DC Report

Trump's saboteur strategy: The president continues to actively sabotage US policies

Any thoughts that Donald Trump is just trying to polish his perceived presidential legacy with his late-game administration moves is giving way to a darker idea. He is planting boulders in the path of Joe Biden and the incoming group, "salting the earth," as one headline declared this week.

It's a ridiculous process that sneers at the MAGA America Trump professes to love. Apart from ignoring the overwhelming coronavirus issues, Trump's strategy is to continue hobbling the federal government from addressing what it needs to face.

Separate from petulance over losing the election and not starting a transition, Team Trump continues to be actively sabotaging U.S. policies that – at least according to campaign promises – are bound to change with an incoming opposition political party.

To show what he sees as toughness, Trump considered attacks on Iran; ordered a sudden but telegraphed withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia without condition; launched further curbs on immigration; and ordered, again, prescription drug price cuts he ordered, then suspended, a month ago, without a plan.

Now, his folks are doubling down elsewhere, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo going to the West Bank in effect to endorse Israeli takeover of Palestinian property; Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin cutting off Federal Reserve from helping markets, businesses and municipalities weather the pandemic; and there is a plan afoot for a late order to halt birthright immigration – the extension of citizenship upon American birth.

These are all moves in the category of anger-making contention. Even if Joe Biden did not want them overturned or challenged in court, his group is not in a position to carry them out through a federal government that has been hollowed of employees and will find itself at the apex of the pandemic as a full-time problem.

Delay, Delay

Trump's insistence in refusing the reality of the election is more than annoying, and seems to put the country in actual danger. But I have to believe that eventually even fantasy resistance has to give way to grudging acknowledgment of certified results.

At this point, the focus should be on the actions – or inactions – of his government.

Refusing to acknowledge the explosion of COVID-19 across all states is, of course, a statement that this is perfectly OK. Deaths can pass 250,000, 300,000, even 400,000 without moving Trump to act in a more presidential manner, coordinating state response, pushing for aid or using his position to promote the public health standard measures. We're left thinking he does not care; we are on our own.

Firing top personnel in national security, defense and through other agencies over personal pique are actions that add up to undercutting the power of government to carry out everything from vaccine deliveries to making real renewed call for prescription drug price cuts.

Trying to appoint an unqualified Judy Shelton, an advocate for returning the country to the gold standard, to the Fed was too much even for the Senate Republican majority. It fell short of confirming her.

The foreign policy moves don't change overall administration policies toward the Middle East or Afghanistan, but they will hamper the Biden counterparts considerably. That seems to be the exact point.

These moves, too, reflect more tantrum than they do American influence in the world. They appear meant for something Trump to put in a dictated book that tells the story of his presidency in glorious America First terms speaking only of wild success.

For Pompeo to endorse grabbing Arab lands is writing a guarantee for more generations of discord beyond the relative short life of the current Israeli government. For this administration to declare that questioning Israeli right-wing politics as "anti-Semitic" is simply false and misguided.

Lame-Duck President

OK, we all understand Trump does not want to be sidelined. But acting in ways to ensure that he is undermining national institutions hardly seems the way to want to be remembered.

A rational outgoing president would be working twice as hard as normal to get an aid package through the Congress, that the states understand how emergent vaccines will be distributed and ensuring that the incoming bureaucrats understand how Team Trump sees the issues we face.

Those close to Trump are saying that former President Barack Obama treated his group poorly in a transition – claims that run counter to what happened – because in the end, the FBI and national security folks were investigating the undue contacts between his campaign and Russian operatives.

This recalcitrance is payback, they say. The mind boggles.

If Trump's people had not been using underhanded methods with Russians, they would not have attracted FBI attention in the first place. But whatever that effort entailed, it had nothing to do with an outgoing person at the Pentagon talking with an incoming person about the details of U.S. defense issues.

It's too late to stop the tantrum. But it's not too late for those who believe in having a government to stop or delay consideration of policies that are bound to be overturned in two months.

Experts: There's still time — and reason — to invoke the 25th Amendment

"What is the 25th Amendment for, if not designed for this exact reason?" is a question we have perpetually received regarding the current president. We finally sought to answer it at our Nov. 14 online town hall.

