Just sayin’:

And I bet you were wondering if I had forgotten Senator McConnell…nope:

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, vowed Friday night to hold a vote on a Trump nominee…

…Mr. McConnell has said that in case of an opening this year, he would try to push through a Trump nomination before the election, arguing that it was a different situation because this time the president and Senate majority are from the same party.

A quartet of ghouls…one and all.

I am reprinting it in its entirety, but here’s the link: My Statement on the Passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Sixty years ago, Ruth Bader Ginsburg applied to be a Supreme Court clerk. She’d studied at two of our finest law schools and had ringing recommendations. But because she was a woman, she was rejected. Ten years later, she sent her first brief to the Supreme Court — which led it to strike down a state law based on gender discrimination for the first time. And then, for nearly three decades, as the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed that equal justice under law only had meaning if it applied to every single American.

Sixty years ago, Ruth Bader Ginsburg applied to be a Supreme Court clerk. She’d studied at two of our finest law schools and had ringing recommendations. But because she was a woman, she was rejected. Ten years later, she sent her first brief to the Supreme Court — which led it to strike down a state law based on gender discrimination for the first time. And then, for nearly three decades, as the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land, she was a warrior for gender equality — someone who believed that equal justice under law only had meaning if it applied to every single American.

Justice Ginsburg inspired the generations who followed her, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land. Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored.

Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.

A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment. The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard. The questions before the Court now and in the coming years — with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures — are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.

highlight is in the original

Now would be the best time to just be quiet and sit on your hands.

Thoughts and prayers to her family. This is certainly a loss for America and a sad moment in our history.

Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement.

“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in a statement. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

Rest In Peace Justice Ginsburg.

The one major travesty in Governor Evers’ administration has been the handling of unemployment claims during this COVID-19 pandemic. No matter what actions have been taken, including hiring additional staff, the state just hasn’t been able to keep up with claims for unemployment. To the tune of hundreds of thousands of claims. Yes, headway was made but a lot of Wisconsinites are under economic stress because they aren’t getting the financial relief that they are probably entitled to.

So today the governor finally asked for the resignation of Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman. The DWD handles unemployment claims.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman left his job Friday after Evers asked for his resignation immediately.

The governor had grown increasingly frustrated in the lack of progress in clearing the claims and getting benefits to those who deserve them despite increased resources and staffing for the agency, a source close to the governor’s office told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Frostman’s resignation comes at a time when nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites are waiting to hear whether they will receive unemployment benefits.

I am not going to say that this was the wrong move but it is probably a fairly cosmetic move. I find it very doubtful that a new secretary at DWD will be able to have an immediate effect or make effective changes to the process to clear up the backlog quickly. It’s gonna take some time and some thought for a rookie to get up to speed.

And from legislators who have been sitting their hands (other than suing the governor) throughout the pandemic:

Rep. John Nygren, a Republican from Marinette and the co-chairman of the Legislature’s budget committee, said he didn’t see Frostman as the entire source of the problems with the state’s unemployment system.

“The buck does stop at Caleb Frostman’s desk, but it also stops at Tony Evers’ desk,” Nygren said.

Well, actually in this case, the buck also stops at Rep. John Nygren’s desk.

Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach of West Point said the problem isn’t Frostman – it is an outmoded computer system and a series of laws approved by Republicans over the last decade that made it harder to qualify for benefits.

Erpenbach said legislators should have heeded an audit from Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s time in office that showed there were problems with the state’s unemployment system.

So the Republicans who firmly control both houses of the legislature and former Governor Scott Walker can take some credit here.

And of course the federal unemployment support program didn’t fit handily into the current state unemployment system. A shortcoming that I imagine was shared by any number of other states…and may be an indication that we should have a federal unemployment system. In the meantime:

But Republicans who control the state Legislature have said Evers has not demonstrated enough urgency on the issue, and called for the governor to increase staffing and provide temporary loans to people waiting for benefits.

emphasis mine

I agree with the Republicans here. Governor Evers has not demonstrated enough urgency on the issue. But they have provided no guidance or support other than a persistent nagging whine from their side of the aisle.

And I have a question: Does the governor even have the authority to issue temporary loans and service loans and track repayment of loans to individuals in a case like this? Or is that a pipe dream?

I am glad that the governor did something. But it is late and it isn’t a solution. I’d like to see who he thinks can fix the issue or what else should be done. I’d also like to see the Wisconsin legislature do something as well. Wisconsin as well as the nation as a whole is in the middle of a financial crisis and there is absolutely no urgency in their camp either.

Yeah, so yeah, let’s bring on a Big Ten Football season.

Today, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 2,533 new positive cases of COVID-ID in Wisconsin. A new daily record and the second day in a row of a new record…and the only two days that Wisconsin has exceeded 2,000 new cases. What the flock are you all doing out there? Or not doing out there?

The state Department of Health Services reported 2,533 new cases as well as 10,534 negative cases, for a 19.4% positivity rate.

The number of new cases reported Friday is well above any previous record since the pandemic began. Just Thursday the state set a record high of about 2,000 cases, and prior to that, Sunday’s numbers topped the all-time leaderboard with about 1,500 cases.

We are probably going to go back on the hot list and prohibited from visiting other states and cities again.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos…Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald…time to do something your damn self if you aren’t going to allow the governor to do anything.

