the DON JONES INDEX…

 

 

GAINS POSTED in GREEN

LOSSES POSTED in RED

 

 

      2/5/22…    14,721.63

1/29/22…    14,734.23 6/27/13…    15,000.00

 

(THE DOW JONES INDEX: 2/5/22… 35,019.05; 1/29/22… 34,725.47; 6/27/13… 15,000.00)

 

 

LESSON for February 5, 2022 – “BIG MAC on the SENATE FLOOR (TWO: LET the LAP DAWG EAT)!”

 

The “Big Macs” of the House and Senate are struttin’ proud and high on the hog (as might be alternately applied to their porcine... POTbelly lapdog Senators and Representatives, not excluding their pet Democrats, the useful SineManchonistas, idiots and just plain plotters) – their exploits, despite their perhaps temporary status as Minority honchos on their respective floors garnering a happy from an otherwise-troubled Master Drumpf as he rumbles and farts towards 2024,

As we reported last week...

 

“Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) should be dancing in the aisles to celebrate the Senate’s rejection of President Biden’s “social” infrastructure scheme and a voting rights bill named after the late Rep. John Lewis... who probably would not want to have had his name attached to such failed legislation except for the fact that their own hubris and folly hurt them personally.  Not in the sense that they are, in any way, in any risk of losing their own seats in the upcoming 2022 elections (now only nine months distant) or... more confrontative to Republicans... to primary challenges beforehand, but they have lost some of their mojo with their own parties and, should either the Trump or RINO elephants capture the House and Senate, their previously assumed elevation to Majority Leader and Speaker might be at risk from subversive spiders weaving webs of treachery to trap them.”

 

Having picked up and bagged the leavings of Minority Leader and would-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy from the floor of the House of Representatives, it’s time t, shine a light upon the other Big Mac who, despite the workload, would mightily like to replace America’s despicable Chuck (rhymes with f***’d) Schumer, fresh off the scene of an epic string of electoral disasters despite his alleged pro-Democratic majority (including Manchin and Sinema, the two left-leaning Independents - Angus King of Maine and Socialist Bernie - plus, of course, tiebreaker Kamalala)...

The play of the day is... with all due respect to the do-roster of American problems as need solutions (the plague, the Russians, the environment, the Super Bowl etc.) the nomination of a successor to Ol’ Judge Breyer, presumably by a black woman, and her confirmation.  Not that this will much change the direction of the Supreme Court, the 6-3 right wing majority even allows Chief Justice Roberts to wander off the reservation now and again to promote a hallucination of fairness, but a surprise rejection would give Mitchy the chance to stick another needle into the pitted, gutted arm of Democracy.  But to what end?  If Sen. Lindsey Graham would, at least, support the nomination of fellow South Carolinian J. Michelle Childs, where’s the profit in punishing President Joe (and incurring a debt of dishonor to Sinema, Manchin or, perhaps, some other Dem. as takes sick before the vote.)

Graham sounded quite reasonable as he endorsed a representative Supreme Court, and judged Childs, as “fair-minded, highly gifted” and “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met,” liberal Mary C. Curtis of RollCall acknowledged. That doesn’t mean she or any candidate would get his vote. But the fact that his calm and common sense made headlines shows how far the base sentiment of his party has fallen.  (See Attachment One)

For his part, the Senate’s Big Mac was diplomatic, despite his distaste for manyof Breyer’s rulings.  (This might be consequential to the late judge’s courtly and diplomatic demeanor in the face of partisan judicial politics – which trait may change with the next appointee,)

 

From His Official Site

01.27.22

McConnell on Justice Breyer’s Announced Retirement

BENTON, KY – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement on the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer:

“I congratulate Justice Breyer on nearly three decades of thoughtful and consequential service on the Supreme Court, capping forty-plus years of total service on the federal bench.

“Justice Breyer commands respect and affection across the legal world, including from those who disagree with his judicial philosophy and conclusions in cases. This respect is rooted in Justice Breyer’s intelligence, rigor, and good-faith scholarly engagement. By all accounts, both personally and professionally, he has rendered exemplary service on our nation’s highest Court.

“Justice Breyer’s commitment to the importance of a nonpartisan, non-politicized judiciary has been especially admirable. Even in the face of undue criticism from the modern political left, Justice Breyer has remained a principled voice against destructive proposals such as partisan court-packing that would shatter public trust in the rule of law.

“I congratulate Justice Breyer, his wife Joanna, their children, and their entire family as the Breyers prepare to close this remarkable chapter and begin the next.

***

“Looking ahead — the American people elected a Senate that is evenly split at 50-50. To the degree that President Biden received a mandate, it was to govern from the middle, steward our institutions, and unite America.

“The President must not outsource this important decision to the radical left. The American people deserve a nominee with demonstrated reverence for the written text of our laws and our Constitution.”

 

Mitchy’s not going to be called on it because the Supreme Court is already a Trump-legacy web of right-wing spiders, but McConnell does bear the responsibility for the replacement of retiring Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer, 83, presumably… if President Joe keeps his promise to the liberals… by a black woman. Any black woman, that’s all. (The possibility of Biden’s moving Vice President Harris sideways… the two do not always get along… brings up numerous strange and dangerous potentialities, as does the less likely, but potentially explosive nomination of Michelle Obama, but the Huffington Post, rather misogynistically, calls them both too old.)  So that leaves four prospects (or, perhaps fourteen) the MinLeader will most likely just cast his vote against the survivor for failed delaying tactics, and then against the nominee unless lightning strikes in the form of a sudden Senatorial death (which Rudy G. might... just might... be able to promulgate, if not competently arrange - unless helped along by one or another KGB buddy of Mad Vlad, whom Djishonest Don might... just might... be able to secure for a favor to be named later, uke, uke!) or, more likely, but only slightly so, if the liberals manage to so alienate Senators Manchin or Sinema to the effect that either switches parties, or even just becomes a Pub-Symp Independent.  A possibility which remains remote – unless some leftist Democrat does something to really antagonize them, or Sidney Powell dresses up as AOC and sets fire to Cap’n Joe’s houseboat...

 

If as he insists, Senator (as opposed to President) Joe opposes his fellow Democrats’ far-left agenda,” the Washington Times editorialized last week, “there would be no more effective way of doing that than for him to switch parties and become a Republican,” ...especially if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, could throw in a plum committee chairmanship or two as an added incentive for Mr. Manchin to switch sides.

“While the West Virginia lawmaker could vote against his current party’s far-left agenda while remaining a Democrat, doing so would make him about as popular as the proverbial skunk at a garden party.”  You know… the hissing, the protests, the liberals on the shore of the Potomac River where Joe has moored the “Almost Heaven” eight miles south of the Capitol tossing dead fish and empty Starbucks cups at the houseboat.

 

“Mr. Manchin can pre-empt all of that by switching parties, denying Democrats the opportunity to steamroll their radical agenda through,,, packing the U.S. Supreme Court with liberal justices, abolishing the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster, and granting statehood to the District of Columbia,” (enfranchising and EleCollegiating all those, you know... those people.)  He might even grant statehood to Puerto Rico!

 

“There are two other good reasons for Mr. Manchin to become a Republican, suggested the Washtimes:

1.) West Virginians gave 68.6% of their votes to President Trump over Joe Biden, which makes the Mountain State if not the reddest of states, certainly in the Top Five.

2.) There’s recent precedent for it in Mr. Manchin’s own backyard: West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who was elected as a Democrat in 2016, switched parties just seven months later. He won re-election in a landslide in November.

 

In short, it would be easier for Mr. Manchin to switch than to fight his party. He could cite Ronald Reagan, who explained his 1962 switch of party affiliation: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

There’s just one trouble about the above... it’s from the Washington Times.  Them!  You know, that Moonie paper???...

The more conventional... if vaguely liberal uptake (from CNN) asserts that Sen. Mitchy numbered Joe Cool among both the naughty and nice a few days before Christmas, last year urging Sen. Manchin to join the Republican Party after the moderate Democrat bucked his own by effectively sinking a massive economic spending and climate bill.

 

But Manchin has stood firm in his loyalty to his party. Asked in a wide-ranging interview Monday whether there is still a place for him in the party, he told West Virginia Radio: "Well, I think."

"I would like to hope that there are still Democrats that feel like I do. ... I'm socially -- I'm fiscally responsible and socially compassionate," he said. "Now, if there's no Democrats like that, then they'll have to push me wherever they want me."

 

"No wonder why Joe Manchin is uncomfortable on the Democratic side. ... He would be a lot more comfortable on our side," McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said on Fox News, arguing that the Democratic Party has shifted sharply to the left.

But the Senate minority leader added that he didn't think Manchin would become a Republican and hasn't gotten any indication of such. "I don't expect this to happen," he said.

 

McConnell’s other hope for a party switch, by Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, was also nix-nixed last November, although this occurred before her rejection of Biden’s babies and the resultant hostility.

 

"I've been concerned at the push that happens in both parties, this push to have no disagreements. To only have unity or to only speak with one voice. And some will say, 'Oh, that is our strength,'" Sinema told Politico. "Having some disagreement is normal. It is real, it is human. And it's an opportunity for us as mature beings to work through it."

The Arizona Democrat, who is frequently seen chatting with Republicans on the Senate floor, revealed that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has an "underrated" sense of humor. She added, however, that her close relationships with GOP colleagues are not for political gain.

"I'm a human who has friends," Sinema told Politico.  (Friends with benefits, if she switches before November, but that’s a long shot.  On the other hand, who would have predicted a Rams-Bengals Super Sunday

 

THE SENATE

 

Addison Mitchell McConnell (born February 20 , 1942 in Sheffield, AL and educated at the University of Kentucky) was a US Assistant Aygee and County Judge before election to the Senate in 1985; as minority leader, he rules the Senate Republicans (when Trump doesn’t).  (Wiki)

 

Now, Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-Ky) can look out the window of the Capitol to the Mall beyond... looking forward to midterms with somewhat more confidence and somewhat less spleen than his purported comrade in Congress; biding his time (and clocking Joe Biden) with polite but firm filibuster defeats on the money stuff... the voting rights and (social) infrastructure bills, failure of which has sent the President’s popularity down down down. 

A two-edged sword, that... a gathering weakness around Team Biden might just encourage the mob to roar “Trump!  Trump!” again and set up a 2024 contest between, as some fox-hunting hating Brits maintain, that contest which Oscar Wilde defined as “the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.”

Still he has problems of the sort that keep a body up nights deep into the witching hours...

Which sets things drifting along until November, by which time Djonald Unspayed’s Senate lapdog will be hungrily anticipating something tasty to fall off history’s table and elevate him to the position he’s long hungered for.

The media and their oft-“informed”, oft-anonymous “sources” seem to agree that Mitchy has a better chance of pulling this off than Kev.  Number One: he’s a winner.  Number Two: his only recent foibles have antagonized a slice of America (African-Americans, apart from real Americans) that usually vote Democratic anyway.  Number Three: four Democrats and only two Republicans are considered at high risk for defeat come November.

“Republicans, who need a net gain of just one seat to retake the Senate, believe they are likely to win the chamber since midterms tend to be difficult for the president’s party,” wrote Bridget Bowman, also of RollCall last November – one year before the reckoning. “They point to Biden’s low job approval rating as a sign that the political environment is on their side.”  (See Attachment Two)

 

A CNN special edition analysis of Mitchy’s midterm strategy (See Attachment Three) focused upon McConnell’s hesitation to indulge in overjubilence at the post-Bidenstompine embarrassment of riches – that it should not lead to nfl style overconfidence

McConnell has apparently adopted the tactics of Virginia’s upset-winning Governor Glenn Youngkin – keep Djonald Unconstrained at arms’ length with flattery and flummoxry while raiding his populist base for supporters and his grateful tax-cutted donors for money.  Last week, NBC’s Jonathan Allen, citing Mitchy’s “quiet campaign” in favor of the RINOs solicited soundbites from, among others, an anonymous GOP senator, who said the MinoLeader "…wants people who he knows are team players, people who are interested in solutions," adding that "…there are a lot of people who are running for office these days who have different agendas."  (See Attachment Four)

"We're not in a hole now." McConnell told CNN’s Manu Raju and Alex Rogers, referring to the 2010 debacle.  "It took us six years to climb out of that hole... I think from an atmospheric point of view it's highly likely to be a situation where the wind is at our backs," he added.

