Authoritarianism or Democracy- That Is The Choice

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Biden Boots Bloom, Dejoy Will Be Next

Biden boots Bloom from Postal Service board, DeJoy’s days as Postmaster are numberedNov 19, 2021 12:51pm EST by Joan McCarter, Daily Kos Staff

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The House Democrats finally passed Build Back Better! Can this day get better? Why yes, yes it can. Friday, President Joe Biden announced his nomineesfor the United States Postal Service Board of Governors, “to replace outgoing Governors Ron Bloom and John Barger.”

Yes, current board chair Ron Bloom—Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s greatest champion—will not be returning when his term is up on Dec. 8. Thank you, President Biden!null

Biden is nominating Daniel Tangherlini, the former administrator of the General Services Administration in the Obama administration, to replace Bloom. Derek Kan, Republican and former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Republican John M. Barger. The board is made up of nine members, and is bipartisan. There are currently four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent. Biden will have appointed five members once these nominations are confirmed.

“The USPS serves hundreds of millions of Americans across the nation every day,” the White House wrote in the statement announcing the nominations. “President Biden is committed to supporting USPS workers so that they can continue delivering for their fellow Americans, particularly those in rural communities, veterans, and older Americans who rely so heavily on the Postal Service.”

“President Biden is also committed to strengthening and modernizing this critical public institution and its services to ensure it continues serving the American people for decades to come,” the statement continues.

Tangherlini, the White House said in making the announcement, “served in leadership roles in the public, non-profit and private sectors. His interest is in bringing increased equity and efficiency to business, philanthropy, and government through the thoughtful application of technology, process, and systems reform.” In addition to his time at the head of GSA, he served as “Chief Financial Officer at the Department of the Treasury, as City Administrator and Deputy Mayor of Washington, D.C. under Mayor Fenty; as Interim General Manager of DC’s Metro; the first Director of the D.C. Department of Transportation; the CFO of the DC Metropolitan Police Department; and various roles in the Federal Government at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.”

Kan is currently an executive at Deliverr, an e-commerce fulfillment startup. He’s also served as an executive for Lyft, and was a director of the Amtrak Board, nominated by President Barack Obama. He also served as a policy adviser to Mitch McConnell when he was Majority Leader in the Senate, along with a revolving set of executive offices under Trump, including as Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy in the United States Department of Transportation, under then-Secretary Elaine Chao—who is also McConnell’s spouse. Seems like the administration found the most McConnell-friendly nominee possible.

The Washington Post has some delicious nuggets on the story, including the fact that “Bloom as recently as last week told confidants he expected to be renominated, said one person familiar with his conversations.” At their November 10 meeting, the Trump-appointed majority on the board voted to keep Bloom as chair over the objections of the Democrats on the board. That vote of confidence from Trumpsters clearly wasn’t enough to sway Biden.

Behind the scenes, a core group of Democratic senators told Biden to boot Bloom.
At least two Senate Democrats, Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Jon Tester (Mont.),” the Post reports, “cited ethics concerns in communications with the White House over Bloom’s renomination, according to representatives from their offices.” In addition to them, Wisconsin’s Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Sens. Kirstin Gillibrand (New York), Jeff Merkley (Oregon), and Vermont’s Independent Bernie Sanders have all told the White House Bloom’s ongoing support of DeJoy disqualifies him from the post.

Gillibrand said she would “vigorously oppose” Bloom if he were nominated again. “During a time when Americans have relied on the Postal Service for prescriptions, benefits and voting, DeJoy has slashed service hours, arbitrarily removed mail processing equipment and caused unprecedented and widespread delays,” she told the Post.  Sanders said that the “major crises” confronting the demand “a Postal Service board of governors that is committed to replacing Mr. DeJoy with a postmaster general who will protect and strengthen the Postal Service, not undermine and sabotage it.”

