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  • December 18, 2016 02:45:26 PM
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Broken Laughter is an occasional blog by a middle aged Midwesterner. It will include posts and articles about politics, current events, arts, and anything else that the Broken Laughter editor chooses to post.

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GOP Senators Will Not Discuss Voting Laws

You can win all the battles over early voting, amount of time polls are open, maintenance of voter registration records, and forms of ID. If you win all those battles, then whoopdie-ding-doo for you. But if you lose the battle over whether or not the other major party in your country can overturn elections you actually won by hundreds of… Read more The post GOP Senators Will Not Discuss Voting Laws appeared first on Broken...

You can win all the battles over early voting, amount of time polls are open, maintenance of voter registration records, and forms of ID.

If you win all those battles, then whoopdie-ding-doo for you.

But if you lose the battle over whether or not the other major party in your country can overturn elections you actually won by hundreds of thousands and millions of votes, simply because their state GOP-majority legislators feel like it, then you have lost the war.

The need is for Federal legislation to make these new state voting laws — that enable GOP-majority legislatures to easily overturn election results they do not like — a violation of Federal law.  A state law that violates Federal law is not legal — until and unless a large group of people rewrites the Supremacy Clause, found in Article VI, section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.  

As of today’s June 22, 2021, procedural vote, none of the GOP Senators are willing to discuss or debate the topic of voting rules. It’s not that they think the rules should be different. They are not willing to talk about voting laws. Not at all. But they are perfectly happy to allow state legislatures and governors to pass new laws that are completely autocratic.

The part that galls me most? The GOP is the minority party in the US Senate. Minority Rule is not what the crafters of our form of government had in mind.

The post GOP Senators Will Not Discuss Voting Laws appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Expanded Unemployment Benefits Ending

Expanded unemployment benefits ended in four states on June 12. And they ended in eight more states on June 19. Many people — primarily those who own restaurants, retail stores — have blamed the federally authorized expansion of unemployment benefits for causing a “labor shortage.” Without any evidence to support their claims, they have argued that all, most, or many… Read more The post Expanded Unemployment Benefits Ending appeared first on Broken...

Expanded unemployment benefits ended in four states on June 12. And they ended in eight more states on June 19.

Many people — primarily those who own restaurants, retail stores — have blamed the federally authorized expansion of unemployment benefits for causing a “labor shortage.” Without any evidence to support their claims, they have argued that all, most, or many people who had jobs in restaurants and retail stores — whose employers laid them off or terminated their ering the pandemic — have chosen to collect unemployment compensation instead of returning to work as those restaurants and stores have reopened in the last 6-8 weeks.

In addition to state-provided unemployment compensation, the federal government authorized up to an additional $300 per week per unemployed person.

During the pandemic, many states suspended requirements that people continue to actively prove how they looked for jobs in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits. Many of those states already reinstated those work-seeking-proof requirements in May and June. Those work-seeking-proof requirements apply to anyone seeking any state-Unemployment Insurance- provided unemployment payments.

States Ending Additional Unemployment Benefits

The states that ended the payment of additional federal unemployment benefits on June 12 are Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri. Eight states ended additional unemployment benefits on June 19. They are Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

This will provide a test of whether the “labor shortage” was the result of those expanded federal unemployment benefits. If expanded benefits kept people from accepting jobs, unemployment in Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi and Missouri should drop this week. Additionally, those states’ unemployment rates should drop quickly, especially in the restaurant, hospitality and retail sectors of the economy.

On June 26 and 27, another 12 states will end the federally authorized additional $300 per week payments. That will mean that 24 — nearly half — of all 50 of the United States will have stopped payment of the expanded unemployment benefits by the end of June.

The Federal government will stop the additional payments by Labor Day, 2021. Consequently, remaining 51 states and the District of Columbia will end payments of additional benefits by/or before Labor Day.

The month of July should show a dramatic surge in employment and a very fast elimination of the “labor shortage” affecting those states if the claim — made primarily by Republicans — that expanded federally authorized unemployment benefits caused the labor shortage.

However, if the expanded unemployment benefits did not cause the labor shortage and of higher unemployment rates in those states — as many economists, labor experts and statisticians have concluded — then we will likely see a small but not statistically significant reduction in the “labor shortage” and unemployment levels as the economy recovers.

Stay tuned.

The post Expanded Unemployment Benefits Ending appeared first on Broken Laughter.


GOP Senators Block January 6 Insurrection Commission

The majority of Republicans in the United States Senate have voted against creating a bipartisan commission, evenly staffed and composed of Republicans and Democrats, to investigate the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States capitol. In order for such a commission to go forward, 10 Republicans would have needed to join the majority of Democrats voting in favor of… Read more The post GOP Senators Block January 6 Insurrection Commission appeared first on Broken...

The majority of Republicans in the United States Senate have voted against creating a bipartisan commission, evenly staffed and composed of Republicans and Democrats, to investigate the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States capitol. In order for such a commission to go forward, 10 Republicans would have needed to join the majority of Democrats voting in favor of the legislation forming the commission. Today the headline will be “GOP Senators Block January 6 Insurrection Commission.”

Ironically, the vast majority of Republican Senators — most notably Senate Minority Leader McConnell — think that voting against an investigation in which they could have participated will give their criticism of such an investigation more weight and credibility. This is ridiculous.

Before the May 28 vote in the Senate, Representative John Katko, Republican of New York, negotiated the legislation creating the commission with Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi. And during that negotiation, Mr. Katko received agreement from Thompson on all his requests. This means that the Republicans got everything they asked for in creating a January 6 insurrection investigation commission, but after that, they decided they did not want such a commission.

By declining to participate in an investigation to which they were invited, and they could have participated, the Republicans have put themselves in a very difficult position. There will be an investigation and facts will come out. But the Republicans will have no ability to impact that investigation.