And btw:

The state also reported seven deaths Friday, bringing the death toll to 1,238.

Only 1,213 more deaths than New Zealand and 91 more than Israel. Insert audio of On Wisconsin here.

because, you know, COVID-19. Apparently the senator tested negative last night but is aware that he was exposed to someone who is positive. So he is in quarantine for the remainder of the month.

Johnson was exposed to someone infected on Monday and tested negative on Wednesday. He will stay isolated until Sept. 29 to ensure he hasn’t been infected.

“Sen. Johnson is experiencing no symptoms, but was tested late Wednesday because he was scheduled to travel with the President today,” spokesman Ben Voelkel said in an email.

Johnson was scheduled to travel with President Donald Trump to Mosinee on Thursday for a rally, which the Oshkosh Republican won’t attend after the exposure.

For those of you visiting Mosinee tonight, wear your mask!

A little live fun on the roof!

 

This little foray into Senate politics and Republican politics made a big splash all over Twitter for the past week or so but didn’t much of a splash in the mass media. So I’ve been watching it for a while and wondering if I should bring it to Blogging Blue. Well I should but I didn’t make the time or invest the energy…until now.

So the back story. Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC) is running for re-election this fall and apparently has a viable Democratic challenger. One of the reasons may be Sen. Graham’s blatant and very vocal support of even the most heinous acts of the president.

So this gets a little weird and a little funny and a bit slapstick. Apparently the senator’s opponent was slow in? Releasing his tax forms.

Graham in the last week had been calling on Harrison (Jaime Harrison), the former chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, to release his tax returns and suggested on Twitter that Harrison was hiding something.

AND? Well he got owned:

Oddly enough Senator Graham has been a proponent of presidential candidates releasing their tax information…as recently as 2019. But here we are just 50 or so days from the November 3rd Presidential Election and nary a peep out of Senator Graham about where the heck are President Trump’s taxes.

I mean, the audit must be over by now! So where are the president’s taxes?

One of the hallmarks of the great negotiators regime was supposedly the new USMCA (United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement)…the perfect free trade agreement. And a vital agreement replacing NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) that was so unfair to the United States…and allowed Mexico and Canada…to take advantage of us.

The USMCA took affect for all signatories on July 1, 2020. And President Donald Trump’s happiness lasted about a month.

U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his plan to reimpose 10% tariffs on Canadian aluminum products on Aug. 6. The tariffs came into effect Aug. 16.

Shouldn’t the original USMCA have a mechanism to resolve trade disputes? If not, shame on the negotiators. And if it does have such a mechanism, why is the US again imposing tariffs on our free trade partner, Canada? One of the major areas of negotiations in USMCA was exactly steel and aluminum tariffs. So this is truly a WTF moment in North American trade. And the president’s reasoning? Well it appears to be same old same old:

“Canada was taking advantage of us, as usual,” Trump said during a lengthy, campaign-style speech at a Whirlpool manufacturing plant in Ohio.

“The aluminum business was being decimated by Canada,” he said. “Very unfair to our jobs and our great aluminum workers.”

So what happened to his stellar trade achievement, USMCA? Or was President Trump once again falling back on old habits and reneging on a business deal?

But never fear, Canada isn’t one to ignore a slight! So Monday:

At a press conference in Ottawa, Trudeau indicated new duties will be announced later in the day. The Canadian government has been looking at more than 60 U.S. aluminum-containing products that could face higher tariffs, planning dollar-for-dollar equivalent tariffs worth C$3.6 billion ($2.7 billion) against the U.S.

“I want to highlight that we will be taking action to counter the unjust tariffs put on Canadian aluminum,” Trudeau said ahead of a meeting with his cabinet. “We will always be there to defend Canadian workers, defend our aluminum sector.”

So what happened in Washington on Tuesday?

President Trump backtracked on his decision to reimpose 10 percent aluminum tariffs on Canada on Tuesday, hours before Ottawa was set to announce retaliatory measures.

“After consultations with the Canadian government, the United States has determined that trade in non-alloyed, unwrought aluminum is likely to normalize in the last four months of 2020, with imports declining sharply from the surges experienced earlier in the year,” the office of the United States Trade Representative said in a statement.

So the tariffs were removed…some face was saved in Washington…and Canada came away looking pretty good at trade negotiations. And what do US business interests think?

“What American manufacturers need now is certainty that these tariffs won’t make another reappearance,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Myron Brilliant. “Setting aside these threats once and for all will allow American job creators to focus on economic recovery.”

What was the president thinking here? Why would he reimpose tariffs just a month after his new agreement went into effect? And it is HIS agreement because Mexico and Canada were doing just fine with NAFTA. Is this an admission that USMCA isn’t as tough as he claimed it was? Does he think he can just run roughshod over Canada and Mexico? Right now doesn’t Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau look like the tougher abler negotiator?

And if this was just a campaign tactic to look tough on foreign trade and protecting American jobs…is anyone really paying attention? And don’t tariffs on imported metals increase the cost of raw materials, increase the cost of finished goods, and reduce demand…and therefore reduce jobs at US manufacturers? Isn’t that pretty much Econ 101 stuff? Once again the president displays his ignorance of how tariffs work and their effects on the overall American economy.

And he once again reveals to world leaders that his word can’t be trusted…even with his scribble signature affixed to it.

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