Opinion: Hateful GOP Belief That Americans Are Lazy Drives Resistance To Providing Coronavirus Relief

Trump - McConnell

Are the majority of Americans lazy and averse to work? Would they prefer not to work and to enjoy a free ride from the government?

How we answer this question, or how congressional leaders answer it, has a lot to do with what is really life-or-death legislation coming out of Washington, particularly with regards to COVID-19 relief packages. read more

Senator John Cornyn Defends The Use Of The Term “Chinese Virus” As Pandemic Continues

Although President Donald Trump has come under fire for using what critics say amounts to a racist dog whistle in referring to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus,” he has a defender in Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who when asked by a reporter whether the use of the term is acceptable, responded, “That’s where it came from.”

“Well, I think China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats, and snakes, and dogs, and things like that,” Cornyn continued. “These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the Swine Flu. And now the coronavirus. So I think they have a fundamental problem. And I don’t object to geographically identifying where it’s coming from.”

You can watch footage of Cornyn’s remarks below.

Reporter: "Are you on board with the President calling this the China virus, Chinese virus. Does it seem like it's helpful right now to call it that?"

Sen. John Cornyn: "That's where it came from." pic.twitter.com/TkvQ5Z9p8y read more

‘It’s a Mess’ — GOP Senators Panic Over Trump’s DHS Purge

Donald Trump has spent the last few days engaged in one of his favorite activities: firing people. And the net result is that he has decimated the Department of Homeland Security.

The president seems to be in a controlled rage, having now let go DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Lee Cissna, Undersecretary for Management Claire Grady, and General Counsel John Mitnick. And on top of that he also got rid of the highly respected Secret Service director, Randolph “Tex” Alles.

According to a new report in POLITICO, the people most surprised — and upset — by Trump’s DHS purge are top GOP senators.

“It’s a mess,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), who is up for re-election next year. “Honestly, it wasn’t Secretary Nielsen’s fault. It wasn’t for lack of effort on her part. I don’t know if there’s anybody who’s going to be able to do more.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was especially shocked by the firing of Cissna, especially after learning that Trump also plans to fire USCIS strategist Kathy Nuebel Kovarik. “I heard that they are on the list to be fired. They are doing in an intellectual-like way what the president wants to accomplish. So no, they should not go,” said Grassley.

Trump’s congressional allies are now panicking and practically begging him not to fire more top officials at DHS or other agencies. They are telling him that it will be very hard to solve the immigration crisis and the border crisis without good people in charge of the process of making and enforcing immigration policies.

Trump Adviser Stephen Miler Is Behind the Purge read more

Democrats evolve to “demand the impossible” against GOP Cynicism

One of my favorite book titles is that of Tom Moylan’s 1986 study of utopian literature: Demand the Impossible.

He explains, if memory serves, that he saw those words spray-painted on a wall in the Paris streets during the 1968 mass rebellions. The phrase stayed with him, clearly, as it has with me

The phrase has been re-echoing for me given recent events highlighting both the abiding death-driven GOP politics of greed but also a new ambitious Democratic politics. This evolving attitude in the Democratic Party eschews the cautious and insufficient incrementalism of even Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign in favor of a far more humane and imaginative politics of possibility. This fresh Democratic politics is rooted in not just concrete reality, but in actually existing practices in countries around the globe and even in the United States, in states such as Washington, governed by the trailblazing Jay Inslee. One factor in this evolution may be the loosening of the stranglehold of American Exceptionalism among Democrats as well as its waning force in United States culture overall.

Last week, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell forced a sham vote on a resolution of the Green New Deal, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn excoriated the Democrat’s ambitious blueprint, saying, “”The Green New Deal is chockful of utopian ideas but completely devoid of concrete plans to implement any of its overreaching policies.” He dismissed the plan as a “radical environmental policy” that includes “Medicare for all, free college, and guaranteed jobs.”

Yet, while the resolution wasn’t actual legislation, many of the bold ideas involved in the Green New Deal, such as transitioning U.S. energy production to largely renewable sources, raising the marginal tax rate for earned income over $10 million 70% (it was 90% during Eisenhower’s presidency and 71% during Nixon’s), providing government-funded college education, healthcare for all, and more, are all objectives being realized in other nations and even undergoing implementation in the United States.

A society with these characteristics is not just NOT impossible. It’s more than possible; it’s reality in many countries.

Germany, a nation that already generates 41% of its energy from renewable sources, recently announced a plan, expected to be adopted by the government, to shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants by 2038 in order to meets international commitments to address climate change. This plan came on the heels of a previous decision, made after Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster, to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022 (12 of 19 have already been shut down).

BOOM. It’s possible—and actual.

But, of course, the cultural and political mentality would need to overcome the arrogance of American exceptionalism that has so long dominated—and occluded—thinking in the United States.

What do I mean by American exceptionalism?

