Cup of Joe – 6/19/21

“Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will hold a vote Tuesday on whether to advance sweeping voting-rights legislation to the Senate floor, and the lone Democrat who has withheld his support said he could stick with his party to start debate,” Bloomberg reports.

“Although Republicans are poised to block a debate on the legislation, having Manchin’s vote to bring it to the floor would be a demonstration of party unity Schumer needs to put the blame for blocking the bill, a version of which has already passed in the House, entirely on the Senate GOP.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “There is no path to voting rights’ legislation reform without reforming the filibuster, and there is no path to reforming the filibuster without Joe Manchin changing his mind. Getting 50 votes on a voting rights’ bill is the first step to having that conversation. That means we need a bill that both Joe Manchin and Stacey Abrams support.”

“There is a lot of distance to travel, and the odds are not in our favor, but for the first time in a long time, there is a path.”

What if Democrats helped Manchin — and their agenda — by strengthening the filibuster? The filibuster has been dramatically weakened over the years so that senators in the minority no longer even need to debate about why they want to block a bill. In many cases, they don’t even show up for the cloture vote since it’s the majority that needs to round up 60 votes.

Norm Ornstein has suggested reforms to the filibuster which would shift the burden from the majority to the minority: “Instead of 60 votes required to end debate, the procedure should require 40 votes to continue it. If at any time the minority cannot muster 40 votes, debate ends, cloture is invoked, and the bill can be passed by the votes of a simple majority.”

Manchin actually suggested he was open to such changes in leaked audio  published just this week: “I think, basically, it should be 41 people have to force the issue versus the 60 that we need in the affirmative.” Normally, such musings by senators on legislative procedure wouldn’t catch much notice. But Manchin did something very interesting this week. After rejecting the main Democratic voting rights package last week, he proposed a comprehensive set of voting reforms that he would support. And now Chuck Schumer, as you see above, is going to force a vote on voting rights early next week.

Ezra Klein sees a way it could pass: “As the hinge vote, Manchin could offer both sides a choice: a bipartisan bill designed by Manchin (and whatever allies he chooses) or the outcome on voting rights they fear most — for Democrats, that would be nothing, and for Republicans, that would be everything. If Democrats refuse to support his bill or offer something reasonable in return, Manchin could join with Republicans to kill it. If Republicans refuse to support it or offer something reasonable in return, he could join with Democrats to pass the original For the People Act, or something more like it.

For Manchin, it would be the ultimate act of bipartisanship by forcing the two parties to work together on a compromise. And it would be made possible by threatening to return debate and deliberation to the Senate by strengthening the filibuster.

“Catholic bishops Friday voted to create guidelines on the meaning of communion, a move that could be an early step towards limiting the serving of the eucharist to President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights,” the Washington Post reports.

Variety: “Each year on June 19, Opal Lee makes a two-and-a-half-mile pilgrimage to commemorate the date in 1865, two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, when more than 250,000 enslaved Black people in Texas learned that they were finally free, marking the true end of slavery in America.”

“For more than 40 years, she had carried on the tradition, working with the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and leading local Juneteenth events. But (in 2016) she was particularly inspired, coming up with a plan to walk the 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., to petition the Obama administration and Congress to grant the holiday an official position on the calendar.”

Said Lee: “I just remember thinking, ‘Gee, I’m 89 years old and I think that there’s lots more that needs to be done.’”

“Two branches of government haven’t acted in concert this speedily at least 10 years,” Axios reports.

“The Senate passed a Juneteenth national holiday on Tuesday, the House followed Wednesday, President Biden signed it Thursday, and Friday is an official federal holiday (although the Postal Service will operate, saying there wasn’t time to shut down).”

NBC News: Juneteenth Day is a victory, but there’s still work to do.

NBC News: “If Trump couldn’t get Congress to do away with the law — and he couldn’t, even with Republicans in control of both chambers — he would choose Supreme Court justices who would declare Obamacare unconstitutional.”

“But two of the three jurists Trump picked for the court — Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — voted with Roberts as part of a 7-2 majority Thursday to deny standing to a group of conservative states that claimed the law harmed them. It was a major blow — perhaps a decisive one — against the political right’s long fight against Obamacare and a sign of the limit of Trump’s influence on the justices he appointed.”

“In the first hours after the ruling, Trump greeted the news with the deafening silence of defeat.”

Axios: The Obamacare wars end in a whimper.

“The Supreme Court saved the health care system from imploding Thursday by dismissing a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty chaos,” Axios reports.

“Most GOP lawmakers privately admit (and some will even say publicly) they don’t want to deal with health care again. The issue generally isn’t a good one for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017.”

Joan Biskupic: “Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, demonstrated their collective power at America’s highest court on Thursday.”

“An overriding question going into the session that began last October was whether Roberts would still wield significant control, after former President Donald Trump appointed Barrett to succeed the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and created a 6-3 conservative-liberal bench.”

“But the latest developments suggest a possible 3-3-3 pattern, with Roberts, Barrett and Kavanaugh at the center-right, putting a check on their more conservative brethren who regularly push to overturn precedent.”

“I’ve done all this stuff for the Blacks — it’s always Jared telling me to do this. And they all fucking hate me, and none of them are going to vote for me.”  — Then-President Donald Trump, quoted by Politico, on Father’s Day in 2020.

This is the most pathetic thing you will read today: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explained to The Hill why he has a good working relationship with Donald Trump. Said Graham: “During my brief time I said everything about Donald Trump that I could say that was bad. We didn’t hit it off.”

