Cup of Joe – 7/22/21

“Republicans voted Wednesday to block the Senate from beginning debate on an infrastructure proposal, saying they wanted more time to finalize the details of the agreement,” NBC News reports.

“But that doesn’t mean the deal is dead.”

“The procedural motion failed 49-51, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer switching his vote to ‘no’ at the end to preserve his option to call the same vote on another day. The motion needed 60 to succeed.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) confirmed to Politico that he’s sent letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) with 11 Republican signers signaling they will be ready to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday.

Said Portman: “We’re a no today because we’re not ready. We’re saying we do want to take this bill as soon as we are and that’ll be Monday.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) had this to say last night about the bipartisan infrastructure bill: “I think it may well be done tomorrow.”  He added: “It will be a long, long time before we actually have a full bill of text, but we may have all of the issues resolved by tomorrow.”

“After months of aggressively wooing senators, White House officials are now turning on the charm with House Democrats. The administration is working to soothe anger among Democratic members who have grown vocal in their dissatisfaction with the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate will soon consider,” Politico reports.

“Their attempts to keep House Democrats in line illustrate how actively the White House is gaming out the legislative hurdles ahead. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team will need near unanimity to move the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal — and possibly a much larger partisan social spending plan — through the House in the coming weeks. More immediately, both Pelosi and the White House know that having senior House Democrats trashing the already delicate bipartisan infrastructure negotiations in the Senate could dim the chances of a final deal being reached.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of the Republican picks — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN ) — for the January 6 select committee, The Hill reports.

Both lawmakers are staunch allies of former President Trump, and both had voted in January against certifying President Biden’s election victory.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has decided not to participate in the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 on the Capitol, pulling all of his GOP picks in protest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) decision to reject two top Republicans, The Hill reports.

Said McCarthy: “Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts.”

Josh Marshall: “The upshot of McCarthy’s decision to withdraw all his nominees from the Jan 6th committee is that the committee will only include people who want to investigate the insurrection. It would have been a mistake not to allow the Republicans to be represented on the committee. But having refused good faith participation, Republicans not being there is a good thing. It’s good that Liz Cheney is there. It would be good if there were other Republicans who were actually in support of a real investigation were there. But McCarthy won’t allow that. So here we are. This is the best outcome.”

“Any person who would be third in line to the presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law, and Minority Leader McCarthy has not done that.” — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), quoted by Forbes, arguing that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) should never be Speaker of the House.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the chairman of the new House select committee to scrutinize the Capitol attack, told The Guardian he will investigate Donald Trump as part of his inquiry into the events of January 6 – a day he sees as the greatest test to the United States since the civil war.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) made a direct plea to urge people to get vaccinated, noting that 95% of the new COVID cases are among those who are not vaccinated.

Said DeSantis: “These vaccines are saving lives.”

Kentucky’s House Education Committee chair Regina Huff (R) is under fire after appearing to compare efforts to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations to the Jonestown massacre, the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

As the number of coronavirus infections rises around the country, lawmakers have adopted responses that trouble many health officials, ProPublica reports.

“In Tennessee, Republicans legislators threatened to shut down the state health department, saying it was targeting minors for mass vaccinations without the consent of parents. In Ohio, lawmakers allowed a doctor to testify at a legislative hearing last month that coronavirus vaccines could leave people magnetized (they can’t). During a hearing in the Montana Senate, a senator said he had read articles about “putting a chip in the vaccine.” (There are no chips in vaccines.)”

“Those supporters now tend to oppose efforts to get everyone vaccinated, believing they are being led by Democrats.”

Said Missouri state Rep. Bill Kidd (R), after testing positive for Covid-19: “And no, we didn’t get the vaccine. We’re Republicans.”

“One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.” — Dr. Brytney Cobia, quoted by

I just can’t muster up any sympathy. It’s not heartbreaking. It is the expected logical conclusion. These people have chosen to be anti-science know nothings for years. They enjoy their cult. They were warned. They were given every chance to get the vaccine. Appeals were made to their sense of common good, their own survival and personal responsibility, and they all told us to pound sand. And at the last second as they lay dying from COVID, now they want the vaccine.

