All In The Name Of The “Deal”

This year has been a bust for the Dems in Congress….they failed on police reform and voting rights (2 bills) and as the midterms are quickly becoming a thing and the Dems need something to run on the president is willng to gut his famous infrastructure bill to try and help Dem candidates win their re-election.

The answer is as it always is to gut the great legislation to grab that elusive deal between the parties and to pass a bill.

Same as it ever was.

This time around the $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill is being gutted to the tune of 50%……

President Biden declared Thursday he has reached a “historic economic framework” with Democrats in Congress on his sweeping domestic policy package, a dramatically scaled-back deal announced hours before he departs for overseas summits, per the AP. Biden’s remarks at the White House came after he traveled to Capitol Hill to make the case to House Democrats for the still robust domestic package—$1.75 trillion of social services and climate change programs the White House believes can pass the 50-50 Senate. “It will fundamentally change the lives of millions of people for the better,” Biden said at the White House.

Together with a nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill heading for final votes as soon as Thursday, Biden told lawmakers it would be a domestic achievement greater than those from Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson. “I need your votes,” Biden told the lawmakers earlier, according to a person who requested anonymity to discuss the private remarks. Biden was eager to have a deal in hand before departing later in the day for global summits. But the revised package has lost some of the Democrats’ top priorities as the president’s ambitions make way for the political realities of the narrowly divided Congress.

  • Out: Paid family leave and efforts to lower prescription drug pricing are now gone entirely from the package, according to senior administration officials.
  • Still in the mix: Free prekindergarten for all youngsters, expanded health care programs—including the launch of a $35 billion new hearing aid benefit for people with Medicare—and $555 billion to tackle climate change. There’s also a one-year extension of a child care tax credit that was put in place during the COVID-19 rescue and new child care subsidies. An additional $100 billion to bolster the immigration and border processing system could boost the overall package to $1.85 trillion if it clears Senate rules.
  • The Hill has a comprehensive look at what’s in and what’s out.

This is not a done deal but it is close….but it ain’t over til the fat white guys vote.

I guess the old political saying still rings true….”something is better than nothing”…..unfortunately I do not think this will be the vote getter that the Dems think it will….2022 will be a bad year for Dems.

I am not disappointed for this is typical legislative drama that is in there for the optics these days.

And you wonder why the country has not moved forward….look no further than the legislative process and the unwillingness of the players to ‘stick tom their guns’.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Is Biden Unimpressive?

This depends on whom you ask.

In my opinion is very unimpressive.

During the campaign of 2020 we were promised so much and the Dems have delivered so little…..of course it is not all their fault.

Oh they have had some marvelous ideas but that is as far as it goes for the Senate is a wall for any progress.

The Biden promises are shrinking in action….

Joe Biden’s poll numbers are going south. An average of polls at FiveThirtyEight shows that more people disapprove (49%) of him than approve (45%), a sharp reversal from the start of his presidency, when 53% approved and 36% disapproved. The decline has largely occurred over the last two months, notes the Pew Research Center, thanks to big factors such as the chaotic Afghanistan pullout, rising COVID cases, and trouble with his domestic agenda in Congress. Related coverage:

  • The problem: At the Cook Political Report, Amy Walter writes that the issue is a serious one for Biden and Democrats because “these early mistakes go directly to the very rationale of his presidency; that it would be low drama and high competence.” She adds that it’s not unusual for a first-term president to go through a rough patch, and the big question is whether Biden can pull out of it. However, the longer he’s in the White House, the more expectations will rise, and it won’t be enough for Democrats to rely on the he’s-not-Trump argument.
  • In context: Biden’s critics on the right already are pronouncing him a failure, and Susan B. Glasser at the New Yorker finds this just as ridiculous as when progressives anointed him the second coming of FDR in the spring. “It was too soon then to nominate him to a place on Mount Rushmore; it is too soon now to consign him to the ash heap of history,” she writes. “What we might be seeing, instead, is a bit of a return to normalcy in American politics—the kind of normalcy in which a President’s job-approval rating goes up or down depending on how people think he is actually doing.”
  • From the right: At the National Review, Jim Geraghty ticks off Biden’s troubles, including those mentioned above, plus border issues and friction with France and China. “Biden, Antony Blinken, and the rest of the president’s team spent a lot of time patting themselves on the back and declaring that ‘America is back!’ after taking office,” he writes. “But as autumn arrives, they look naïve, unprepared, slow-footed, and in over their heads. A flailing president is a failing president.”
  • From the right, II: Matt Lewis is even more scathing in the Daily Beast. “It’s starting to feel like the wheels are coming off for Joe Biden at the job he’s been dreaming of since he first arrived in the Senate in 1973,” he writes. This applies to the both the domestic and global fronts. Lewis notes that he has previously criticized former President Trump’s “childish approach to governing … but it turns out that dunking on him and signifying responsibility without actually achieving better results isn’t nearly enough.”
  • Unwanted comparison: Meanwhile, two separate pieces in the New York Times this week make a similar point that Democrats won’t like—that in regard to Afghanistan and the border, Biden appears to be borrowing from the Trump playbook. One is a news analysis by Michael D. Shear, Natalie Kitroeff, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, and Eileen Sullivan, and the second is a column by Frank Bruni. “Biden is a far cry from Trump,” writes Bruni. “Hallelujah. But that doesn’t mean that he’s untouched by Trump.”

