Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issues order shutting down Tuesday’s election

In a historic move less than 24 hours before polls were set to open, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers shut down Tuesday’s election to avoid causing more illness and deaths in Wisconsin as the number of coronavirus infections surges.

Evers on Monday issued an executive order that bars in-person voting Tuesday and moves the state’s spring election to June 9. It also calls lawmakers back into session this week to decide whether the election should be held at a different date.

….BUT……:

But the move is expected to immediately be challenged by Republican lawmakers who want to keep polls open and adjourned the Legislature on Monday without taking up measures to delay the election that Evers called for on Friday.

“It could end up in the Supreme Court yet today but the bottom line is the people of Wisconsin, they don’t care about the fighting between Democrats and Republicans — they’re scared,” Evers said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m standing up for them. I’m standing up for those people who are afraid and that’s why I’m doing this.”

sheesh. too much damn drama in the face of a crisis…throw them all out next cycle.

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In the various bills coming out of Congress to address the economic hardships being experienced by everyday Americans…there are plans in place to help making/delaying mortgage payments…rent payments…delays in evictions…student loans…etc. Yes it is important to make sure everyone has stable housing during the stay at home environment.

And then we have the support checks for $1,200 arriving in our back accounts or mailboxes three weeks to three months from now. Something of a help…but probably not enough and probably not soon enough for a lot of people.

So what will those people do? They will probably fill the gaps with credit card purchases and cash advances. So when will Congress address credit card debt?

One of the big questions around credit cards is the exorbitant interest rates charged…even in a robust economy. And right now, when the fed rate is virtually zero…why aren’t we legislating credit card interest rates down?

I have gotten any number of very concerned letters and emails from the banks I do business with or have credit cards with letting me know they are here to help during the pandemic. And suggestions to increase use of online banking or apps to handle my financial transactions.

But nary a one has suggested that they are going to lower the interest rate (even for the short period we are stuck in this) or do anything to make it easier to make payments and protect my credit score. Why not?

Those most vulnerable to the current economic decline probably can’t get in much trouble with credit cards because they probably don’t have many. But those that do probably have rates in serious double digits. Those in the working and middle class that aren’t currently working will probably be tempted to use their cards and are the most likely to get into trouble.

So when will Congress get around to addressing credit card debt and credit card interest as part of the recovery bills they keep floating?

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In the past 48 hours, the Trump Regime has ‘fired’ two loyal servants of the American people. And when I say loyal, I mean loyal TO the American people. Their sins? Making President Donald Trump look bad.

The first one is Captain Brett Crozier, the commanding officer of the Navy’s aircraft carrier, the USS Teddy Roosevelt. His sin? Putting his crew first and bringing an issue about a COVID-19 outbreak on his ship to the attention of the authorities. He was called out for being too open about it which certainly embarrassed the Navy and the President. But given the lackadaisical attitude in Washington about the coronavirus pandemic, it was the right thing to do.

But was his removal revenge or warranted? Well there’s this:

On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to the Navy pleading for permission to unload his crew, including scores of sailors sickened with Covid-19, in Guam, where it was docked. The Pentagon had been dragging its feet, and the situation on the ship was growing dire.

After the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Navy relented. But on Thursday, it relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

emphasis mine

It took the information going public to get the Navy to act…and then…they relieved him of his command. The Navy holds that he was incompetent. If so why wasn’t he relieved long before this past Thursday. And if he was incompetent, why was he given command of an aircraft carrier in the first place? This is a premier assignment for any career naval officer and they aren’t handed out to just any officers. The man would be one of the best and the brightest to even qualify to command a carrier. And he proved it by putting his career on the line to protect his crew. That’s what a thinking qualified competent naval officer does.

Captain Brett Crozier deserves a medal…and to be re-instated on the Roosevelt. His crew seems to think so!

And then! Well actually this isn’t a surprise at all. The surprise is how long President Trump waited and how long it will take to finalize…but: President Trump gave notice to Congress that he plans to fire the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson.

This too is a revenge move on the part of the President on someone who embarrassed him…another long term public servant who was doing his job and following the law…Inspector General Michael K. Atkinson.

“As is the case with regard to other positions where I, as president, have the power of appointment, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, it is vital that I have the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as inspectors general,” Mr. Trump wrote. “That is no longer the case with regard to this inspector general.”

The president has long discussed his desire to fire several inspectors general, and he has been talking to aides about his desire to oust Mr. Atkinson since last fall, tarring the inspector general as disloyal because he sought to share information with Congress about the president’s efforts to pressure Ukraine into delivering him personal political benefits.

Mr. Atkinson’s fate was sealed after the trial on impeachment charges ended, said one Trump administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a delicate matter.

Now I was surprised that Mr. Atkinson gets to keep his job for 30 more days but apparently the law states that the President is required to notify the intelligence communities of the change and after 30 days can remove the IG. But that doesn’t mean that the IG actually gets to do any work!

But rather than being permitted to serve for another month, the White House told Mr. Atkinson late Friday that he was being placed on administrative leave, according to multiple people familiar with the matter. The move effectively circumvents the 30-day safeguard by sidelining him immediately.

Well Mr. Atkinson was fired on a late Friday afternoon during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic…the president is hoping that this will pass quickly and quietly…and he’s probably right.

But when will Republicans start to think the Trump presidency is a bad idea?

I don’t know how this got under our radar, but according to this morning’s print edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D – La Crosse) is not running for re-election.

Jennifer Shilling of La Crosse, the Senate’s minority leader, will retire at the end of her term this year — likely triggering a leadership overhaul in both caucuses as her GOP counterpart makes a bid for Congress.

This will add to the change on the Democratic side of the aisle come January. Time for some new young faces?