Indeed, since the announcement of election results, Donald Trump has refused to concede, has withheld critical information for the transition team, has fired and replaced top officials responsible for the nation's security, and has contemplated a catastrophic war with Iran. On top of this, he continues to ignore a surging pandemic that is now infecting almost 200,000 and killing 2000 Americans per day and collapsing medical systems he has refused to support.

Every hour of every day that he delays and disrupts a peaceful transfer of power, he is obstructing the critical preparations that are necessary for proper vaccine distribution and is risking a massive loss of lives. Could we have imagined, even a few months ago, keeping in charge a person who would kill a quarter-million Americans, and be poised to kill a half-million very soon? We already dubbed him "killer-in-chief," but the phrase almost fails to do justice to fully describe the magnitude of destruction he is inflicting on the nation and the world medically, politically, and mentally.

Since Donald Trump's election, mental health professionals have come forth in historically unprecedented ways to warn against entrusting the U.S. presidency to someone exhibiting dangerous mental impairments.

Yet this is exactly what was predicted. Since Donald Trump's election, mental health professionals have come forth in historically unprecedented ways to warn against entrusting the U.S. presidency to someone exhibiting dangerous mental impairments. We held an ethics conference with the most highly respected psychiatrists and then published The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. The latter became an unprecedented bestseller of its kind, and we donated all proceeds from the book to remove conflicts of interest. Unfolding events over the past four years merely played out the multi-dimensional dangers we warned against, with almost impeccable precision.

While it is not our place to opine on whether or not the 25th Amendment should be invoked—this goes beyond our expertise—we as mental health professionals can and should say if a president must be removed for public health and safety reasons, whatever the means. Indeed, thousands of mental health professionals followed suit since the start of this presidency, and more than 800 petitioned Congress about the dangers. Now, 100 senior mental health professionals have gone on video record to declare the current president too psychologically dangerous and mentally unfit to be in the presidency or candidacy for reelection. We recently published more than 300 pages of our letters, petitions, and conference transcripts in an attempt to alert the authorities. We also reconvened top experts in the fields of law, history, political science, economics, journalism, social psychology, climate science, and nuclear science at an emergency interdisciplinary conference. This followed a meeting with the same speakers at the National Press Club in early 2019, to discuss the critical situation of a president's unfitness in our dangerous world, with the full three hours broadcast on C-SPAN. Finally, the continued lack of intervention brought on our town hall on the 25th Amendment.

According to legal scholars, this is the expected approach. Dr. Lee has had exchanges with the author of the 25th Amendment, Attorney and professor John Feerick, at a 50th-Anniversary conference on the Amendment and at student workshops at Fordham University Law School. He discussed that the intention of the Amendment was that "the data would drive the process, and medical professionals are a source of data." Professor John Rogan, his close collaborator on the 25th Amendment, clarified on another occasion: "physicians have a supererogatory obligation to share specialized knowledge. This is especially important when discussing psychiatric conditions, which may be hard to apprehend." The vice president, instead of being the driver of the process, would agree when "leaned upon" by the cabinet or the "other body" that Congress appoints to supplant the cabinet, compelled by the data.

We are in just such a situation where the president's dangerousness yields overwhelming data. These data are consistent with the hundreds of years of scientific evidence and many thousands of hours of clinical experience we collectively brought to our warnings about the current president, in accordance with our "responsibility to society," as outlined in the first paragraph of the preamble of our ethics code. A peer-reviewed panel of independent experts has already performed a standardized assessment of mental capacity, when the right information became available, in which the president failed every criterion. This means he would be unfit for any job, let alone president. Our evaluation fully predicted that he would disastrously mismanage a pandemic, as our blow-by-blow account documents.

A question that came up at our town hall was: "What is wrong with our Constitution?" Why would it fail to protect the nation at the most basic level? Representative and constitutional scholar Jamie Raskin's (D-Md.) lecture (recorded at a previous gathering) to us on the 25th Amendment in 2019 gives an answer: we must make use of the provisions that are available. His lecture is current again with his recent reintroduction of legislation for a commission to oversee presidential capacity, of which physicians and psychiatrists would comprise half. Attorney and professor Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics counsel for the Bush/Cheney Administration and former chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) confirms that the 25th Amendment needs to be used, with an "other body" to replace the cabinet a critical component.

