…Says the Man Who Passed the Biggest Tax Cut for Corporations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected a bill to increase direct payments to $2,000, likely closing the door on any pathway to passage before the end of the Congress this weekend.

McConnell took to the Senate floor to attack the House-passed bill, specifically on the issue of higher-income individuals and couples that would be eligible to receive some of the payments due to how the income phase outs are structured.

“The Senate is not going to be bullied into rushing out more borrowed money into the hands of Democrats’ rich friends who don’t need the help,” McConnell said.


What Were You Thinking? (Don’t Pretend You’re Surprised.)

From The Bulwark, by Charlie Sykes:

Pardons, threats, chaos, and coups. Merry Freaking Christmas.

Welcome to the Countdown Journal. There are 14 days until January 6, when Congress counts the Electoral College votes, and 28 days until the Inauguration of Joe Biden.

Near the end of the miniseries, Band of Brothers, the guys from Easy Company are shown riding in a convoy of trucks past a bedraggled column of German prisoners, some of whom are riding in carts drawn by horses.

Private David Webster is appalled by the scene and shouts at them:

Hey, you! That’s right, you stupid Kraut bastards! That’s right! Say hello to Ford, and General fuckin’ Motors! You stupid fascist pigs! Look at you! You have horses! What were you thinking? Dragging our asses half way around the world, interrupting our lives… For what, you ignorant, servile scum! What the fuck are we doing here?

I woke up this morning thinking about him.

Admittedly, the parallels are hardly exact, but as I’m looking over the clusterfuck of American conservativism on this almost-Christmas Eve, I feel a kinship with Webster.

What were you thinking? You cowardly, ignorant, servile scum?

It’s not like you were not warned. Again and again.

It’s not as if it wasn’t obvious from the very beginning who Donald Trump was. You had to know it would come to something like this.

Now look at you. You have Trump.

You’ve dragged this country into this place: more than 323,000 dead Americans, a president plotting to steal an election, whispers of military coups, pardons for crooks and war criminals, a potential constitutional crisis, and a possible government shutdown. And, after four interminable years, a nation that is dumber, crueler, and more divided.

For what? What the fuck are we doing here?

Let me repeat this: none of this is new. As far back as August 2015, I wrote that Trump was “a cartoon version of every left-wing media stereotype of the reactionary, nativist, misogynist right.”

Back then there was still time to say no. Some of us desperately made the case that he was a disaster. In May 2016, on the last appearance I will ever make on Fox News, I said:

Donald Trump is a serial liar, a con man who mocks the disabled and women. He’s a narcissist and a bully, a man with no fixed principles who has the vocabulary of an emotionally insecure nine-year-old. So no, I don’t want to give him control of the IRS, the FBI, and the nuclear codes. That’s just me.

But you went along with it. You thought you could ride it out. You thought the tradeoffs were worth it. You thought you could Make America Great with this ignorant, petulant man-child.

One conservative commentator after another torched their reputations, if not their consciences, polishing the orange turds.

The anti-anti-Trumpers sat it out, or spent their time assuring us it wasn’t so bad and that the real threat was radical woke socialists like… Joe Biden. When they weren’t actually concocting elaborate defenses for Trump’s mendacity, they rationalized, or played an endless game of whataboutism.

Back in June, my colleague, Sarah Longwell asked the same question that’s nagging me today:

Did they really think that putting a man bereft of character, decency, and empathy in charge of the country wouldn’t make a difference?

Did they really think that dismissing each instance of his racism, bullying, fecklessness, megalomania, corruption, lies, and stupidity it wouldn’t have a cumulative effect?

From the day he came down the escalator, Trump promised to burn it all down. And now Conservatism Inc. is surprised the country is on fire?

What did they think was going to happen?

So don’t pretend you are really surprised. You may be appalled by what you are seeing, but nothing that is happening now — the reckless attacks on constitutional norms, the flood of lies and conspiracy theories, the bullying, insults, or chaos — is inconsistent in any way with what you have known for years.

But you truckled, wheedled, and hoped he’d eat you last.

And here we are, you miserable bastards.


Nothing Succeeds Like Secession

From The Daily Kos:

From the Office of President of the United States.

Dear Texas,

We have received your petition to secede from the United States, and have forwarded it to Congress who will act on it with their usual speed.

Any Texas citizen holding a US passport is required to surrender it immediately. Entry into the US will require a valid Texas passport. Anyone staying longer than two weeks will have to obtain a visa. Any Texas citizen (those with birth certificates issued from Texas or currently holding a Texas driver’s license unless they can show a non-Texas birth certificate) in the United States have 72 hours to leave or be deported with a permanent ban on returning to the United States. This includes former Representatives and Senators from the former State of Texas.

Funding for highways, transportation, bridges, infrastructure, education and medical facilities will cease immediately. Your representatives to the US Congress are ordered to leave Washington DC immediately.

All US licenses to do business are revoked. All business interests headquartered in the Country of Texas are immediately severed from doing any business in the United States, until appropriate international business agreements are in place and appropriate international business licenses are negotiated. All power lines and pipelines that cross the border will be disconnected immediately, to be reconnected only when appropriate international contracts, treaties and agreements are in place.