Yet Democrats say McConnell has issues of his own making, bungling remarks last week when talking about turnout among Black voters, resulting in a stinging backlash over his comments.

On Wednesday, at his weekly policy news conference at the US Capitol, McConnell was asked whether voters of color would be hurt if Democrats' election legislation did not pass, and he replied: "The concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans," according to two other CNNsters, Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett.  (See Attachments 5, A and B)

McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African American” voters cast ballots at similar rates to “Americans.” The comment implied that Black voters are somehow not American and underscored the concerns of voting rights advocates that Republicans in state legislatures across the country are explicitly seeking to disenfranchise Blacks,” said Raju and Rogers.

Whereas the MineLeader seemed awkward and, even, apologetic, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) stormed into the controversy and took command, in his own inimitable way, calling Biden’s preference “offensive” and setting up slur-parity with Mitch’s own racial gaffes, obliquely insinuating to Tim Scott, sole black Senator and ally, and the many still undisenfranchised minority voters in Republican states as might be vulnerable in November.

The gentleman from Texas, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued that Biden’s pledge was “actually an insult to Black women.”  (See Attachment Six)

“If he came and said, ‘I’m gonna put the best jurist on the court,’ and he looked at a number of people and he ended up nominating a Black woman, he could credibly say, ‘OK I’m nominating the person who’s most qualified,’” Cruz was quoted in the Houston Chronicle. “He’s not even pretending to say that. He’s saying, ‘If you’re a white guy, tough luck. If you’re a white woman, tough luck. You don’t qualify.’”

On Tuesday, Cruz stood by the comments and said Biden was setting a “quota.”

“It would obviously be wrong if a president said they were going to nominate a white woman or a white man,” Cruz said. “But in this instance, the Democrats are so casually racist that they’ll make that promise.”

 

Cruz and his “Go Brandon” go-boys won’t cancel Biden’s next appointment, but they might delay it.  With a Senate composed of frail and elderly white men (and women), a sudden illness could mean days or months of delay… a death could upset the applecart.

Politico, noting the sudden illness of ancient Patrick Leahy revisited the problem last week.  Leahy (D-Vt.), who has served in the Senate since 1975, returned to work on Wednesday seemingly unscathed. The most senior Democratic senator said he was given a “clean bill of health” after being briefly hospitalized on Tuesday evening after suffering muscle spasms. 

“I’m glad he’s back. But it’s also a reminder than in an equally divided Senate how quickly things can change,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). He said vacancies could be filled, but a Democrat who was absent for any number of days could shift the balance of power back to Republicans.

“If someone was merely disabled but didn’t resign, then that would have that potential,” Cornyn added.

Former Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), whose health had declined, retired early before serving their full terms in recent years. Before that, 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and 88-year-old Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) died in office in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Isakson’s retirement eventually to led a Democratic pick-up, while Lautenberg’s death briefly gave Republicans his seat until Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) won a special election.

Though he's served in the Senate now for eight terms, Durbin said Leahy hasn’t lost a step. Moreover, there are four senators older than Leahy: Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California and Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa are both 87. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma are 86 years old. After Leahy, his Vermont colleague Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is next in age at 79.

Questions also come up about the ability of some aging senators to carry out their duties. Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, stepped down as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee in November after progressives criticized her handling of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The threat of coronavirus is another issue that's scrambled the Senate's calendar, forcing GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to cut some days off the schedule last year after some of his members tested positive. Ultimately, however, he pushed forward after those diagnoses to confirm Barrett right before the election.

Each state has its own vacancy laws — and in Vermont any vacancy would be filled within six months by a special election. When Sanders was under consideration for a Biden Cabinet seat, GOP Gov. Phil Scott said he would probably appoint a short-term replacement to caucus with Schumer.  (See Attachment Seven)

Politico also revealed, on Tuesday, that Sen. Ben Ray Luhan (D-NM) had suffered a stroke.

Several senators didn’t know about Luján’s diagnosis until reporters asked about when he’d return. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) responded: “Oh, my God,” when a reporter informed him of the news. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), meanwhile, said he wasn’t sure most of the Democratic caucus knew.

“Jesus. He had a stroke? First I’ve heard of it,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).”Oh, my God. I’ll find out. I did not know that, wow. It makes me worried about him, he’s too young for that stuff.”

Democrats this week can confirm nominees without Republicans, with GOP Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) absent due to a Covid infection. But Murphy suggested that, in the short-term, Democrats may need to prioritize legislation that can garner Republican votes. Bipartisan groups of senators are currently working on a Russia sanctions package, as well as updates to the Electoral Count Act to make it more difficult for lawmakers to overturn reported election results. Democrats are also trying to reach an agreement with Republicans to fund the government past Feb. 18.

Luján's stroke is the biggest health scare Democrats have faced this Congress, after more than a year with an evenly divided Senate. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was briefly hospitalized six days after Democrats took back the majority last year. And throughout the year, Democratic senators have also been absent due to Covid infections. The lack of wiggle room is one reason Democrats are pushing for the chamber to act quickly on the upcoming Supreme Court confirmation.

Asked about any concerns that his handling of the voting issue could turn off minorities in the midterms, McConnell shot back, saying: "It's just as likely to be a liability for Democrats as it is for us," citing support for voter ID laws, for example.  Actually the comparison is exactly opposite – whereas the voter ID laws would depress the turnout of blacks (and, probably, the browns and reds and poorer yellows), insults might anger some of these minorities into braving the predicted or purported travails at the polls come the midterms – even if they have to run a gauntlet of armed and aggressive vigilante “pollwatchers

Minority Leader McConnell, being “shocked and, indeed, insulted that anyone would ascribe even a hint of racist intent to his recent statement that divided the electorate into African Americans and Americanselicited derision from those on the left who acknowledged the division: “If you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans,” remarked Curtis in her Roll Call her podcast, Thursday morning (referenced in Attachment One)

“On the one hand, that outrage was pretty rich coming from the man who treated the first Black president of the United States as an annoyance to be dismissed or ignored, especially when that president attempted to appoint a Supreme Court justice, one of the duties of — the president of the United States.

“On the other hand, the Republican senator from Kentucky was just doing what a whole lot of Americans do: Treat “white” as the default and everyone else as someone or something “other,” and, by statement or inference, someone or something “less.”

“Who wouldn’t at least admit that a more representative Supreme Court, one that expands rather than excludes the list of eminently qualified candidates, is a good thing?” Curtis asked.

“Well, that would be several Republicans looking to enrage a base that is threatened by any act that hints at racial progress and eager to weigh in on someone who has yet to be named. That is the point, really, as these premature commenters obviously see this “Black woman” not as an individual person but rather a vaguely threatening symbol.”

Specifically, Curtis named Senate Judiciary Committee members Josh Hawley and Cruz... the former “mumble(ing) something about a “woke activist,” stringing together buzzwords sure to hit a nerve,” while Cruz, managed to offend even some Republicans with his comment that Biden’s promise was “offensive.” And since the Texan never knows when to stop, he had to add that it’s “an insult to Black women.”

“Of all the things Cruz has been called, I don’t believe “spokesman for Black women” has ever been one of them.

         

It’s not the first time that McConnell’s stuck his foot in it… nor will it be the last. 

Just as House Dog Kev-O blundered in playing tough guy with the riot panel, leading to only two Republicans… the recently censured traitors Kinzinger and Cheney… to be seated, Lap Dog Mitch committed an act of short-term gain, but long-term pain when he tweaked the Senate filibuster protocols to stifle then-President Obama’s choice of Merrick Garland to succeed the deceased conservative shot-caller Antonin Scalia on the High Bench and then, after Trump was elected, re-tweak the rules to plant three right to far-right Supremes on the Court.

For four decades, a 60-vote supermajority had been required to advance all federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments, per The Washington Post.

Then, contended USA Today a month before the 2020 Presidential scuffle, Senate Republicans attempted to filibuster multiple Obama nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, his pick for Defense secretary, and his choices to lead the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

When Mitch ditched the filibuster from Harry Reid, the late Senator from Nevada attempting to block Djonald Unaccommodating’s replacement of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Christian theocrat Amy Coney Barrett, he was replaying an old tune hummed when beer-swillin’ Brett Kavanaugh replaced conservative Justice Scalia, going all the way back six years to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch after delaying tactics as prevented Barack Obama from naming the now-Attorney General Merrick Garland to the bench.

NPR alleged that McConnell and the lockstep Republican majority had pulled the “nuclear trigger” of filibuster reform to grease the Gorsuch confirmation (Attachment Nine), leading Eugene Robinson, a “fellow” at the Washpost termed Mitchy’s change of heart “pure hypocrisy”.  (Attachment Ten)

 

“By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor,” NPR wrote at the time.  They cited McConnell’s closing floor speech contention that “...This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice."

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-48 to reduce the vote threshold for confirming nominees to the Supreme Court from 60 to 51, per The New York Times.

(The need for a 60-vote supermajority still exists for legislation.)

Again, both sides played the blame game.

Some Democrats blame Reid for opening the door to McConnell’s action in 2017. But anyone who thinks McConnell wouldn’t have gone nuclear absent Reid’s precedent hasn’t paid attention to just how far McConnell will go to capture the courts for conservatives.

In the year after Reid’s nuclear strike, the Democrats were able to place more than 100 Obama nominees onto the federal bench before losing their majority. Most of those nominations would have been blocked by the Republicans otherwise.

“In September, just three months before he died, Reid wrote that he was proud of what he’d done. He had every right to be,” wrote Jackie Calmes of the L.A. Times in Reid’s obituary.  (See Attachment Eleven)

 “This is the latest escalation in the left’s never-ending judicial war, the most audacious yet,” McConnell disagreed, of Democratic efforts to filibuster the Gorsuch high court nomination.

Schumer, meanwhile, said that when "history weighs what happened," the responsibility will rest on McConnell and Republicans.

“They have had other choices,” he said. “They have chosen this one.”

Oops!

 

By essentially eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — an extension of the 2013 nuclear option triggered by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for all lower court and executive branch nominees — NPR predicted that all presidential nominees “will now face a far easier path navigating through the Senate confirmation process. It also could make it easier for presidents to appoint more overtly partisan justices to the Supreme Court.”

Given the level of the partisanship – and the probable concurrence of the SineManchin duo with President Joe that, while slaying the filibuster in non-SCOTUS related cases was a non-starter, Biden retains the right to confirm his own team, including high court vacancies when and if they occur, as his predecessor did.

The change, NPR added, will also “test the character of the Senate and the people who serve in it, and lay bare whether the upper chamber is slowly lurching towards becoming more like the majority-driven and reactionary House of Representatives, where the minority party has little substantive role.

“McConnell then, as promised, used the power of his position and with all of his GOP colleagues lined up behind him, to essentially change the rules of the Senate — to lower that threshold on Supreme Court nominations to end debate from 60 to 51 votes. The change did not affect the legislative filibuster.”  On this little neglectful coda the Republicans plan to hang their hat... if Biden’s choice is unpalatable... and, perhaps also, their former Vice.

“McConnell made a point of order that ending debate on the nomination only requires a simple majority. The motion was not sustained by the chair because Senate rules required 60 votes, so McConnell then made a motion to overturn that ruling. And once that motion passed on a party-line vote, the Gorsuch nomination only needed 51 votes to clear the hurdle.

