Today’s big news was not entirely unexpected: There was never any plan for a federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. "What we're inheriting is so much worse than we could have imagined," said President Biden's coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients in a call with reporters. Another official said: “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch."
Members of Congress who perpetuated the lie of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election and voted to reject State Electoral College Votes, should be prohibited from serving in leadership positions on House and Senate Committees.
Senator McConnell’s obstruction in the face of the enormous challenges and threats facing the country must be called out boldly. To hobble this Administration, to prevent it from doing the people’s business is an act of political extortion. The people should understand exactly what is at stake by preventing the President from assembling his cabinet and allowing them to get on with their duties. The former president did everything in his power to slow-walk the transition. Republicans attempted to scuttle the election after the fact by voting in large numbers to eject the votes of the Electoral College. Now, the senior Republican senator is throwing up procedural roadblocks to prevent the new administration from getting on with their work.
We need to nip this in the bud.
Hooray! You are published at an early hour! Sleep, sleep, perchance to dream...
One of the most significant attributes of your Letters is your willingness to use plain language and not dazzle with high falutin pseudo intellectual jargon meant to intimidate those who may not have the vocabulary or education to dig through pretentious language. If history is to be understood by the people and for the people it must be written so it is accessible to all the people. You do that important work. Thank you.
Day 1 B.A. (Biden Administration)
Thank you Heather for calling out the rules of the Senate as anti-democratic. That has been my beef with Congress for a long time. Newt Gingrich is the man credited with breaking politics in 1994 with his ferociously partisan politics. And, it's why the two party system in my opinion seems antithetical to the Constitution although the Constitution mentions nothing about parties. Parties themselves do not use good democratic methods to select their candidate especially with the impact of the legalized bribery of money in politics and the Super PACs that get around election rules.
Here is how I was quoted to the 10-point column's readers' response question of the Wall Street Journal in the summer of 2017 during the "debate" on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
“I fully and heartily agree with Sen. John McCain’s eloquent plea to make the Senate great again by going back to the synergistic and open process of public hearings, open debate and working together across party lines. The undemocratic petty ping pong by whichever party is in power only serves to keep citizens scared and the insurance companies uncertain. The real fallacy is that competition will lower health-care costs when patented drugs and insurance companies are monopolistic. It is time to remove the center aisle and seat the Senators by seniority rather than by party, so they’ll work for solutions that benefit all citizens.”
Now we have "minority" leader McConnell who is STILL doing his obstructionist damage to the first branch of government making the Senate into a total joke if it wasn't so pitiful and harmful to the American People. I don't know why Senators get paid for doing nothing.
Until the Fairness Doctrine is renewed or revived in some form, and being that the WH press room has limited seating (with an overflow room with a monitor), can the priority of which journalists can be in the press room with the ability to ask questions, be limited to those orgs registered as "news media" rather than "entertainment media" (such as Fox, OAN, etc.)?
Until everyone gets used to this "new rule", the reason could be explained over and over again (an opportunity to educate the public), which would basically be the example that Fox keeps losing truth-related law suits because they are not news, but are entertainment, and thus only true news media orgs are allowed to attend the limited space pressers.
Is there a legal or procedural way to do this?
Sickened but not surprised. My state was told big shipment was coming. But nothing happened. That same week, in the state next door, people there were receiving vaccinations at drive-through set-ups. I admit to feelings of frustration, because I and others like me should be receiving vaccinations now too. I can't help but wonder if it had something to do with our (so far) Republican governor openly expressing disdain for Donald Trump (as he has all along), and freely admitting he would not and did not vote for him. But the fact is Trump is punishing all of us the only way he can.
So we are doing what we have done so well most of the time: hunker down, stay home as much as we can, mask up, keep our distance, don't socialize. Biden's people will pick up wherever things were left off and hopefully pick a more sensible name for it. It will be later than expected, but it will still happen before the daffodils are up in Vermont. (Apologies: that is a Vermont joke. Our daffs are always late, but they always show up.)
Oh, my friends, please be patient and please take care of yourselves and your neighbors. Trump couldn't resist a last passing dump, as is his nature. But he is gone now, and we can get on with what needs to be done. (Don't forget to wear your mask!) Sending a hug with this, just in case there's someone else out there who needs one too.
Oh good grief! He's like a horror movie monster that won't die. McConnell, of course. Just. Go. Away. Let us have our country back. Now.
Also, for something truly not entirely unexpected, I still find your first paragraph about the absolute lack of ANY vaccination plan shocking. How can I STILL be so shocked?! I don't know. But reading the words, “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch.," gave me a cold chill. Like in another scene of the horror movie where there's supposed to be, say, some kind of busy governmental department, but when they open the doors, there are just acres of empty building with florescent lights.
Some somewhat high profile talk of bringing back the Fairness Doctrine? That's good to hear. Don't think it's likely to happen, but having it at least talked about more seriously is something.
Thanks so much for bringing up the point about the representation issue buried in the filibuster. Like the Electoral College, it shows its origins in the wish of a powerful and unscrupulous minority to dominate the majority. People I know in Europe, where I work a lot, tend to forgive us--individual American people and the "American people" generally--for our horror-show governments by saying "Your government doesn't represent you, we know that." Kindly meant, but awful in its truth.