Her departure will be the fourth high-profile Democrat to leave the Senate. Joining her are Sens. Fred Risser of Madison, who has served in the Senate for 64 years, Dave Hansen of Green Bay and Mark Miller of Monona. Longtime Sens. Lena Taylor and Chris Larson also could leave should they win their respective races to lead Milwaukee city and county government.

Time for some new people to buy clipboards, assemble their kitchen cabinets, and line up their financial wizard…oui?

Governor Evers called the legislature into session tomorrow to take up changing the April 7th Presidential Primary and State/Local General Elections to an entirely mail in election.

Election changes should have been part of his emergency declaration bundle three weeks ago. And he should have called the legislature into session shortly after that to make these changes when he first suggested it. I mean it’s damn late now.

And as many of you here have supported over the past two weeks, the entire election should have been delayed like it has been in many other states who had April elections scheduled.

This just smacks of saving face and putting it to the Republicans who have also been dragging their feet. The next election cycles should see the removal of ALL incumbents in Madison. These continued partisan stand offs are killing Wisconsinites and hurting our economy and environment.

Evers on Friday called a special legislative session for Saturday to convert Tuesday’s election entirely to a mail-in election, a change he called for a week ago but state election officials said was too late to accomplish and Republican lawmakers rejected.

If it was too damn late to implement a week ago it is certainly too late to implement today. The topic of discussion tomorrow should be moving the election…my suspicions say the GOP will gavel the sessions open and closed just like the others that the governor has requested.

But this may the actual response that Evers wants to drive home this late in the game:

Both GOP leaders of the state Legislature have repeatedly said they consider in-person voting to be safe despite thousands of people expected at some polling locations as clerks consolidate amid a massive shortage of workers.

“If you are bored at home and sick of watching Netlfix, volunteer to go and help at the polls,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Wednesday.

But that may play well in red zones since the result of holding in person on Tuesday will certainly suppress the vote in Milwaukee. From 180 polling places it looks like the city will have?

On Friday, Milwaukee election officials announced there would be just five polling locations for Tuesday’s election which is expected to draw up to 50,000 voters leaving the possibility of hundreds or thousands of people deciding not to wait in line to vote, getting infected, or both.

FIVE. Even that is a significant drop form the 10 or 12 that were being considered earlier this week.

Those of you who are already voting absentee now have until April 13th (4 PM) to get your ballots back to the election commissions. That comes from a recent federal court case that didn’t change the election date but moved the dates for requesting absentee ballots online (5 PM today) and extended the return date.

That’s a bit of relief for me since mine still hasn’t shown up…and the mail carrier was here today…shown as mailed 3/22…no show as of 4/3.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting at the Democratic National Convention is being moved to the week of August 17th.

The 2020 Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to mid-August as organizers try to navigate the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The event, originally scheduled for July 13-17, will instead be held the week of August 17.

It’s unclear how many days the convention will be held as planning remains in flux.

The announcement came in a news release Thursday from convention organizers.

I can’t imagine the logistics necessary to move the DNC given all of the moving parts and the months of planning involved. And I hope that August is late enough for everyone to feel safe to move around the country again.

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Or so says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blamed the Democrats’ push to impeach President Trump in January for distracting the Trump administration from the threat posed by the coronavirus.

“It came up while we were tied down in the impeachment trial. And I think it diverted the attention of the government because everything every day was all about impeachment,” McConnell said in an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

Well…this is how distracted the president was during the impeachment and the early days of the pandemic’s spread in the United States:

Trump held campaign rallies on Jan 9, Jan 14, Jan 28, Jan 30, Feb 10, Feb 19, Feb 20, Feb 21 & Feb 28

He golfed on Jan 18, Jan 19, Feb 1, Feb 15, Mar 7 & Mar 8

Yeah, the president was certainly distracted all right, but not by anything related to his job as president.

And as to whether Sen. McConnell himself has a full grasp on the reality of our situation…I’d say, apparently not:

McConnell told Hewitt that he has not heard any new reports about senators being diagnosed with coronavirus.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) missed a vote on the $2 trillion economic relief package after being diagnosed with COVID-19, and four other Republican senators placed themselves in quarantine last week out of caution for potential exposure.

emphasis mine

Americans are dying and the Republicans are still playing games.

Trump admin will not reopen Obamacare exchanges during coronavirus pandemic.

In March, as the seriousness of the pandemic started to sink into the denizens of the White House, it appeared that the Affordable Care Act exchanges would be re-opened. But NOPE…somebody must have found a horse head in his bed this morning.

The White House will not reopen the Obamacare exchanges to allow uninsured Americans to purchase health care coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, NBC News has confirmed.

emphasis mine

Although that is bleak for most of the nation, those states who run their own exchanges have to option to re-open enrollments on there own.

While the federal exchanges will remain shuttered, individual states like New York and California have reopened their state exchanges for special enrollment periods to address the unprecedented public health crisis

Given how many people are now unemployed and will lose their employer provided health insurance…this could be another critical juncture that the president is going to flat out do wrong.

And yes, this is a prime example for the need of universal comprehensive single payer health insurance.

I understand that there is a lot going on and the media is under a lot of stress to cover a week’s worth of stories each day. And as we’ve discussed here at Blogging Blue they are suffering revenue losses as businesses close or cut back.

But they still need to act responsibly when writing their articles and assigning photos to the articles. Right now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is using this photo to illustrate their article about Governor Tony Evers’ decision to use WI National Guard members as poll workers on April 7th.

It is also the photo that accompanies the link to their JSOnline site in their email story notifications.

In our current era of social distancing and NO HANDSHAKES this is a bit disconcerting. Looking at the photo it looks like a warm weather day and not a contemporary image. But I think the media needs to be aware of the message they are sending or implying when they use file photos for contemporary stories.

They have a responsibility to keep us safe via example as well as by information.

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