“That mild-sounding parliamentary maneuver has the most destructive nickname, ‘the nuclear option,’ because it contains sweeping impact on the Senate, President Trump and all of his successors — and the nation as a whole.

“The impact of McConnell's move Thursday is a matter of heated debate, and its long-term effects are unpredictable,” NPR predicted and, true to form, Democrats like Charles Schumer, doleful and disconsolate after the ascension of the three Trump judges, now seeks to use McConnell’s 2017 coup against him.  Given the rock solid partisan lineup on confirmation (with the possible exception of Sen. Graham), McConnell may well have cause to thank Biden (see below) for not appointing a maniac like The Bern (well, too old, too white) or one of the Squad… “Nuyorican” AOC, 32, who claims black, red and white Spanish ancestry, Ilhan Omar, 39, a Somali immigrant, Palestian Rashida Talib (45) and black woman Ayanna Pressley (48)… all committed left-wingers and all capable of a potential forty to even fifty year run.

“McConnell has been pitching a hissy fit over the prospect that Democrats would change the rules to let voting rights legislation be debated and passed by simple majority,” contended Robinson on January 13th, threatening to use another little known, little used “legislative filibuster” to tie the Senate up in knots “in ways that are more inconvenient for the majority and the White House than what anybody has seen in living memory.”

 

“Bipartisanship,” Robinson concludes, “(is) apparently, is for suckers.

“Someday, Republicans will again hold the majority in the Senate. Without the filibuster to constrain them, they may pass all sorts of laws that Democrats abhor. But eliminating the filibuster will actually give more power to the centrists in both parties, because fewer votes will be required to tip the scales. The Senate might actually become what it’s purported to be: a place of deliberation and compromise.

Given what the Senate is now, it’s worth a try.”

 

And then there’s the MineLeader’s minefield; seeded following the capitol riot, when McConnell called Jan. 6 a "dark day," and claimed some Democrats were trying to "exploit" it.

Previously, McConnell said Jan. 6, 2021, was a "disgraceful scene" in a statement on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection.

Now, however, he amended his view to find Democrats were trying to "exploit this anniversary."

 “January 6th, 2021 was a dark day for Congress and our country. The United States Capitol, the seat of the first branch of our federal government, was stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job. This disgraceful scene was antithetical to the rule of law. One year later, I am as grateful as ever for the brave men and women of the U.S. Capitol Police who served our institution bravely that day and every day since. I continue to support justice for those who broke the law. 

“As I said yesterday, it has been stunning to see some Washington Democrats try to exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event. It is especially jaw-dropping to hear some Senate Democrats invoke the mob’s attempt to disrupt our country’s norms, rules, and institutions as a justification to discard our norms, rules, and institutions themselves.
“A year ago today, the Senate did not bend or break. We stuck together, stood strong, gaveled back in, and did our job. Senators should not be trying to exploit this anniversary to damage the Senate in a different way from within.”  (CNN)

Djonald Unspayed, according to a Daily Beastly snarl from a correspondent with the suspicious alias of “Sick Puppy” which we noted last week, has repeatedly made fun of the idea that certain legislators, police, or journalists were traumatized by the violent events of the day, according to these sources. “There are moments when the ex-president has speculated that his critics are “faking” their trauma and anxiety, for attention. Other times, he’s done poor, whining impersonations of perceived enemy lawmakers crying about the riot. 

“(D)espite his frequent claims about “backing the blue,” Trump privately referred to some of the police officers who were at the Capitol that day as pussies”.  Now, Republican response to Capitol police response to the (riot/insurrection/peaceful voicing of legitimate concerns) is vacillating between “pussies” or “brutes” or... in most cases, is simply ignored, Djonald Unconcerned.

And whereas House Minority Leader McCarthy (R-Calif.) called in to ABC News from a secure location as a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying: “I want everybody to take a deep breath and understand: We all have some responsibility here,” the lap dog/heading for yard dog submitted to a C-Span interrogation (after His Master’s Voice spaketh and spake that he’d break with jurisprudential determination in the matter of the Jan, Six and pardon some or all of the Capitol rioters), during which McConnell said: “the election of 2020 was decided December 14, 2020 when the electoral college certified the winner of the election,” and that, for those have pled guilty to criminal behavior, “...my view is (that) I would not be in favor of shortening any of those sentences for any of the people who pleaded guilty to crimes.  (See partial transcript, Attachment Twelve)

Whether his intent of late has been at least to pretend to offer an olive branch to America’s top Democrat, recognize reality inasmuch as his strange but steady adversary Lindsey Graham has been cutting (or at least proposing) his own deals with the doddering devil of 1600 Pennsy, or just hide below the radar when the riot committee and a potentially vengeful AyGee Garland get around to slapping butts in prison... or perhaps there’s just a little blue blood in his red and white genomes... Mitch has been playing nice with Biden as the Russians advance towards Ukraine  and, now given the Russia/China détente, President Xi takes advantage of the distraction to gobble up Hong Kong, the oily-rich South China Sea and... potentially... declare war on Taiwan.

 

"It appears to me that the administration is moving in the right direction," the Kentucky Republican told correspondent Katherine Fung of Newsweek on January 25th.

Asked about the positive words from McConnell, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "Yes, of course, we were" pleased to hear his response.

"I think abiding by our Article Five commitments [in NATO], standing up for the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, making clear that one country should not be able to invade and take over territory from another country—that's not just a Democratic belief or Republican belief," she said at a Tuesday briefing.  (See Attachment Thirteen)

And Reuters concurred that McConnell believes that President Joe now appears to be adopting the right approach to Ukraine following a weekend meeting with his security team at Camp David. Previously, McConnell had said Biden had "telegraphed passivity and weakness" on the issue.

McConnell urged the immediate deployment of NATO troops to Poland, Romania and the Baltic states, as well as the shipment of anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine.

The Kentucky Republican is among party members who advocate a tough line against Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a time when conservative commentators like Fox News host Tucker Carlson have questioned the need for the United States to take sides.

"My office is now getting calls from folks who say they watch Tucker Carlson and are upset that we're not siding with Russia in its threats to invade Ukraine, and who want me to support Russia's 'reasonable' positions," Democratic U.S. Representative Tom Malinowski tweeted on Monday.  Mac says that Biden is now adopting the “right approach”.  (See Reuters, Attachment Fourteen)

The pivot has not been without cost to his standing with the Trump base... little MAGAmen in little MAGAtowns still jump when Djonald speaks, and if the “Pubs do triumph in November, but Ol’ 45 decides that the logistics that Mitch can bring to the 24 table are not worth the grief of an occasional (bidendog snap) – well, Trump can snap his finger and banish the “old crow” (Politico) McConnell to kennel like President Joe’s dogsgraced Major and rescue another lap dog from the shelter of lost pooches, even if he has to install an elephant yet to be named (because yet to be elected, all the incumbents support Mitchy) atop his junk.

(When Trump first threw the nickname at him, McConnell called it an honor: “Old Crow is Henry Clay’s favorite bourbon,” he told CNN, referring to a fellow, legendary Kentuckian. “It’s hard to believe he really revels in the moniker,” an article in the Boston Globe opined; Trump’s nasty nickname also became the topic of a screed in New York Magazine.)  A decade ago, the MineLeader professed that he preferred his bourbon… whatever the brand… in a Manhattan!)

Rapid Republican response teams, chronic Trump tramps and small-C christers whirled into action.  Evangelist Cal Thomas, for example, found a media bileduct that would publish his view... the Rockdale (Ga) Citizen (See Attachment Fifteen) as wondered why McConnell would even negotiate with the “traitorous” President Joe without broadsword at hand.

“The art of deconstructing an argument by refutation and holding a person accountable for previous statements that the person now contradicts was once an honored tradition,” Thomas opined in his view of Mitchy’s purported flip-flop. “It has now mostly gone the way of other traditions in favor of sound bite statements formulated in political party meetings and used to confuse the public.”

After weighing in on past McConnell accusations that Biden’s views on minority voting rights were “outlandish”, that POTUS called “millions of Americans his domestic enemies,” and that those who disagreed with him were “if you disagree with him, you’re George Wallace. If you don’t pass the laws he wants, you’re Bull Connor. And if you oppose giving Democrats ... one-party control of the country, well, you’re Jefferson Davis,” while noting that most racists who opposed civil rights legislation, were Southern Democrats as opposed to Republicans, “beginning with Abraham Lincoln, who supported racial equality.”

Too many of today’s “journalists” sound like shills for the Democratic Party, crafting their questions and writing their stories as if they are channeling that party’s talking points and worldview.

McConnell did their job for them in his deconstruction of recent remarks by the president.  Polls show Biden voters are expressing buyer’s remorse. They can be expected to reverse course in November, Thomas hopes.

But if they do, who will ascend to Leader?

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said that he would not support Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for reelection as the Senate GOP leader if he did not have a “working relationship” with former president Donald Trump, even as he connives with President Joe to install a local girl as Justice Childs.

“Elections are about the future. If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity as reported in the Washington Post while Postie Paul Waldman alleged Mitchy to be, in reality, a Trump false flag black operative.  (See Attachments Sixteen, A and B) 

While two pro-Trump Republican Senate candidates — Eric Greitens of Missouri and Kelly Tshibaka of Alaska — have publicly stated they would not support McConnell for GOP leader, so far no sitting senators other than Graham have publicly broached taking such a stand.

But Newsweek reports that Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has tried to walk a tightrope when it comes to placating Trump while working with the GOP establishment. “I’ve known Mitch McConnell since the early ’90s,” Scott said in November. “I actually lived in Kentucky and supported him then. I have a good working relationship with Mitch McConnell.”

 

Whereas House Minority Leader McCarthy (R-Calif.) called in to ABC News from a secure location as a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying: “I want everybody to take a deep breath and understand: We all have some responsibility here,” McConnell, after the attack, said that (only?) Trump had been “practically and morally responsible” for provoking the mob, and he reportedly vowed never to speak to Trump again.

Consequently – and for not the only reason, not by far - McConnell and McDarthy, according to a CNN report last December, hate each other.  Really, really, really hate each other! 

 

A (partially) nuanced explanation of the McConnell-McCarthy divide in a December CNN report and an out and out Daily Beast roast shed some light and plenty of heat on the fracas – which may impinge on the possibility of the ‘Pubs taking the House or the Senate in November.

Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona of the left-leaning cable news network expressed the belief that, with control of both chambers at stake in next year's midterms, “the two top Republican leaders have increasingly taken sharply divergent positions on major issues dominating Congress, reflecting both the different institutions that they lead but also how they view the GOP's posture headed into a hugely consequential election season.”

While McConnell can choose negotiation, or to “nail and derail” Biden’s agenda, “in the House, where minority party votes are rarely needed by the majority, the 56-year-old McCarthy has positioned Republicans as steadfastly opposed to virtually anything backed by Biden -- even if it means voting against legislation to fend off default, keep the government running or pour money into roads, bridges and broadband.

 

“Many Republicans in the Senate defended McConnell, saying the rules mean that 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster attempt -- so 10 GOP votes would be needed to help avoid a default,” noted CNN.  Rep. Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican who is running for the Senate with a Trump endorsement, called McConnell a "big spender" and said he would "prefer someone more conservative" as leader.

"But he is who he is," Brooks added. "It's expected there will be disagreements from time to time."

Rep. Billy Long, a Missouri Republican seeking Trump's endorsement in his Senate run, complained that McConnell's deal(s) amounted to "dysfunction."

"Today we find another way to be more dysfunctional," Long said.

But when asked twice if he'd back McConnell as leader if he becomes a senator, Long stayed quiet, appeared to shake his head and walked onto an elevator.