The Board of Governors, which will have a majority of Biden nominees once these confirmations are done, has the power to remove DeJoy—they’re the only ones that can do it and now two of DeJoy’s biggest boosters will be gone. The White House has made it clear that they’re not happy with DeJoy, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying back in February, “I think we can all agree, most Americans would agree, that the Postal Service needs leadership that can and will do a better job.”

Is Tangherlini going into this with the expectation that he’ll hasten DeJoy’s departure? I’m pretty sure that’s a yes. DeJoy has been a walking, talking conglomeration of corruption since he took office, straight from his big donations to Republicans and the Trump convention through to his investments with Bloom’s investment firm. On the way, the company he founded and still has a financial interest in has gotten some sweet USPS contracts.

If the corruption wasn’t bad enough, there’s the destruction of the Postal Service during a pandemic—the delayed mail, the dismantling of post office infrastructure, the 10-year plan to purposely make mail delivery a lot slower and cost more—all of this. DeJoy seemingly bribed his way into the job, and Trump put him there to screw up the mail ahead of the 2020 election. DeJoy has got to go, and now it looks like his days in the office are numbered. The remaining board members are going to have to nail down anything he might be able to steal on the way out.

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NY Times Columnist Charles Blow On The Race Issues When White Men Are On Trial

There is quite the convergence at the moment of race and justice as cases featuring white male defendants accused of everything from murder to insurrection dominate news coverage.

There is a virtual pageant of privilege as the country waits to see if our system of justice will deal as severely and unsparingly with these men as it has with others who were not white men.

All the cases are different, of course. Some are being adjudicated in the state courts, others in federal. Some have proceeded to sentencing, while others remain at the charging or trial stage. But the optics are somewhat consistent.

In the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year old jogger who was chased and killed in a Georgia suburb, the jury is almost entirely white. As The New York Times has pointed out, “The jury, which is made up of residents from Glynn County, where more than a quarter of the population is Black, includes 11 white people and one Black person.”ADVERTISEMENThttps://432aa4cea94bad7135bb2556ea541bec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The defense has even complained about the presence of Black pastors supporting Arbery’s family in the courtroom. This week, one defense lawyer tried to get the civil rights icon Jesse Jackson kicked out of the courtroom, saying:

Your honor, I would submit, with all respect to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, that this is no different than bringing in police officers or uniformed prison guards in a small town where a young Black man has been accused of assaulting a law enforcement officer or corrections officer.

The defense even called for a mistrial because of the presence of these preachers, but the judge dismissed the motion and called the defense’s comments about Black preachers “reprehensible.”

In the murder trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot three protesters in Kenosha, Wis., killing two and injuring the third, the judge has acted more like a protective guardian watching over the accused than a dispassionate magistrate.

When the jury was selected, for instance, the judge denied requests to send questionnaires to the jury pool. He then wrapped up jury selection in a single day, even though what appears to be only one person of color had been selected. And he decreed that the men killed could not be called “victims” in his courtroom, but could potentially be called “rioters” or “looters.”

Judge Bruce Schroeder during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
Judge Bruce Schroeder during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.Credit…Pool photo by Sean Krajacic

In the case of Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon Shaman who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection shirtless wearing paint on his face and a fur pelt and horned helmet, he was sentenced Wednesday to 41 months in prison. But that was after his lawyer in February persuaded a federal judge to order the jail where Chansley was being detained to provide him with “a strict diet of organic meals,” according to The Times.ADVERTISEMENThttps://432aa4cea94bad7135bb2556ea541bec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Steve Bannon, a former aide to Donald Trump, refused to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the insurrection. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury for contempt of Congress.

Republicans in Congress were livid about the indictment and vowed revenge. As Politico reported: “Within hours of the indictment, Trump’s top GOP allies were strongly signaling that a future GOP-led House would use the threat of criminal prosecution to extract testimony from Biden’s aides.”