The big ideas of police reform (dead), voting rights (pending but doomed), infrastructure (pending but not looking good), immigration (dead), ending the filibuster (a joke without a laugh line) and so many more and the Congress is waffling (as usual)……

With time left the Dems have an impressive yet chaotic time before the end of session…

Democrats will start one of the most chaotic legislative sprints in recent memory. With a potential government shutdown looming, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Saturday that three key bills, including President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, “must pass” in the coming week.

That timeline means the next week could be make or break for Biden’s legislative agenda, but all three bills face a complicated road ahead in Congress.

“The next few days will be a time of intensity,” Pelosi said in a letter to her caucus on Saturday. “We sent a CR to the Senate and are awaiting their action to avoid a shutdown. We must pass the BIF to avoid the expiration of the surface transportation funding on September 30. And we must stay on schedule to pass the reconciliation bill so that we can Build Back Better.”

https://www.vox.com/2021/9/26/22694549/congress-reconciliation-infrastructure-debt-ceiling-explained

With 90 days left in the session of Congress it looks dismal for any progress….and 2022 an election year will be a do nothing session for the House will be at home with their knee pads on begging for money and lying to the voter to gain their place in Congress once again.

Biden has not been a disappointment for me for I did not think he would be that effective because he is a centrist that will do little to move this country forward….all in the name of bi-partisanship (a word that means little to this country).

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Infrastructure Update

WE have a deal on the infrastructure bill…..it will take om our rail system, roads and bridges, and climate change and that is where I want to pick up this post.

Granted we need to bring our rail, roads and bridges into the 21st century….but this bill offers very spurious solution to the climate problem…..

publication of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report whose findings United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called “a code red for humanity,” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that the infrastructure bill does not adequately fund measures to address the climate emergency.

“Not even close,” he said. “Though it includes important investments in hard infrastructure like our roads and bridges, it vastly underfunds public transit, [electrical vehicle], and grid infrastructure.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/08/10/bipartisan-infrastructure-bill-rebuked-funding-false-climate-solutions

To get bi-partisan support the good parts of the bill have been gutted to make the concern for the climate just words not action.

I agree with those that state that polluters need to pay for their part in the destruction of the climate…..

Amid unrelenting heatwaves, droughts, fires, and floods, congressional Democrats are seeking to tax roughly two dozen oil, gas, and coal corporations to ensure that the carbon polluters most responsible for the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency pay for some of the destruction.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that a draft bill from Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) “directs the Treasury Department and the Environmental Protection Agency to identify the companies that released the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from 2000 to 2019 and assess a fee based on the amounts they emitted.”

Van Hollen estimates that the legislation could raise up to $500 billion over the next decade, with the biggest polluters facing annual bills of $6 billion over 10 years. The funds would be used to pay for renewable energy research and development as well as to assist communities in responding to and preparing for extreme weather disasters that climate scientists say are increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity due to planet-warming emissions.

“It’s based on a simple but powerful idea that polluters should pay to help clean up the mess they caused, and that those who polluted the most should pay the most,” Van Hollen told the Times. “Those who have profited the most should help now pay the damages that they’ve already caused.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/08/04/polluters-should-pay-draft-bill-could-raise-half-trillion-big-oils-climate-wreckers

Keep it simple, stupid!

You pollute you pay.