“Yet the disagreements have gone beyond the most recent policy disputes,” the CNNsters allege. In responding earlier this year to incendiary comments from Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a hard-right Republican from Georgia, McConnell said her views were tantamount to "loony lies and conspiracy theories" and were a "cancer" to the GOP. But earlier this fall, McCarthy said he would reinstate Greene on her committees, potentially even "better" ones, if Republicans take the House after Democrats booted her from assignments in the wake of her controversial comments.

And just a few weeks before McCarthy and his conference ousted Rep. Liz Cheney from his leadership team, McConnell told CNN that the Wyoming Republican was a leader of "great convictions."

Despite the above, CNN has dissented from the Washington Post-toasties and… owing to the gentleman from South Carolina’s prerogative of apparently changing his mind and/or stance every fifteen seconds,

While both McConnell and McCarthy voted against the Democratic-led impeachment effort charging Trump with inciting the January 6 insurrection, McConnell has stood by his criticism that the former President was "practically and morally responsible" for the attack. McCarthy, however, walked back his criticism of Trump and found himself posing with the former President after a jaunt to Mar-a-Lago less than a month after the Capitol attack.

"We better stick together," Rep. Brian Babin, a Texas Republican told CNN. "It's imperative that Republicans all march in one direction.”   (See Attachment Seventeen)

More fiery commentary peppers the Beast roast where chef Margaret Carlson concluded that, “while neither McConnell nor McCarthy has a beating heart, and only one has a brain,” the Senate’s top Republican “is still connected to reality, while his House counterpart is tethered only to Trump.”

Citing Mitchy’s traitorous conversations with Chuck Schumer and his capitulation on the stolen election, CNN called it “no mystery why we’re no longer ranked among the top 30 democracies in the world.” “We’re being led by officials who fear that a defeated, impaired, and ruthless man might say something nasty about them. That’s why McConnell speaking to the opposition and “caving” on the debt ceiling, as Trump saw it, is significant. Unlike McCarthy, he’s not so afraid anymore.”  (Attachment Eighteen)

 

It took Fox News, of all NewsThings to trumpet Trump’s humiliation as Mitchy and Biden joined hands... or worse... on upholding Hunter’s beloved Ukraine (at least with speeches) against Djonald’s beloved Ex.

"Mitch, I don’t want to hurt your reputation, but we really are friends," Biden said with a laugh. (See Attachment Nineteen)  The president noted that this was nothing new, and "not an epiphany" he was having.

"You've always done exactly what you said. You're a man of your word, and you're a man of honor," Biden continued. "Thank you for being my friend.

 

Ahead of Biden's press conference, McConnell was asked by an NBC News reporter what the GOP's policy agency would if the party takes back control of Congress.

"That's a very good question," he said. "And I'll let you know when we take it back." 

 

 

 

JANUARY 29 – FEBRUARY 4, 2022

 

 

Saturday, January 29, 2022

 

Infected:  74,236,114

Dead:  883,969

Dow:  34,725.47

 

 

           

 

Northeast in the deep freeze and “it continues to bomb out” with Boston windchills down to minus 5.  Warm, rich experts tell poor, cold people not to use space heaters after a spate of fires.  Trains, planes and automobiles all impacted up and down the BosWash corridor as is, of course, the supply chain.

   President Joe, his planned visit to Pittsburg to lobby for infrastructure money visits the unplanned bridge collapse, points and says “See? See?”  Back in Washington DC, Sen Roger Wicks (R-Ms) calls his still unnamed new SCOTUS justice an “affirmative action” pick while RINO Mitt Romney gets it.  With the Super Bowl and Chinese New Years’ being called Super Spreaders, Pfizer reiterates that its Paxlovid plague drug will be out – soon!

   A “sea of blue” in New York for police funeral... two female officers pull a man from a burning car.

 

 

 

Sunday, January 30, 2022

 

Infected:  74,332,396

Dead:  884,260

                

 

 

It’s “Neglected Tropical Disease Day”.

  People in Boston wouldn’t mind being in the tropics, no matter how diseased, as two feet of snow follow negative temperatures.  The freeze extends all the way down to Florida and destroys the orange crop.

   Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) join Rep. Jim Clyburn in touting home town SCOTUS candidate Michelle Childs, but Susan Collins (R-Me) who voted against Amy Coney Barrett last go-round calls Biden’s plege to black women “clumsy”.  IPSOS poll slams his black-only pledge, the economy, and war in Ukraine while, as Russians go this way and that on their side of the border, the ignored, misunderstood NoKos cry out for attention by firing off more missiles. 

   Despite one-third refusenik population, 41 states now report declining or plateauing plague transmission.

 

 

 

Monday, January 31, 2022

 

Infected:  74,941,202

Dead:  886,682

Dow:  36,131.86

 

           

 

Rams and Bengals steal come-from-behind victories in Super Semis and Rafael Nadal rallies to win Australian Open and overtake banned NDoko.

   San Francisco drops its mask mandate, but Los Angeles keeps it.  Governor Newsom and L.A. Mayor Garcetti attend the game unmasked.  Pfizer promises a vaccine for kids 2 – 5... soon.

   Harry and Meg join musicians Nils Lofgren, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell as well as “270 experts” in boycotting Spotify which refuses to cancel refusenik activist Joe Rogan.  But they do slap a “parental warning” sticker over his bald pate. 

   Americans and Russians jaw jaw at U.N. – Lootin’ Putin’s plenipotentiaries say that the U.S. wants war.  BoJo, over there, apologizes for hosting sixteen plague parties and Olympians call the Chinese “bubble” with hazmat suits and robot servers “efficient” but 37 more of them get it, driving the total up to 248.

  

 

 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

 

Infected: 75,350,359                    Dead:  890,770

Dow:  35,405.24

 

 

 

It’s Chinese New Years’ Day... Year of the Tiger.

   The FBI calls China “brazen” as Russia rushes 30,000 more troops to the Ukrainian front.  Women there are learning martial arts to engage the invaders in kung fu fighting and Nazis rally in Orlando to show the Mouse Kingdom that they’re still around, still fighting.  Kansas woman departs USA to lead an ISIS female brigade and actor Sean Penn dismisses (other) American men as effeminate and weak.

   Suspect charged for murdering firefighters and school shooters shoot up schools in Minnesota and Virginia.  Thirteen HBCUs (historical black colleges and universities) get bomb threats.

 

 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

 

Infected: 75,680,457                     

Dead:  894,316

Dow:  35,629.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Groundhog Day.  Punxsatawny Phil sees his shadow, so six weeks more of winter.  Celebrants pull the New Jersey rodent from his burrow and... he’s dead!

   Joe Burrow and Matthew Stafford will tangle in Superbowl 53 as the old guard gives way.  Tom Brady makes up his mind, he’ll retire after 22 seasons (four more than Big Ben Roethlisberger) and, say “sources” sell shirts.  Aaron Rodgers becomes the last geezer passing, after 16 seasons.  The Washington Football Team (formerly the Redskins) leaks new nickname, “Commanders” and runs into immediate protests from the woke generation. 

   Whoopi Goldberg is cancelled for denying that Jews are a race instead of a religion – outraged professionals at AIPAC and the ADL accuse her of supporting Nazis.

 

 

 

Thursday, February 3, 2022

 

Infected: 75,961,961

Dead:  896,557

Dow:  35,111.18

  

 

 

 

Its National Missing Persons’ Day.

Pentagon reports that successful raid on Syrian terrorist Hajji Abdullah plants him among the missing... permanently (he blows himself up).

   Terror goes back to domestic and, specifically, transportative as a naked mass shooter sprays a Greyhoud bus with lead in Oroville, CA.  It’s not good time for private transportation either as bad weather causes a truck crash that stalls traffic for 16 freezing hours in San Antonio.  (Rain, snow, ice, tornadoes and power outages spread a span from Texas north to Canada.)

   Billions of dollars (250 altogether) go missing as Facebook crashes – wiping out a week’s worth of gains on the Dow.  CEO Zuckerberg out $30B personally as Americans stop cocooning and go outdoors to like... do things... with the Big O getting littler and littler in 49 states, excepting refusenik redoubt Alabama.  On the other hand, Mackenzie Scott (ex Ms. Bezos) donates $133 mil to education.

   Oscar nominees to be revealed Tuesday.  Music Hall of Fame nominees named... Cher is scumped again!  Rudy G. attempting to raise some cash by entering the “Masked Singer” but his face causes two judges to walk out.

 

 

 

Friday, February 4, 2022

 

Infected:  76,354,949

Dead:  901,388

Dow:  36,019.05

  

 

With Valentines’ Day nearing, it’s “wear red” day for women’s heart health.

   Red state statism rules as Mad Vlad and Xi Whiz embrace at opening of Beijing Olympics and re-assert their intent to conquer and enslave the world.  Then Putin falls asleep during the Ukrainian appearance.  Americans and ten other nations boycott... but just the diplomats and politicians, the athletes still compete.  Belgian “skeleton racer” gets it and moans she can’t endure 14 days of quarantine.

   With the conventional plague in decline, an exotic new variant is found in the sewers of New York.  And an old friend returns... a new, virulent variant of HIV pops up in Europe where QE2 celebrates her 70th anniversary of queenship (without Andrew, Meg and Harry) and the accommodating Dutch blow up one of their own bridges to make room for Jeff Bezos’ enormous yacht.  More snow and ice auger more U.S. bridge collapses, so President Joe makes another speech.

   So does former rival Mike Pence, declaring he had neither authority nor desire to overturn the 2020 election.  “I know you feel disappointed,” he tells the party faithful, “I was on the ballot.”  Nonetheless, they overwhelmingly vote to censure RINOS Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for serving on the riot probe panel – denouncing the persecution of “legitimate political dissent” by the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys etc.

   Also back for a wink and a wave – Stormy Daniels wins $300K suit against her thieving, incompetent attorney Michael Avenetti.

 

 

 

A very torpid Don (Dow, too) for a very busy week of incipient war, out of control youth gun violence, a Supreme Court vacancy, rampant inflation and, as ever, the plague.

The Don was down some, but almost the entire loss was due to a technical reading of unemployment figures... the rate rose to 4.0% despite adding 467,000 jobs, far more than anticipated.  Employers say that’s still not enough for the demand but most are not prepared to do what needs to be done – raise wages.  Certainly not as long as voters are blaming the Biden administration and clamoring for the restoration of tax cutting, Putin kissing President Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

THE DON JONES INDEX

 

CHART of CATEGORIES w/VALUE ADDED to EQUAL BASELINE of 15,000

(REFLECTING… approximately… DOW JONES INDEX of June 27, 2013)

 

See a further explanation of categories here

 

ECONOMIC INDICES (60%)

DON JONES’ PERSONAL ECONOMIC INDEX

(45% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

 

 

 

CATEGORY

VALUE

BASE

RESULTS

SCORE

SCORE

OUR SOURCES and COMENTS

 

INCOME

24%

6/17/13

LAST

CHANGE

NEXT

1/29/22

2/5/22

SOURCE 

 

Wages (hourly, per capita)

9%

1350 points

   1/08/21

   +0.80%

 2/12/22

1,515.21

1,515.21

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/wages  26.61

 

Median Income (yearly)

4%

600

1/29/22

   +0.028%

 2/12/22

675.44

675.63

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   35,691 701

 

*Unempl. (BLS – in millions

4%

600

1/08/22

    +2.50%

 2/12/22

514.72

501.85

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS140000004.0%

 

*Official (DC – in millions)

2%

300

1/29/22

   +0.24%

 2/12/22

623.19

623.69

http://www.usdebtclock.org/      6,256 241

 

*Unofficl. (DC – in millions)

2%

300

1/29/22

   +0.05%

 2/12/22

509.48

509.75

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    11,376 340

 

Workforce Participtn.