The FAA will no longer operate at your airports, and all air traffic controllers are terminated. All air traffic management over the new independent Texas is your own responsibility, effective immediately. All Federal Civil Service employees in the country of Texas are terminated. All flights between Texas and America are canceled until appropriate international agreements are in place.

The FCC will no longer operate in Texas effective immediately, so you will be responsible for licensing your own telephone, radio, television and Internet providers. All telecommunications circuits between the two countries will be severed immediately, to be reconnected once appropriate international agreements are negotiated.

All US Federal services operating in Texas are terminated and their functions will be relocated to the territory of the United States immediately. Citizens of Texas who were formerly employed by the US Federal Government and wish to continue in their now-relocated jobs may apply for United States green cards through the usual channels.

All payments for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Disability to Texas citizens are halted with immediate effect. Recipients will have to reapply, and Congress will decide if foreigners are allowed to receive payments from the United States government. Any funds coming from the United States federal government will be halted immediately.

Effective immediately, the independent country of Texas will no longer receive protection from the United States military. All military bases in Texas will be closed, and personnel relocated to bases in the United States, except for a contingency left to guard the Texas-US border. Effective immediately, the United States Coast Guard and Immigration and Customs Enforcement will no longer operate in Texas waters, aside from actions specified by International Maritime law and custom. U.S. Customs officials will be removed from all border crossing stations immediately. We suggest you form your own navy and immigration department immediately to protect your borders against foreign invaders, drug smugglers, terrorists and illegal aliens.

Good luck.

Sincerely, Joseph Biden
President, United States of America

P.S. Attached is an invoice for your portion of the bill of the National Debt.


Birtherism 2.0

From The Washington Post:

Public polling shows that many Republican voters doubt the legitimacy of the 2020 election, prompting some observers to worry that Trump’s refusal to concede will further divide the country.

Nonetheless, the president has continued to make unfounded accusations of fraud, calling the election “a sham and a shame” and dismissing concerns that his actions are driving Americans further apart.

Kilmeade noted that the electoral college will meet Monday and the ballots will then be transmitted to Congress, which will officially count the votes on Jan. 6. Asked how that process affects his chances for successfully challenging the results, Trump demurred.

“No,” Trump told Kilmeade. “I worry about the country having an illegitimate president. That’s what I worry about. A president that lost and lost badly. This wasn’t, like, a close election. … I didn’t lose. The election was rigged.”


And Yet, All of These Bastards Made Light of Masks and Social Distancing

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Ben Carson, Chris Christie and Donald J. Trump are not the sturdiest candidates to conquer the coronavirus: older, in some cases overweight, male and not particularly fit. Yet all seem to have gotten through Covid-19, and all have gotten an antibody treatment in such short supply that some hospitals and states are doling it out by lottery.

Now Rudolph W. Giuliani, the latest member of President Trump’s inner circle to contract Covid-19, has acknowledged that he received at least two of the same drugs the president received. He even conceded that his “celebrity” status had given him access to care that others did not have.

“If it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have been put in a hospital frankly,” Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, told WABC radio in New York. “Sometimes when you’re a celebrity, they’re worried if something happens to you they’re going to examine it more carefully, and do everything right.”

Mr. Giuliani’s candid admission once again exposes that Covid-19 has become a disease of the haves and the have-nots. The treatment given to Mr. Trump’s allies is raising alarms among medical ethicists as state officials and health system administrators grapple with gut-wrenching decisions about which patients get antibodies in a system that can only be described as rationing.

Mr. Giuliani, 76, appeared unaware of the scarcity issues, telling interviewers that politicians have taken masks and business closures too far now that Covid-19 is “a treatable disease.”

Health Secretary Alex M. Azar II told reporters on Wednesday that so far, 278,000 doses of the two therapies have been allocated. There were almost that many coronavirus cases (220,225) diagnosed in the United States on Tuesday alone.

Once state and local health agencies determine which hospitals or medical facilities should get the drugs, they are shipped out by a third-party distributor. Then it is up to health care providers to figure out what to do with them. Dr. Peter L. Slavin, the president of Massachusetts General Hospital, said in an interview Tuesday that access there would be by lottery.

“The notion that we are going to be able to treat a significant percentage of the people who qualify for the drug with the drug — it’s not going to happen,” he said.


Yeah, She’s the Worst!

From the Washington Post:

Near the Supreme Court, a line of riot police stood facing a few dozen protesters resting homemade shields on the ground as a MAGA throng chanted and churned behind them.

“F— antifa!” they shouted in unison.

“Who’s antifa?” one Trump supporter wondered.

“I don’t know,” another responded. “But they don’t like her!”

AUNT TIFA | Hannah Blog

Well, There Was Lindsey Graham….

A longtime presence in the federal government, Biden took the famous line literally: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Now, his two German shepherds, Champ and Major, are expected to join the president-elect and Jill Biden at the White House following his inauguration in January.

At 12 years old, Champ is the elder of the pair, while 2-year-old Major, who will become the first shelter dog to live at the White House, was adopted a few months before Biden announced his latest run for the presidency. The German shepherds will fill an empty role at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.: President Trump was the first occupant in more than a century not to own a pet of some kind.

Laura Litvan on | Worried kids, Political cartoons, Lap dogs