Their legal assertions align with our therapeutic ones. Politicians must do their part, as must mental health professionals. Political bodies should consult with mental health experts, the purpose for which we even set up an independent expert panel, and mental health professionals should continue to inform the public of the dangers, until political bodies can succeed in removing them. The public is a stakeholder, not to mention the president's employer, now at the receiving end of unacceptable levels of abuse and potential, imminent victimization; mental health professionals do not have the luxury merely to stand by. The Declaration of Geneva clarifies that we must prevent harm and injustice, especially when they are arising from a destructive government—and, if not now, when?

James R. Merikangas, M.D., is a forensic neuropsychiatrist, co-founder of the American Neuropsychiatric Association, and former president of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists. His and Dr. Lee's activities can be followed at worldmhc.org.

How Donald Trump set-up nursing home residents to die in the pandemic

As the pandemic rages to new heights and we gear up for a new administration, there's an important step President-Elect Joseph R. Biden could take right away to protect our most vulnerable population: He could restore the ability for nursing home residents to sue their facilities for poor health standards.

Though coronavirus cases for people living in long-term care facilities total just 8% of cases, that demographic accounts for 45% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. through August, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The state-level data is even more grim. Nursing home deaths from COVID-19 in Minnesota and Rhode Island, for example, accounted for 81% of coronavirus deaths in those states as of early June, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation data. Long-term care facilities are a major driver of COVID-19 deaths in the country.

Seniors at long-term care facilities and their families have little legal recourse when it comes to fighting for better conditions.

But seniors at long-term care facilities and their families have little legal recourse when it comes to fighting for better conditions.

Trump stripped seniors of those protections his first year in office. He rescinded a rule President Obama had put in place in 2016 which would have prevented corporate-run facilities from receiving federal funding if residents were forced into arbitration after suffering harm in their care. That rule also would have prevented facilities from making arbitration agreements a condition of admission or continued care.

The Obama administration found significant evidence that pre-dispute arbitration agreements negatively impact the quality of patient care and create negative incentives on staffing and care because there is no threat of a substantial jury verdict for sub-standard care—findings that team Trump did not dispute.

The move to erode protections for seniors prompted a group letter by 17 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia to the HHS in 2018. The letter urged the agency not to "lower the level of regulatory oversight" by "rolling back reforms to improve the safety and wellbeing of nursing home residents."

The new rule, finalized in mid-2019, has been promoted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The Trump administration has taken an extra step to line the coffers of the corporations running these facilities. Since May, HHS has dedicated some $10 billion to facilities as incentive pay for "curbing" COVID-19 deaths and infections, among other things. Long-term care facilities have not blunted the spread of coronavirus, but they are taking the money.

Mississippi Republican Senator gives a baffling answer when pressed on anti-racist protests

Mississippi Republican Senator gives a baffling answer when pressed on anti-racist protests Walter Einenkel

Corporations take a back seat as Joe Biden readies government takeover

Among the many challenges Joe Biden's administration will have to confront after Donald Trump ends his temper tantrum is deciding what posture to take toward big business.

There will be a battle for the soul of the new president as corporate Democrats vie with progressives to influence policy in areas such as regulation and antitrust.

Initial signs are encouraging.

The Biden transition just released a list of some 500 individuals who will be staffing the Agency Review Teams charged with preparing the way for a transfer of power in all parts of the executive branch.

Most of the people are from academia, state government, law firms, non-profits, unions, think tanks and foundations.

Surveying the list of affiliations, I found only about 20 for large corporations. Most of the people are from academia, state government, law firms, non-profits, unions, think tanks and foundations.

It is likely some of the law firms are there to represent specific corporate interests, but the numerous representatives from progressive public interest, environmental and labor groups should serve as an effective counterweight.

Unions in Labor Department

In the Labor Department list there are no law firms or corporations; in their place are representatives from five different unions along with people from the National Employment Law Project and other progressive groups.

What is particularly significant is the near absence of people affiliated with Wall Street banks.

The Defense Department list has someone from JPMorgan Chase; Homeland Security has a representative from Capital One; and the International Development group includes someone from U.S. Bank. There is no one from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo or Morgan Stanley.

The Treasury Department group is led by someone from Keybank, which is based in Cleveland and ranks about 29th among U.S. banks. Fortunately, the Treasury group also includes representatives from places such as the Center for American Progress, the American Economic Liberties Project and the AFL-CIO.