From left, Representative Paul Gosar, Jacob Chansley and Steve Bannon.
From left, Representative Paul Gosar, Jacob Chansley and Steve Bannon.Credit…Al Drago for The New York Times;Stephanie Keith/Reuters;Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP— Getty Images

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Then there’s the case of Representative Paul Gosar, who posted an animated video of himself cutting the neck of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and holding a sword to President Biden’s face. Gosar refused to apologize. The House did censure him, but the vote was largely along party lines: Only two Republicans joined the Democrats.

Race hangs heavy over all these cases. They involve white vigilantes who stalked and killed a Black man, and a young man who killed two people at a protest that was in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. They involve white men who sought to overturn a fair election in which people of color secured a victory for Biden over a white nationalist president, and a white man who defied Congress to protect those white nationalists. And finally, they involve a man who posted a violent video about killing a woman of color in Congress.

We already know the outcome of two cases. I don’t know how the others will end. But in any case, the damage was already done by the original offending action.

They were all grand demonstrations of brazenness, by men behaving as if they were above the law, as if the law didn’t truly apply to them.

Kyle Rittenhouse on trial in Kenosha, Wis., last week.
Kyle Rittenhouse on trial in Kenosha, Wis., last week.Credit…Pool photo by Sean Krajacic

Some are being held accountable, but it is only because they were born in a country that gives white men passes others don’t get, that they were able to scoff at the rules without thinking that they would face any repercussions.

As others have noted, Trayvon Martin was 17 when he was killed, the same age Rittenhouse was when he did the killing. Martin was thugified; Rittenhouse is being infantilized. That, in one example, demonstrates for and against whom American justice is weighted.More on race in AmericaOpinion | Charles M. BlowTrump’s Army of Angry White MenOct. 25, 2020Opinion | Charles M. BlowThe Killing of Ahmaud ArberyMay 6, 2020Opinion | Heather C. McGheeThe Way Out of America’s Zero-Sum Thinking on Race and WealthFeb. 13, 2021

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion), and Instagram.

Charles M. Blow joined The Times in 1994 and became an Opinion columnist in 2008. He is also a television commentator and writes often about politics, social justice and vulnerable communities. @CharlesMBlowFacebook

Paul Gosar Is Emblematic Of What The Republican Party Has Become

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Biden Acting To Solve Problems While Republicans Object But Claim Credit For His Efforts

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Monthly Meeting Roscommon Dems

The Roscommon County Democratic Party is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: RCDP Monthly Meeting
Time: Nov 17, 2021 6:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting (one-click)
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84587188951?pwd=N1hjeW1heDVrWjdMdm9wZlB6RFdtUT09

if you wish to take part in this meeting by phone, call 1 (646) 558-8951Then enter the following information at the prompts
Meeting ID: 845 8718 8951
Passcode: 48629
All are welcome. You need not be a member of the Michigan Democratic Party to attend but we encourage you to join.
We are in the initial stages of planning for the 2022 elections. We’d love to have your ideas and input!!!
We hope to see you at the Zoom!.
Kimm Daniels, SecretaryRoscommon County Democratic Party

What’s In The Infrastructure Bill

Federal and state officials have identified priority projects that have been put off for years and may now move ahead as a result of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law on Monday, such as repairing hundreds of aging bridges and building dozens of new or extended rail lines.

The bill also funds a number of other broad initiatives such as expanding broadband internet in rural corners of the country and cleaning up heavily polluted Superfund sites. In total, the measure contains $550 billion in new funds to be spread around different areas of need. Here are some of the areas covered.

  • $73 billion for the electricity grid.
    Upgrades to the country’s power systems that, among other things, will help the grid carry renewable energy.
  • $66 billion for rail.
    A significant investment in Amtrak, which has a major maintenance backlog, as well as funding for new rail lines and upgrades to existing ones.
  • $65 billion for broadband.
    Funding to provide high-speed internet access to hard-to-reach populations, including Native American communities.
  • $47 billion for climate resiliency.
    New funding aimed at combating wildfires and preparing coastal regions for more frequent hurricanes and flooding.
  • $21 billion for environmental projects.
    Increased funds for cleaning up abandoned mines, contaminated waterways and other polluted sites overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • $15 billion for removing lead service lines.
    Modernizing water systems to address contaminated drinking water that has affected multiple large population centers.
  • $7.5 billion for electric vehicles.
    Increasing the availability of charging stations across the country, which is part of Mr. Biden’s pledge to build 500,000 stations nationwide.
  • $2 billion for underserved rural areas.
    A grant program aimed at expanding transportation projects in rural areas.

Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill

1:11Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill Into LawPresident Biden, surrounded by lawmakers from both parties, signed the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law. The legislation marked a bipartisan victory, but fell short of Mr. Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion proposal.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

By Jim Tankersley

WASHINGTON — President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law on Monday afternoon, a bipartisan victory that will pour billions into the nation’s roads, ports and power lines.

While the bill stopped short of realizing his full-scale ambitions for overhauling America’s transportation and energy systems, Mr. Biden pointed to it as evidence that lawmakers could work across party lines to solve problems in Washington and said it would better position the United States against China and other nations seeking to dominate the emerging industries of the 21st century economy. Hours before a virtual summit with President Xi Jinping of China, whose infrastructure initiatives have helped vault China to global leadership in advanced manufacturing and other areas, Mr. Biden said the bill showed democratic governments can deliver for their citizens.

“My message for the American people is this: America’s moving again, and your life’s going to change for the better,” Mr. Biden said during remarks at the White House.

But it will not address the nation’s entire backlog of needed infrastructure investments, and it is not as ambitious as Mr. Biden’s initial $2.3 trillion proposal. The compromises that were needed to win over a large group of Senate Republicans pared back the president’s ambitions for investing in “human infrastructure” like home health care and fortifying the nation’s physical infrastructure to fight and adapt to climate change.

Still, administration officials and a wide range of outside economists and business groups largely agree that the measure is the most important step in a generation toward upgrading critical infrastructure — and that it could soon begin to pay dividends for a wide range of businesses and people, from electric vehicle manufacturers to rural web surfers.

Some of the first bursts of spending will go toward areas that Mr. Biden prioritized in negotiations, like tens of billions of dollars to improve access to broadband internet and to replace hazardous lead drinking pipes nationwide. Spending has already been announced to help clear backlogs at the nation’s ports, which are contributing to shipping delays and price increases as the United States sees a pandemic surge in demand for consumer goods, many of which are imported.

The infrastructure spending will not jolt the American economy like a traditional economic stimulus plan, nor is it meant to. Officials say the administration will focus as much on “shovel-worthy” projects — meaning those that make the most of federal dollars — as they will on “shovel-ready” ones that would dump money into the economy more quickly. The package was designed to deliver money over several years, in part to avoid fueling more price increases across an economy that is experiencing its highest inflation rate in decades.

Mr. Biden and his advisers say they expect the package to deliver a variety of benefits that will power economic growth over time, including leaner supply chains, faster and more equitably distributed internet access and improved educational outcomes for children who will no longer be exposed to water-based lead that stunts brain development.

The challenge for Mr. Biden is to convince an increasingly uneasy American public that the bill will lead to improvements in their lives. Soaring prices for food, gas and household items have chipped away at the president’s approval ratings.

“This is not designed to be stimulus,” Cecilia Rouse, who chairs the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview. “It’s designed to be the most strategic, effective investments so that we can continue to compete against China and other countries that are making bigger investments in their infrastructure.”

“We will see investments starting next year,” she added, “beginning with our ports, and beginning with other areas where we know we are far behind.”

Other core components of the bill include money meant to build as many as 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and improve the nation’s electric grids, as part of an effort to speed the transition to energy and transportation systems that burn fewer of the fossil fuels that are warming the planet.

“With the combination of this investment and where we know the industry is going,” said Brian Deese, who heads Mr. Biden’s National Economic Council, “we believe this will be the beginning of a real transformation in our vehicle infrastructure.”

