Opinion: COVID Relief Fiasco Reveals McConnellism Rivals Trumpism In Disregard for Americans’ Welfare

Trump - McConnell

Americans have been living under a political system arguably best characterized as a tyranny of the minority for some time.  Certainly, for the past four years the nation has suffered the insidious rule of a president who lost the popular vote by 3 million tallies in the 2016 election, just as the nation was hornswoggled into a devastatingly costly war—in human, financial, and geopolitical terms—and financial disaster from 2000 to 2008 by the Bush-Cheney regime, which also sneaked into office having lost the popular vote.  And even when the majority vote was able to elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, it had to do so in the context of still-existent gerrymandered districting that meant in many cases, in down-ballot races, Republican candidates could win local elections in states that still featured an overwhelming Democratic electorate. read more

Trump Wishes Nation a “Happy Thanksgiving” While Sharing News of Supreme Court’s Covid-19 Ruling

Almost immediately after the death of Associate Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett, then a federal judge, to fill her seat. The nomination was highly contentious; Barrett came under fire for her views her critics believed would tilt the balance of the court in a partisan direction. The Republican-controlled Senate confirmed Barrett to the nation’s highest court within a month.

And late last night, the Supreme Court voted to bar the state of New York from reimposing Covid-19 restrictions on religious gatherings. The ruling was 5-4, and Justice Barrett was the crucial swing vote, siding with her conservative colleagues.

The news prompted President Donald Trump to wish the country a “Happy Thanksgiving” as he shared coverage of the ruling from the nonpartisan SCOTUSblog, which has covered the Supreme Court since 2002.

In their decision, the majority said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. The restrictions varied and depended on zone: In “red” zones, zip codes where coronavirus infections are the highest, no more than 10 people may attend religious services. Attendance is capped at 25 in “orange” zones, where the risk of coronavirus infection isn’t as high.

The unsigned majority opinion in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America said that Covid-19 regulations are “far more restrictive than any Covid-related regulations that have previously come before the court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus.”

President Trump has often sparred with Cuomo over coronavirus restrictions and accused him of mishandling the pandemic in the state, which experienced the heaviest losses in the spring. More than 34,000 people have died in New York since the pandemic began, though the curve in the state has remained relatively flat in the last few months, experiencing a slower uptick in Covid-19 cases as the virus has spread further afield, endangering lives in the Midwest and in the Sunbelt.

Amy Coney Barrett Played Key Role in SCOTUS Decision Barring NY from Reimposing Covid-19 Restrictions on Religious Gatherings

Last night, the Supreme Court voted to bar the state of New York from reimposing Covid-19 restrictions on religious gatherings. The court voted 5-4 in an emergency ruling issued just before midnight. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was just recently confirmed, sided with her conservative colleagues in a crucial swing vote.

In their decision, the majority said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s restrictions violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. The restrictions varied and depended on zone: In “red” zones, zip codes where coronavirus infections are the highest, no more than 10 people may attend religious services. Attendance is capped at 25 in “orange” zones, where the risk of coronavirus infection isn’t as high.

The unsigned majority opinion in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and Agudath Israel of America said that Covid-19 regulations are “far more restrictive than any Covid-related regulations that have previously come before the court, much tighter than those adopted by many other jurisdictions hard hit by the pandemic, and far more severe than has been shown to be required to prevent the spread of the virus.”

By contrast, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented: “Free religious exercise is one of our most treasured and jealously guarded constitutional rights,” she wrote. “States may not discriminate against religious institutions, even when faced with a crisis as deadly as this one. But those principles are not at stake today.”

Sotomayor, in particular, said that the Constitution “does not forbid states from responding to public health crises through regulations that treat religious institutions equally or more favorably than comparable secular institutions, particularly when those regulations save lives. Because New York’s Covid-19 restrictions do just that, I respectfully dissent.”

The impact of Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court cannot be denied, signaling that support for Covid-19 restrictions has shifted since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prompted President Donald Trump and Republican colleagues to speed up a confirmation process in a bid to secure a conservative majority.

