Why there will be no pandemic relief bill: blame Mitch

Paul Krugman in the NYT: “You might think that Republicans would set the plutocratic imperative aside when the case for more government spending is compelling, whether it’s to repair our crumbling infrastructure or to provide relief during a pandemic. But all indications are that they believe — probably rightly — that successful government programs make the public more receptive to proposals for additional programs.

“That’s why the G.O.P. has tried so frantically to overturn the Affordable Care Act; at this point it’s clear that Obamacare’s success in cutting the number of uninsured Americans has created an appetite for further health care reform.

“And that’s why Republicans are unwilling to provide desperately needed aid to economic victims of the pandemic. They aren’t worried that a relief package would fail; they’re worried that it might succeed, showing that sometimes more government spending is a good thing. Indeed, a successful relief package might pave the way for Democratic proposals that would, among other things, drastically reduce child poverty.”

Why Senate Republicans won’t help Americans in need.

Expertise? We don’t stinking expertise!

“Since the move, the agency has lost decades of expertise on a wide range of subjects, from climate change to antibiotic resistance, from rural economies to organic farming, leaving numerous projects in limbo and severely bottlenecking new research. Today, conversations between The Counter and more than 20 former and current ERS employees reveal that staff morale has plummeted. Many also assert that the agency is failing to live up to its mission due to severe understaffing and lack of stable leadership.”

That’s OK. All they ever did was kill trees by publishing reports.

A controversial relocation hollowed out USDA?s brain trust for food policy. This could spell dire consequences for food access and security.

Making the swamp even swampier

“The hiring plan documents show shortened hiring timelines and suggest preference given to judges with records of rulings against immigrants. The documents also demonstrate the influence held over the board by the political leadership of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Justice Department agency that oversees the nation’s immigration court system, particularly its director, James McHenry. …

“The current hiring process appears to chip away at the role career employees play in that process, and instead amplifies that of the EOIR director and other political appointees, according to Lynch and some other experts who reviewed the changes.”

New DOJ documents show shortened hiring timelines and suggest preference given to judges with records of rulings against immigrants.

Plus, he’s a despicable human being

“When Cuomo protested McConnell’s bankruptcy idea, the New York governor raised the risk of chaos in financial markets. But McConnell does not advocate state bankruptcy in order to subject state bondholders to hardship. Obviously not! When McConnell spoke to Hewitt about fiscally troubled states, he did not address their bond debt. He addressed their pension debt. State bankruptcy is a project to shift hardship onto pensioners while protecting bondholders—and, even more than bondholders, taxpayers. …

“But McConnell seems to be following the rule “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” He’s realistic enough to recognize that the pandemic probably means the end not only of the Trump presidency, but of his own majority leadership. He’s got until January to refashion the federal government in ways that will constrain his successors. That’s what the state-bankruptcy plan is all about.”

The Senate majority leader is prioritizing the Republican Party rather than the American people during this crisis.

The anatomy of a clusterfuck

“If you were to write a playbook for how not to prevent a public-health crisis, you would study the work of the Trump administration in the first three months of 2020. The Trump White House, through some combination of ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence, failed to heed the warnings of its own experts. It failed to listen to the projections of one of its own economic advisers. It failed to take seriously what has become the worst pandemic since the 1918 flu and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And when the White House finally awoke to the seriousness of COVID-19, the response it mustered managed to contain all the worst traits of this presidency. Trump and his closest aides have ignored scientists, enlisted family members and TV personalities and corporate profiteers for help, and disregarded every protocol for how to communicate during a pandemic while spewing misinformation and lies.”

Missed warnings, conflicting messages, and broken promises ? how the White House fumbled its response to the worst pandemic in a century

The erosion of the rule of law

“Impartiality is anathema to Trumpism. That the Trump administration wants to upend a long-standing system for assuring both the reality and appearance of fairness in agency adjudication may be shocking. But it is not surprising. If you consider yourself on block watch for threats to democracy, take your eyes for a moment off the president’s Twitter feed and turn your attention to administrative law. Danger is lurking amid the complexity.”

The president?s administration is attempting to bring thousands of federal employees under his control, and the public is largely unaware.

A new, more civilized Reign of Terror

The heads that roll (and will roll) in our Reign of Terror are figurative, not literal. That’s really the basic distinction between our Reigh of Terror and Robespierre’s. Disloyalty to the new order (real or imagined) will not be toleraled.

The suggestion that Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman should now face punishment by the Pentagon was one sign of how determined the president is to even the scales after his impeachment.