Cup of Joe – 8/12/21

Jennifer Rubin: “The Senate on Tuesday passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal with 19 Republican votes. Had someone polled the White House press corps a month ago, few would have expected any bipartisan deal possible.”

“Too many reporters, despite Biden’s success in delivering hundreds of millions of vaccines to Americans and passing a $2 trillion rescue plan, have maintained a default setting in their reporting in which Biden struggles to make good on his plans or underestimates his abilities to enact them. The administration, in this telling, is forever in some sort of ‘crisis,’ and negotiations are always on the verge of failure.

“Whether this ‘Perils of Pauline’ narrative is a deliberate effort to build drama into news or whether journalists fail to comprehend the complexity and dynamics of legislative negotiations, the result is coverage that leaves readers and viewers nearly certain Biden will fail.”

President Joe Biden says he has called most of the 19 Republican senators who voted with Democrats to pass the infrastructure bill, ABC News reports.

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell credited President Biden with helping to get the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed in the Senate, but said he doesn’t anticipate many more opportunities for Republicans to work with Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said McConnell: “There’s nothing to back you up like the promise of a presidential signatory, if you’re in the same party as the president. And so I think the president deserves a lot of credit for getting the Democrats open to reaching a bipartisan agreement on this bill.”

He added: “When the president ran for office, he said he was a moderate, so I was looking for some evidence of it. And we finally, finally found it.”

Bloomberg: “The budget blueprint for that package, released by Senate Democrats on Monday, explicitly provided for making the SALT deduction more generous.”

“They argue it prompts wealthier people to move to low-tax places like Florida and Texas, which hurts their state’s ability to fund robust social services, an issue that should be a concern to both moderates and progressives.”

“Liberals counter that the deduction aids higher-income taxpayers, and shouldn’t be a priority given greater need to enhance federal support for lower-income families in the social-spending focused bill. It would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to restore the write-off to pre-Trump levels, with more than half of those benefits flowing to households earning at least $1 million.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a statement saying he has “serious concerns” about the size of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, calling it “simply irresponsible” to continue spending at such high levels, Axios reports.

Politico: “The two moderates may try to slash down their party’s ambitions. But as one Republican put it: ‘What’s down? $100 million? $1 trillion?’”

Politico: “Denizens of the New York State Capitol celebrated on Tuesday afternoon, with longtime foes of the soon to be former governor drinking champagne and pondering a future without Cuomo at the top. There was widespread praise for incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul.”

“Still, transitioning out of the Cuomo era will not be an easy task. Cuomo, after nearly three fiery terms at the helm, has tentacles that stretch into every corner of state government. Cleaning house would be a difficult task for any incoming governor — let alone one who can only promise potential replacements some 15 months of employment. And it’s all but guaranteed that the various investigations into Cuomo will drag on for months or even years.”

ABC News: Cuomo accusers react to governor’s resignation.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo advised his older brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), to resign, the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: How Cuomo’s flexing of political power became his undoing.

“I was a little taken aback that he said his resignation is effective in 14 days — and it may be overly cynical on my part — but I believe that Andrew Cuomo was a person of mischief.”  — Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahara, quoted by Yahoo News.

New York Times: “Behind the scenes, the governor vacillated between defiant and defeated, eventually accepting that his formidable political army had fallen away.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) gloated about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) resignation earlier today, following multiple sexual-harassment and misconduct allegations. Said de Blaiso: “Make no mistake, this is the result of survivors bravely telling their stories. It was past time for Andrew Cuomo to resign and it’s for the good of all New York.”

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is giving up the powerful job he’s dedicated most of his life to keeping within his family, but his resignation won’t end a bevy of pending investigations into him and his administration,” USA Today reports.

“No fewer than five district attorneys have made preliminary inquiries into Cuomo’s alleged sexual harassment detailed in the scathing, 165-page report last week from Attorney General Letitia James’ office that ultimately led to the governor’s announcement Tuesday that he will resign in two weeks.”

Associated Press: “As New York’s lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul has spent years on the road as the friendly face of the administration, visiting the far-flung coffee shops and factory floors of each of the state’s 62 counties for countless ribbon-cutting ceremonies and civic cheerleading events.”