Environmentalists at EPA

Other balancing acts include the list for the Environmental Protection Agency, which includes a representative from Dell Technologies but also from Earthjustice (the lead person) and The Sierra Club.

Some of the corporations show up in surprising places. Walt Disney is represented on the Intelligence Community list. The cosmetics firm Estee Lauder has someone on the State Department list. Someone from Airbnb is in the National Security Council group.

Tech Companies at OMB

Looking at current corporate villains, the one that stands out is Amazon.com. It shows up on two lists—the one for the State Department and the one for the Office of Management and Budget.

Lyft and Airbnb are also on the OMB list, along with some academics, a consultant, state officials and someone from Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based non-profit that produces immersive art experiences.

Given that OMB oversees regulatory policy, the absence of public interest, union and environmental people raises a concern. Otherwise, it appears that the Biden team is limiting corporate influence in the emerging administration.

Let's hope it stays that way.

Here's why so many white women voted for Trump: analysis

One unresolved mystery of the relative closeness of the presidential election has been the vote among women, particularly white women.

Listening to the elation in the streets about having our first woman vice president in Kamala Harris and the supportive calls of healing from Joe Biden, you might have thought this was evident in the voting patterns.

But despite Donald Trump's long record of misogynistic statements, policies and personal acts:

  • While women voters backed Biden, it was by the same proportion as in 2016, a 13% majority.
  • More than half of white women voted for Trump, according to exit poll data. So did white men.
  • Black women voted much more for Biden, even more strongly than Black men.

From all the polling information and actual campaigning before the election, it seemed certain that women were expected to reject Trump in large numbers.

It is so unsettling to consider that many of our fellow countrymen and women are either racists or accommodate racists or acquiesce to racists.

What analysis there has been says Joe Biden won votes from all women by about the same proportion as had Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. In other words, in the Centennial year for white women's suffrage, there was no tidal wave among women voters here for the slate that had a woman vice-presidential candidate.

Now, exit polls are rough – this year even shakier with changes in voting shifts and pandemic. They combine in-person interviews with Election Day voters and telephone polls of mail voters and early voters. Still, they give us some information toward understanding the who and why.

It appears that other factors, including partisan orientation, rural vs. urban location, race and age showed more variation than did gender. There appears to be a slightly lower gender gap in the presidential vote, though the variation better reflects changes in voting by men.

So, we're left with a conundrum: Over a lifetime, Trump regularly demeaned and insulted women, he faces multiple charges of assault, he has paid off porn stars for sex, he campaigned by telling suburban women he would find jobs for their husbands, he promoted policies attacking women of color, Muslim women, immigrant women.

Women mobilized with pink pussy hats and huge protests.

But on Election Day, a majority of white women ignored that and voted Trump.

Institutional Bias

So, is it engrained white entitlement—the public shaming of "Karens" too quick to call the police for minor or no issues involving Black passersby—or are we confusing the efforts to categorize voters? How do we explain voting behavior from what people say they care about?

Charles Blow, The New York Times columnist, was direct here:

"Let me be specific and explicit here: white people — both men and women — were the only group in which a majority voted for Trump, according to exit polls. To be exact, nearly three out of every five white voters in America are Trump voters. It is so unsettling to consider that many of our fellow countrymen and women are either racists or accommodate racists or acquiesce to racists… In any case, white women vote for Trump at higher rates than all other women, despite the fact that Trump has spent his first term, indeed his whole life, denigrating women."

Political analysts offer some other thoughts here: Year after year, political party shows itself a stronger force in presidential politics than gender, for example—partisan identity, as it were. And voting patterns among women, or white women, move less over years than male voters for reasons that are not obvious.

These questions about understanding votes by women presage wider questions for Democrats, who already are showing the pressures of just how progressive this new administration will prove to be, how assertive about structural ills.

The Trends; the Campaign

This year's campaign focused a lot on suburban voters, who had been said to be moving toward Biden. That cut both ways: Trump appealed directly to white suburban women with messages of fear and property loss, arguing Democrats want to destroy suburbs with more affordable housing.

College-educated white women and white men were split fairly evenly between Biden and Trump, with more women leaning toward Biden.

However one defines it, a majority of white women voted for Trump to protect what they have – status, income, tax advantage, whatever – despite Trump's anti-woman attitudes and record. That is the exact thought at the center of the many books, training classes and symposiums going on across the nation about the nature of institutional racism.

