency. That gives Vice President Kamala Harris a break, she has not been needed to break ties on any amendments.

Out of the nearly 600 Republican amendments, only a fraction were brought to the floor and most were defeated. Sen. Susan Collins tried to replace the entire bill with her $650 billion proposal and failed, though oddly Sen Josh Hawley voted with Democrats on that one. Sen. Marco Rubio tried to tie funding to schools to reopening for in-person instruction, and failed. An alternative amendment from Democrat Maggie Hassan was adopted, requiring that elementary and secondary schools that receive aid release their plans for a "safe return to in-person instruction" within 30 days of receiving the funds.

The worst poison came from freshman Republican Tommy Tuberville, an anti-trans effort that would have stripped federal funding to "States, local educational agencies, and institutions of higher education that permit any student whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity designed for women or girls." It required 60 votes, but failed on party lines anyway. With two exceptions: Manchin voted for it, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski against. Another attempt from Sen. Ted Cruz to bar undocumented immigrants from getting the survival checks failed, with Democrats holding together against him.

Those survival checks, by the way, have not been altered from the last agreement Democrats came to: $1,400 one-time payment to everyone, adults and children including adult dependents; people making up to $75,000/annually, $150,000 for couple filing jointly, receive the full payments, cutting off at $80,000 for single people, $160,000 for couples. That is based on 2019 income for those who have not filed their 2020 returns yet, so if you had a big loss of income in 2020, get your taxes filed.

The Senate is rumored to be looking at a 12:30 ET timeline for wrapping votes up Saturday, at which point the bill will have to go back to the House for another vote, as it has been changed pretty substantially from that version.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Mar 6, 2021, 01:18 PM (2 replies)

Senate Bill Clears Hurdle to Forgive Student Loans


Senate Bill Clears Hurdle to Forgive Student Loans
March 6, 2021 at 7:15 am EST By Taegan Goddard

Wall Street Journal: “The provision, added by Senate Democrats this week, would remove any tax consequences for households whose student debt is forgiven through 2025, saving them thousands of dollars. Federal law typically treats any forgiven debt as taxable income.”

“The provision would make it easier for President Biden to forgive student debt through executive action, as congressional Democrats have pressed him to do.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Mar 6, 2021, 09:46 AM (14 replies)

Biden Gets to Work as Trump Enters the Fat Elvis Stage of His Career

Biden Gets to Work as Trump Enters the Fat Elvis Stage of His Career
The consummate D.C. insider has actually bypassed the establishment and taken his pitch directly to voters, who like what they’re hearing even as Republican lawmakers do not.
Bernard Schwartz
David Rothkopf
Published Mar. 05, 2021 5:02AM ET


The Donald Trump who lumbered onto CPAC’s stage this past weekend was a hollow parody of the man who energized many in his party just four years ago. Trump has entered the Fat Elvis stage of his career. He slurs out the hits of yesteryear for crowds of fans hoping to glimpse his old magic, to recapture a thrill that once had them whooping and chanting and participating in Trump flotillas.

Meanwhile, quietly, steadily, the Democrats find themselves in the midst of a quiet revolution led by Joe Biden. This president, a pillar of the D.C. establishment for 50 years, is not only shaking up expectations but has significant political winds at his back.


Other ills also seem likely to dog the GOP. White supremacist extremists have become the face of the party since Jan. 6 and are likely to remain a visible reminder of its moral and intellectual bankruptcy. It no longer stands for anything and what it once stood for—from patriotism to family values to fiscal prudence to national security know-how—are ideas blown sky-high by the Trump presidency.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden has not just been governing effectively, he has been building popular support. His positive rating is now 61 percent, higher by a dozen points than Trump’s ever was. Further, even with GOP obstructionism, Biden is posed to win passage of a major COVID relief initiative. In fact, the absence of GOP support on the Hill for the measure will likely be a big political plus for Biden and the Democrats, because the relief package is overwhelmingly popular with 76 percent of Americans supporting it.

While Republicans on the Hill may attack Biden for being unable to achieve his stated goal of bipartisanship, the president has simply sidestepped them and their cynically obstructionist tactics and sought bipartisanship of a more important type—from the electorate. Sixty percent of Republicans support the measure; 70 percent of Independents support it; only one in six Americans actually oppose it.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 5, 2021, 12:30 PM (11 replies)

Eric Swalwell sues Trump and allies for violating civil rights with Jan. 6 incitement


27 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Eric Swalwell sues Trump and allies for violating civil rights with Jan. 6 incitement
Hans Nichols

A Democratic congressman filed a lawsuit against former President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-S.C.) on Thursday alleging that they and others are "responsible for the injury and destruction" of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The federal lawsuit filed on behalf of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who served as one of the House's impeachment managers, adds to the mounting legal exposure Trump has found himself facing since leaving office.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) was the first lawmaker to sue Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 riot, accusing the former president in a suit brought by the NAACP of violating the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act by trying to prevent Congress from carrying out its official duties.

Trump is also under criminal investigation by the Fulton County district attorney in Georgia for his efforts to pressure officials to overturn the results of the election, in addition to the ongoing legal scrutiny he faces in New York for his business dealings.

Details: The lawsuit — filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., by the law firm KaiserDillon PLLC — accuses Trump and his allies of conspiring to violate the civil rights of the defendants.

"As a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ false and incendiary allegations of fraud and theft, and in direct response to the Defendants’ express calls for violence at the rally, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol, " the complaint alleges.

