Gameplaying While Americans Were Dying

I rarely refer to Mitch McConnell without adding the entirely appropriate descriptor “most evil man in America.” There are probably people even more reprehensible, but so long as McConnell holds his current position in the Senate, he has an unequalled ability to indulge his consistently despicable instincts–to use that position to corrupt government institutions in service of money and power with no regard for the collateral effects on American lives.

By himself, the lunatic buffoon in the White House would be unable to inflict the widespread damage that McConnell aids and abets.

The New York Times, along with numerous other publications, has been reporting on Congressional efforts that preceded the critical emergency legislation intended to avert at least some of the  consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic.  A bill has finally passed, but the path to its enactment tells us everything we need to know about Mitch McConnell and today’s Republicans.

Speaking of that path…Once the nation’s businesses were mostly shut down, the Democratic House passed a bailout bill almost immediately, and sent it to the Senate–which delayed consideration because Mitch had given the Senate the weekend off..

According to several media outlets, when McConnell and the GOP did draft a bill, it contained no guaranteed aid to state governments, despite the fact that economists tell us that state aid is one of the most effective forms of economic stimulus, and among other things, it allowed corporations to continue laying off and firing people while they were taking bailout dollars. That isn’t just patently unfair– it would be likely to cause unemployment to rise, although a major purpose of a bailout is to prevent precisely that.

Paul Krugman noted that the GOP’s bill also denied “aid to many nonprofit institutions like nursing homes and group homes for the disabled.”

McConnell’s  bill did virtually nothing  to safeguard November’s election. It gave wealthier Americans more relief than poorer ones. It would have bailed out corporations without  requiring that money they received be used to pay workers, and without prohibiting its use for stock buy-backs.

Worst of all–the “cherry” on the top of McConnell’s corrupt sundae–the bill included a $425 billion fund for businesses that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin could “do basically whatever he’d like with,” as Amanda Fischer of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth explained. The bill established the fund with no oversight provisions. Not only would the $425 billion essentially be a slush fund for a thoroughly corrupt administration, the bill would have allowed Mnuchin to delay reporting distributions for six months.

As Paul Krugman wrote, in a column titled “Adding Insult to Illness,”

If you want a quick summary of the state of play over fiscal stimulus legislation, here it is: Republicans insist that we should fight a plague with trickle-down economics and crony capitalism. Democrats, for some reason, don’t agree, and think we should focus on directly helping Americans in need.

Krugman had particularly harsh words for the Mnuchin “slush fund.”  As he noted, it would be difficult to justify giving that much unrestricted money to any administration. Krugman found it “almost inconceivable” that anyone would propose giving the demonstrably corrupt Trump administration the authority to help its friends and punish those it considers enemies.

Remember, we’ve had more than three years to watch this administration in action. We’ve seen Trump refuse to disclose anything about his financial interests, amid abundant evidence that he is profiting at the public’s expense. Trump’s trade war has been notable for the way in which favored companies somehow manage to get tariff exemptions while others are denied. And as you read this, Trump is refusing to use his authority to require production of essential medical gear.

So it would be totally out of character for this administration to allocate huge sums fairly and in the public interest.

Cronyism aside, there’s also the issue of competence. Why would you give vast discretionary power to a team that utterly botched the response to the coronavirus because Trump didn’t want to hear bad news? Why would you place economic recovery efforts in the hands of people who were assuring us just weeks ago that the virus was contained and the economy was “holding up nicely”?

Only someone a thoroughly evil as McConnell could look into the cameras with a straight face and complain that– by refusing to go along with this travesty–the Democrats were delaying relief to struggling Americans.


  1. There seems to be no bottom. When I think they have gone as low as they could go, they dig a little deeper. Now Trump wants to shut out Michigan and Washington from federal aid because he dislikes their governors. These people MUST be replaced.

  2. “Speaking of that path…Once the nation’s businesses were mostly shut down, the Democratic House passed a bailout bill almost immediately, and sent it to the Senate–which delayed consideration because Mitch had given the Senate the weekend off..”