Smart people are at work as we read and type this morning, parsing details into cogent messages to put the heat on the now MINORITY LEADER. Most important is to tell the public the truth. The Administration of djt and all elected republicans who supported him are culpable in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans. It did not have to be this way. Now discovering that there was NEVER a plan to confront the virus or distribute the vaccine to the states is criminal. Denial of financial support to the states is criminal. There should be consequence. As we gain access to memos, files, and testimony under oath, the horror of this episode will be manifest. Our own Nuremberg. Unimaginable.
Liberals, Progressives, just plain old democrats, and independents have to stop the tyranny of the minority. The midterms of 2022 should be viewed as an opportunity, and 2024 when we pronounce the current version of the Republican Party emasculated and on life support. And on trial in the court of history for generations.
McTurtleneck is the worst! Apparently now he's insisting that the Dems maintain the filibuster, or the rethuglicans will hold up cabinet confirmations. I say let Biden then make "acting" cabinet appointments until McTurtleneck and the other obstructionists come around. BTW, I sure hope authorities are looking into the likes of Cruz, Hawley, Bobert and others and whether they have any responsibility for the 1/6 insurrection. They should not be allowed to walk away.
It is fascinating, to me, about how much work is now being done, as the cover is ripped off the previous administration to see how much was left undone. The news about the complete lack of planning about the coronavirus pandemic is horrible and sadly, not unexpected.
One thing that I think is crucially important as we go forward is that the congress critters who held an active role in the 6 Jan insurrection be held accountable for their actions as well as those who took the bait and tried to circumvent the process of counting the electoral college votes. A key component to that is accountability and that holds true for the impeachment going forward as well. This assault on our democracy cannot be ignored, or pardoned, or excused.
It is beyond frustrating, that because of what appears to be a procedural mishap, the ability to pass legislation essentially falls, in this Senate, to just 10 republicans who represent a small percentage of the population. And, I’ll wager most people are completely unaware of that situation (and so many others)! I wish Heather’s Letters could be read out loud each day on all the major cable networks :)
I watched Fox News today for a record breaking 15 minutes (previous record was 3 minutes). It is actually unwatchable. They were speaking about the unfair coverage of and attacks on the trump administration by the “liberal media”. They were not covering any of the day’s real events and I believe I heard that the next guest was going to be the “repairman” of Hunter Biden’s computer. I turned it off before my head exploded .... and that was the end of my personal “fairness doctrine” experience!
“The filibuster remains in place for legislation.”
“..... While the new Senate is split evenly—50 Democrats, 50 Republicans—the 50 Democrats in the Senate represent over 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republicans represent. The filibuster means that no legislation can pass Congress without the support of 10 Republicans. Essentially, then, the fight over the filibuster is a fight not just about the ability of the Democrats to get laws passed, but about whether McConnell and the Republicans, who represent a minority of the American people, can kill legislation endorsed by lawmakers who represent quite a large majority.”
Watching yesterday's press conference was like watching an episode of the "West Wing". No "script", no "fake news"! I loved it!
I think that cable with its bundling is slowly going to die in favor of streaming. Frankly, any news channel, show or movie is available on-line via streaming. FNC should slowly feel the bite.
GOP = Grand Obstruction Party. In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I question whether Chuck Schumer is cunning enough to deal with McConnell. And, in fact, whether the Democrats generally have the guts to engage in the kind of hardball that the times demand. Hope I'm proved wrong.
At the end of Heather's letter, there is a tweet from Pam Keith Esq. suggesting calling our cable service to attempt to take off Fox News, OANN and Newsmax from your service bundle. Going to give it a try this weekend.
The question of the "filibuster" is rightly placed front and center by Heather and in particular for its oft anti-democratic character. However it is a direct reflection of the anti-democratic intentions of the founding fathers when writing the Constitution. Never did they think that the majority of the population should be able to overrule their "wise council" as they, as opposed to the uneducated masses, were guided by reason and the greater good of the "nation" as opposed to the "individual" whilst of course the "mob" would only vote their passions and the deire for vengence upon their "betters"! We may of course laugh now after Reagan, Bush and Trump!
Obviously exactly the same considerations were brought to bear in designing the Electoral College and thus the indirect election of the President. The limits on the numbers of Representatives in the lower House is a measure in the same vein.
Europe is struggling collectively with exactly the same problem in trying to eliminate absolute majority requirements on most issues that face the Union; getting fully 27 countries to agree to work for the common good as opposed to fighting uniquely their own corner. The lack of success in this and the maintenance of veto rights for individual countries has largely condemned the EU to inertia and the "lowest common denominator" approach.....and is neither really democratic, overly credible nor appreciated greatly by the people.
The other aspect of this question that needs to be faced is common to all bi-cameral systems. Italy has 2 houses...Senate and House...just like the US each with equal power! The result is habitual stagnation. France and the UK have 2 Chambers and the Senate in France and the Lords in the UK have a residual role, for discussion, delay and a limited filibuster but the "lower" house can overrule them without a great deal of difficulty. The result.....things move if the Executive is so inclined or is sufficiently daring and organized!