Swalwell alleges that the defendants, "by force, intimidation, or threat, agreed and conspired with one another to undertake a course of action to prevent" Joe Biden from being certified as the election winner and holding office.

Trump and Brooks are being sued in their "personal capacity." The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages and a requirement that the defendants provide written notice seven days in advance of a rally or public event hosted on an election day.

Between the lines: The lawsuit is being brought under the 1985 revisions to the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, as well as stated causes of action.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 5, 2021, 09:36 AM (14 replies)

So constituents really don't matter.

The gop right this very moment is trying to halt or stall this covid bill by any means necessary, a bill that is crucial for so many in dire straits. Why is that acceptable to anyone?

Yet their fans do not care.
Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 5, 2021, 12:15 AM (7 replies)

GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn says being called a 'Neanderthal' is actually a good thing...

Business Insider
GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn says being called a 'Neanderthal' is actually a good thing after Biden criticized states for lifting mask mandates
Sonam Sheth
Thu, March 4, 2021, 12:46 PM·2 min read

Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee defended Neanderthals after President Joe Biden criticized Texas and Mississippi for lifting their mask mandates and called the decision "Neanderthal thinking."

"I hope everyone's realized by now these masks make a difference," Biden told reporters Wednesday. "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters."

In a Fox Business interview Thursday morning, Blackburn suggested it was actually a good thing to be called a Neanderthal.

"Neanderthals are hunter-gatherers. They're protectors of their family. They are resilient. They're resourceful. They tend to their own," the GOP senator said. "So I think Joe Biden needs to rethink what he is saying."

Shortly after she made the comment, fellow lawmakers and members of the public mocked Blackburn and pointed out that her use of the present tense was incorrect given that Neanderthals are extinct.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Mar 5, 2021, 12:10 AM (8 replies)

Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks

Garland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks
By Jordain Carney - 03/03/21 07:30 PM EST

Merrick Garland's attorney general nomination is hitting GOP roadblocks that will likely delay his confirmation to lead the Justice Department until next week.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — a member of the Judiciary Committee viewed as a potential 2024 contender — said on Wednesday that he is blocking an effort by Democrats to expedite Garland, whom they had hoped to confirm this week.

"Democrats are trying to expedite Judge Garland’s confirmation vote. I’m blocking them because Judge Garland has refused to answer basic questions, including whether illegally entering the country should remain a crime," Cotton said in a string of tweets explaining his opposition.

Under the Senate's rules, any one member can slow down a nomination and force Senate leadership to eat up days of time before a final vote.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Mar 4, 2021, 08:23 AM (22 replies)

GOP Lawmaker Says Face Masks Can Damage Souls

Check your soul!!


GOP Lawmaker Says Face Masks Can Damage Souls
March 3, 2021 at 10:46 pm EST By Taegan Goddard

Idaho state Rep. Karey Hanks (R) said she has “done some research” and concluded that face masks can cause injuries to “even our souls,” KTVB reports.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Mar 4, 2021, 07:23 AM (11 replies)

Eric Boehlert: How the press fuels the GOP's Big Lie

How the press fuels the GOP's Big Lie
Eric Boehlert

So many election lies were told at the far-right CPAC conference last weekend that at one point a conservative media outlet, Right Side Broadcasting, had to interrupt its live coverage in order to air a disclaimer so that it wouldn't get sued for spreading election lies.

The conference was drowning in misinformation and whacked out conspiracies about the 2020 election, but very few mainstream outlets identified them clearly. That helps the GOP's Big Lie metastasize and spread. A CNN fact check dubbed the election lies told at CPAC to be "false claims." The network stressed Trump's 90-minute speech was filled with "falsehoods."

Reporting on the right-wing confab, CBS News used weak, vague language when noting that "unsubstantiated claims of interference" had been addressed at CPAC election panels. CBS made no mention of the fact that Trump told attendees the election had been stolen from him — that he already "beat" Democrats twice at the polls. ABC News noted Trump’s “false election fraud claims.”

By depicting the lies as merely disputed claims, the press continues to downplay a Republican cancer in our culture.

It's a problem that the GOP's Big Lie, as its been dubbed by many online, often isn't even called a lie by the mainstream media, which years ago put up artificial guardrails against calling Trump and his followers liars.

Lying about presidential election results is now, without question, a mainstream Republican talking point, or at the very least the claim that 'millions of Americans have concerns' about election integrity. The Big Lie is dangerous because it's clearly being used to fuel an avalanche of sweeping voter suppression initiatives in state houses around the country, as Republicans use election propaganda to pass bills to make it hard to vote. (The RNC recently set up Committee on Election Integrity, in the wake of an election that had no integrity issues.) It's an extraordinary one-two combination, the likes of which our democracy has rarely faced — it's the essence of pure propaganda.

The media help by giving a voice to the Big Lie and treating it as another Republican debating point, as if the finer points of immigration and tax reform are being discussed. It was the Big Lie that sparked a murderous insurrection on Jan. 6. It's the Big Lie that goes to the heart of American democracy. The Republican Party is waging war on free and fair elections in this country, and the Beltway press, especially the Sunday morning network talk shows, too often acts like disinterested spectators facilitating a Both Sides debate — Republicans say elections are rigged, Democrats disagree!


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Mar 3, 2021, 09:17 PM (1 replies)
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