    Actually; McConnell almost immediately sent Republican Senators home at the early end of that Thursday, giving them a long weekend off to avoid reading the House bailout bill.

    And why were there no medical authorities in Trump’s initial “coronavirus stimulus bill signing” update after his grandstanding speech while seated with the usual crowd behind him to watch him again write his name? The UK has stepped forward; late as did the U.S. due to poor leadership, to announce PM Boris Johnson has tested positive for the virus as has their Health Minister. We will never get the full truth from the Trump administration as they roam buildings, streets and cities untested. PM Johnson appears to have stopped his Trump-style grandstanding and held his meeting with Queen Elizabeth by phone.

  3. No wonder Nancy Pelosi decided to scare some sense back into McConnell and Mnuchin with Green New Deal bargaining chips. Both men wanted a package quickly so that Wall Street would rebound. Pelosi’s tactics signaled delay and made them get a lot more serious. Now that the bill has passed, there’s still more to do.

    Trump seems determined to lose the election. McConnell seems determined to find a way to feather his own nest (with Mnuchin’s help) at taxpayer expense. It always amazes me that multi-millions are never enough for the likes of McConnell, Mnuchin, and Trump.
    Greed just never ceases.

  4. Let’s keep it simple. It’s an attempted coup which more than likely will succeed. The Democratic Party surely is not a capable defender of our future. It’s way past time to get real.

  5. Nancy Pelosi has regained her title as the one person the right fears the most. They have been busy posting every lie they can think up about what that devil has made them put into the bailout bill, including millions for raises for members of Congress and their favorite, money for abortions.

    On the other hand I see we are getting settled in to a new normal. Today, for the first time in two weeks, the local paper reported on two shootings. No one was killed. I guess we’ll have to get better at staying at home and killing people, but we’re an adaptable species and we’ll learn.

  6. Trump; with the help of McConnell and Mnuchin, will be viewed by his loyal supporters, unthinking voters, including Democrats, those who don’t vote and especially those who will gladly accept this government handout whatever the reason, will view him as the national hero who saved this country. Especially with his signature on every check which goes out. This action will add assurance of keeping him in the White House another four years; Americans have very short memories and will only remember he signed the bill to give them money. Most have already forgotten he is the one who hid the facts about the disease, denied testing and reporting actual numbers of the few known cases at the beginning of the U.S. epidemic, and his continued refusal to provide tests, supplies and equipment.

    This action is the ultimate and the final step in “Gameplaying While Americans Are Dying”. He wants only to open America’s businesses now if not sooner.


  7. I like the sentiment, JoAnn.

    I still cringe when I see the photo of Pelosi and McConnell bumping elbows after the passage of the bill. It’s just a game, and the details of the law are slowly disseminating out. It’s my understanding that the checks won’t get here until May. What are people going to do in March and April?

    There was no freezing of payments for folks, so bills are still due, and food still needs to be bought and prepared. I have clients who have nothing.

    What I find amazing is how quickly nature has snapped back — taking over a vacated Venice, and the air in Los Angeles is breathable again. Carbon emissions across the globe are way down since everyone is working at home. Will this experiment with the Gig economy save the planet?

    Trump’s economic team wants churches filled by Easter and businesses to return to normal. Meanwhile, Indiana has tested less than 1% of its population. Trump and his cabinet don’t understand what the word asymptomatic means. How many of those carriers do we have in this state/country?

    As it stands now, only those with actual symptoms are tested, and many of those tested and admitted into the hospital will suffer as fibrosis attacks the lungs.

    Trump sparring with GM’s CEO Barra over the production of ventilators demonstrates his ineptness leading up to enacting the DPA and forcing GM to make ventilators which were already in production in Kokomo.

    Meanwhile, the “opposition party to the capitalists” is running a dementia patient against an imbecile with a 60% approval rating, including high marks from registered Democrats.

    It feels like a reality TV show, but where real people experience the negative consequences of this Kakistocracy.


  8. You know, all of this bailout is just treating the symptoms and literally, not the disease. There should be millions of dollars thrown at ramping up testing, and people to do tracing. If Trump and his cronies were doing anything but trying to prop up the stock market, you should have been hearing about TESTING and TRACING!