Let’s use a job interview scenario for comparison. The Republican Senators’ behavior (except for six of them) on the January 6 commission, is like this: Let’s say “Gerry” interviewed for a position with Company B and he received a job offer, which he declined. Gerry really led Company B to think that he really wanted the job. Gerry did five interviews — three on the phone and two in person — and he even went through a salary negotiation process with the company that went back and forth five times, and he got everything he asked for during that negotiation.

But then, when Company B made its final offer, Gerry turned it down.

But then, after all that, Gerry thinks that he can credibly criticize the work that “Jane” does after she accepted the job that he negotiated for and then ultimately turned down.

Gerry, like the Senate Republicans, has no credibility if he tries to complain about the work that Jane does. Even if Jane does a pretty terrible job, Gerry doesn’t have a leg to stand on in criticizing her.

This is where the Republicans in the Senate will find themselves — they’ll be in the same position as Gerry in the job interview scenario.

Clearly, there are lots of secrets that the Republicans do not want to come out through an investigation. Many in the GOP have said that they want to “move on,” but there is clearly no truth to that excuse for not wanting a commission to investigate the insurrection, because they are creating hundreds of laws in states to make it more difficult for people to vote, and they are still holding recounts of the 2020 ballots, in states like Arizona.

We will so how this story unfolds during the upcoming months.

The post GOP Senators Block January 6 Insurrection Commission appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Democrats Building Unity with Republicans

Building unity. Many Republican legislators in the United States House and Senate have said that they don’t think President Biden has done a good job of building unity with them. Well, they said the same thing about President Barack Obama. And the simple truth is that Republicans don’t want to unite with Democrats. This is not hard to understand. The… Read more The post Democrats Building Unity with Republicans appeared first on Broken...

Building unity. Many Republican legislators in the United States House and Senate have said that they don’t think President Biden has done a good job of building unity with them. Well, they said the same thing about President Barack Obama. And the simple truth is that Republicans don’t want to unite with Democrats.

This is not hard to understand. The only ideas that Republican legislators would support are reducing taxes on the wealthiest individuals and on companies, and raising taxes on many members of the middle class; and reducing taxes on the wealthiest individuals and on companies, and raising taxes on many members of the middle class; and reducing taxes on the wealthiest individuals and on companies, and raising taxes on many members of the middle class.

This is true because the Trump Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which the Republican legislators all loved very much, succeeded in doing two things: reducing taxes on the wealthiest individuals and on companies, and shifting most of that tax burden to individual members of the middle class, thereby raising taxes on many individual members of the middle class. It did not cause a jump in employment, or a burst of sustained GDP growth, or have any other measurable economic impact — other than to raise the national debt by $2 trillion.

So, the 2017 Trump tax cut reduced taxes for the wealthiest individuals and on corporations and companies, and had no impact that could be measured beyond the first two quarters after it took effect.

As for building unity, it takes action by two political parties to unite, and if one party is unwilling to compromise on anything, and meet the other party anywhere close to the middle, then there is no hope of any kind of unity, cooperation or compromise. One cannot dance with someone who refuses to dance. Many Democratic legislators have proven, time and time again, that they are willing to move to the center, to move toward the position the Republicans typically take.

But, many Republican legislators have demonstrated a complete unwillingness to compromise or move from their position of “we should enact tax cuts,” and “we should not spend any government money (collected taxes) on anything other than (maybe some) roads and bridges, and Senators’ and Representatives’ salaries.”

The post Democrats Building Unity with Republicans appeared first on Broken Laughter.


Derek Chauvin Verdict in George Floyd Case

I am sitting here this afternoon, waiting for the Derek Chauvin verdict in the George Floyd case. I have prepared myself for “not guilty” on all counts, because that is how all (?) the similar cases have gone, when members of law enforcement have killed people of color for reasons that are or appear ludicrous. Many of us will find… Read more The post Derek Chauvin Verdict in George Floyd Case appeared first on Broken...

I am sitting here this afternoon, waiting for the Derek Chauvin verdict in the George Floyd case. I have prepared myself for “not guilty” on all counts, because that is how all (?) the similar cases have gone, when members of law enforcement have killed people of color for reasons that are or appear ludicrous.

Many of us will find it difficult to believe that Chauvin is not guilty of the death of George Floyd. We saw Chauvin hold Floyd down with his body and knee on Floyd’s body for nearly 10 minutes — more than three minutes after Floyd’s body stopped moving. If someone has died, how can one explain staying on the dead body for more than three minutes after the victim stops all movement and appears to stop breathing.

The verdict came back quickly. It came back faster than I prepared for. Truly, I thought that the jury would need to deliberate for days. I served on a jury, and I know what that experience is like, as have the many millions of us who serve on juries in serious criminal cases. It would have been so fascinating to be able to observe and listen to the jurors while they deliberated in this case.

I won’t be surprised if the jury finds Chauvin not guilty on all counts.

The post Derek Chauvin Verdict in George Floyd Case appeared first on Broken Laughter.


So Many Shootings

There have been so many shootings lately — the most recent happened this morning in Indianapolis. Eight people died at a FedEx facility after someone opened fire late Thursday, April 15. Sometimes it’s a single person who dies, other times it’s more than that. I have been struggling with how to deal with all the shootings. Here is a list… Read more The post So Many Shootings appeared first on Broken...

There have been so many shootings lately — the most recent happened this morning in Indianapolis. Eight people died at a FedEx facility after someone opened fire late Thursday, April 15. Sometimes it’s a single person who dies, other times it’s more than that.

I have been struggling with how to deal with all the shootings.

Here is a list of events tracked by the New York Times.

The post So Many Shootings appeared first on Broken Laughter.


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