Monday, May 17, 2021

Monday Reading


As always, please go to the links for the full articles/ op eds.

A monthly child cash benefit stemming from the coronavirus relief bill is on the way to millions of families:

The Biden administration announced Monday that roughly 39 million American families will begin receiving direct cash payments in July under a new child benefit created by Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill.

The Internal Revenue Service will on July 15 start delivering a monthly payment of $300 per child under 6 and $250 per child older than 6 for those who qualify. The monthly benefits will be deposited directly in most families’ bank accounts on the 15th of every month -- or the closest day to that date, if the 15th falls on a holiday or weekend -- for the rest of the year, without any action required. For instance, an eligible family with two children aged 5 and 13 will receive $550 from the IRS directly to their bank accounts on or close to the 15th of every month from July to December.

Biden administration officials estimate that households representing more than 65 million children -- or 88 percent of all U.S. kids nationwide -- will begin receiving the benefit through direct deposit, paper checks, or debit cards. Of that population, roughly 80 percent of that population will be sent the cash directly via direct deposit, administration officials told reporters on a call Sunday. High-income parents will receive a smaller benefit or none at all, depending on how much they make. The credit diminishes for individuals with adjusted gross income of more than $75,000, as well as couples earning more than $150,000.

Thank you, Democrats!

E.J. Dionne, Jr.,  writes about the importance of passing the For the People Act for sustaining our democracy, and about the "two Joes" who are holding the key:

We can lament that voting rights have become a partisan issue, but that’s the way things are. No amount of cajoling, compromising, begging, pleading or standing-on-your-head-and-holding-your-breath will change this. Polls showing that many rank-and-file Republicans support the S. 1 reform don’t make a difference, either.

Which means that you can defend voting rights or you can defend the filibuster. You can’t do both. Manchin fears that passing a “partisan” bill on voting would further divide the country. Here’s what would divide the country even more: an election system that rolls back voting rights by endangering the ballot access of Black Americans, other minority groups and younger people.

Congress must also enact a new Voting Rights Act to restore the Justice Department’s ability to fight voting restrictions in the future. The original law was gutted in 2013 by a 5-to-4 right-wing Supreme Court majority. But a Voting Rights Act is no substitute for S. 1. Even if the Voting Rights Act is revived, all the voter suppression laws that have already been passed would stay on the books.  [snip]

... The time has come for the president to speak out, often and forcefully, against the assault on voting rights inspired by former president Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election.

Contrary to Trump’s claims, it was a small-D democratic triumph. Amazingly during a viral pandemic, turnout rose in both Republican and Democratic states because voting was made more convenient. The only partisanship now involves the GOP’s determination to make it harder to vote.

Which also means that Biden must talk to Manchin, Senate traditionalist to Senate traditionalist, about why their past opposition to ending the filibuster has to give way in the face of the GOP’s assault on democracy.

History will not look kindly on anyone who failed to rise to the occasion to support this existential voting and civil rights legislation of our time.

It appears the recall election Republicans hoped would drive California Gov. Gavin Newsom from office is flopping:

A fading coronavirus crisis and an astounding windfall of tax dollars have reshuffled California’s emerging recall election, allowing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newscom [sic] to talk about an end to most COVID-19 restrictions and propose billions in new spending as he looks to fend off Republicans who depict him as a foppish failure.

The governor spent much of 2020 on the defensive for whipsaw decisions during the depths of the pandemic that angered many business owners and residents. But more recently he has appeared to steady his stride with the all-but-certain election looming this fall.

The first-term Democrat unleashed a torrent of new spending after the state’s budget was blessed with a $76 billion surplus and $27 billion in federal pandemic aid. This week, he crisscrossed the state to unveil a string of proposals sure to bring smiles from many voters: $12 billion to fight homelessness; checks up to $1,100 for millions of low and middle-income earners who struggled during lockdowns; $2.7 billion to pay for all of the state’s 4-year-olds to go to kindergarten for free; and hundreds of millions to help small businesses recover from the economic downturn.

His budget released Friday was studded with initiatives favored by his progressive base, including $7.2 billion to pay off people’s outstanding rent and utility bills and $300 million to forgive traffic and other fines for lower-income residents. There also was $35 million to encourage local universal basic income programs and money to give Medicaid benefits to people 60 and older living in the country illegally.

Remember that memory- holing, crackpot Republican Congressman who said at a hearing on the January 6 insurrection that the event reminded him of a "normal tourist visit"?  That would be this asshole:


Rudy, Rudy, Rudy:

In the weeks since the feds raided Rudy Giuliani’s apartment and office in late April, close allies have tried to ferry a slew of emergency requests to former President Donald Trump and his advisers.

But according to three people familiar with the matter, Trump, as well as several of his legal advisers and longtime confidants, have been hesitant about swooping in to help the embattled Giuliani, who for years worked as Trump’s personal lawyer, a political adviser, and attack dog. Giuliani also served as a major player in the Trump-Ukraine scandal and as a key driver in the former president’s efforts to nullify Joe Biden’s clear victory in the 2020 election.  [snip]

Two people close to Trump say they have urged the former president to lay low on the matter and to refrain from making too many statements or commitments on Giuliani and the federal probe. These people have told Trump that it’s unclear what the feds have and that any statement could backfire both on him and on Giuliani. Moreover, various people in Trump’s social and political orbits have been trying to convince the former president for years that Giuliani has been too great a liability for him, and they have suggested that he cut the lawyer loose.

Pro tip for Rudy and his allies:  get a readout from Michael Cohen, Jeff Sessions, The Mooch, Omarosa, John Bolton, and dozens of unpaid contractors and stiffed business associates as to what you can expect from Dear Leader.  You're welcome.

Finally, to complete your morning reading, please head over to Infidel 753's excellent link round-up for the best assortment of links to interesting posts from around the Internet.  Also check out his latest edition of "Improving Words", an on-going exploration of "word definitions, based on what the words visibly should mean....."  Very clever and amusing stuff.


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