Meanwhile, Black women got the vote out in urban centers, in particular, making for the close results in Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states. Black women went for Biden in a slightly greater proportion than Black men; there were similar numbers among Latino voters. Black women organized communities to vote.

For historical note, women narrowly have backed the Democratic candidate in every election since 1996. On average, women have been 8% more likely than men to support Democrats since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center.

Studies have suggested that causes for the gender gap in the last several decades are almost never issues like abortion rights and sexual harassment, as much as feelings about government involvement in care and education. The economy and likely coronavirus would be more at the center of votes for women, a Pew analyst wrote.

But apparently not if one candidate could label those ideas socialism, toss in a lot of fear and salt it all with debasing invective.

In voting, white women apparently ignored insults to their personal dignity.

Biden says he wants to focus on healing rifts that Trump widened. One way to start is to stop insulting half of Americans who are women. But another is to persuade all of us to recognize how deep the racial divide runs through all of our social institutions.

Defeated Donald Trump is already tearing our government apart

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America is entering a very dangerous time. For his next 11 weeks in office, Donald Trump will be in a position to exact revenge, a word that by his own account is his entire life philosophy. We should all hope that he goes into one of his down emotional periods for an extended time so that lethargy, not blind rage, dominates his behavior until Jan. 20.

Through phony charges of ballot-box stuffing, firing officials, issuing pardons to friends and family and other acts Trump can do great damage between now and Inauguration Day, when his shield against criminal prosecution vanishes. He can also hobble the transition to a Biden administration.

Trump's first act of post-election political vandalism came in the wee hours Wednesday morning. He claimed the election was being stolen (video at 8:00) through "a major fraud on our nation." He has yet to show a scintilla of evidence to support that lie.

One of the most destabilizing things Trump could do is refuse to release, or severely limit, funds to pay for the transition to a Biden administration.

That's the kind of immoral rhetoric that damages faith in democracy and furthers the goals of Vladimir Putin who aims to undermine every major democracy because he considers self-governance a joke.

Three Firings

On Friday, while the election outcome was still uncertain, Trump abruptly removed three high-level officials, two women, and a man of color.

In a reckless move, Trump forced the resignation of Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who since 2018 had run the National Nuclear Security Administration, the agency whose duties include keeping high-grade radioactive elements, known as fissile material, out of the hands of terrorists and rogue states. Trump's Energy Secretary, Dan Brouillette, wanted to cut the budget for this work while Gordon-Hagerty sought increased funding.

Senator James Inhofe, a far-right Republican from Oklahoma, criticized the Trump administration for going soft on keeping nuclear materials from rogue states and terrorist groups. "People who should be doing all they can to support the critical work of the NNSA are instead trying to undermine it," Inhofe said in September.

After Gordon-Haggerty was ousted, Inhofe challenged the competency of Energy Secretary Brouillette, a rare break with the obsequious deference to Team Trump by Republican lawmakers over the past four years. The firing, "demonstrates he [Brouillette] doesn't know what he's doing in national security matters," Inhofe said.

Trump also fired Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, in what appears to be a move to ensure that Islamophobes exercise greater power in the agency.

The third appointee, Neil Chatterjee, was demoted, from the chairmanship of the powerful Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to being just one of the five commissioners. Running diversity training, which Trump generally banned by executive order, was behind the demotion, Chatterjee told the Washington Post. "Guilty as charged," he told EE News.

However, it wasn't diversity, but Trump's love of dirty coal that was behind Chatterjee's demotion, both Green Tech Media and The Wall Street Journal reported. Chatterjee had supported a tax on carbon, which economists across the spectrum have said for years would be the most efficient way to create incentives that speed the shift away from fossil fuels.

Spewing More Pollution

In his remaining weeks, Trump can also speed his many actions to spew more pollution under the guise of ending overly burdensome regulations. That's an issue DCReport has covered intensely for the last four years.

One of the most destabilizing things Trump could do is refuse to release, or severely limit, funds to pay for the transition to a Biden administration.

The General Services Agency is charged with funding the office needed to prepare for a new administration, including hiring hundreds of temporary workers, many of whom will end up working in the Biden administration.

And he could really hobble the new administration by refusing to provide or limit the availability of FBI agents and other investigators to run background checks on the roughly 4,000 political appointees of the incoming Biden administration.

