Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Top Senate Democrats concerned about the qualifications of Donald Trump’s picks for his cabinet and other administration jobs that require Senate confirmation are preparing to stall and delay hearings and votes as long as they can. Politico reports the upcoming roadblocks are also in part, payback for the Republicans’ refusal to even hold a single hearing on Judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Barack ObamaÂ March 16, 2016, 265 days ago.
“Democrats to give Trump Cabinet picks the Garland treatment,” Politico reports. “Delay tactics could sap momentum from the president’s first 100 days.”
“Democrats could conceivably force up to 30 hours of debate for each Cabinet nominee, which would be highly disruptive for a GOP Senate that usually works limited hours but has big ambitions for next year,” Politico adds. “The minority could also stymie lower-level nominees and potentially keep the Senate focused on executive confirmations for weeks as Trump assumes the presidency and congressional Republicans try to capitalize on their political momentum.”
While the Senate could usher through soon-to-be President Donald Trump’s picks on just a voice vote, Senate Democrats are promising to require lengthy hearings and what are called recorded votes, where a record of how each Senator votes is kept.
â€œThere should be recorded votes, in my view, on every one of the presidentâ€™s Cabinet nominees,â€ Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told Politico. â€œHaving all of these hearings before the inaugural in a thorough and fair fashion seems very difficult to do.â€
â€œIâ€™ve heard no conversations about the kind of obstruction that Mitch McConnell specialized in,â€ said Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, who Politico calls “endangered.”Â â€œBut there may be some where there are real questions about their qualifications and some of the things in their backgrounds,â€ she noted.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been rewarded for stealing a Supreme Court justice. Weâ€™re going to help them confirm their nominees, many of whom are disqualified?â€ Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) asked rhetorically. â€œItâ€™s not obstruction, itâ€™s not partisan, itâ€™s just a duty to find out what theyâ€™d do in these jobs.â€
“I donâ€™t want to needlessly prevent President Trump from being successful,â€ Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said. â€œBut accelerating the confirmation of unacceptable candidates who have views that are outside the mainstream is not constructive.â€
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who will be the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the new Congress, as Talking Points Memo notes, told Politico that â€œpast is present, and what goes around comes around.”
Images: Official Senate portraits, via WikimediaÂ
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Trump Spent 2020 Attacking Ballot Drop Boxes – but Now He’s Demanding They Be Deployed in Churches
Donald Trump laid the groundwork early in the 2020 election for his possible defeat by attacking voting by mail and ballot drop boxes, insisting they should be illegal while making clear if he lost the White House those proven safe and effective means of voting would be to blame.
But now, with a flailing 2024 campaign the failed ex-president who is under multiple investigations is demanding ballot drop boxes be deployed – but only in churches.
“Some states use ‘drop boxes’ for the collection of Universal Mail-In Ballots,” Trump tweeted in August of 2020. “So who is going to ‘collect’ the Ballots, and what might be done to them prior to tabulation? A Rigged Election? So bad for our Country. Only Absentee Ballots acceptable!”
That was just one of his many attacks on drop boxes.
“So now the Democrats are using Mail Drop Boxes, which are a voter security disaster,” Trump tweeted just days later. “Among other things, they make it possible for a person to vote multiple times. Also, who controls them, are they placed in Republican or Democrat areas? They are not Covid sanitized. A big fraud!”
The tweet was so false Twitter appended a warning label to it that reads: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about civic and election integrity.”
Fast forward to now.
On his social media platform Trump reposted a “truth” (the word Truth Social uses instead of “tweet”) from far-right activist, conspiracy theorist, and provocateur Jack Posobiec. Posobiec was “one of the most prominent promoters of the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, that held that the Washington D.C. pizzeria Comet Ping Pong was really a front for a child sex dungeon run by Hillary Clinton. He even went to the restaurant to find out ‘what’s really going on’ there,” according to The Daily Beast.
“In 2017, BuzzFeed reported text messages suggesting that Posobiec held a ‘Rape Melania’ sign during an anti-Trump protest in an apparent attempt to discredit the protesters as insidious and deranged.”
Thursday, on Trump’s Truth Social platform, Posobiec wrote: “I don’t know who needs to hear this but Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches in every state where it’s legal.”
Hours later Trump was all over the idea, demanding the Republican National Committee implement it.
“Best idea I’ve heard in a long time,” Trump wrote in all-caps, “put them all over the place. RNC, every Republican, get to work on this now!!!”
Democratic voting rights attorney Marc Elias’ Democracy Docket platform just last week reported that in 2020, “Trump first attacked mail-in voting itself, then tried to undermine the postal service’s ability to handle the volume of ballots. Soon after, he began to target drop boxes as well.”
