Never let it be said that Mitch McConnell can be shamed into silence or introspection. In response to H.R. 1, House Democrats’ new package of campaign finance and voting rights reforms, the saturnine Senate leader issued an Washington Post op-ed that reads a lot like a series of spell-checked Donald Trump tweets, guffawing his way through an extended attack. McConnell, of course, intends to bury H.R. 1 in the Senate without a hearing or a vote. Here are some low-lights:
One of the most ancient Republican policy hobbyhorses has been eliminating Medicaid’s status as a federal-state entitlement program guaranteeing health-care services for low-income Americans and certain other categories of needy people. You think killing Obamacare is an obsessive Great White Whale for conservatives? Attacks on Medicaid’s basic structure date back at least to the beginning of the Reagan presidency (fittingly, since the Gipper was one of the most visible opponents of the original Medicare and Medicaid proposals back in the early 1960s). In fact, an effort to arbitrarily “cap” federal Medicaid payments was one of the few early legislative setbacks for his administration.
It’s day 27 of the government shutdown, and a new NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll suggests that Trump’s base is losing faith. Over the last month, Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 39 percent overall, a trend driven by losses in demographics where he is typically strong. Forty-two percent of white suburban men say they approve of the president’s performance, down from 51 percent in December. White men without college degrees have always been more likely to support Trump, but the president’s approval rating declined by six points among this group. Even white Evangelicals, typically Trump’s most fervent supporters, are beginning to break away from him. Seventy-three percent approved of Trump in December, but 66 percent said the same in January — and only 58 percent said they would “definitely” vote for him again in 2020. In 2016, recall, Trump won 81 percent of the white Evangelical vote.
Hundreds of thousands of people being forced to work without pay. Hundreds of thousands more not being allowed to work, though eventually they’ll be paid for not working. Hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers not being allowed to work, with no assurances whatsoever they’ll ever get those missed paychecks. And federal government functions, benefits, and services that are being provided, not provided, poorly provided, or half-provided according to patterns that make no intuitive sense.
Most weeks, New York Magazine writer-at-large Frank Rich speaks with contributor Alex Carp about the biggest stories in politics and culture. Today, Trump’s unusual silence on Nancy Pelosi’s call to reschedule the State of the Union, the GOP’s about-face on Steve King, and Democrats’ deliberations about the next attorney general.
“In the four years that I’ve been teaching, I’ve seen young professional teachers like me just leave the profession because the pay and the conditions are so horrible,” said Rachael Kriete, who teaches biology and AP environmental science at Downtown Magnet High School in Los Angeles. “I will never be able to own a home in Los Angeles, if I’m a teacher. I have had to postpone having kids because the pay is so horrible here.”
Five years ago, to help promote the league’s booming popularity abroad, the NBA ramped up its Global Games program, in which teams head to world capitals like London and Mexico City to play regular season matchups that don’t mean anything, like the game on Thursday between the struggling Washington Wizards and the intentionally tanking New York Knicks. Back then, it was hard to see how the practice could be controversial, but it was also difficult to predict the international trend toward authoritarian government.
And right now, America is a breeding ground for tyranny
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