     Number  

     Percent

2%

300

1/29/22

 

   +0.024%

   +0.0013%

 2/12/22

 

 

325.91

 

 

325.906

In 156,131 169  Out  99,813 807  Total: 255,944 976

 

http://www.usdebtclock.org/ 61.01

 

WP %  (ycharts)*

1%

150

1/29/22

   +0.48%

 2/12/22

152.98

153.72

https://ycharts.com/indicators/labor_force_participation_rate  61.90 62.20

 

OUTGO

(15%)

 

Total Inflation

7%

1050

1/08/21

+0.5%

 2/12/22

951.22

951.22

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.5 nc

 

Food

2%

300

1/08/21

+0.5%

 2/12/22

266.88

266.88

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.5

 

Gasoline

2%

300

1/08/21

-0.5%

 2/12/22

225.62

225.62

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm      -0.5

 

Medical Costs

2%

300

1/08/21

+0.3%

 2/12/22

282.77

282.77

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.3

 

Shelter

2%

300

1/08/21

+0.4%

 2/12/22

283.32

283.32

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm     +0.4

 

WEALTH

(6%)

 

 

Dow Jones Index

2%

300

 1/29/22

    +1.05%

 2/12/22

370.46

374.35

https://www.wsj.com/market-data/quotes/index/DJIA  34,725.47  35,089.74

 

Home (Sales) 

   (Valuation)

1%

1%

150

150

 1/29/22

    -4.33%

   +1.16%

 2/12/22

196.28

180.17

196.28

180.17

https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics

     Sales (M):  6.18 Valuations (K):  358.0

 

Debt (Personal)

2%

300

 1/29/22

    -0.019%

 2/12/22

264.00

263.95

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    63,945 993

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN ECONOMIC INDEX (15% of TOTAL INDEX POINTS)

 

NATIONAL

(10%)

 

 

Revenue (trilns.)

2%

300

 1/29/22

 +0.025%

 2/12/22

346.88

346.97

debtclock.org/       4,057 058 

 

Expenditures (tr.)

2%

300

 1/29/22

  -0.07%

 2/12/22

217.34

217.19

debtclock.org/       6,894 899

 

National Debt tr.)

3%

450

 1/29/22

 +0.42%

 2/12/22

307.72

306.42

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    29,884  30,011

 

Aggregate Debt (tr.)

3%

450

 1/29/22

 +0.08%

 2/12/22

366.10

365.82

http://www.usdebtclock.org/    86,357 423

 

 

GLOBAL

(5%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign Debt (tr.)

2%

300

 1/29/22

  +1.05%

 2/12/22

269.03

266.19

http://www.usdebtclock.org/   7,793 876

 

Exports (in billions)

1%

150

 12/3/21

  +0.27%

 2/12/22

199.00

199.00

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  224.2

 

Imports (bl.)

1%

150

 12/3/21

   -4.44%

 2/12/22

109.00

109.00

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html  304.2

 

Trade Deficit (bl.)

1%

150

 12/3/21

+16.33%

 2/12/22

83.70

83.70

https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/index.html    80.2

 

 

SOCIAL INDICES (40%) 

 

ACTS of MAN

(12%)

 

World Affairs

3%

450

1/29/22

       -0.3%

 2/12/22

371.56

370.45

Gen. Ace Abrams (ret.) blames NoKo missile party on desperation over sanctions from the rest of the world over doing stupid things like firing off missiles.  While aging, decrepit US bridges tremble and crumble under harsh winter burdens, Rotterdam blows up a perfectly good structure to accommodate Jeff Bezos’ giant yacht.

 

Terrorism

2%

300

1/29/22

      +0.3%

 2/12/22

216.83

217.48

Say bye to ISIS leader who blows himself up in Syria.  China begins its Olympics in “scaled back” mode with athletes hermitically (if not entirely safely) sealed in a quarantine bubble.

 

Politics

3%

450

1/29/22

       -0.1%

 2/12/22

437.84

436.53

Nancy Pelosi (81) says she’ll run again while warning Olympians to not politicize the games.  But more Democratic politicians say they’ll retire because they are old.  Republican congress censures Liz and Adam for persecuting “legitimate political dissent” aka the riots.  Trump on his Trump Tour says he may pardon the great and small among Capitol rioters.  Or not.   National Governors’ Meeting held in D.C. for the first time in three years, the Guvs will take on cybersecurity and education

 

Economics

3%

450

1/29/22

      +0.2%

 2/12/22

405.40

406.21

Unlike last week when unemployment was down despite anemic jobs report, there were 476,000 new jobs, but the Dow “meta”crashed and unemployment was up by a tenth of a percent.  Inflation: Starbucks, natural gas, Amazon Prime

 

Crime

1%

150

1/29/22

       -0.2%

 2/12/22

234.46

233.99

Hostile hubby kills wife on Mothers’ Day – blames a mountain lion.  Feral American children killing each other at record pace.  Bungled no-knock raid on the wrong address in Minneapolis kills another sleeping black man who woke to what he thought was a home invasion, reached for his gun and was shot nine times.

 

 

 

ACTS of GOD

 

(6%)

 

 

Environment/Weather

3%

450

 1/29/22

        -0.3%

 2/12/22

372.67

371.55

What not to like?  Wild winter weather wreaks blizzards, flooding, freezing and tornadoes on a swath of destruction from Texas to the Canada border (and beyond.)  Power outages accumulate, and a fertilizer factory in North Carolina burns, emitting toxic smoke.

 

Natural/Unnatural Disaster

3%

450

 1/29/22

        -0.2%

 2/12/22

219.05

218.61

Nine killed in Vegas car crash including the speeding driver, six more injured.  Carbon monoxide poisoning at Ohio hotel pool leaves six in critical condition. 

 

 

LIFESTYLE/JUSTICE INDEX   (15%)

 

 

Science, Tech, Education

4%

600

 1/29/22

nc

 2/12/22

410.16

410.16

NASA to crash International Space Station into the Pacific in eight years.  Presumably unmanned.

 

Equality (econ/social)

4%

600

 1/29/22

     -0.2%

 2/12/22

413.76

412.93

Washington “Commanders” have a new name but old sexual harassment charges against owner, Lecherous Dan Snyder.  (Is the Commander-in-Question Slick Willie Clinton or, after Stormy’s stripping of Avenetti assets, Donald Trump?) Weeping victim says Dan put his hand on her thigh!

 

Health

     

 

 

 

        Plague

4%

600

 1/29/22

+0.3%

 

 

 

   

     -0.2%

 2/12/22

394.88

 

 

 

 

- 104.06

396.06

 

 

 

 

- 104.27

President Joe announces secret plan to cut cancer deaths in half.  (Double plague deaths?)  Doctors predict blood test for cancer – same as Joe’s plan?  Akron fertilization clinic sued thirty years after the fact when Mom discovers her daughter’s father was “a stranger”.

 

 

 

Two NYC nurses rack up $1.4M in forged vaccine documents before time runs out.  (Isn’t the point of refusing to proudly assert that you will not comply with the vaxx/mask tyrants?)  Virulent variant found bubbling up from New York sewers while Europe gets new strains of AIDS.  Experts say that masked kids have trouble with speech and hearing, for example: mistaking “bill” for “dill” (as in a past-Presidential offer of a pickle).

 

Freedom and Justice

3%

450

 1/29/22

nc

 2/12/22

409.75

409.75

Bail reformers and police rassle as looters and shooters ramp up their depredations.  Riot probers snatch bonanza – thousand of pages of Mike Pence documents!  And the Irish lay another claim to victimhoos and pioneerhood – 1906 Gold for long jumper memorialized.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS and TRANSIENT INDEX           (7%) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

412.11

Cultural incidents

3%

450

 1/29/22

   +0.2%

 2/12/22

537.89

538.97

QE 2’s 70th coronation anniversary is Sunday amids royal rumblings (Harry, Meg, Andrew),  Hometown girl Ash Barty joins comebacker Nadal in winning at the Australian Open – Rams and Bengals’ comebacks land them in the Super Bowl (where tickets are going for over $10K).  Browns coach joins Dolphins’ Flores in revealing that the owners told them to lose.  US defeats Honduras in soccer world cup match in Minneapolis at minus 15°.  RIP actor Howard Hesseman (W.K.R.P. in Cincinnati),

 

Miscellaneous incidents

4%

450

 1/29/22

   +0.2%

 2/12/22

487.86

488.84

Washington Car Show returns amidst chip shortage for electric vehicles.  22 year old Korean says Disney has no Korean Princess movies so she makes her own (not “Parasite” or “Squid Games”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Don Jones Index for the week of January 29th through February 4th, 2022 was DOWN 12.60 points.

 

 

The Don Jones Index is sponsored by the Coalition for a New Consensus: retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate Jack “Catfish” Parnell, Chairman; Brian Doohan, Administrator.  The CNC denies, emphatically, allegations that the organization, as well as any of its officers (including former Congressman Parnell, environmentalist/America-Firster Austin Tillerman and cosmetics CEO Rayna Finch) and references to Parnell’s works, “Entropy and Renaissance” and “The Coming Kill-Off” are fictitious or, at best, mere pawns in the web-serial “Black Helicopters” – and promise swift, effective legal action against parties promulgating this and/or other such slanders.

Comments, complaints, donations (especially SUPERPAC donations) always welcome at feedme@generisis.com or: speak@donjonesindex.com.

 

ATTACHMENT ONE – From Roll Call

 

BLACK WOMEN ARE AMERICANS, AND REPRESENTATION RAISES THE BAR — LEGAL AND OTHERWISE

Comments by McConnell, Hawley and Cruz put race front and center

By Mary C. Curtis  Posted February 3, 2022 at 6:00am

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was shocked and, indeed, insulted that anyone would ascribe even a hint of racist intent to his recent statement that divided the electorate into African Americans and Americans: “If you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.”

On the one hand, that outrage was pretty rich coming from the man who treated the first Black president of the United States as an annoyance to be dismissed or ignored, especially when that president attempted to appoint a Supreme Court justice, one of the duties of — the president of the United States.

On the other hand, the Republican senator from Kentucky was just doing what a whole lot of Americans do: Treat “white” as the default and everyone else as someone or something “other,” and, by statement or inference, someone or something “less.”

Of course, McConnell being McConnell, he “misspoke” while explaining his stand against the shrinking voting rights of Americans who only began to fully share in the franchise after a law passed by Congress in 1965 — one that came only after fierce debate and the bloody sacrifice of civil rights workers.

It’s Black History Month, Senate minority leader. Read a book, watch “Eyes on the Prize,” examine your own party’s Southern strategy. And do it before bills that would ban teachers from talking about race in a way that could make anyone uncomfortable make their way through the legislature in your home state of Kentucky.

It could be any month, though, as the pending appointment of the next Supreme Court justice by President Joe Biden has ushered in yet another round of “Let’s pretend that all those white, male judges were perfect and perfectly qualified and these Black women on the short list with long résumés and years of experience could never measure up.”

Only white men on the Supreme Court, well, that was the way it was. If merit and good character were criteria, Black women — and representatives of Americans of every race and gender and creed whose fate has been decided by the highest court in the land — would have been appointed to the court long ago. But in those days, years, decades and centuries, the “white” was silent, and understood.

As it played out, the intentionally excluded were mere observers when the injustice the court sometimes meted out was cruel, and turned out to be so very wrong.

In one of the worst examples, the Court found 7-2 in the 1857 Dred Scott case, in the words of the majority decision written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, that Scott, as a Black man, “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” And using a states’ rights rationale so favored by succession advocates then and supporters of restrictive voting bills being passed in states across the country now, the Taney-led court ruled Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories.

Nearly a century later, in Korematsu v. United States in 1944, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction of Fred Korematsu — a son of Japanese immigrants and an American citizen who was born in Oakland, Calif. — for having violated an order to report to be relocated to an internment camp during World War II. Korematsu lived long enough for his courage to be rewarded with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Bill Clinton.

 

There is no guarantee that a fairly assembled court would have rendered fair judgments. But who wouldn’t at least admit that a more representative Supreme Court, one that expands rather than excludes the list of eminently qualified candidates, is a good thing?