As Trump learned, making it more difficult to vote is not a winning strategy, unless you’re highly unpopular and can block a significant number of your opponents’ votes while retaining your own, which he did not.
But the GOP sure tried.
“Republicans in many states soon followed Trump’s lead and began restricting the deployment of drop boxes even if the state had previously used them without controversy. [Ohio] Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) limited each county to a single drop box no matter how populous. Similarly, the Texas Supreme Court upheld Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) order limiting every county to a single ballot drop-off location — from Loving County (population of 64 people) to Harris County (population of 4.7 million people). In other states, Republicans moved to ban drop boxes entirely, and Missouri officials decided against deploying 80 boxes the state had already purchased,” Democrat Docket adds.
Meanwhile, Trump’s – or rather, Posobiec’s – strategy is clear: “Republicans should put ballot drop boxes in the back of churches,” because Trump thinks he still owns the Christian vote, despite attacking “disloyal” evangelical leaders just weeks ago.
But drop boxes are largely the purview of state election officials, and there would be a strong case to make again putting drop boxes only in churches. What about other houses of worship? And why just houses of worship – are they more secure than other areas?
Some might think it’s difficult to flip-flop on such a basic idea as drop boxes, especially if you went to court to void voters’ ballots that were deposited in them.
“In Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign sued to invalidate the use of drop boxes in the primary election and prevent their use in the general election,” Democracy Docket adds. “Then after the election, Republicans pointed to drop boxes as a reason to question the results in a lawsuit filed in Michigan.”
Now that Trump has succeeded in ensuring Ronna McDaniel remains head of the RNC, this will be a test of his strength, or lack thereof.
‘Breathtaking’: Economists Stunned by Job Growth ‘Boom’ as Unemployment Drops to Level Not Seen Since 1969
The year was 1969: Congress certified the results of the election, officially declaring Richard Nixon would be the 37th President of the United States, Joe Namath led the New York Jets to win Super Bowl III, The Beatles released the soundtrack from their hit film “Yellow Submarine,” and unemployment was 3.4%.
It’s been 54 years since unemployment was at 3.4%, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released January’s report Friday morning, stunning economists who expected unemployment to go up, not down.
Economists projected 187,000 new jobs would be added to the U.S. economy in January. Instead, the number came in at 517,000, Forbes reported. Prior months were also adjusted to be better than first reported.
“This is a breathtaking number. That spike in stories about layoffs? It was about a small unrepresentative slice of the economy. Real America is still getting back to work,” crowed Professor Justin Wolfers, the popular University of Michigan School of Economics professor, a senior fellow at Brookings.
“Average job growth over the past 3 months is a cracking +356k. A boom!” Wolfers cheered.
“We haven’t seen unemployment this low since before Woodstock, baby,” he added. “Groovy.”
Wolfers wasn’t done. He blasted those who continue to talk about recession: “This is a final nail in the coffin of all the 2022 recessionistas. When average job growth is this high we call it a BOOM.”
For those who just want the bottom line, Wolfers offered this take on the jobs report: “It’s all good news.”
“January marked the 25th straight month of solid job growth,” The Washington Post reports, observing that the “labor market shattered expectations.” The Post adds: “the labor market remains formidable, inflation is beginning to normalize and there are signs that the global economy may be on stronger footing than originally feared.”
Image: President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy, Thursday, January 26, 2023, at Steamfitters Local 602 United Association Mechanical Trades School in Springfield, Virginia. Official White House Photo by Erin Scott via Flickr
GOP’s New ‘Bizarre Obsession’ Shows It Has ‘Gone Crazy’: Morning Joe
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough ripped the Republican Party for focusing on a “bizarre obsession” to stoke a culture war that targets vulnerable teenagers.
A proposed draft of a Florida physical education form would require all high school athletes to provide information on their menstrual cycle to state athletic officials, which the “Morning Joe” host bashed as an unnecessary and cruel attack on a minuscule number of transgender teens who play sports.
“The percentage is so small that they’re doing this to every girl in Florida schools?” Scarborough said. “Talk about overkill. Just stop already.”
“I mean, let’s talk about that Florida law,” Scarborough continued. “Can you imagine doing that as a young girl when you were, like, in high school, middle school? Come on, talk about, again, the obsession over 0.003 percent of the population, and then the unbelievably small number of transgender students who are playing sports. The Florida Republican Party has gone crazy. They sent out tons of mailers on this, the obsession, and now they’re making young girls self-report on menstrual cycles because of this bizarre obsession?”
“This is stupid,” he added. “This is another stupid extension of a culture war where he’s trying to create a culture war around something where there is not a war.”
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