He added: “He called me over to his office, and said I’d like you to help me… We came to find common ground, that common ground is that he likes him, and I’ve come to like him. That will get you through 18 holes of golf, the front nine is about why he likes him, the back nine is why I liked him.”

“The Southern Baptist Convention elected Ed Litton as its president on Tuesday, signaling a defeat for the hard right within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination,” the Washington Post reports.

Wall Street Journal: “In Congress, Democrats and some Republicans are working to rein in the largest tech companies with proposals aimed at curbing their market power. Lawmakers are cheering antitrust probes by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission that could force these companies to shed acquisitions that were rubber-stamped by the government.”

“In the White House, Mr. Biden has shunned job applicants with ties to large technology companies. His decision to appoint Lina Kahn as FTC chairwoman Wednesday made one thing clear: There is to be no sequel to the tech industry’s glory days during Barack Obama’s eight years in the White House.”

Associated Press: “While two of the states slammed hardest by the disaster, California and New York, celebrated their reopenings this week with fireworks and a multimillion-dollar drawing, hospitalizations in parts of Missouri are surging and cases are rising sharply in Texas, illustrating the challenges the country faces this summer.”

“One major concern is the highly contagious and potentially more severe delta variant of the coronavirus that originated in India. While health officials say the vaccines are effective against it, the fear is that it will lead to outbreaks in states with lower vaccination rates. … At the same time, states are convening focus groups to better understand who is declining to get vaccinated, why, and how to convince them that getting the shot is the right thing to do.”

Axios: What happens now that emergency orders are lifting.

“I will give it to you straight, the good, the bad and the truth… and the truth is that deaths and hospitalizations are drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated. But unfortunately, cases of hospitalizations are not going down in many places. In the lower vaccination rate states, they’re actually going up in some places.” — President Joe Biden, quoted by Washington Post, on potentially not meeting his July 4th goal of having 70% of American adults vaccinated.

“The Biden White House has temporarily halted a military aid package to Ukraine that would include lethal weapons, a plan originally made in response to aggressive Russian troop movements along Ukraine’s border this spring,” Politico reports.

“The Biden administration is sharply reducing the number of U.S. antimissile systems in the Middle East in a major realignment of its military footprint there as it focuses the armed services on challenges from China and Russia,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The redeployment includes hundreds of troops who are members of units that operate or support the systems. The move comes as the military plans a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by this summer.”

New York Times: “For divided House Republicans, outrage may be the tie that binds — at least their leaders hope so. … There is a method to all the remonstrance. Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who took over as the message maestro of the Republican conference after the banishment of Rep. Liz Cheney, hatched the crisis strategy as one of her first ventures, Rep. Tom Cole said, distributing talking points this month on the perils facing the country.”

“He thought the list had five crises; Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington, remembered four. The idea is that with Democrats in control of the White House, House and Senate, next year’s midterm elections will be a referendum on one-party control, not on Republican governing plans, said Mr. Cole, a former chairman of the House Republicans’ campaign arm. The Republicans, at least this early in the political cycle, need to seed a sense of instability, overreach and fear, he said.”

New Yorker: “As Christopher Rufo eventually came to see it, conservatives engaged in the culture war had been fighting against the same progressive racial ideology since late in the Obama years, without ever being able to describe it effectively.”

Said Rufo: “We’ve needed new language for these issues. ‘Political correctness’ is a dated term and, more importantly, doesn’t apply anymore… The other frames are wrong, too: ‘cancel culture’ is a vacuous term and doesn’t translate into a political program; ‘woke’ is a good epithet, but it’s too broad, too terminal, too easily brushed aside.”

He added: “Critical race theory is the perfect villain.”

Wall Street Journal: “The far-right group the Oath Keepers is splintering after board members accused the founder of spending its money on hair dye, steaks and guns. The leader of the Proud Boys, choked off from the financial system, is printing ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts to make money.”

“The finances of the two most visible groups with members involved in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol are sputtering. Leaders are low on cash, struggling with defections and arguing with members over the future.”

Aaron Blake: “What’s perhaps most notable about the effort is how slowly it has built. We had the graphic video of Babbitt’s death almost immediately after the Capitol riot. Very little has been added to the record since then, beyond the officer’s being cleared two months ago. But as the questioning of the narrative of the Capitol riot has grown — and with authorities still declining to identify the officer involved — a chorus has swelled around the Babbitt issue as well.”

“It’s all a logical progression of the effort to recast the Jan. 6 riot.”

Babbitt was a traitor and a terrorist who was attempting to jump through a broken window door in order to harm or kill members of the Congressional leadership who were only feet away from her at the time. Her killing was justified and she is currently burning in Hell.

CNN: “Cyber Ninjas exists mostly in virtual reality, with its chief executive, Doug Logan, also serving as, well, pretty much everything. On recent calls to the company’s automated answer line, pressing ‘3’ for sales led to the answering message for Logan. So did pressing ‘4’ for human resources. And pressing ‘5’ for purchasing. And ‘6’ for the general mailbox.”

“Go to the address for Cyber Ninjas’ Legal Department, listed on its audit contract with the Arizona Senate, and you’ll wind up at a rented mailbox in a UPS Store in Sarasota, Florida. The company’s business address registered with Florida’s Secretary of State, also in Sarasota, was sold last December, and now sits empty.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted that some Republican members of Congress who are treating Capitol Police “like shit” were the “most scared” on the House floor during the January 6 riots.

Said Gallego: “Jody Hice took apart a hand sanitizer station to make into a club, Gosar and Biggs were the first to leave the floor and Rep. Clyde was screaming like a banshee.”

Featured Photo: President Joe Biden meets with Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, (D-Del.), on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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