Well, that would be several Republicans looking to enrage a base that is threatened by any act that hints at racial progress and eager to weigh in on someone who has yet to be named. That is the point, really, as these premature commenters obviously see this “Black woman” not as an individual person but rather a vaguely threatening symbol.

I admit it can be tiring to those of us called to constantly prove or perform American-ness (or expertise, for that matter), defined by whomever is doing the asking, but it’s a ritual that’s as American as apple pie.

Unsurprisingly, count on Senate Judiciary Committee members Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, playing down to the crowd sizing them up as 2024 presidential material, to jump to the front of the ignominious line.

Hawley mumbled something about a “woke activist,” stringing together buzzwords sure to hit a nerve. I’m not sure why he would think Biden would use Hawley’s own strict litmus test when naming a justice, though the Republican from Missouri does think quite highly of himself.

 

Cruz, who also falls into that category, has managed to offend even some Republicans with his comment that Biden’s promise is “offensive.” And since the Texan never knows when to stop, he had to add that it’s “an insult to Black women.”

Of all the things Cruz has been called, I don’t believe “spokesman for Black women” has ever been one of them.

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina sounded quite reasonable as he endorsed a representative Supreme Court, and judged one of the women on the list, South Carolina federal District Judge J. Michelle Childs, as “fair-minded, highly gifted” and “one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.” That doesn’t mean she or any candidate would get his vote. But the fact that his calm and common sense made headlines shows how far the base sentiment of his party has fallen.

Maybe Graham remembers that there was no such hand-wringing when the GOP’s secular saint Ronald Reagan promised during his 1980 campaign to appoint a woman to the high court and followed through. Reagan, of course, did not have to say she would be white.

The fulfillment of Reagan’s pledge, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, said she learned much from the court's first African American justice, Thurgood Marshall, with whom she served. Though they were far from politically aligned, when Marshall retired from the court in 1991, O’Connor said: “His was the eye of a lawyer who saw the deepest wounds in the social fabric and used law to help heal them. … His was the mouth of a man who knew the anguish of the silenced and gave them a voice.”

Amplifying rather than silencing a voice that might bring a different perspective to the highest court in the land is as American as it gets.

 

ATTACHMENT TWO – Also from RollCall

 

ONE YEAR OUT: THESE SENATORS ARE MOST VULNERABLE IN 2022

Four Democrats, two Republicans have difficult races ahead

By Bridget Bowman, Posted November 9, 2021 at 6:30am, Updated at 11:55am

 

Democrats dominate the list of vulnerable senators one year before Election Day 2022, but that doesn’t mean their majority is doomed.

Democratic strategists who work on Senate races are still optimistic their party will prevail, in part because President Joe Biden won six of the eight states Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as Senate battlegrounds. Democrats are also eyeing pickup opportunities in a handful of competitive states where Republican incumbents are retiring, including Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Ohio.

Republicans, who need a net gain of just one seat to retake the Senate, believe they are likely to win the chamber since midterms tend to be difficult for the president’s party. They point to Biden’s low job approval rating as a sign that the political environment is on their side.

[These House members are vulnerable, and they're not alone]

Campaign operatives in both parties do agree on one thing when it comes to the battle for the Senate: It’s going to be a slog.

Here are the most vulnerable senators one year out from Election Day.  :

RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D-Ga)

Republicans believe the dynamics that fueled Warnock’s victory in a January special election runoff — a singular focus on Georgia, sky-high Democratic energy, and President Donald Trump casting doubt on whether votes would be counted — won’t be easily replicated. Still, Warnock is considered a tough opponent. As of Sept. 30, his campaign had $17.2 million on hand. Multiple Republicans, including state Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and retired Navy SEAL Latham Saddler, are running in the primary. Trump has endorsed former NFL player Herschel Walker, who posted strong fundraising numbers, ending the most recent quarter with $2.5 million on hand. The GOP primary has already turned negative, with Black highlighting domestic abuse allegations against Walker.

RON JOHNSON (R-Wi)

Johnson, the only non-retiring incumbent up this cycle in a state that supported the opposite party’s presidential nominee in 2020, hasn’t said yet if he’s running for a third term. Democrats believe Johnson’s controversial comments about the COVID-19 vaccine, the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection will turn off suburban swing voters. But Republicans caution that Johnson won a tough race in 2016 and has strong support from the party base. A crowded field of Democrats is running in the primary, which is not until August. The top candidates include Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes; state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski; Alex Lasry, whose father co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team; and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson. Although Johnson’s fundraising has lagged behind other incumbents, he still had the most cash, reporting $2.3 million on hand at Sept. 30.

MAGGIE HASSAN (D-NH)

Some strategists believe Hassan may be the most vulnerable senator thanks to the drop in Biden’s job approval rating and her lower favorability rating. Outside groups and Hassan’s campaign are already airing TV ads, but the GOP field is still in flux. Republicans were hoping Gov. Chris Sununu would jump into the race, but after he said Tuesday he wouldn’t, they’re still optimistic about recruiting a formidable challenger, such as former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whom Hassan narrowly unseated in 2016. Democrats believe Sununu could be vulnerable on social issue,s including abortion, and they view the state’s recent history of electing Democrats at the federal level as a sign that Hassan could have an edge. The senator has been prepping for a competitive race, ending the recent fundraising quarter with $6.5 million in the bank. The only GOP candidate raising money against her, retired Army Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, had just $58,000 on hand at Sept. 30. Bolduc lost the GOP Senate primary last year.

MARK KELLY (D-Az)

Kelly won a high-profile special election in 2020 and is now running for a full term. He likely benefits from his recent race, in which he ran on his background as a former astronaut and a Navy veteran, and proved to be a blockbuster fundraiser. Republicans believe they can tie Kelly to liberal Democrats now that he has a voting record. But there is some concern about the fundraising strength of the GOP field, which includes state Attorney General Mark Brnovich, energy executive Jim Lamon, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Mick McGuire and Blake Masters, who runs billionaire Peter Thiel’s investment firm and foundation. Kelly had $13 million in his campaign account on Sept. 30, more than double the GOP contenders’ combined cash on hand. The Republican primary has already turned negative, with a Thiel-backed super PAC that supports Masters going after Brnovich.

CATHERINE CORTEX MASTO (D-Nv)

Democrats are once again hoping strong Hispanic turnout, particularly in populous Clark County, will propel Cortez Masto, the first Latina elected to the Senate, to victory. National Republicans have coalesced around former state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who also has Trump’s endorsement, but the Senate hopeful does face some primary competition. Laxalt lost a governor’s race in 2018, but Republicans believe he is a strong candidate who can simultaneously appeal to the party’s base and more moderate voters. Democrats have also struggled to turn out their voters in recent midterms in Nevada. But they believe they can exploit Laxalt’s ties to Trump in a state that twice rejected the former president. Laxalt led the Trump campaign’s efforts to challenge 2020 election results in Nevada. Cortez Masto starts with a financial advantage with $8.3 million on hand at Sept. 30, compared with Laxalt’s $1.3 million.

MARCO RUBIO (R-Fl)

Democrats acknowledge that winning Florida is a challenge thanks to the state’s expansive size and expensive media markets. But they’re optimistic that Rep. Val B. Demings will be a formidable challenger to Rubio, helped by her fundraising prowess. She raised a whopping $8.5 million in the most recent fundraising quarter. Rubio still had a cash-on-hand advantage with $9.6 million in his account as of Sept. 30, compared with Demings’ $6 million. Republicans aren’t overly concerned about Demings’ fundraising — at least not yet — since they believe Rubio has a strong brand in the state and can appeal to Hispanic voters who have shifted toward the GOP in recent elections.

 

ATTACHMENT THREE – From CNN

 

MCCONNELL PLOTS GOP MIDTERM STRATEGY AMID TRUMP'S PRIMARY INFLUENCE

 

By Manu Raju and Alex Rogers, CNN  Updated 4:04 PM ET, Tue January 25, 2022

(CNN)Former President Donald Trump has been relentless in his attacks against Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, making Republicans uneasy as they battle for the majority in the November midterms.

But McConnell doesn't see his clash with the former President emerging as much of an issue -- at least not yet.

In an interview with CNN, the GOP leader noted that he and Trump are on the same page in backing the same candidate in two of the hottest Senate races -- Nevada and Georgia. He has stayed neutral in Alabama where Trump endorsed a primary contender. And the Kentucky Republican believes that no matter which GOP candidate emerges from intraparty battles in Pennsylvania, North Carolina or Ohio, his party will be well-positioned to hold the GOP seats there.

Only in Alaska, where Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is fighting to hang onto her seat after voting to convict Trump for inciting the January 6 attack on the Capitol, are McConnell and Trump at sharp odds, though that seat is almost certain to stay in GOP hands. And in Missouri, McConnell is closely watching the primary to determine if he needs to engage his super PAC to try to knock off a potentially weak general election candidate -- with many in the party nervous over former Gov. Eric Greitens -- though Trump has not yet endorsed anyone there.

But one issue continues to percolate over the party: Whether the 2020 election was rigged and stolen, a lie that Trump continues to peddle and which a growing number of GOP candidates are embracing to curry favor with the former President.

McConnell listens as then-President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican congressional leaders and members of Trump's cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House in July 2020 in Washington, DC.

McConnell had a warning of sorts to Republican candidates running on Trump's false claims.

"It's important for candidates to remember we need to respect the results of our democratic process unless the court system demonstrates that some significant fraud occurred that would change the outcome," McConnell said.

The delicate dance underscores the stakes for the 2022 midterm elections. While Republicans have the most favorable environment in years, buoyed by President Joe Biden's sinking approval ratings, historical trends and voter anxiety over Covid-19 and the economy, the GOP knows full well that battle for control of the Senate remains on a knife's edge -- and that any single factor could upend a majority-making race.

And that single factor most certainly could be Trump.

"I still say it's 50-50," McConnell said, assessing the GOP chances to take back the Senate. Comparing Biden's first midterm election to then-President Barack Obama's in 2010, McConnell recalled that the Senate GOP at the time "nominated some unelectable candidates." But he noted that Republicans only had 40 seats at the beginning of that cycle, compared to 50 now.

"It took us six years to climb out of that hole," McConnell said of 2010. "We're not in a hole now."

"I think from an atmospheric point of view it's highly likely to be a situation where the wind is at our backs," he added.

Yet Democrats say McConnell has issues of his own making. He rallied Republicans in opposition to Democratic efforts to overhaul election laws, in an attempt to beat back restrictive actions taken by GOP-led states, and he even bungled remarks last week when talking about turnout among Black voters, forcing a senator with a penchant for staying furiously on message to clarify his statements amid a stinging backlash over his comments.

 

Asked about any concerns that his handling of the voting issue could turn off minorities in the midterms, McConnell shot back, saying: "It's just as likely to be a liability for Democrats as it is for us," citing support for voter ID laws, for example.

"I think I can pretty confidently say, we won't lose any elections over that issue, anywhere in the country," McConnell said. "People are concerned about a wholly different set of concerns. Inflation, an out-of-control border, Afghanistan withdrawal, the controversy over covid. I mean, the thought that a single Senate race in America would be decided over that issue strikes me as being wildly out of touch with what the American people are interested in."

Courting governors despite Trump's wrath 

Other potential clashes with Trump could still yet occur.

McConnell is still pining for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey -- whom Trump continues to rail on for certifying Biden's 2020 victory there -- to run against freshman Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.

And he has courted Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan -- who has long been sharply critical of the former President -- to run against Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat.

Ducey continues to publicly say he's not interested in running, while Hogan has yet to express serious interest in a Senate bid. McConnell said, "I just don't know" if they'll mount campaigns.

"Well, they'd both be ideal candidates, for obvious reasons," McConnell said of Hogan and Ducey. "Both enjoy high approval ratings, and I think would make both those races instantly competitive."