Let's hope the next 70 some days are marked by golf, lazily watching Fox and Trump's now well-known executive incompetence so that the vandalism he does commit is random and repairable come 2021.

This is the face of radical-Republican contempt

Joe Biden just won more votes than anyone else in American history, but the next four years may go down in history as the stymied presidency. That's because it looks highly unlikely that the Democrats will get a majority in the Senate, leaving the chamber under the iron-fisted control of Mitch McConnell, patron saint of polluters and profiteers.

Even before noon on Jan. 20, 2021, Donald Trump will be in a position to do enormous harm that will complicate the Biden presidency. Indeed, we should expect Trump is already looking for ways to use his last eight weeks in office to punish our nation—or at least the states that voted for Biden.

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That assessment comes not from me, but from Trump himself. His life philosophy is a single word: revenge.

Trump wrote that in his book Think Big. Then he went on for 16 pages about how what gives him pleasure is ruining the lives of anyone who does not do as he asks. His long diatribe was intermingled with observations about his desires to do violence, especially against women, some of whom he has named like actress and talk show co-host Rosie O'Donnell.

"If you don't get even you are just a schmuck!" Trump, via his ghostwriter, wrote. "I really mean it, too."


Seething Trump

That Trump ruined the life of a woman executive at the Trump Organization simply because she declined, for solidly ethical reasons, to make a telephone call, you can imagine the vengeance he is thinking about as he smolders in his easy chair watching even as Fox News mocks some of his ridiculous claims about vote fraud and his winning the 2020 popular vote.

And if you think Trump might have changed his views against Christianity and renounced revenge since his book was published 12 years ago, consider this: At this year's National Prayer Breakfast he rejected forgiveness, a foundational tenant of the Christian faith he falsely claims to embrace.


But whatever havoc Trump can wreak in the next two months, McConnell will be in a position to do lasting damage until at least Jan. 3, 2023, the next date when Democrats might seat enough senators to make McConnell minority leader.

No respect

McConnell's conduct shows that has no respect for the will of the people, unless it matches his views. This is the same Mitch McConnell who declared that he wanted to make Obama's first term his only one and a failure, who sent three right-wing senators to plot against Obama on the night of Jan. 20, 2009, to ensure that the presidency of Barack Obama would be a one-term failure. As The Washington Post headlined a column by Jonathan Capehart, "Republicans Had It In for Obama Before Day 1."


That 2009 meeting, secret at the time but since acknowledged by most of the 14 participants, was just one example of how McConnell's evil lust for power has held back progress in America for most of this century. McConnell literally looks down his nose when asked by journalists about imposing his narrow mined and corporatist views on everyone else. A trust fund kid grown old and very rich, McConnell regularly displays his utter contempt for, our Constitution except for the parts that allow him to impose his will on America.

Just as McConnell refused to give an audience to Merrick Garland, the exceptionally qualified and centrist federal appeals judge whom Obama nominated for the Supreme Court, the senior senator from the Bluegrass state can refuse to confirm Biden's nominees to the cabinet and more than 1,000 other political appointments requiring the advice and consent of the Senate.

Power to block

Under Trump, McConnell has looked the way at the gross disregard for federal laws governing appointees. Just consider how Trump installed Matthew Whitaker as the de facto attorney general even though it violated our Constitution and a host of federal laws.

McConnell also has the power, assuming Republicans retain control of the Senate, to refuse any further coronavirus relief to be unemployed, landlords and small business owners. You can be absolutely sure that he will use his position to grant as little relief as possible while pushing for more of the lopsided coronavirus relief we saw last spring and summer when big business made out very nicely.

Elections have consequences. Welcome to the consequences of split government. Witness the power of one man—elected by just a portion of the people in a state with fewer than 5 million people—to thwart the will of the more than 71 million who voted for Biden.

Labor unions take credit for Biden vote counts in key states

Calling them the "saviors of democracy," labor groups representing essential frontline workers in key battleground states say their members have put Joe Biden on track to win the White House—and that they're now prepared to beat back Trump administration efforts to steal the 2020 presidential election from the Democratic Party nominee.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, leaders from SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania—part of the nationwide Service Employees International Union, the state group represents 45,000 caregivers—joined with Black Voters Matter, Our Future PA and other pro-labor, progressive organizations on the Harrisburg Capitol steps for a "Count Every Vote" rally. They plan to reassemble as outstanding ballots in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and North Carolina continue to be tabulated.