It is not rocket science….just good solutions.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

“A Huge Victory”

That is how the MSM is selling the ‘bi-partisan’ deal to move forward with the work on a $1 trillion infrastructure bill in the Senate.

Before I give my thoughts on this groundbreaking deal…..

Senators of both parties voted Wednesday night to get started on President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan. The 67-32 vote puts the Senate on schedule to begin debate on the package this week, the Washington Post reports, a full month after Biden had announced that a deal had been reached. “We are prepared to move forward,” lead GOP negotiator Sen. Rob Portman said Wednesday before the vote, per CNBC, but after a few big issues had been resolved. Democratic negotiator Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also said earlier in the day that most of the bill’s text had been completed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised that the Senate will pass the bipartisan bill before the August recess, Politico reports.

Wednesday’s test vote does not necessarily mean the Senate will approve the package in the end, per the AP. Passing the deal will require the support of all 50 Democratic senators and at least 10 Republicans. Portman announced the deal alongside four other GOP negotiators, but it’s not clear how many other Republicans will vote for the plan. Sources tell the AP that at a closed-door lunch Tuesday, some GOP senators spoke in favor of the plan while others argued against doing anything that would clear the way for Biden’s wider $3.5 billion “human infrastructure plan,” which would expand social services. Although cost is an issue, many senators have projects they want to add to the infrastructure package. “It’s very popular,” Portman said.

As I stated the MSM is all over this ‘deal’ as some sort of indication that the Trump support is waning….I disagree.

I believe that since infrastructure is wildly popular with the voter this is just an attempt to garner votes for the 2022 election.

Senators will use this ‘deal’ in their campaigns….but Trump still has their hearts and butts.

It is a political decision for votes not what is best or needed by this country.

Ask yourself why now?

I do hope that I am wrong….but I seriously doubt it.

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

‘Hallelujah Amen America Is Best Ever Hawk Eagle Patriot Apple Pie Act.’

Or as the official name of the bill, Love America Act, should be changed to the above title.

This bill has been introduced by Missouri’s insurrectionist, Josh Hawley……and his attempt to stop the teaching of the Critical Race Theory…..in other words an attempt to re-write history…revisionism at its best.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is the latest conservative politician to take the culture wars to the schools. On Thursday, Hawley announced that he will introduce a bill that bans critical race theory and requires schools to teach kids about the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Schools that violate the “Love America Act” will lose federal funding.

“The Left wants to teach our kids that America is systemically racist. That’s false and it’s meant to divide. It’s time to replace lies with the truth!” Hawley tweeted. “Let’s teach our kids what unites us as Americans – what we love together. Let’s teach them the truth,” he added.

The internet is not here for it. The Love America Act was widely panned online, in part because schools already teach about the nation’s founding (some might say exhaustively). And partly because primary schools do not teach critical race theory, an academic theory that examines United States law and history through a lens that includes the influence of slavery and systemic racism. It’s mostly taught at law schools and universities.

Conservatives have nevertheless made critical race theory, often abbreviated to simply “CRT,” a primary front in their war against what they view as excessive wokeness. In their view, it’s racist to teach about racism.

The Love America Act is among more than a dozen pieces of legislation targeting critical race theory in schools at the state level, NBC News reports.

https://www.dailydot.com/debug/josh-hawley-love-america-act-mocked/

Keep in mind that Hawley was one of the Congresspeople that basically cheered on the insurrection of 06 January…

Like the rest of the GOP they hate the Constitution and what it stands for…..and will work to misinform our children at every opportunity.

These types of slugs need to be removed from all positions of influence….

All history needs to be taught……the good, the bad and especially the ugly.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A State With A Great Idea!

It is no secret to the readers and visitors to IST that I am an antiwar activist and have been since the 1970s…….and finally some small movement on the state level is a great idea…..

The state in question here is Montana which has recently passed an antiwar legislation….

The Montana state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan and unprecedented resolution Tuesday calling on the federal government to end endless wars. The resolution passed 95-3 in the House and 47-2 in the Senate.

House Joint Resolution 9, sponsored by Rep. Ron Marshall (R-Hamilton), is the first of its kind to be introduced by any state and is currently being used as a model for other states across the country.

The resolution specifically urges President Joe Biden and the United States Congress to “end the endless war in Afghanistan,” repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, resist sending U.S. troops into combat without a declaration of war from Congress or specific authorization to do so, and to “execute a prudent foreign policy.”