But in a blow to McConnell last year, another Republican governor bowed out, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, despite heavy lobbying by the GOP leader and other senators, a development he called "disappointing." In the interview, McConnell singled out another candidate, Chuck Morse, the state Senate president who plans to jump into the race to take on Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in the fall.

Here's why a top GOP recruit didn't want any part of the Senate

"We think New Hampshire is going to be much more receptive to Republicans as well, and we think we'll have a good candidate there," McConnell said.

Yet just last week Sununu gave the GOP another headache, telling the Washington Examiner that he was informed by multiple GOP senators that a Republican majority would be nothing more than a "roadblock" to Biden in the next two years, a chief reason why he passed on the bid.

Biden cited Sununu's comments to rail on Republicans at his press conference last week. And McConnell refused to tell reporters last week what the GOP agenda would be if his party were to take back the Senate, saying instead the election will be a referendum on Biden.

Asked why Senate Republicans didn't have an election-year agenda, McConnell told CNN: "I think it's important for every candidate running next year to say what he or she is for."

Citing his support for the infrastructure law, a measure to bolster US competitiveness with China and new efforts to overhaul a 19th-century law governing how Congress counts states' electoral votes, McConnell said: "That's going to be the guiding philosophy if we have divided government for the last few years in the President's term to try to look for things we can agree on, and work on those."

The six Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 are currently held by three Democrats in Nevada, Georgia and Arizona and three Republicans in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden narrowly won five of those states in 2020 and lost the sixth, North Carolina, by about a point.

Yet another state is on McConnell's radar: Missouri.

That's because Greitens, the former governor, is running for Senate after resigning in disgrace in 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct and blackmail. (Greitens admitted to an extramarital affair but denied any attempt at blackmail.)

The fear: Greitens will emerge victorious in a crowded primary only to be rejected by more middle-of-the-road voters in a general election, giving Democrats an improbable win in a red state -- much the way Democrat Claire McCaskill won over the late Republican Todd Akin a decade ago. Greitens has aligned himself with Trump in the primary, attacking the integrity of the 2020 election, and calling for the Senate GOP to oust McConnell from his leadership position.

"Missouri is potentially challenging depending on the outcome in the primary," McConnell said candidly, without identifying Greitens by name.

McConnell would not say if his well-funded super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, would oppose Greitens and spend money in the primary if he further separates himself from the pack of other GOP candidates, including Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, attorney Mark McCloskey and Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long.

"All I'll say about Missouri at this point is we're keeping our eye on it," McConnell said.

For McConnell, there have been two potential clashes with Trump that worked themselves out -- in Georgia and Pennsylvania.

After Trump quickly got behind former NFL star Herschel Walker, a former Georgia Bulldog running back, to run in Georgia -- many Republicans were anxious, nervous about damaging allegations from his past, including threatening violence against his ex-wife.

But Walker's ability to raise cash and put together a solid campaign team, seemed to win over McConnell, who now backs the former football star and sees the race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock as neck-and-neck. Walker's campaign says he's "dedicating his life" to helping individuals struggling with mental health.

"I looked into Herschel Walker's record -- I'm entirely comfortable with him," McConnell said when asked about the candidate's past. "We believe he starts his race dead even, pretty unusual against the incumbent anywhere in the country. And I think when you see his finance report, it'll be impressive as well."

One potential intraparty problem -- Trump's endorsement of Army veteran Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania -- became void when the Senate GOP candidate suspended his campaign after a judge awarded Parnell's estranged wife primary custody of the couple's children after she accused him of spousal and child abuse, allegations he denied.

Now a bunch of Republican candidates, including celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, real estate developer Jeff Bartos, former hedge fund executive David McCormick and former US ambassador to Denmark Carla Sands and others are fighting to be the front-runner in the open race.

"In terms of Pennsylvania, I think we have an embarrassment of riches," McConnell said. "Maybe riches literally, given the amount of money being spent up there."

In Alaska, the situation is different, McConnell notes.

"We're going to be all in Alaska helping Lisa, and that's one place where the former President and I have a disagreement," he said, noting that the National Republican Senatorial Committee and his super PAC would be prepared to help Murkowski if necessary.

Murkowski has come under fire because of her vote to convict Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection. Among the foes she's facing is a Trump-backed Republican, Kelly Tshibaka, who told CNN last year: "We don't know the outcome of the 2020 election." In December, the former Alaska Department of Administration commissioner said that she wouldn't support McConnell as GOP leader if she won. Trump then blasted out Tshibaka's statement on his website.

"People in Alaska have to decide whether that's a terribly relevant issue to them," said McConnell, who endured Trump's wrath last year after pointedly blaming the former President for the Capitol Hill riot attack despite having voted to acquit him in his impeachment trial.

Republican candidates run on Trump's election lie

A number of Senate GOP candidates across the country have followed Trump's lead in trying to sow doubt about Trump's loss in 2020. Missouri's Long and Hartzler, North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd and Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks all voted not to certify two key states that Biden won. Trump has rewarded Brooks and Budd with his endorsement.

In Ohio, former state treasurer Josh Mandel and businessman Bernie Moreno said that it was "stolen" from Trump, while former Ohio Republican party chairwoman Jane Timken said "widespread fraud" was "swept under the bus" and investment banker Mike Gibbons said he doesn't know what happened. In Arizona, Blake Masters, a protege of tech billionaire Peter Thiel, said he thinks Trump won and solar energy entrepreneur Jim Lamon has sued to challenge Trump's loss.

Some of the candidates -- Lamon, Moreno and Long -- are echoing the false claim that the election was rigged in their latest .

While McConnell suggested that candidates embrace the truth about the elections, he avoided directly criticizing candidates who have promoted the conspiracy -- and wouldn't address Brooks' role in firing up the crowd at the "Stop the Steal" rally hours before the Capitol attack on January 6.

"I think the voters of these states are going to make these decisions, as well they should, and I think every state in America will accurately count the votes and certify who won," he said when asked about Brooks.

But these Senate Republican candidates could very well become members of McConnell's conference, which the veteran Kentuckian will once again try to lead in the next Congress spanning 2023-2024. If his GOP colleagues elect him again, McConnell will be the longest-serving Senate party leader in history.

Asked if he would attempt to stay on as leader through the end of his Senate term, which ends in January 2027, McConnell wouldn't say.

"Well, I'm gonna be running again (for leader) in November," McConnell said. "And we'll see what happens later."

CNN's Ted Barrett and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.

 

ATTACHMENT FOUR – From NBC News

 

By Jonathan Allen  Jan. 24, 2022, 7:24 PM EST

 

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is waging a quiet campaign to keep his caucus from getting a whole lot Trumpier after the midterms.

"He wants people who he knows are team players, people who are interested in solutions," said a GOP senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering fellow Republicans. "There are a lot of people who are running for office these days who have different agendas."

In Alaska's Senate race, McConnell is backing incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski, who voted to convict former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges last year. She faces a Trump-backed challenge from Kelly Tshibaka.

In Arizona, McConnell is trying to recruit Gov. Doug Ducey, who angered Trump by refusing to overturn his state's electoral votes, to run in a Republican primary that already features multiple Trump-aligned hopefuls. Many Washington Republicans are concerned that the party could blow its chance to defeat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly if it nominates a candidate who is seen as too extreme.

And over several conversations, McConnell privately lobbied his top lieutenant, Senate Minority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., to run for a fourth term rather than leave open a seat in South Dakota, which could easily nominate and elect a Trump-style Republican. Trump has issued an open call to Republicans in the state to run against Thune, and shortly after Thune announced that he would seek re-election, one of Trump's pollsters conducted a survey that suggested he could be vulnerable.

JAN. 12, 202206:03

The power struggle between McConnell and Trump is one of the more consequential subplots of this midterm election season, and its outcome promises to affect not only which party controls the Senate next year but also whether the Senate GOP is more or less Trump-flavored a year from now. It occurs against the backdrop of a deep freeze between the two men, which set in when McConnell condemned the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and said Trump had "provoked" it.

Trump has taken to calling McConnell a "broken old crow."

McConnell's first priority is to take back the Senate majority. In some states, he finds himself aligned with Trump. For example, both men are supporting Republican Herschel Walker's bid to unseat Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga. In other states, particularly a handful that could be competitive in the general election, neither man has endorsed any of the current candidates.

Their camps played down the idea of a clash of candidates, even at a time when tensions have been high.

"Which Senate candidates are not Trump-aligned and backed by McConnell?" Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich asked in a text message. Budowich didn't reply when the names of Murkowski and Thune were supplied.

John Ashbrook, a spokesman for McConnell, declined to comment for this article.

By talking up the shared goal of winning in November, many Republican lawmakers have found a safe space from which they can advocate for establishment candidates without directly attacking the Trump corps.

"The single most important thing when it comes to Republican primaries is to nominate people who can win," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

But some Republicans readily point to what they say is a conflict of interest between McConnell and Trump that is apparent in races where there are more clear-cut choices between the wings of the party.

"McConnell is party line, which is true to form, that he wants a Republican majority," said a GOP strategist and former Senate aide who is sympathetic to McConnell's point of view. Trump "is less concerned with a majority and more concerned with a Trump-focused majority — I think he would be comfortable with a minority in the Senate if it were a Trump-loyal minority."

A bumper crop of senators loyal to Trump, rather than to the party or McConnell, could complicate McConnell's efforts to lead.

Already, he is losing reliable Republican allies such as Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Richard Burr of North Carolina to retirement.

Trump's endorsed candidate in Pennsylvania, Sean Parnell, dropped out amid domestic abuse allegations, an episode that appears to have made him more cautious about licensing his brand. Of the current set of candidates in those states, all of which feature competitive primaries, only Ted Budd of North Carolina, backed by Trump, has won an endorsement from either man.

There is bound to be more reluctance in races in which there are no clear front-runners and the party will have to unite after the primaries to win in November. That dynamic is at play in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

But where there's friction between Trump and McConnell, it isn't just about making sure the GOP can win. McConnell wants to limit Trump's influence once the election is over.

Trump has long encouraged Republican senators to oust McConnell from his leadership post, and two candidates, Tshibaka and Eric Greitens of Missouri, have vowed to vote for someone else if they are elected. While McConnell is safe — Senate leadership votes are taken by secret ballot, and colleagues widely view him as an effective leader — he wants to make sure that he can manage the Republican conference.

"That, he's interested in," the Republican senator said.

 

ATTACHMENTS FIVE (A) and (B)FROM FOX NEWS, LEXINGTON KY

A)  MCCONNELL RESPONDS TO UPROAR OVER COMMENT ABOUT BLACK VOTERS

by: Piper Hudspeth BlackburnAssociated Press Posted: Jan 22, 2022 / 12:45 PM EST Updated: Jan 22, 2022 / 12:41 PM EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed back Friday against the uproar over a comment he made about African American voters, calling the criticism directed his way “outrageous.”

McConnell had been accused of racism for saying that “African American” voters cast ballots at similar rates to “Americans.” The comment implied that Black voters are somehow not American and underscored the concerns of voting rights advocates that Republicans in state legislatures across the country are explicitly seeking to disenfranchise Black voters.

Following a speech Friday at an annual conference in Louisville, the Republican leader said he misspoke Wednesday when he made the comment during a Washington news conference.

“I’ve never been accused of this sort of thing before, and it’s hurtful and offensive,” he said. “And I think some of the critics know it’s totally nonsense.”

McConnell on Wednesday had said that “African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans.” McConnell explained on Friday that he should have said the word “all” before “Americans.”

 

He also defended his record on race by noting that he attended the Rev. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington in 1963. He also said he helped organize a civil rights march at Kentucky’s state Capitol and was present when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

When asked what he would say to those who had been offended by his words, McConnell said he would discuss his record relating to voting rights, and brought up his role as a mentor to Kentucky’s Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who is Black and one of many Republicans who came to the minority leader’s defense this week.