As of early Friday morning, Biden had taken a narrow lead in Georgia and was on the path to pass Trump in Pennsylvania.

'We know that we made a significant difference in Pennsylvania in this election.'

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder were there, too. (The AFL-CIO—the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations—is the largest federation of unions in the U.S.)

"The president decided he was winning in the fifth inning and called it a game—but we know we won yesterday," Bloomingdale told attendees.

Snyder invoked a football analogy, saying that Trump is defeated and that whatever "safety, fumble or interception" that may yet occur—the "game is over."

Representing Essential Workers

"Ignore the noise that's coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and keep your poise," Snyder said.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania President Matthew Yarnell later told DCReport that Trump's efforts to stop the count in his state and the "dangerous rhetoric spewing from the White House podium" is a direct effort to disenfranchise essential workers—many of them people of color.

"These are folks who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and many of them have voted by mail because they have to," Yarnell said. "They're working 12-hour shifts, they can't get to the polls on election day."

These workers, Yarnell says, have been out there "through thick and thin, day and night supporting our country as we've gone through this pandemic."

"Pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, folks who really make our country work—they deserve to have their voices heard and their ballots counted," he said.

Beating Clinton's Performance

Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton lost Pennsylvania by just over 44,000 votes. This time around, Unite Here—the national hospitality workers' union—believes it has done the "critical work" needed in Black and Brown communities throughout the state to best Donald Trump.

"We knocked on the doors of 575,000 voters across Philadelphia's Black and Brown neighborhoods that had low turnout in 2016," Unite Here Local 274 President Rosslyn Wuchinich told reporters during a Thursday press conference. "In those neighborhoods, we identified 60,000 Philadelphia voters who pledged to us to in person in contactless conversations to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris."

According to Wuchinich, half of those voters had not voted in 2016.

"We know that we made a significant difference in Pennsylvania in this election," she said.

Black and Latino workers laid-off from jobs with the Philadelphia Public School System constitute the majority of Unite Here Local 634's membership.

Black and Brown Voters

"The members I work with are primarily Black leaders in the Philadelphia school district who need to see a change in this country," Local 634 President Nicole Hunt told reporters. "They've been dealing with racial injustice, joblessness and folks who have just lost hope in this system. In 2016, these people did not vote that we targeted—and we were able to give them their voice back and let them know that they matter."

Unite Here succeeded in knocking on nearly 3 million doors on behalf of the Biden/Harris ticket in the months leading up to the Nov, election.

Unite Here Local 11 represents more than 30,000 hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona. Union canvassers ranging in age from 15 to 72, started knocking on doors for the Biden/Harris on blistering hot days back in July. When it was over, the union had reportedly put as many as 500 people in the field and interacted with more than 250,000 voters.

"We formed our team from some of the most devastated people, Local 11 Co-President Susan Minato told reporters during the virtual press conference. "These were laid-off hospitality workers who really did not know—and still do not know—if they will go back to a job."

Unite Here Secretary-Treasurer Gwen Mills told reporters:"We believe the saviors of democracy are working people."

Numerous labor leaders around the country have already stated that Trump would spark a general strike if he tries to subvert the will of the electorate. According to Yarnell "everything is on the table."

Fighting Trump's Efforts

"As I watch the results roll in, it's looking more like we're going to have a pretty decisive win for Vice-President Biden," he said. "If Trump continues to try to use tactics to try and intimidate… or use the legal system to try and take away the election from people that were duly won it—we're gonna fight tooth and nail to prevent that."

Unite Here President Donald "D." Taylor calls trade unionists the "difference makers" in the 2020 Presidential Election—and with that much political capital, organized labor should finally have enough political leverage to extract concrete demands from a Democratic Party that has long taken them for granted and failed to deliver for the working people they represent.

"We have to hold [Biden] accountable," Philadelphia's Nicole Hunt told me. "We want to see action taken."

For Unite Here, at least, that kind of immediate action would include relief for hard-pressed working people in crisis; raising the minimum wage, enacting rules that make it easier for working men and women to join a union; comprehensive immigration reform and a green economy.

Taylor expects Joe Biden will be the most "pro-union president" in his lifetime—but still says Labor must still continue to organize and push him to deliver for the workers.