The hashtag #AmyCovidBarrett began to trend on social media after the ruling, which renewed calls for President-elect Joe Biden to expand the court once he takes office.

So essentially SCOTUS ruled against what’s happening in the best interest of the state, and by extension, the public interest. Sure, let the religious zealots dictate what’s best. Nice work, #AmyCovidBarrett. Let’s hope Biden expands the Court. It is time. read more

Jared Kushner Reportedly Didn’t Want Federal Response to Coronavirus: “Free Markets Will Solve This”

A new report claims that Jared Kushner didn’t want a federal response to the Coronavirus pandemic and blamed New York for the suffering that the virus would cause there.

A blockbuster report in Vanity Fair outlines comments Kushner made at a meeting about on March 20

Federal Emergency Management Agency that was meant to develop a strategy involving the federal government and private industry. read more

Andrew Cuomo: Trump “Better Have an Army” If He Wants to Walk the Streets of New York

Andrew Cuomo destroys Mitch McConnell at his press conference

Andrew Cuomo slammed Donald Trump for a memo aimed at defunding New York and other Democrat-led cities on Wednesday. The Governor said the President was no longer welcome in his hometown.

Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters that Trump’s memo on cutting federal funds to “anarchist jurisdictions” was unenforceable and an unnecessary attack on the city.

It’s cheap, it’s political, it’s gratuitous, and it’s illegal,” Cuomo said.

Everything that he could possibly do in his power to hurt New York City he has done,” he said, adding that the President “better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the street in New York.”

Cuomo went on to explain that Trump is no longer popular in the city of his birth – a claim supported by recent polling showing the President’s native Queens is ashamed of him.

My comment about the president’s bodyguards in New York City, all I’m saying is that he is persona non grata in New York City and I think he knows that,” Cuomo said.

“And he’ll never come back to New York because New Yorkers will never forget how gratuitously mean he has been to New Yorkers and how many times he has tried to kill the city that gave him his start and that birthed him.”

“The best thing he did for New York City was leave. Good riddance. Let him go to Florida. Be careful not to get Covid,” he said.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter read more

Justice Department Wants Data on Nursing Home Deaths in States Led by Democrats

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has sent letters to the Democratic governors of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to ascertain whether states violated federal law by ordering nursing homes to accept recovering COVID-19 patients from hospitals, an action that critics say spread the novel coronavirus and possibly contributed to the death toll. DOJ prosecutors say these orders “may have resulted in the deaths of thousands of elderly nursing home residents.” 

“We must ensure they are adequately cared for with dignity and respect and not unnecessarily put at risk,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband said.

The offices of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said the request is currently under review. The offices of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the request is politically motivated, coming the week of the Republican National Convention, which Republicans have spent slamming the Democrats’ response to the pandemic.

“Americans would all be better served if the Trump administration stopped the partisan games and focused on delivering a real plan to defeat COVID-19,” said Tiffany Brown, a spokesperson for Governor Whitmer.

“This is nothing more than a transparent politicization of the Department of Justice in the middle of the Republican National Convention. It’s no coincidence the moment the Trump administration is caught weakening the CDC’s COVID-19 testing guidelines to artificially lower the number of positive cases, they launched this nakedly partisan deflection,” Cuomo and Whitmer

said read more

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo: Trump Is “Anticipating Losing on Election Day”

Cuomo Trump

Andrew Cuomo thinks Donald Trump’s attacks on vote-by-mail are a “set up” because he knows he’s going to lose the election. The New York governor believes the President will allege fraud.

Cuomo, a Democrat, told the Today show that the President’s continued criticism of mail-in ballots is an attempt to find an excuse when he loses in November.

I think this is a set up,” Cuomo said. read more

What The Coronavirus Teaches, And What Trump Won’t Learn, About A Free-Market Economy

Trump cancels Jacksonville convention

Republicans continue to block legislation to provide relief to tens of millions of Americans as well as the state and local governments that provide services and employment to them. Their hand-wringing, it seems, is rooted in the worry that providing relief, such as extending enhanced unemployment benefits, will eliminate any incentive, or coercion, for people to seek employment and return to work. read more

Andrew Cuomo Calls Trump Tax Decision a “Victory for Democracy” as President Has Twitter Meltdown

Andrew Cuomo destroys Mitch McConnell at his press conference

Andrew Cuomo praised the Supreme Court’s decision to allow New York prosecutors access to Donald Trump’s tax returns on Thursday but the President himself was not happy.