    If there had been some rational response (like South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore), we would not even need much of the giant band-aid that is being proposed. I am glad Italy (sorry Italy) melted down, because I am not sure anybody would have taken this as seriously as the experts had been predicting. If only someone will show the idiot-in-chief news stories about stacking up caskets in warehouses.

    The systemic failures that have been created by the administration and enabled by the Senate are beyond belief. The massive pandering and cronyism that has been proposed was stupefying. I hope that state governments are not neutered by the rantings of the deranged and incompetent idiot in the White House, or the massive corruption in the Senate, because state governors seem to be the only ones that are showing any leadership.

    As you can see I am showing a little anger, because I started to see this as a big deal in mid-January, and started worrying in mid-February that I would have to cancel my May vacation. It did not take a genius to see this coming, and now we can shout “Were Number One” because we have topped China in the number of cases and it does not seem like we are slowing down yet.

    Repeat after me, “TESTING and TRACING”, and repeat it to your members of Congress.

  9. The wealth redistribution up vultures and carrion consuming canines are circling DC knowing that TrumPence McConnell would leave lots of bodies for them to feed on. When Pence announced that all federal communications on the pandemic had to go through him it was a death sentence for thousands. When McConnell declared that a team of canines would manage the distribution of $2+T the slobbering hyenas almost swooned. When Trump announced in essence that this was an opportunity for people to give their lives for the wealthy the cheering was deafening.

    In the end what limited all of that is the fact that the blue states bore the brunt by the fact of being the gateways of global trade including viruses. Both common and uncommon sense prevailed over Putin’s red threat and nature demonstrating who holds dominion over whom.

  10. It is beyond rational belief the reaction of some Republicans to Corona. The Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick basically said the elderly should be sacrificed for the economy.

    Since testing here in the USA is pathetically inadequate as others have pointed out for Corona this leaves huge gaps in our knowledge of the true dimensions of it’s reach. There is nothing to stop Corona, it can only be slowed down.

    Special dishonorable mention should be made for Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie. Massie wanted to force a roll call vote in the House. The members ultimately came back simply to deny Massie’s motion to request a roll call vote.

    President Donald Trump called for throwing him out of the Republican Party. But Massie’s move forced members to scramble back to Washington during the middle of the pandemic. Trump said on Twitter that the congressman was a “third rate Grandstander” who “just wants the publicity.”

    I suspect The Trumpet’s anger had nothing to do with principles, since he has none. Rather this upset his plan to portray himself as Mr. Man of Action, Massie was getting in his way.

    These Republicans like Patrick and Massie are not “outliers” in the GOP they are the logical extension of the GOP. In the case of Patrick some will have be sacrificed for the economy and in Massie’s case obstructionism has been a key piece of the GOP.

  11. In case you didn’t see it, in the “rescue” bill there was tucked in:

    1. Special aid for a sunscreen company in Kentucky
    2. A big tax break for real estate developers whose business resembles Jarrod Kushner’s

    Some things never change…

  12. Todd Smekens: You post a comment every day and you rarely skip a chance to cut down Joe Biden, today a “dementia patient,” to each day its downsizing of Biden in your offering. What do you think you accomplish by this? He will probably be the Democratic candidate. At his age he will also probably be a one term president if elected. That could position his vice-president well. Cutting Biden down on a daily basis to the many readers of Professor Kennedy’s serves what purpose of yours?

  13. A long but instructive and informative article from the Guardian, excerpts below:

    When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.

    On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.

    Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease.

    The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”

    The CDC’s botched rollout of testing was the first indication that the Trump administration was faltering as the health emergency gathered pace. Behind the scenes, deep flaws in the way federal agencies had come to operate under Trump were being exposed.

    It was hardly a morale-boosting gesture when Trump proposed a 16% cut in CDC funding on 10 February – 11 days after the World Health Organization had declared a public health emergency over Covid-19.
    After denials by The Trumpet on the severity of Corona, he reluctantly has been pulled into confronting it. Still, with no signs of Corona being contained, The Trumpet wants to fill up the churches on Easter.