Concerned Veterans for America, a veteran-run organization, endorsed the resolution and plans on utilizing it at the national level. The organization’s Deputy Director Russ Duerstine said in a statement that “the passing of the Endless War resolution is a firm statement—a strong message on behalf of Montanans that there is a better way than continuing to fight endless wars.”

Montana Becomes First State To Pass Resolution Against Unconstitutional Wars

Like I stated….a great idea!  Now time for the rest of the country to join in and help stop these endless wars and endless confrontations that could lead to war.

Will this help wake up the antiwar movement?

The push back should be something to see…..

Bravo for Montana!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Chamber Of Commerce Voter Suppression

There has been a wealth of citizens that have come out in favor of the voting rights bill in Congress, HR1, and yet as popular as it may be the corporations are in opposition…..but why would they care?

The Chamber of Commerce has issued a strong letter of opposition…..

This is the letter the Chamber has issued…..these are the points that they take exception with….

There are many other aspects of H.R. 1 that are extremely problematic. To highlight just a few:

  • H.R. 1 would fundamentally transform the FEC from a non-partisan agency comprised of three commissioners from each party into an overtly partisan enforcement tool controlled by a majority of commissioners from the political party then in power.
  • H.R. 1 would deem communication by corporations, including associations, to be “coordinated” and thereby prohibited if the organization has even the most innocuous and tenuous of connections with a candidate. For example, a meeting with an elected official to discuss a policy issue, an organizational employee who was previously employed by the elected official or candidate in any capacity, or a common vendor with a candidate would all have the practical effect of prohibiting corporations, including associations, from engaging in the political process.
  • H.R. 1 would also usher in a host of onerous disclaimer requirements for those engaging in communications that mention a candidate or elected official, even if those communications are related to legislative issues.
  • H.R. 1 would give taxpayer funds to political campaigns by allowing Americans to opt-into having their political donations matched by the federal government. Taxpayer money should be used to support projects like infrastructure initiatives and education programs and not political campaigns.

https://www.uschamber.com/letters-congress/us-chamber-key-vote-letter-opposing-hr-1-the-people-act

HR1 includes these points…..

This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government.

Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls.

The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.

Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.

Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.

The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.

The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

If you are a political geek and would like to read the bill for yourself before you comment then here is the pdf for you to read…..all 791 pages!

Click to access BILLS-117hr1ih.pdf

Interesting that the most opposition comes from corporate America and its paid goons in Congress.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

That Scary Infrastructure Bill

Pres. Biden has introduced a massive infrastructure bill that comes with a price tag of about $2 trillion….I like the idea for it is long been needed to help this nation move forward after being stuck in stagnation for decades.

Believe it or not….even with the huge price tag…..is wildly popular with the American people.

A new survey shows that “every major aspect” of the Democratic president’s plan to rebuild the country has majority support, regardless of party affiliation.

A new poll released Tuesday shows that a large, bipartisan majority of voters in the United States supports President Joe Biden’s proposal to spend $2.25 trillion over eight years to upgrade the nation’s physical and social infrastructure.

The survey (pdf), conducted by Invest in America and Data for Progress, found that voters support Biden’s American Job Plan by a 52 point margin, with 73% of all voters in favor and only 21% opposed.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/06/73-us-voters-including-57-republicans-back-bidens-225-trillion-infrastructure-plan

With all that popularity you would think that the representatives would be open to this ambitious plan…..if you do then you would be wrong…..and on many levels.

Even Dems are in opposition to this legislation…..

Two Democratic senators have already voiced concerns about President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

One of them is Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia who has already proven himself to be an outsized presence in the razor-thin Democratic majority. He was also a pivotal voice against the inclusion of a $15 minimum wage in the American Rescue Plan.

Now, he’s expressed his concerns with the infrastructure package. In an interview with Talkline, a West Virginia radio show, Manchin said that, “as the bill exists today, it needs to be changed.”

Regarding Biden’s proposed increase of the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, Manchin indicated that he doesn’t support the 28% figure and stressed that the international average is a few percentage points lower. The rate “should have never been under 25%,” he said. “That’s the worldwide average. And that’s what basically every corporation would have told you was fair.”

https://www.businessinsider.com/senate-democrats-bidens-infrastructure-plan-needs-change-warner-manchin-2021-4

Well we know who pays his salary…..and it is not the people of this country.