The Governor of New York welcomed the news that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has the right to present the President returns to a grand jury. He is seeking eight years’ worth of Trump’s personal and business records.

“It is a fundamental principle in our country: No one is above the law,

not even the president read more

Cuomo Affirms Support for Transgender People After Trump Administration Rolls Back Protection

Andrew Cuomo destroys Mitch McConnell at his press conference

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo affirmed his state’s support for the transgender community after President Donald Trump’s administration announced it would roll back anti-discrimination rules protecting transgender individuals seeking healthcare. The Trump administration’s announcement came on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the deadliest act of terror against LGBTQ people in American history.

“The Trump administration’s final rule rolling back healthcare nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people is repugnant. That this action was taken on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting – an act of domestic terror targeting the LGBTQ community – and amid a global pandemic is grotesque,” Cuomo said in a statement. read more

An Engineer That Received a $69 Million Contract After A Tweet to Trump Never Provided Ventilators

According to an investigative report from Buzzfeed News, an engineer that received a $69.1 million contract from the state of New York after replying to tweets from President Donald Trump never provided the ventilators.

Yaron Oren-Pines, an electrical engineer in Silicon Valley who specializes in mobile phone technology, received a $69.1 million payment from New York after tweeting, “We can supply ICU Ventilators, invasive and noninvasive. Have someone call me URGENT.” in response to a tweet the president issued on March 27 calling for Ford and General Motors to develop more ventilators.

The amount Oren-Pines received is equivalent to $47,656 per ventilator, which Buzzfeed News points out is “at least triple the standard retail price of high-end models.”

None of the ventilators have been produced, said a state official who spoke to the outlet, adding that the state entered the contract with Oren-Pines because the White House coronavirus task force recommended him.

“The guy was recommended to us by the White House coronavirus task force because they were doing business with him, as well,” the official said. “I think everyone was genuinely trying to help each other out and get supplies.”

New York signed a contract with Oren-Pines three days after he replied to Trump’s tweet.

Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, said the severity of the coronavirus pandemic has forced states to turn to vendors who may be untested or unqualified.

“We had no choice but to overturn every rock to find ventilators and other needed equipment,” he said. “States were forced to fend for themselves to purchase lifesaving supplies to combat a global pandemic and with all modeling showing a more severe spread of this virus with more hospitalizations and more fatalities.”

New York state is currently evaluating other contracts and has since been able to meet most of its needs.

Oren-Pines said “neither me nor my company is providing any comment on this” in a statement to Buzzfeed News and could not be reached for further comment afterward.

Katie Miller, a spokesperson for Vice President Mike Pence, said in a statement that “The White House Coronavirus Task Force was never informed of this contract and was not involved in it at all.”

Poll: Dr. Fauci and Gov. Cuomo Are The Most Trusted Leaders on Coronavirus

According to a SurveyMonkey Audience poll conducted by Insider asking how much Americans trust 10 Trump administration and Democratic officials for their leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) are the most trusted leaders in the United States.

Insider asked the following: “When it comes to the official advice regarding coronavirus, please rate how much you trust the following messengers on a scale on 1 to 5.”

“On the scale, 1 means strongly distrust, 2 means somewhat distrust, 3 means neither trust nor distrust, 4 means somewhat trust, and 5 means strongly trust,” the outlet noted.

Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the most recognizable face on the White House’s official coronavirus task force, received an average rating of 3.8 out of 5, with 39% of respondents giving him a rating of 5 and 64% trusting him overall.

Cuomo received a 3.2out of 5 on average, with roughly 25 percent of respondents giving him ratings of 5, 4, and 3 respectively.

President Donald Trump and his son-in-law and chief adviser Jared Kushner rank toward the bottom by comparison.