American exceptionalism has a long history in our culture. As Harvard Professor Stephen Walt explains, typical manifestations of this belief “presume that America’s values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration” and “imply that the United States is both destined and entitled to play a distinct and positive role on the world stage.” They rest “on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law.” “Americans,” Walt says, “like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.”

This belief is so powerful that it distorts our national vision and, because it prevents us from truly assessing where we fall short, hinders our ability to address dimensions of our culture gravely in need of amelioration.

Take a recent example in which Senator Bernie Sanders dared critique the U.S. healthcare system because the cost of a birthing a child is $12,000 compared to $60 in Finland.

Without missing a beat, Nikki Haley, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., tweeted, “Health care costs are too high that is true but comparing us to Finland is ridiculous. Ask them how their health care is. You won’t like their answer.”

Well, Finland’s representative to the U.N. Kai Sauer quickly responded: “Finland has a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending.” Additionally, Sauer noted that the United Nations describes Finland as having the world’s third-lowest infant mortality rate and the lowest maternal mortality, measures typically used to evaluate a nation’s healthcare systems overall. The United States has the worst overall child mortality rate compared with 19 other wealthy nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to a study published last year in the journal Health Affairs.

“The US is the most dangerous of wealthy, democratic countries in the world for children,” according to the study’s lead author, Dr. Ashish Thakrar.

Haley’s reflexive quip exemplifies this American exceptionalist attitude that prevents us from seeing what is possible and actual, thus rendering reality “impossible” in our political discourse.  We don’t even see our own failings to recognize we can do better.

In 2016, such thinking was rampant. When Sanders would bring up the fact that countries like Denmark did provide college education and healthcare for its citizens—not for “free” but through taxation—he was roundly skewered, accused on shows like Morning Joe and Hardball for making a “political gaffe” and not understanding that Americans don’t want to be Scandinavian.

Even Clinton jumped on the bandwagon, declaring, ““We are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America.”

Leaders like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who do not fear being labeled Euorpean socialists, and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who has raised the minimum wage in his state and instituted measures to achieve a

green economy and address climate change read more

Republicans Begin Witch Hunt, Plan to Investigate Obama Officials

Republicans in Congress have begun a witch hunt, as they have started to plan their own probe into top Obama-era officials and the 2016 election.

The GOP is obviously anxious to move past special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign. So now they are starting to investigate “the investigators,” according to a new report in The Hill.

The idea is now very popular within the Republican caucus, and has the support of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

Even though Mueller’s report hasn’t been released yet, Republicans say that Attorney General William Barr’s letter proves that Mueller “did not establish” that Trump or members of his campaign coordinated or colluded with Moscow in its election interference.

“Republicans believe that the FBI and DOJ, the top people took the law in their own hands because they wanted Clinton to win and Trump to lose,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)  said recently on Fox News.

He said that he will be looking at “abuse” of the FISA warrant application process and the counterintelligence operation into Trump’s campaigns. He also said that “there will be a lot of inquiry as to how this all happened.”

GOP senators have already identified the former Obama officials who will be at the top of their lists to question. They include former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director James Brennan, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

According to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Judiciary Committee:

“The Judiciary Committee has primary jurisdiction and doing oversight of the Department of Justice and the FBI and so that … is something we need to do. Trying to find out how this thing got off the rails and hopefully prevent it from happening again.” read more

GOP Senator Mocked For Bragging About Trump’s 43% Approval Rating

The number two Republican in the U.S. Senate went on Twitter this morning to boast about a new Gallup poll showing that Donald Trump’s approval rating is now at 43%. And of course he was immediately mocked on social media for pointing out something that most presidents would rather keep secret.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) apparently was trying to boost morale among the Republican base by touting the new Gallup poll. In that poll, just 43 percent of American voters say the approve of President Donald Trump, while 54 percent disapprove.

“Trump’s Rating on Economy Still Top Strength, Hits New High,” wrote Coryn, who then posted a link to Gallup’s latest poll showing approval of Trump stuck in the low 40’s.

While it’s true that 56 percent of voters in the Gallup survey said they approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, just 42 percent approved of his handling of his signature issue of immigration, while only 37 percent approved of his handling of corruption in government.

Given that Trump’s approval ratings are still historically low at this point in his presidency compared to past presidents, Cornyn’s tweet was showered with ridicule by many followers. Check out some of the responses below.

Trump has a 43% approval rating. Horrendous in this good of an economy. read more

Shocked Senators Say Trump & Sessions Can’t Stop the Mueller Probe

Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas on Wednesday took a stand in support of the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers when he said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have the legal authority to stop the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller.

“Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn said Sessions doesn’t have the authority to end the probe but added the “President is entitled to speak his mind.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said Sessions doesn't have the authority to end the probe but added the "President is entitled to speak his mind."https://t.co/hGviIQ3WeU read more