A Mad Pig On The Way In... A Mad Pig On The Way Out

It's (still) Alive by Nancy Ohanian

It would be hard to imagine that anyone who reads DWT with even a modicum of regularity didn't imagine from 2016 that Trump would be the worst president-- legitimate or not-- in American history and that his presidency would be all about himself and not at all about the American people. Yesterday, another 2,194 Americans died of COVID, bringing the gruesome total to 265,898. And while Trump continues to studiously ignore-- and make excuses for-- the severity of the pandemic in our country, the states reported 175,168 new one day cases-- a new total that has just surpassed 13 million, almost 40,000 cases per million Americans.

Nearly every economist in the country is predicting a deep recession beginning as Trump slinks off to Mar-A-Lago one last time in January. This morning. National Geographic published a piece by Nina Strochlic that raises the specter of widespread hunger across the country-- One in six Americans could go hungry in 2020 as pandemic persists. "By the end of this year," wrote Strochlic, "more than 50 million people will experience food insecurity, according to Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger-relief organization. That’s one in six Americans and one in four children-- nearly a 50 percent increase from 2019. A Northwestern University study in June found that food needs had doubled nationally, and tripled for households with children. The pandemic has laid bare how many people are one paycheck or medical bill away from hunger.

What are Trump and his regime doing about it? Leaving it-- along with untold other problems-- for Biden to deal with, while he pardons his cronies and accomplices. On CNN's New Day this morning, Adam Schiff noted, referring to the Michael Flynn pardon-for-silence that Trump is "acting like an organized crime figure" and added "But this is who Donald Trump is. It's who he was on the way into the presidency. It will be exactly who he is on his last days of the presidency."

And this morning, ProPublica reported on the toxic regime rushing to weaken environmental and worker protections before they're forced away from the levers of power. Isaac Arnsdorf wrote that "Even as Trump and his allies officially refuse to concede the Nov. 3 election, the White House and federal agencies are hurrying to finish dozens of regulatory changes before Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. The rules range from long-simmering administration priorities to last-minute scrambles and affect everything from creature comforts like showerheads and clothes washers to life-or-death issues like federal executions and international refugees. They impact everyone from the most powerful, such as oil drillers, drugmakers and tech startups, to the most vulnerable, such as families on food stamps, transgender people in homeless shelters, migrant workers and endangered species... [T]hese final weeks are solidifying conservative policy objectives that will make it harder for the Biden administration to advance its own agenda, according to people who track rules developed by federal agencies... Some rules read like Trump’s stump speeches translated into policy legalese."

This morning Common Dreams reporter Jake Johnson wrote about how Mnuchin is working to sabotage any kind of economic recovery and any kind of assistance to Americans needed because of the pandemic. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden called what Mnuchin is doing "economic sabotage." Johnson wrote that "Mnuchin is under fire for attempting to undermine the incoming Biden administration's response to the Covid-19 pandemic on his way out the door after his department confirmed Tuesday that it intends to place $455 billion in unspent coronavirus relief funds into an account that requires congressional authorization to access. Bloomberg reported that the funds, which Congress allocated to the Federal Reserve in March for emergency lending programs to assist local governments and struggling businesses, will be put in the Treasury Department's General Fund following Mnuchin's widely condemned decision last week to cut off the relief programs at the end of the year." This leaves the funds to the tender mercies of McConnell and a Republican Senate majority that is hell-bent on causing enough misery in the first two years of the Biden administration to impact the 2022 midterm elections.

While Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, insisted he is attempting to ensure the funds are put to better use, Democratic members of Congress and other observers immediately accused the treasury secretary of a potentially unlawful ploy to hamstring the Biden administration's coronavirus response before the president-elect takes office. According to one analyst, Mnuchin's actions are an "explicit" violation of the CARES Act.
"This is Treasury's latest ham-handed effort to undermine the Biden administration. The good news is that it's illegal and can be reversed next year," tweeted Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the congressional commission established to oversee the use of coronavirus relief money. "For its part, the Fed should not go along with this attempted sabotage and should retain the CARES Act funds it already has."