Philip Bump noticed that Sean Hannity’s limited vaccine endorsement earlier this week was but “a small drop in Fox News’s ocean of doubt.”

“Despite Hannity’s thumbs up, that remained the default position of the network on Monday night. Those who watched from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. would have been left with little question about the message they were meant to take away: Maybe the vaccines do some good, but you should question how effective they are and you should think that government experts are lying to you about them. An endorsement drowned under a deluge of howevers is not an endorsement at all.”

“The U.S. is at risk of a default in October or November unless Congress raises or suspends the debt limit, the Congressional Budget Office said, offering lawmakers a cushion of time to avert a potential crisis,” Bloomberg reports.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is taking a very hard line on the debt ceiling. His message — if Senate Democrats want to raise the debt ceiling, they’re going to have to do it themselves because no Republicans will vote for it in the current ‘environment’ on Capitol Hill,” Punchbowl News reports.

Said McConnell: “I can’t imagine there will be a single Republican voting to raise the debt ceiling after what we’ve been experiencing.”

He added: “I can’t imagine a single Republican in this environment that we’re in now — this free-for-all for taxes and spending — to vote to raise the debt limit. I think the answer is they need to put it in the reconciliation bill.”

The problem for Democrats is they won’t be able to put together a reconciliation bill for several months and the federal government will run out of money much sooner.

“President Biden announced Tuesday he is nominating Jonathan Kanter, a known legal foe of Google and other major tech companies, to head the Department of Justice’s antitrust division,” Recode reports.

“If confirmed to his post by the Senate, Kanter will have the power to take on cases to break up Big Tech companies or otherwise limit the size of their businesses. And as head of the DOJ antitrust division, Kanter would also decide how to proceed with the Trump administration’s landmark case against Google for engaging in allegedly anti-competitive business practices.”

Axios highlights a fiery Oval Office confrontation between Donald Trump and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley over the general’s public apology for appearing in a photo op with Trump at St. John’s Church, recounted in the new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election:

TRUMP: Why did you apologize? That’s weak.

MILLEY: Not where I come from. It had nothing to do with you. It had to do with me and the uniform and the apolitical tradition of the United States military.

TRUMP: I don’t understand that. It sounds like you’re ashamed of your president.

MILLEY: I don’t expect you to understand.

“It’s the ultimate irony that a guy who acted like a total sycophantic pussy for four years, Trump wants him to be the Six Million Dollar Man at the end. Well, shit, the guy hasn’t stood up to anybody for four years and now you want him to stand up illegally, unconstitutionally to the United States Senate and the House of Representatives? Are you nuts? Have you looked at Mike Pence?” — An unnamed Trump adviser, quoted in the new book, I Alone Can Fix It.

Last September, Donald Trump sat down for the first in a series of prep sessions for the upcoming debates with Joe Biden, Insider reports.  “Rudy Giuliani, who at the time was Trump’s personal lawyer, also wanted to take part in the session.”

“However, he clashed with Christie and Conway over the president’s approach in taking on Biden, to the point where aides intentionally gave Giuliani the wrong start time for the next prep session.”

Nate Cohn: “Democrats have proposed or enacted trillions of dollars in federal spending, usually under the seemingly nonideological auspices of coronavirus relief and infrastructure.”

“That tack has provided Mr. Biden a way to enact an ambitious policy agenda without sparking the kind of ideologically divisive fight that has derailed the first term of so many recent presidents. If the polls are any indication, he may be pulling it off: Around 60 percent of voters appear to approve of Mr. Biden’s big spending initiatives.”

“Over the last 30 years, nearly every incoming president opened his term with an ambitious but ultimately unpopular push to remake America’s health care system. It sapped public support. It contributed to the inexorable polarization of American politics. And it ended in a drubbing in the midterm elections.”

U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest one-year decline since World War II, the AP reports.  The decrease for both Black Americans and Hispanic Americans was even worse: three years.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction to stop an Arkansas law banning nearly all abortions in the state following a lawsuit disputing its constitutionality, the AP reports.

“A Missouri legislative committee on Monday held a hearing on how educators teach K-12 students about race and racism without hearing from any Black Missourians,” the Associated Press reports.

