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Daily Archives: December 3rd, 2019

Politricks- Usual Trump deal, “what’s in it for me?” MA

Conrad Duncan, The Independent 1 hour 27 minutes ago

A construction company owned by a Republican donor has been given a $400m (£308.5m) contract to build sections of Donald Trump’s border wall.
The Department of Defence has announced Fisher Sand and Gravel Co, from North Dakota, will build new barriers in Arizona following reports that Mr Trump repeatedly pushed for the company to be given the contract, despite concerns from engineering officials.
Mr Trump had urged officials from the Army Corps of Engineers to pick the company, according to Washington Post reports, and is a fan of the company’s CEO, Tommy Fisher, who has appeared on Fox News to promote the firm.
However, he was apparently told that Fisher Sand and Gravel’s bid did not meet the standards required for the project.
The company has also been supported by senator Kevin Cramer, a Republican from North Dakota, who was given $10,000 by the Fisher family for his Senate campaign in 2018.
Mr Cramer said he was “glad to see more progress being made” on the border wall and “grateful” that Fisher Sand and Gravel had been awarded the contract.
“I know they will do very well, performing high quality work at a good bargain, all for the security of the people of the United States,” he said in a statement.
The Republican senator took Mr Fisher as his guest to the 2018 State of the Union address but said he has not pushed Mr Trump to pick the firm, even though he welcomed the idea of a North Dakota company winning the contract.
Mr Cramer said in May that the president “always brings [the company] up” in conversations and Mr Trump likes Mr Fisher because he has seen him advocating for his firm’s plan on TV.
Fisher Sand and Gravel has claimed it can build the wall faster and cheaper than other companies.
It also has a record of more than $1m in fines for environmental and tax violations, according to CNN, and its former co-owner pleaded guilty to tax fraud and was sentenced to 37 months in prison in 2009.
When asked by CNN about these violations and legal problems, the company said the issues were “resolved years ago” and had “nothing to do with the excellent product and work that Fisher is proposing with regard to protecting America’s southern border”.
In April, Mr Trump mentioned Mr Fisher on Fox News after the company offered to build 234 miles of the border wall for $1.4bn – a fraction of the $8bn cost projected for the project.
When Fox News host Sean Hannity asked about the bid, the president replied that his administration was “dealing with him [Mr Fisher]” and said the company was “recommended strongly by a great new senator, Kevin Cramer”.
Fisher Sand and Gravel has worked with a number of Trump allies, including former adviser Steve Bannon, to build border fences on private land using donations.
Mr Trump has pledged to build 450 to 500 miles of new border barriers by the end of 2020 but so far his administration has only built about 85 miles of new fencing, which has mostly replaced smaller old structures that existed before he took office in 2017.


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If you have not been paying attention, look again. MA

Published 23 hours ago on December 2, 2019
By Robert Reich
He’s maybe the most dangerous politician of my lifetime. He’s helped transform the Republican Party into a cult, worshiping at the altar of authoritarianism. He’s damaged our country in ways that may take a generation to undo. The politician I’m talking about, of course, is Mitch McConnell.
Two goals for November 3, 2020: The first and most obvious is to get the worst president in history out of the White House. That’s necessary but not sufficient. We also have to flip the Senate and remove the worst Senate Majority Leader in history.

Like Trump, Mitch McConnell is no garden-variety bad public official. McConnell puts party above America, and Trump above party. Even if Trump is gone, if the Senate remains in Republican hands and McConnell is reelected, America loses because McConnell will still have a chokehold on our democracy.
Happy Holidays! As a special thanks for your support this year, you can get Raw ad-free for just $2 a week. Now until Dec. 31.

This is the man who refused for almost a year to allow the Senate to consider President Obama’s moderate Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland. When Trump became president, this is the man who got rid of the age-old Senate rule requiring 60 Senators to agree on a Supreme Court nomination so he could ram through not one but two Supreme Court justices, including one with a likely history of sexual assault.
This is the man who rushed through the Senate, without a single hearing, a $2 trillion tax cut for big corporations and wealthy Americans – a tax cut that raised the government debt by almost the same amount, generated no new investment, failed to raise wages, but gave the stock market a temporary sugar high because most corporations used the tax savings to buy back their own shares of stock.
McConnell refuses to support what’s needed for comprehensive election security – although both the U.S. intelligence community and Special Prosecutor Mueller say Moscow is continuing to hack into our voting machines and to weaponize disinformation through social media. McConnell has earned the nickname “Moscow Mitch” because he’s doing exactly what Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump want him to do – leave America vulnerable to another Putin-supported victory for Trump.
McConnell is also blocking bipartisan background-check legislation for gun sales, even after the mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, El Paso and Odessa, Texas.
So even if Trump is out of the White House, if McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader he will not allow a Democratic president to govern.
He won’t allow debate or votes on Medicare for All, universal pre-K, a wealth tax, student loan forgiveness, or the Green New Deal. He won’t allow confirmation votes on judges nominated by a Democratic president.
The good news is McConnell is the least popular senator in the country with his own constituents. He’s repeatedly sacrificed Kentucky to Trump’s agenda – for example, agreeing to Trump’s so-called emergency funding for a border wall, which would take $63 million away from projects like a new middle school on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.
McConnell is even cutting funding for black lung disease suffered by Kentucky coal miners. I know from my years as labor secretary that coal mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, and the number of cases of incurable black lung disease has been on the rise. But when a group of miners took a 10-hour bus ride to Washington this past summer to ask McConnell to restore the funding, McConnell met with them for one minute and then refused to help them. No wonder Democrats are lining up in Kentucky to run against Moscow Mitch in 2020.
The not-so-good news is that McConnell is up for re-election the same day as Donald Trump, and Trump did well in Kentucky in 2016. This means we have to help organize Kentucky, just as we have to organize other states that may not be swing states in the presidential election but could take back the Senate.
Consider Georgia: Republican Senator Johnny Isakson is retiring, meaning both of Georgia’s Senate seats are now up for grabs. And this one extra seat—in a state that is trending blue—could be the tipping point that allows Democrats to win enough seats to end GOP control of the Senate.
Trump has to go, but so does McConnell.
Here’s what you can do: Wherever you are in the country, you can donate to McConnell’s challengers. If you live in or near Kentucky, you can get out and knock doors or make calls. Or if you have friends or family in the state, encourage them to get involved.
As to the question of who is worse, Trump or McConnell — the answer is that it’s too close to call. The two of them have degraded and corrupted American democracy. We need them both out.


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