It also features tens of billions each for rebuilding roads and bridges, upgrading freight and passenger rail systems and cleaning up environmental pollution.

The legislation was the product of intense negotiations spanning much of the first year of Mr. Biden’s presidency, and of the back-slapping, coalition-building politics the president has relished in a government career stretching back to the 1970s. Mr. Biden brokered agreements first with Senate Republicans, 18 of whom ultimately voted for the bill, and then with progressive Democrats in the House, who held up its final passage in order to raise pressure on centrists in Mr. Biden’s party to support a larger spending bill focused on climate change, early childhood and a wide range of social policy.

About $550 billion of the bill represents an increase over current spending levels. Researchers at the nonpartisan Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution estimate that money will increase federal infrastructure spending as a share of the economy by half over the next five years, putting it nearly on par with the infrastructure provisions of the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. If Mr. Biden’s $1.85 trillion spending bill — including more spending on climate — also passes the House and Senate, they estimate, the increased infrastructure spending will eclipse the New Deal.

That increase will challenge the government’s ability to spend money on time and effectively. On Sunday, Mr. Biden appointed Mitch Landrieu, the former mayor of New Orleans, to oversee that effort.

“Implementing a historic bill like this will test all of our management facilities,” said Adie Tomer, who leads the Metropolitan Policy Program’s infrastructure work. The challenges, he said, include “hiring federal, state, and local officials to direct programming; finding enough skilled tradespeople to execute the work; and securing equipment and materials during a major supply chain crunch.”

Liberal economists fault the package for not spending enough, particularly on climate.

“Overall, the bill is a step in the right direction,” said Mark Paul, an economist at the New College of Florida. “But we need far, far more investment in infrastructure — from the care economy to the green economy — if we are to build a strong and resilient economy for the 21st century.”The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s OutComparing the infrastructure plan President Biden proposed in March with the one the Senate has passed.

Michigan At 70% Vaccinated Over 16 Yrs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Nov. 15, 2021

CONTACT: Chelsea Wuth, 517-241-2112, WuthC@michigan.gov

Michigan surpasses 70% vaccinated milestone for ages 16 and older

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) today announced that Michigan has reached the state’s 70% goal of eligible residents age 16 and over receiving at least one dose of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. To date, nearly 5.7 million Michiganders have received at least one of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines since the first doses became available less than a year ago. 

“We know the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are our way out of the pandemic,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive at MDHHS. “Vaccines are how we prevent infectious variants from spreading and threatening our ability to contain the pandemic. It’s important to take a moment to celebrate the hard work of those who have developed these vaccines, as well as those who have administered vaccines these past many months. We also thank Michiganders who have done their part to keep their families and communities safe by getting vaccinated.” 

The state’s objective remains to get as many Michiganders vaccinated as possible, as the vaccine is the best defense against the virus. From January to October, unvaccinated Michiganders accounted for 93.1% of COVID cases, 90.7% of hospitalizations and 90.5% of deaths. As more individuals are vaccinated, it is less likely that the virus will circulate and mutate, avoiding the development of more transmissible and vaccine-resistant variants in the future.  

“This is great news and we have been looking forward to surpassing this milestone since the vaccines became available,” said MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel. “We urge Michiganders who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to continue practices we know help stop the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks and social distancing. The vaccine continues to be how we will return to normalcy in the state, and we thank all of those who have done their part to end this pandemic.” 

Last month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive to state departments and agencies to expedite the ordering and distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric coronavirus vaccinations to protect younger Michiganders between the ages of 5 to 11 years old and ensure that students could continue in-person learning in a safe environment this year.   

Evidence suggests that immunity from the vaccine can wane over time, which is why there are recommendations for booster doses to maintain the protective effect of the primary vaccine series. 

Under similar executive orders signed by Governor Whitmer, the state of Michigan has prioritized booster doses for residents in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and adult foster care, and has been working to expedite delivery of third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to residents who have compromised immune systems.   

To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and where to find a vaccination site, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine and VaccineFinder.org. 

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