    The Bible Thumper’s who eagerly believe The Trumpet will probably try to demonstrate their loyalty to The Trumpet and Pastor Pence by filling up the pews.

  14. MG – Does it sway who you’ll be voting for in May/June/July and November?

    Probably not.

    Joe is a sick man and he’s being placed in “opposition” to the most narcissistic man we’ve ever witnessed in Washington. Despite this, Gallup just released a poll showing 60% of Americans believe Trump is doing a great job with this pandemic.


    You would think that out of 330 million citizens in this country, that our two political parties could produce results beyond an extreme narcissist and a Wall Street owned dementia patient for the most powerful position in this country.

    And the last I checked, there is no requirement to believe a certain ideology on this blog to post a comment.

  15. McConnell is not the only villain in this Greek tragedy. Trump has now admitted that “that woman in Michigan” is not appreciative of his efforts and has instructed Pence not to call her. Translation: I am a dictator and you are a woman who talks back so the people in Michigan can die. The “woman” is the governor of Michigan and apparently Trump (who narrowly won Michigan last time) is willing to lose Michigan this time (Putin willing) in order to make a point, the point being that if you want federal aid during this virus disaster, tell me I’m great and doing a good job. So what’s next, will this budding if not blooming Adolph instruct the Social Security system not to send checks to residents of Michigan? How far are we going to allow this demented man-child to go before the Big 25?

    Trump apparently thinks he is “the state,” that federal funding is therefore his funding, and that duly elected governors and others should pay him the respect for his brilliant leadership due a paymaster who has sacrificed so much to be our sainted leader. He is beyond demented and I don’t know whether we (especially with this death-dealing virus and a cult cast from the living dead) can survive as a cohesive society until November, or if we can, whether we can survive until Biden is inaugurated in January. Losing an election may be more than his fragile psyche can withstand and we may have to have federal marshals watch over him 24-7 lest he attempt to do something cataclysmic as we await January 20.

    I hope the foregoing or any part of it is not descriptive of our collective future and that such thumbnail description of our possible fate(s) is a product of my own negative sentiments arising from being personally cooped up here at my daughter’s home in obedience to executive directives. It’s always something.

  16. Todd et al – yes, there is no ideology requirement for commenting. But, it would behoove us all for the sake of civility (and demonstrating our own “leadership”) if we quit using derogatory adjectives and names for groups and/or individuals. It simply puts us down to the lowest common denominator of speech – sadly, our President. We are better than that!

  17. Gerald,

    “He is beyond demented and I don’t know whether we (especially with this death-dealing virus and a cult cast from the living dead) can survive as a cohesive society until November, or if we can, whether we can survive until Biden is inaugurated in January.”

    We can’t survive until Biden is inaugurated in January.

    More specifically, we also can’t survive the “Phoney War” between the Republicans and the Democrats. The PRO-DEMOCRACY INTELLIGENCE has been compromised via the Southern Poverty Law Center/Anti-Defamation Leagues. I’ve been warning about that ever since I started participating in this blog over five years ago. Do we ALL have to lie PROSTRATE before we can admit to that AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

  18. Gerald,

    Remember when I predicted that Donald Trump would win the election and you thought otherwise? The reason for that was my intelligence wasn’t CONTAMINATED, yours was. It had nothing to do with who had the better vision. We both can see straight. My judgment isn’t better than yours.

  19. Too much carping today! Maybe you all should take a deep breath and realize what you’re doing and saying. Why yesterday, some intrepid blogger pointed out my large mathematical mistake instead of calling me a 78-year old fogie. I’ll take the mistake. And from the looks of what some of you write here, basking in the Florida sun seems like the place for you. Out of harm’s way.

    Joe Biden will do fine. Not everybody can speak like Kennedy and make our hearts go pitter patter. Get on the train to defeating the obvious criminals including McConnell and his drooling cohorts in the Senate. Think about flipping the Senate to a 67 seat majority. Support candidates like Amy McGrath, for example. We keep whining about Citizens United. Well, get that 67 vote Senate and kiss it good bye! THAT is how we save our republic. Vote out the scum and the crooks. Cruz, Cornyn, Ernst, McSally, Graham all need to be sent to the moon.

