Margaret Klessens, a 96-year-old World War II veteran, gets the COVID vaccine in Massachusetts. Photo: Dr. Sanjay Gupta/Twitter
As U.S. distribution of the newly approved Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine kicked off Sunday with the shipment of millions of doses to sites across the nation, Senate Republicans faced mounting outrage for continuing to block federal funds that crisis-ravaged states and localities desperately need to carry out an unparalleled mass inoculation effort.
Facing large budget shortfalls due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lack of relief from the deadlocked Congress, state and local governments will soon be tasked with executing a rapid vaccination campaign that will require large quantities of supplies as well as new clinics, additional workers, and public outreach—all of which will cost money that states and localities fear they don’t have. Continue reading →
Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.
The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading →
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday began circulating a coronavirus relief proposal whose contents offer so little assistance to the tens of millions of jobless, hungry, and eviction-prone Americans that critics warned the Kentucky Republican is actively working to ensure the U.S. economy remains mired in deep recession as Biden administration takes charge next month.
Described as a “targeted” relief proposal, McConnell’s plan is heavily geared toward providing corporations with immunity from coronavirus-related lawsuits; the offer includes a liability shield that Public Citizen’s Remington Gregg described as “breathtakingly broad.” The Kentucky Republican’s plan also contains a 100% tax deduction for business meals. Continue reading →
A pair of progressive advocacy groups is pushing back hard against an emerging narrative that President-elect Joe Biden—declared the projected winner of the 2020 presidential race on Saturday—should submit in any way to the authority of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, assuming Republicans retain control of the Senate, when it comes to picking a cabinet or setting legislative priorities heading into 2021.
In a detailed joint memo (pdf) issued Friday that followed reporting from news outlets, including Axios, that suggested that Biden will be forced to accommodate McConnell as he selects top appointments during the transition period and upon taking office in January, government watchdog groups Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project argued that this would be a deeply misguided direction to go—one that would have disastrous consequences for the new administration and the Democratic Party as a whole. Continue reading →
Citing Trump’s signals that he may try to remain in office regardless of the election results, the group tells lawmakers, “to be clear, you no longer have the option to stand idly by and wait for things to ‘play out.'”
Judge Amy Coney Barrett during her Circuit Court confirmation hearing. Screenshot: C-SPAN
Ahead of reporting Friday that President Donald Trump has selected Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Patriotic Millionaires launched a “Knives Out on SCOTUS” campaign pressuring Senate Democrats to fight back against “morally-bankrupt Republican hypocrites” in the chamber who are trying to “hand a far-right ideologue a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court just days before the most divisive and consequential election in American history.”
The group’s open letter, which Americans are urged to sign, comes after a week of mobilizing in response to Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell (R-Ky.) vowing after Ginsburg’s death that they were committed to nominating and voting on her replacement before November 3. The letter demands that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and members of the Democratic Caucus “use every possible procedural tool” at their disposal “to disrupt and delay this public fraud.” Continue reading →
Each year, approximately one million metric tons of land based plastic leaks into the ocean from Indonesia. Regions with the highest poverty levels have the highest levels of plastic pollution.. Screenshot: YouTube
Analysis released Thursday of the world’s top 10 biggest plastic polluters in 15 countries reveals how major corporations hide behind the veneer of corporate responsibility while actively working to thwart regulatory legislation around the globe.
“This report is a damning exposé of the tactics employed by the plastics industry and shines a welcome light on the shadowy world of corporate lobbying,” Natalie Fee, founder of City to Sea, which supported the research conducted by the Changing Markets Foundation, said in a statement. Continue reading →
“Trump’s disastrous plan to defund Social Security would eliminate retirement and disability benefits by 2023,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “That may make sense to the billionaires at Trump’s country club, but it makes zero sense to me.”
Hundreds of union activists rally at the Minneapolis Social Security Field Office on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. (Photo: AFGE/Flickr/cc)
The Social Security Administration’s chief actuary estimated late Monday that eliminating the payroll tax would fully deplete Social Security’s disability and old-age trust funds by 2023, confirming the disastrous consequences progressive advocacy groups and lawmakers have been warning of since President Donald Trump threatened earlier this month to “terminate” the levy if reelected in November.
In a letter (pdf) to Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), SSA chief actuary Stephen Goss wrote that scrapping the payroll tax would “permanently” deplete the Disability Insurance trust fund by mid-2021 and the Old Age and Survivors Insurance trust fund by mid-2023 “with no ability to pay” the benefits afterward. Continue reading →
Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone. Photo: Public domain
Sens. Bernie Sanders, Mark Warner, Doug Jones, and Richard Blumenthal on Thursday unveiled legislation aimed at stemming coronavirus-induced mass layoffs in the United States by guaranteeing paychecks and healthcare benefits to laid-off and furloughed workers for the rest of 2020.
The Paycheck Security Act—introduced with support from senators across the ideological spectrum of the Democratic caucus, and with the notable backing of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)—would massively expand the existing Employee Retention Tax Credit to cover wages, salaries, and benefits for laid-off or furloughed workers up to $90,000 per year. Continue reading →
On Monday, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell, and other senior officials called on a federal judge to prevent the disclosure of files related to the role of the government of Saudi Arabia in the September 11 attacks. The officials told the judge in the civil case that the release of the files would endanger national security.
The files are being sought by families of the 9/11 victims who have spent the last two decades attempting to uncover the truth about the attacks. The families filed a lawsuit in federal district court in New York in 2017 as part of their effort to uncover the role of the Saudi government. What is publicly known is that the alleged 9/11 hijackers had a relationship with Saudi government officials. As ProPublicareported, at the 2019 White House September 11 memorial, U.S. President Donald Trump promised the families he would help them uncover the truth about 9/11. He made similar promises while he was campaigning for president. Continue reading →
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly planning to change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to confirm right-wing judicial nominees to lifetime appointments. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/cc/flickr)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is reportedly pursuing a “nuclear option” rule change to make it easier to push through a flood of President Donald Trump’s right-wing judges.
Under the new rules, nominees for lifetime appointments on lower courts would only require a simple majority of votes rather than the current 67. Critics condemned the move as “hijacking” the federal judiciary and pointed out that even if Democrats regain control of the Senate and White House in the next election, they may not have any more spots to fill post-2020. Continue reading →