The ranking is as follows: 

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci: 3.8 out of 5
  • Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York: 3.2 out of 5
  • White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx: 3.1 out of 5
  • Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: 3.0 out of 5
  • Governor Gavin Newsom of California: 3.0 out of 5
  • Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden: 2.7 out of 5
  • Vice President Mike Pence: 2.6 out of 5
  • Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: 2.5 out of 5
  • President Donald Trump: 2.3 out of 5
  • Jared Kushner: 2.3 out of 5
  • read more

    NY, NJ Govs. Slam McConnell for Suggesting States Should Declare Bankruptcy

    Mitch McConnell

    Democratic Governors Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) and Phil Murphy (N.J.) criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for suggesting that states should declare bankruptcy instead of receiving a federal bailout.

    “I would certainly be in favor of allowing states to use the bankruptcy route,” McConnell said yesterday during an appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program. “It’s saved some cities, and there’s no good reason for it not to be available. You raised yourself the important issue of what states have done, many of them have done to themselves with their pension programs. There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

    McConnell’s statements were swiftly slammed by the governors of the two states most drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

    “Encouraging, explicitly almost hoping for bankruptcies of American states in the midst of the biggest health care crisis this country has ever faced, is completely and utterly irresponsible,” Murphy said. “You have my word. We won’t go bankrupt. But you know what will happen? We will gut the living daylights … out of the services — the exact services — that our citizens need right now. We will just cut, cut, cut and cut. We won’t go bankrupt, Senator, but we will leave our citizens in the lurch in their most profound hour of need.”

    Cuomo, meanwhile, said McConnell made “one of the dumb statements of all time.”

    “You talk about one issue where you think you can get past partisanship and pettiness and you talk about communities where people are dying and you say they are blue states,” Cuomo said during an interview with his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “How am I supposed to reopen if you want me to declare bankruptcy?”

    McConnell later said that federal aid should not be seen as an opportunity for “revenue replacement.”

    “We’re not interested in solving their pension problems for them,” McConnell said. “We’re not interested in rescuing them from bad decisions they’ve made in the past. We’re not going to let them take advantage of this pandemic to solve a lot of problems that they created for themselves with bad decisions in the past.”

    Cuomo Hires Consultants to Develop “Trump Proof” Plan So Economy Can Reopen on New York’s Terms

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has hired McKinsey & Company to produce “models on testing, infections and other key data points that will underpin decisions on how and when to reopen the region’s economy” according to government sources who spoke to Reuters.

    “McKinsey, like so many other businesses, is committed to supporting the response to the crisis,” a company spokesman told reporters.

    Cuomo’s efforts for his state begins just after seven East Coast states formed a coalition, led by New York, to develop a plan to reopen their respective economies. The three governors on the West Coast have created a similar plan, and together these 10 states make up 38 percent of the national economy.

    “We think Trump ultimately will blink on this, but if not, we need to push back, and we are reaching out to top experts and other professionals to come up with a bullet-proof plan,” said a Cuomo adviser.

    Cuomo has extended “New York on Pause”––the name for the statewide shutdown––through May 15.

    “I don’t want to project beyond that period––that’s about one month, one month is a long time. People need certainty and clarity so they can plan. I made a coordinated action plan with the other states,” Cuomo said earlier today.

    President Donald Trump plans to release new guidelines telling states they can lift their stay-at-home orders at their discretion before the May 1 deadline, news that has sparked anger among the public and garnered criticism from the medical community. The president often touted the strength of his economy before the novel coronavirus pandemic upended it.

    “We’re going to be announcing guidelines, and we’ll be talking about various states, and it’s very exciting,” Trump said yesterday. “We will be the comeback kids, all of us, all of us. It’s incredible, what’s going on. “Tomorrow is going to be a very big day … We will have some openings that will … exceed our expectations, and they will be safe.”

    Trump Accuses Democratic Governors of ‘Mutiny’ While Comparing Himself to Famously Tyrannical Captain

    President Donald Trump accidentally compared himself to a captain known for tyrannical behavior on Tuesday. He was attempting to criticize Democratic governors.

    “Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ was one of my all time favorite movies,” Trump wrote.

    “A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain.”

    “Too easy!” he said.

    Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy! read more