To call Manchin a moderate is disingenuous….he is a conservative and he is relishing the fact that he has all the power to kill Dem proposals.

Once again the Dems are their own worst enemies.

Now you know why I call most as spineless slugs.

Infrastructure is definitely needed….but instead war gets all the cash they need to keep waging the obscenity and yet programs that help the people of this country needs to be begged to get anything done.

That alone should tell you who/what is important to these slugs in Congress….and it is NOT YOU!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Money And Think Tanks

I have had no respect for so-called ‘think tanks’. Most of them find the conclusion they desire and they fit the dialog to help prove their conclusion…..and then there is all the cash that is funneled into these policy makers.

Millions upon millions find their way into these falsehood generators.

I do not have much good to say about the GOP but from time to time I find myself in agreement with their attempts…..and think tank cash is one of those policies….

New legislation introduced by three Republican members of Congress would set a new bar for transparency in funding from think tanks receiving foreign funding. The legislation — “Think Tank and Nonprofit Influence Disclosure Act of 2021” — aims to “root out foreign funding behind America’s policy research institutions” by requiring disclosure of foreign governments and foreign political parties that contribute in excess $50,000 per year to think tanks.

The requirement for think tanks to disclose their foreign sources of funding is particularly focused on revealing the extent of Chinese government-linked funding of think tanks, but the bills sponsors — Reps. Lance Gooden (R-Texas), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — emphasized that the extent of foreign influence in U.S. think tanks is a far reaching problem. 

“Experts believe there are numerous foreign governments backing American think tanks and nonprofits, and that the Chinese Communist Party and Russian government are among those who seek to influence U.S. policymakers in this way,” said a press release from Gooden’s office.

The Republican bill closely closely reflects the policy recommendations in last year’s report by Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, which found that $174 million in foreign funding went to top U.S. think tanks between 2014 and 2018, and advised that  “think tanks should be required, by law, to publicly disclose funding from foreign powers.”

A Responsible Statecraft and American Prospect investigation in January found that the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Wilson is a member, was regularly briefed by experts affiliated with think tanks that refuse to provide transparency into their funding sources. 

GOP lawmakers move to expose foreign money in US think tanks

I agree with this attempt….at least in principle…..

My question is….does apply to all think tanks or just those with liberal/progressive policies?

Will this include ALL think tanks?

Even the policy makers like Heritage?

If you would like to see where this bill goes then maybe a good place to start is with the bill itself…..

Click to access Think%20Tank%20and%20Nonprofit%20Act-Text.pdf

I want to see all ‘dark money’ out of politics and policies.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Thoughts On Protests

America has been the site of many protests in our few years as a nation…..and in all that time the handling of these protests have been handled badly and the worse times for this bad behavior has been in the last 100 years or so.

Recent years have brought old animosities tom the forefront…..that of racial inequality.

What got me to thinking about this was a new law that has passed in the state of Oklahoma….

Racial justice advocates on Wednesday condemned the Oklahoma House of Representatives’ approval of a Republican bill shielding motorists who run over protesters, a measure they say ignores the real issues of systemic racism and police violence while further endangering Black lives.

H.B. 1674 (pdf)—passed by a party-line vote of 79-18—would grant civil and criminal immunity to drivers who “unintentionally” kill or injure people while “fleeing from a riot” if they have “reasonable belief” that doing so will protect them from harm. 

Additionally, the proposed legislation would punish protesters who block traffic with up to a year behind bars and a $5,000 fine. 

Democratic lawmakers blasted the bill as draconian and criticized their GOP colleagues for bringing the measure to a vote after midnight when few people were paying attention. Democrats also said the bill was misguided and ignored the bigger problems of racism, police violence, and inequality that sparked Black Lives Matter and other protests.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/03/11/activists-say-oklahoma-bill-declares-open-season-protesters

As someone who has been deeply involved in protests in the past I look at the events and think that not much has changed in all those years……but why is change so hard or why do protests fail?

Today, there’s no shortage of important issues that arouse passions. But significant change requires more than protests and marches. The truth is that nobody cares if you want to sleep in a park or shout slogans on the streets. To make a real impact, you need to influence institutions.

https://www.realclearworld.com/2021/02/24/why_protests_fail_661538.html

My thought on why they fail is that those in power do not listen or do not care…..no matter the issue.  They look for political expediency and not the subject of the protests.

Any thoughts?

I Read, I Write, You KNow

“lego ergo scribo”