    I may not be so good at math, but I can smell a stinking, corrupt crook from my 11th floor loft.

  20. Let’s face it,
    We are now living in a bizarro world, up is down, and down is up.

    A world where the volume of discussion replaces substance!

    Every single person in this country has PTSD, the American population has been whipsawed for three and a half years, and many folks have their will broken. It’s one thing to watch self-dealing and leadership enriching themselves, but it’s completely different thinking you’re going to die from a plague.

    Unfortunately the United States has not had to deal with some of the issues other countries have. So the level of fear concerning the unknown has been hijacked to keep a control, a grip on power.

    When speaking to someone that speaks a different language, folks tend to talk louder, that somehow the volume will make people understand. Or make the deaf able to hear you. Those folks you don’t understand what is being directed at them, but they might feel the animation of the interaction gives it credibility. Now this doesn’t seem logical mind you, but then again, fear is not logical!

    Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and when Nancy pelosi was resistant to impeaching the president, she probably was really onto something. Now, everything is a big conspiracy to go after the president. If, none of this stuff, what previously happened, happened, people watching their neighbors die from this pandemic would have done more to indict than anything in a courtroom.

    The ignorant, the stupid, the self-dealing, will eventually self-destruct, that is, unless they have been given a prop to hold themselves up and misdirect the narrative. Remember, in the bizarro world, Superman was evil and kryptonite made him stronger, welcome to the bizarro world.

  21. Vernon,

    “I may not be so good at math, but I can smell a stinking, corrupt crook from my 11th floor loft.”

    I’m sure you can. But what about everyone else? Especially those who voted this fool into office.

  22. john,

    “The ignorant, the stupid, the self-dealing, will eventually self-destruct, that is, unless they have been given a prop to hold themselves up and misdirect the narrative.”

    That’s what you better worry about. We’re dealing with not one, but two viruses: The Coronavirus and the Virus of Hatred which Trump/Bannon “hijacked” from the Bush family.

    The VIRUS OF HATRED will be the PROP. You can bet on that, unless WE do something about it.

  23. I’m glad Governor Cuomo has decided to look into legal collusion with other states keeping a tight rein on the profit taking and profiteering off of life-saving medical supplies!

    And he’s absolutely correct about trying to make the best out of a bad situation, we as a people do not know the day or the hour of our demise, we should use every moment to tell those that are important to us, how much we love them and how much we cherish and care about them.

    When you’re rushing your wife, or your baby granddaughter, or not so baby granddaughter, to the hospital, and you’re telling them how much you love them all the way there and the fear of the worst grips you.

    Do not leave things unsaid, because those things need to be heard by those you love.

    if you want to show love, if you want to show compassion, if you want to show respect for your fellow man, then we should obey the superior authorities, as much as possible. Polarized and tribal instincts might tell us to work against it, but for the greater good, and because we are all members of the broader human family, we should not only think of our own best interest but the interest of all of our brothers and sisters worldwide.

  24. That trump has a 60% approval rate for his handling of this crisis is unfathomable. Has to be due to fox news and it’s successful brainwashing of their viewers.

  25. We learned a century ago about the collapse of Germany’s immune system during the stressful times between world wars. The cost was unprecedented global death.

    Now it’s our turn to experience such stress even though we are only at the very beginning.

    Can we fare better than Germany did then?

    Yet to be determined.

  26. Larry,

    “The Lt. Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick basically said the elderly should be sacrificed for the economy.”

    Other than means, how does that differ, philosophically, from the Jewish Holocaust?

  27. Marv,
    “Other than means, how does that differ, philosophically, from the Jewish Holocaust?”

    Other than means? Time. Missing detailed plan. Progression. Philosophically, it is very similar…at knuckle-dragging level.

    If I am to go to the ovens, please, let it be at the proper moment of the execution of a brilliant, well-crafted plan, not the outcome of raving stupidity and chain-ineptness; it is such insult to be outdone by the lowest moron.