“No Black parents, teachers, or scholars testified to the Joint Committee on Education during the invite-only hearing.”

An Alabama city councilman referred to a fellow city council member as a “house n—-r” at a meeting, reports.  Said Tarrant councilman Tommy Bryant (R), who was captured on a video: “Do we have a house n—-r in here? Do we? Do we? Will she please stand up.”  Bryant apparently made the remark in reference to fellow city council member Veronica Freeman, who is Black.

An Alaska assistant attorney general — who has represented the state in a string of civil-rights cases — was identified by The Guardian as “a supporter of the Mormon-derived extremist group the Deseret nationalists who has posted a series of racist, antisemitic and homophobic messages on social media.”

“A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent has been arrested for allegedly participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump,” CNBC reports.  “The agent, Mark Sami Ibrahim, allegedly flashed his badge and a DEA-issued handgun during the riot while posing for photos with those items.”

Thomas Robertson, a former police officer in Virginia accused of taking part in the Capitol riot, was back in court arguing that he shouldn’t lose his bond after police found a huge stash of guns and explosives at his home, the Roanoke Times reports.

Prosecutors found multiple guns, a pipe bomb, a grenade, and gun silencers despite a judge banning Robertson from owning weapons while out on bond.

“One of the men accused of plotting to blow up the California Democratic Party headquarters in Sacramento came within minutes of winning his release from jail Tuesday, but the deal fell through after his wife changed her mind about taking responsibility for him while he awaits trial,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

“Oklahoma Republican Party members have rejected a resolution to censure the state’s two GOP U.S. senators for not objecting to the Electoral College votes that certified Democrat Joe Biden as president on Jan. 6,” the Associated Press reports.  “122 members of the Republican State Committee opposed the nonbinding resolution to censure Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, while 93 supported it.”

Forbes estimates that Donald Trump’s businesses — which he refused to divest while serving as president — earned about $2.4 billion of revenue during his single term.  “If not for the pandemic, there would have been even more. Trump’s business was hauling in about $650 million annually during the first three years of his presidency. But in 2020, revenues plunged to an estimated $450 million as Covid infected the business.”

John Cassidy: “In recent decades, it almost seems as if the best thing that can happen to the rich is for something to drive the economy into a ditch and prompt the Fed to turn on its money spigot. Such is the upside-down logic of a world in which the ownership of financial and industrial capital is so lopsided.”

“The corporate and individual tax hikes contained in the White House’s recent budget proposal would reduce the after-tax income of the top one percent of households by roughly five percent and increase the after-tax income of the bottom twenty per cent by a similar proportion. If these changes were kept in place for a prolonged period, they could help restore some semblance of equity and balance to the American economy.”

“As many as 200 Americans have come forward to describe possible symptoms of directed energy attacks, part of a wave of fresh reports that includes newly identified incidents around the world,” NBC News reports.  “A U.S. official with knowledge of new potential cases of so-called Havana Syndrome said a steady drumbeat of cables has been coming in from overseas posts reporting new incidents — often multiple times each week.”

“CIA Director William Burns has tapped a veteran of the agency’s hunt for Osama bin Laden to head a task force aimed at finding the cause of unexplained health incidents suffered by U.S. spies and diplomats around the world,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The choice of the Central Intelligence Agency officer—whose identity remains undercover—is part of what the officials described as a quickening effort to determine the source of the apparent attacks, which has proven elusive.”

Wall Street Journal: “Chairman Jerome Powell, whose term expires in February, is viewed by some inside and many outside the administration as the front-runner for the job. But if Mr. Biden decides he would prefer his own pick, rather than the Republican chosen by President Trump, Fed governor Lael Brainard is the most likely candidate to succeed him.”

New York Times: “The Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon, spurred by months of drought and last month’s blistering heat wave, is the largest wildfire so far this year in the United States, having already burned more than 340,000 acres, or 530 square miles, of forest and grasslands.”

“And at a time when climate change is causing wildfires to be larger and more intense, it’s also one of the most extreme, so big and hot that it’s affecting winds and otherwise disrupting the atmosphere.”

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

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