It's unknown, however, how much of the union's agenda can be implemented as Sen. Mitch McConnell and Republicans look likely to retain control of the Senate.

"What we've done is assemble the car," Taylor said. "We're not just going to hand over the keys and say, OK, you drive it."

New York City firebrand Mike Hellstrom, secretary-treasurer of Laborers Local 108, says that the American labor movement knows very well what the integrity of the vote is all about.

"It's how our unions are formed," he told me. "Voting and having your ballot counted is the chief hallmark of our democracy. Organized labor has an obligation in ensuring that this integrity is held up in any election—especially that of the president of our country—including making our voices heard by demanding that all legal votes be counted, and holding those in power accountable to what our democracy stands for."

Vengeful Trump and his Republican cronies are plotting to make life hell for everyone

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Joe Biden just won more votes than anyone else in American history, but the next four years may go down in history as the stymied presidency. That's because it looks highly unlikely that the Democrats will get a majority in the Senate, leaving the chamber under the ironfisted control of Mitch McConnell, patron saint of polluters and profiteers.

Even before noon on January 20, 2021, Donald Trump will be in a position to do enormous harm that will complicate the Biden presidency. Indeed, we should expect Trump is already looking for ways to use his last eight weeks in office to punish our nation — or at least the states that voted for Biden.

That assessment comes not from me, but from Trump himself. His life philosophy is a single word: revenge.

Trump wrote that in his book Think Big. Then he went on for 16 pages about how what gives him pleasure is ruining the lives of anyone who does not do as he asks. His long diatribe was intermingled with observations about his desires to do violence, especially against women, some of whom he has named like actress and talk show co-host Rosie O'Donnell.

"If you don't get even you are just a schmuck!" Trump, via his ghostwriter, wrote. "I really mean it, too."

That Trump ruined the life of a woman executive at the Trump Organization simply because she declined, for solidly ethical reasons, to make a telephone call, you can imagine the vengeance he is thinking about as he smolders in his easy chair watching even Fox News mocks some of his ridiculous claims about vote fraud and his winning the 2020 popular vote.

And if you think Trump might have changed his views against Christianity and renounced revenge since his book was published 12 years ago, consider this: at this year's National Prayer Breakfast where he rejected forgiveness, a foundational tenant of the Christian faith he falsely claims to embrace.

But whatever damage Trump can wreak in the next two months, McConnell will be in a position to do lasting damage until at least Jan. 3, 2023, the next date when Democrats might seat enough senators to make McConnell minority leader.

McConnell's conduct shows that has no respect for the will of the people unless it matches his views. This is the same Mitch McConnell who declared that he wanted to make Obama's first term his only one and a failure. sent three right wing Senators to plot against Obama on the night of January 20, 2009, to ensure that the presidency of Barack Obama would be a one-term failure. As The Washington Post headlined a column by Jonathan Capehart, "Republicans Had It In for Obama Before Day 1."

That 2009 meeting, secret at the time but since acknowledged by most of the 14 participants, was just one example of how McConnell's evil lust for power has held back progress in America for most of this century. McConnell literally looks down his nose when asked by journalists about imposing his narrow mined and corporatist views on everyone else. A trust fund kid grown old and very rich, McConnell regularly displays his utter contempt for, our Constitution except for the parts that allow him to impose his will on America.

Just as McConnell refused to give an audience to Merrick Garland, the exceptionally qualified and centrist federal appeals judge who Obama nominated for the Supreme Court, the senior senator from the Bluegrass state can refuse to confirm Biden's nominees to the cabinet and more than 1,000 other political appointments requiring the advice and consent of the Senate.

Under Trump, McConnell has looked the way at gross disregard for federal laws governing appointees. Just consider how Trump installed Matthew Whitaker as the de facto attorney general even though it violated our Constitution and a host of federal laws.

McConnell also has the power, assuming Republicans retain control of the Senate, to refuse any further coronavirus relief to be unemployed, landlords and small business owners. You can be absolutely sure that he will use his position to grant as little relief as possible while pushing for more of the lopsided coronavirus relief we saw last Spring and Summer when big business made out very nicely.

Elections have consequences. Welcome to the consequences of split government and the power of one man elected by people in a state with fewer than five million people to overcome the more than 71 million who voted for Biden.

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