  28. Senate Republicans deserve blame for putting stuff in the bill that had no business of being there. But House Democrats were trying to do a similar thing. Both Ds and Rs tried to exploit a nationwide crisis to enact their own policy preferences. Fortunately, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed, at least for the most part.

    I have not heard whether the casinos are going to be bailed out. I sure hope so. It was just bad luck that has caused their current money woes. I know if I walked into a casino, had bad luck and lost my life savings they would be more than willing to give me a big bunch of that money back. For those who might have missed my sarcasm, that was intended as a joke.

  29. Linda,

    That 60% approval rating for Trump’s handling the crisis is a “rally around the flag” effect which is a benefit that every President get with a crisis. Trump’s RATF bump is actually much lower than other Presidents. For example, after 9/11 GWB was near 90%. And the RATF effect is temporary. Trump’s has already started dropping. As people’s lives start being more personally touched by Covid-19’s illness and death rate, and the economic downturn goes on for months, you’ll see the numbers drop even more.

  30. trump gave mnuchining,,,the o.k. to forego any rules on the billionaire there,we get to pay that back to..when i find everyone is confined,and suppressed,no one moves..seems the white house needs a buncha e mails condeming its waste,and spend to the billionaire class, that we will eventually have to pay..i dont face or twit, so the balls in your court

    Marv,, how about a mass mob rebuttle to trumps freebe to the upper crust..

    i wrote my thrid gen,banker and former gov,sen hoven,and rated him below the status of used car salesperson..we havent recieved one newsletter in regard to this virus ,from,our senior senator, best wishes,,,washdapaws…

  31. Paul – thank you for the explanation, that makes sense.
    I also saw that Dems were trying to sneak in various items into the stimulus package. Sadly, it’s all a game.

  32. marv,Larry

    capitalistic holocaust,after all its about money and who has it..
    hard to believe anyone whould die off for a economy, id have to ask the LT.
    if hes due for a mental evaluation,,,where,Texas,,,sorry, normal thinking.,,

  33. We are headed into the COVID19 pandemic with a total failure of our national government to protect us or work on timely and viable ways of doing so. What we are witnessing, and mostly only that – witnessing, is the collapse of the linkages between federal, state and local authorities and avenues of support brought about by mindbogglingly gross incompetence in the Executive and Legislative Branches . We seemingly cannot comprehend through the thick panic-ridden haze we are in that we still have the levers to control this whole mess in our hands as we always have had.

    As bad as Trump, Pence, McConnell, McCarthy and the whole Hee Haw Gang are we MUST do more than just grousing and playing the role of mere spectators. Right now that’s all we’re doing except being overwhelmed by fear as these fools, through their abject stupidity, dial in the bleak outcome we may all face from this pandemic through their own foot-dragging and political posturing with the lives of all of us hanging in the balance.

    Is there any backbone left with us? Are we just sheep because that’s what were acting like and it will end up making things far worse that they might be otherwise. The time for us being bounced from crisis to crisis by these fools has to come to an end since our very lives are likely going to depend on it. We must get off the proverbial fence and really call these fools out for their gross malfeasance and get rid of them.

  34. Tom,

    “We must get off the proverbial fence and really call these fools out for their gross malfeasance and get rid of them.”

    You’re right. Now is the time we must start to organize. There’s no better place than this blog.

  35. Linda and Paul – Pelosi was firing a warning shot over the bow of the Republican Senate – The Senate was never going to take up a bill from the House, so Pelosi was playing hard ball threatening to send over a doozie of unrelated items if the Republicans persisted with their gravy for the rich and a slush fund for Trump and Mnuchin.

    It seems to have worked. The Senate bill became much more like the Democrats wanted and even the “don’t give money to the unemployed, that just makes them lazy – give it to the rich, they are the chosen ones” Republicans lost out.

  36. My friends and I are using “Trump Virus”when referring to the Coronavirus and “Howdy Doody” to refer to Speaker McConnell. I thank the “Trump Virus “ fits well and would appreciate any help possible from those writing about our infamous leader.

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