“I think he would confirm with you that I recruited him to run. I’ve supported him, and I’m proud of him,” McConnell said. “I have had African American speechwriters, schedulers, office managers over the years.”

McConnell rebuffed concerns among Democrats that state legislatures across the country are seeking to disenfranchise minority voters by pointing to record-high turnout for all voters in the 2020 election.

Federal legislation like the kind he and other GOP lawmakers blocked on Wednesday also wasn’t necessary, he said, because the Voting Rights Act was still law, and concerns over specific state voting laws could be worked out through the court system.

“They co-opted Congressman Lewis’ name, stuck it on a bill that really was not related to the Voting Rights Act … in order to try to achieve a partisan advantage by federalizing election laws,” McConnell said, referencing the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act.

The part of the bill named after Lewis, the late civil rights leader and Democratic congressman from Georgia, would have updated the Voting Rights Act and was a direct response to a Supreme Court ruling that weakened the law’s oversight of states with a history of discriminating against Black and other minority voters.

 

AND...

 

B)  MCCONNELL DEFENDS CIVIL RIGHTS RECORD AFTER 'INADVERTENT' COMMENT SPARKS BACKLASH

By Ali Zaslav and Ted Barrett, CNN Updated 6:17 PM ET, Fri January 21, 2022

 

(CNN)Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell defended himself against what he called a "deeply offensive" and "outrageous mischaracterization" of his record on voting rights and race relations, after he had "inadvertently" omitted a word in a comment earlier this week, which sparked a massive backlash on social media.

"This outrageous mischaracterization of my record as a result of leaving one word out inadvertently the other day, which I just now supplied to you, is deeply offensive," the Kentucky Republican said Friday in Louisville.

On Wednesday, at his weekly policy news conference at the US Capitol, McConnell was asked whether voters of color would be hurt if Democrats' election legislation did not pass, and he replied: "The concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, African American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans." 

He again misspoke on Friday and incorrectly stated what the omitted word had been and had to come back to the mics to clean it up again. At first he said he had meant to say the word "almost" before Americans in his comment. At the end of his news conference, he returned to the mics after consulting with an aide, who seemed to tell him he had misstated it again, clarifying he had meant to say the omitted word was "all."

Earlier this week, McConnell's office told CNN the senator had meant to say "other" Americans.

McConnell said Friday that in terms of his life and career, "I was there for Martin Luther King's 'I Have a Dream' speech in the audience. When I was a student at (University of Louisville), I helped organize the March on Frankfort, the first state public accommodation law. Thanks to my role model, John Sherman Cooper, I was actually there when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol in 1965."

As candidates refuse to disavow McConnell, Trump comes to terms with his grip on GOP

He was asked by a reporter about how omitting that one word, depending on who was listening, had changed the meaning of the sentence, whether he sees that point of view and what he would say to those who had been offended.

McConnell responded that he would again discuss his history of voting rights and defended his record of hiring of Black staff, as well as the promotion of Daniel Cameron as state attorney general.

"We have a new attorney general of Kentucky. He was a McConnell scholar at University of Louisville," he said. "I think he would confirm with you that I recruited him to run, supported him and am proud of him. I have had African American speechwriters, schedulers, office managers over the years."

In his remarks at an event called the "Kentuckians for Better Transportation's annual conference," McConnell also touted the bipartisan infrastructure law on Friday, saying how it's "a big deal" for his state, and reiterated how "proud" he is of his vote for the legislation, despite taking "a little heat for it" from former President Donald Trump.

McConnell said that "regretfully" he was the only Republican in the Kentucky delegation who voted for the infrastructure bill. "It became, in my view, needlessly politicized over in the House," he said. "So you ended up having very few House Republicans ... who voted for it."

"I'm proud of my vote. I took a little heat for it from somebody who used to be president, but I'm proud of my vote," he added. "I think it was the right thing to do for America, the right thing to do for the country."

CNN's Manu Raju contributed to this report.

 

ATTACHMENT SIX – From the Washington Post

CRUZ - BIDEN'S PLEDGE TO NOMINATE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO SUPREME COURT 'OFFENSIVE'

Benjamin Wermund, Washington Bureau  Feb. 1, 2022  Updated: Feb. 1, 2022 9:14 p.m.

 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz says President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court is “offensive” and a message to other Americans that Biden doesn’t “give a damn about you.”

“You know Black women are what, 6 percent of the U.S. population? He’s saying to 94 percent of Americans, ‘I don’t give a damn about you, you are ineligible,’” Cruz said on a recent episode of his podcast Verdict with Ted Cruz.”

Black women comprised 7 percent of the population as of 2019, according to the Census Bureau.

Biden has said he plans to nominate “someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity” to replace Justice Stephen Breyer, who is retiring at the end of the court’s term this summer.

“That person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” said Biden, a Democrat. “It’s long overdue in my view. I made that commitment during the campaign for president, and I will keep that commitment.”

Republican presidents in the past have made similar vows. In 1980, President Ronald Reagan promised to nominate a woman to the Supreme Court if elected. He picked Sandra Day O’Connor the next year. President Donald Trump promised to nominate “a woman — a very talented, very brilliant woman” to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg and followed through by naming Amy Coney Barrett.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted Tuesday that Cruz had “no objection to Donald Trump promising he would nominate a woman in 2020.

“Repeat, no objection at all. In fact, he praised (Coney Barrett) on these grounds,” Psaki said. “During her confirmation hearing, Senator Cruz said quote, ‘I think you’re an amazing role model for little girls. What advice would you give little girls?’”

Cruz, a Texas Republican who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued that Biden’s pledge is “actually an insult to Black women.”

“If he came and said, ‘I’m gonna put the best jurist on the court,’ and he looked at a number of people and he ended up nominating a Black woman, he could credibly say, ‘OK I’m nominating the person who’s most qualified,’” Cruz said. “He’s not even pretending to say that. He’s saying, ‘If you’re a white guy, tough luck. If you’re a white woman, tough luck. You don’t qualify.’”

On Tuesday, Cruz stood by the comments and said Biden was setting a “quota.”

“It would obviously be wrong if a president said they were going to nominate a white woman or a white man,” Cruz said. “But in this instance, the Democrats are so casually racist that they’ll make that promise.”

 

ATTACHMENT SEVEN – From Politico

LEAHY’S HOSPITALIZATION SHOWS DEMS’ MAJORITY HANGS BY THREAD

The Democrat’s health scare is a reminder that a sudden retirement or illness could shift the Senate’s balance of power.

By BURGESS EVERETT  01/27/2021 11:26 AM EST  Updated: 01/28/2021 07:29 AM EST

·          

Here’s how fragile Democrats’ Senate majority is: The brief Tuesday hospitalization of Senate pro tem Patrick Leahy prompted nearly everyone in the Capitol to research Vermont’s Senate vacancy laws, just in case.

Leahy (D-Vt.), who has served in the Senate since 1975, returned to work on Wednesday seemingly unscathed. The most senior Democratic senator said he was given a “clean bill of health” after being briefly hospitalized on Tuesday evening after suffering muscle spasms. The 80-year-old Democrat also indicated he's cleared to perform his normal duties

But just the possibility of Leahy missing a day of work sent a jolt through an evenly divided Senate, which Democrats control with just Vice President Kamala Harris’s tiebreaking vote. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the party’s chief vote-counter, immediately dialed up Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday evening when he heard about Leahy’s condition.

“You consider all the possibilities. And thank goodness none of them you have to worry about today. He’s doing just great,” Durbin said on Wednesday of Leahy. He acknowledged the health, well-being and simple attendance of his members is about to be a daily headache: “You bet it is. It’s not just who’s well but who is present.”

The gruff-voiced Leahy insisted that “of course” he will serve the rest of his term for a state controlled by a GOP governor who has previously vowed to fill a Senate vacancy with another member of the Democratic Caucus. Leahy didn’t rule out running again in 2022 for a ninth-term either and said "the latest polls show me winning easily."

But even his brief hospitalization is a reminder of how tenuous everything is for Schumer and his 49 members. A long-term absence, unexpected health issue amid a global pandemic or a sudden retirement could hobble his majority at any moment. And in a Senate filled with members in their 70s and 80s, it’s always a possibility that one member’s health could affect the balance of power.

“I’m glad he’s back. But it’s also a reminder than in an equally divided Senate how quickly things can change,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). He said vacancies could be filled, but a Democrat who was absent for any number of days could shift the balance of power back to Republicans.

“If someone was merely disabled but didn’t resign, then that would have that potential,” Cornyn added.

Former Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), whose health had declined, retired early before serving their full terms in recent years. Before that, 89-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and 88-year-old Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) died in office in 2013 and 2012, respectively. Isakson’s retirement eventually to led a Democratic pick-up, while Lautenberg’s death briefly gave Republicans his seat until Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) won a special election.

Leahy said he’s experienced muscle spasms before, but when they didn’t go away he sought medical attention from the Capitol physician Brian Monahan. Monahan said out of caution that "there's so much going on let's not take a chance and I went to the hospital on the way home," Leahy recalled.

Leahy's office promptly reported the incident to the media in a press release on Tuesday evening. Despite his good humor, Leahy himself didn’t seem especially excited about talking about his health, and after a few questions an aide directed him toward his Capitol office.

“I had some muscle spasms. And normally I would have said ‘to hell with it, to heck with it,’ but they didn't stop,” Leahy said. “I'm never comfortable talking about health matters.”

Leahy is one of the most integral parts of the Senate Democrats’ threadbare new majority in a tied Senate. He’s expected to soon assume the chairmanship of the Senate Appropriations Committee, is third in line for the presidential succession and is also slated to oversee what may be a grueling impeachment trial.

Though he's served in the Senate now for eight terms, Durbin said Leahy hasn’t lost a step. Moreover, there are four senators older than Leahy: Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California and Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa are both 87. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma are 86 years old. After Leahy, his Vermont colleague Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is next in age at 79.

Questions also come up about the ability of some aging senators to carry out their duties. Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, stepped down as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee in November after progressives criticized her handling of Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The threat of coronavirus is another issue that's scrambled the Senate's calendar, forcing GOP Leader Mitch McConnell to cut some days off the schedule last year after some of his members tested positive. Ultimately, however, he pushed forward after those diagnoses to confirm Barrett right before the election.

Each state has its own vacancy laws — and in Vermont any vacancy would be filled within six months by a special election. When Sanders was under consideration for a Biden Cabinet seat, GOP Gov. Phil Scott said he would probably appoint a short-term replacement to caucus with Schumer.

“Sen. Sanders has caucused with the Democrats,” Scott said last year, adding he would consider “a more left-leaning type of independent that would obviously caucus with the Democrats."

Forgetting all that, Leahy said he feels good enough to consider another run for office, though he said he wouldn’t consider that until next winter. Known for snapping photos of Capitol denizens and showcasing a dry sense of humor, Leahy feigned surprise when asked about having to decide whether to pursue a ninth term: “I might better start checking in to this."

“You all know this, I never make up my mind until November or December the year before and I'm not going to now. Usually when we start skiing and snowshoeing then we talk about it,” he said.

 

ADDENDA:

·         Luján is an incredibly kind and familiar face across Capitol Hill, making the switch to the Senate in 2019 after serving in the House since 2009. We wish him the speediest recovery possible.

·         Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is currently out right now with a case of Covid-19, so the implications on voting in the 50-50 chamber are minimal for the moment. Romney and Luján were the only two senators who missed votes earlier.

·         The long-term effects of a stroke can be wide-ranging, though we hope Luján stays at the mild end of the spectrum. Former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) suffered a debilitating stroke in 2012 and was out of the chamber for nearly a year. He continued to struggle with physical hurdles even once he did.

 

ATTACHMENT EIGHT – From the Houston Chronicle