The Temptation of Joe, and Other News

President Joe Biden is facing a test. As Democrats plan openly to pass the new $1.9 billion relief package through reconciliation, Republicans are fearful they really mean it and are asking for a meeting with the President to pitch a counter-proposal. Ten Republican senators say they are willing to help pass a $600 billion package .

The GOP proposal jettisons certain elements that have drawn Republican opposition, such as increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

It would also reduce the size of a new round of checks Biden wants to send to Americans, from $1,400 per individual to $1,000 — while significantly reducing the income limits that determine eligibility for the stimulus payments. …

… The GOP plan would also reduce Biden’s proposal for extending emergency federal unemployment benefits, which are set at $300 a week and will expire in mid-March. The Biden plan would increase those benefits to $400 weekly and extend them through September. The GOP plan would keep the payments at $300 per week and extend them through June, according to three people with knowledge of the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of an official announcement.

Obviously there’s a lot of difference between $1.9 billion and $600 million, and I don’t know what else is left out. The ten senators say they will release their entire proposal tomorrow.

Republicans, of course, are screaming bitterly that President Biden had promised to work with them, and if he doesn’t do as they say he’s a poo-poo head. For their part, I suspect Democrats, who see a big victory in sight, will be mightily pissed if Biden throws his support behind the lesser bill. So, the test will be to see what he does.

Of course, I suppose it’s possible Chuck Schumer would allow a vote on the lesser bill, and then go ahead and pass the bigger bill through reconciliation.

In other news, Trump is having a hard time putting together a legal team for his impeachment. The lawyers who agree to work for him keep quitting. He may have to turn to Rudy Giuliani (oh, please, make it so …).


Former President Donald Trump’s five impeachment defense attorneys have left a little more than a week before his trial is set to begin, according to people familiar with the case, amid a disagreement over his legal strategy. …

…A person familiar with the departures told CNN that Trump wanted the attorneys to argue there was mass election fraud and that the election was stolen from him rather than focus on the legality of convicting a president after he’s left office. Trump was not receptive to the discussions about how they should proceed in that regard.

I understand that attorneys can be disbarred if they provide evidence they know to be untrue, which is what the Creature wants them to do. It also seems to me that Trump’s argument — that the riot was justified because the election was stolen from him — amounts to an admission of guilt on his part. Duh, Donnie.

At TPM, Matt Shuham writes that The Federal Case Against The Capitol Insurrectionists Is Becoming Much Clearer. Basically, the initial arrests were of the low-hanging fruit — the Camp Auschwitz guy, the rebel flag guy, the shaman guy, the boots on Pelosi’s desk guy, and the rest of the clowns who left all kinds of clues who they were. Also —

Then there’s the white supremacist from Maryland who convinced his probation officer to let him travel to D.C. to distribute bibles. His court-ordered monitoring device pinged his location as he milled around the Capitol steps.

However, now prosecutors are zeroing in on “violent and pre-planned behavior.” They are looking for the people who assaulted police officers and members of the media. They are looking for people who were organizing before they came to DC to attack the Capitol.

Their go-to example is that of three affiliates of the Oath Keepers militia group. They’re charged with conspiracy against the United States — specifically, an effort to obstruct the counting of Electoral College votes. Text messages allegedly show discussions of logistics details and committing violence on Donald Trump’s behalf for weeks ahead of the actual attack.

The concern is that there is some kind of radical network of violent extremists who might yet commit terrorist acts in the future. And these people were more careful to hide their identity, so identifying them may take more time.

Other stuff to read:

E.J. Dionne, WaPo, Democrats are faced with a choice. Protect the filibuster or protect democracy.

Jonathan Chait, New York, All the Lies They Told Us About the Filibuster

10 thoughts on “The Temptation of Joe, and Other News

  1. “These threads—planning, forethought, intent—are all indicative of a capacity and willingness to repeat the offense and pose a clear threat to community safety.” 

    These guys are being identified and arrested now. If there was planning and coordination, that ramps up the criminal charges a lot but the brass ring (legally) is tying the sedition to the WH. I have my doubts that that can be proven in time for the impeachment. 

    On the other hand, Trump can be indicted criminally if the proof shows there WAS coordination from the Oval Office.

  2. To be nice, let's give the RepubliKKKLAN & KKKonservative Q-ANON KKKonspiracy KKKrazies our negative reply to their request to cut the Covid stimulus by 2/rds in musical form:

    Do, Re, Me, Fa-Q!!!!!

  3. I think Rudy is claiming he was a participant and thus cannot be Trump’s lawyer.

    I too am disappointed.

  4. Janet Yellen cautions against half hearted measures at this point in the economic situation we are up against.  Much of  the economy is being propped up on borrowed  money and has been since T**** took office.  Always remember the con artist was in charge and the illusion of a strong economy was more important than a systemically strong economy.  

    Illusion, of course, is always a part of the economy.  Illusion did not stop the pandemic, however, and the pandemic has had a real effect on people and the economy, especially poor working people.  At this point the curve of the pandemic has flattened and may even be showing a slight decrease, but the contagion level remains very high.  Therefore, the national credit card must be tapped more.  

    None of this is good news, but the fact that ten or so Republicans are acting  a bit sane is good news.  Conservatives of a fiscal type (excluding Rand Paul) tend to be tolerable and sometimes beneficial.  This may not be the case here.  Their offer of support is good though, but obviously a lowball one.  It can be argued that either the government needs to go big here or not go at all.  There is also the matter of a history of bad faith cooperation turned manipulation.  Time is a serious factor also, and the more we wait the more it will cost in the long run.  Whatever gets done must happen quickly, as much valuable time and resources have been wasted waiting for magic to work.  Now this same magician is having a problem making his lawyers not disappear.  Another oops wrong hat moment I'm sure.  

  5. Biden should just push to pass the Democrat’s version (without any GOP votes). Once it helps everybody and the economy, the GOP will take credit for it anyway.

  6. Two things on Biden's so-called obligation to bipartisanship.

    • The GOP offer is not serious. They want to cut the Biden proposal by 2/3. That's an insult.

    • They can't promise the votes even if Biden takes the offer.

  7. Credit to the democrats and Biden thus far for recognizing and not falling into the trap they fell into in 2009 when the republicans used "negotiation" to stall on health care and eventually vote against everything they demanded.  The GOP demonstrats time and again they cannot be trusted as a "bipartisan" partner on legislation,  and that they will use it either to bully the democrats into giving them what they want, or into watering down into oblivion legislation democrats want in order to get them to agree, only to see them still not provide support.

    The voters care less about process and phony bipartisanship and more about getting things done that actually help them.

  8. "conspiracy against the United States"

    Awfully close to the statutory definition of sedition:

    Seditious conspiracy is a conspiracy to commit sedition. It is a federal crime in the United States per 18 U.S.C. § 2384:

    If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Comments are closed.