“A centrist Democrat from western New York, she has worked deep in Cuomo’s shadow for her two terms in office, but last week joined the chorus of politicians denouncing the governor after an independent investigation concluded he had sexually harassed 11 women while in office.”

“At 62, Hochul is an experienced politician, a veteran of 11 campaigns that have taken her from town board to Congress, the latter representing a conservative western New York district after a surprising 2011 win in a special election to fill a vacancy in the U.S. House.”

Washington Examiner: “Reps. Ilhan Omar and Eric Swalwell top the list of Democratic members Republicans want to see removed from their committees if the GOP takes back the House in November 2022.”

“The Democratic majority took the unprecedented step of removing a member of the minority party from committee posts. They did this after Republicans refused to strip Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia of her assignments on the Education and Labor and Budget committees over provocative and threatening comments she made on social media prior to her time as a congressional lawmaker.”

“Census Bureau statisticians and outside experts are trying to unravel a mystery: Why were so many questions about households in the 2020 census left unanswered?,” the AP reports.

“Residents did not respond to a multitude of questions about sex, race, Hispanic background, family relationships and age, even when providing a count of the number of people living in the home.”

Washington Post: “For the first time in the history of the country’s census taking, the number of White people in the United States is widely expected to show a decline when the first racial breakdowns from the 2020 Census are reported this week.”

“For five years now, the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual updates of the 2010 Census have estimated that the nation’s White population is shrinking, and all population growth has been from people of color.”

Said demographer William Frey: “Twenty years ago if you told people this was going to be the case, they wouldn’t have believed you. The country is changing dramatically.”

Charlie Sykes: “Even as many Republicans rail against mask mandates and spread skepticism about vaccines, GOP leaders have settled on one place where they take the spread of Covid very seriously — the border.”

“The pivot occurred quickly. This week, one Republican leader after another rushed to blame the spread of the virus, not on the unvaccinated but on immigrants.”

Wall Street Journal: “The median net worth of households with Black college graduates in their 30s has plunged over the past three decades to less than one-tenth the net worth of their white counterparts.”

“The drop is driven by skyrocketing student debt and sluggish income growth, which combine to make it difficult to build savings or buy a home. Now, the generation that hoped to close the racial wealth gap is finding it is only growing wider.”

Punchbowl News: “Senate Budget Committee Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may not always get what he wants legislatively. Just ask him, he’ll tell you in detail.”

“But he’s had a bigger impact on Democratic policymaking over the last decade than anyone else. He may have had the biggest impact of any politician of his generation when it comes to changing the direction of his party. This budget resolution is further proof of that.”

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, called South Korea’s joint military exercises with the U.S. “an act of betrayal” and vowed to strengthen her country’s “preemptive strike capabilities.”

PolitiFact has an eye-opening look at the memes that are making the rounds on social media about vaccines and Covid-19.  Meanwhile, Vice News reports a fake website went “viral in anti-vaxxer circles” after rumors spread that a website was “offering money to people willing to snitch on their unvaccinated family, friends, and neighbors,”

“The Taliban has stunned even some seasoned military and national security officials in the U.S. government with the speed of its conquests over the past week,” Axios reports. “President Biden isn’t budging — resolved to get out by Aug. 31, no matter what — people briefed on his thinking say. He may not see much of a pause between his total withdrawal from Afghanistan and the country’s total collapse into a bloody civil war.”

Said Biden: “We spent over a trillion dollars, over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces… they’ve got to fight for themselves.” This is very reminiscent of President Kennedy’s diagnosis of the Vietnam War: “In the final analysis, it is their war, and they are the ones that are going to have win it or lose it.” Damn fucking straight. I don’t care if the Afghans fall to the Taliban. We are out.

“The Taliban captured the capital of the strategic Samangan province on Monday after a prominent pro-government commander switched sides, nearly completing their sweep of northern Afghanistan and intensifying a political crisis in Kabul,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The bloodless takeover of Aibak, which followed the seizure of four other nearby provincial capitals in the past three days, has allowed Taliban forces to unite in an assault on the biggest prize: northern Afghanistan’s main metropolis of Mazar-e-Sharif.”

“The Biden administration is preparing for Afghanistan’s capital to fall far sooner than feared only weeks ago, as a rapid disintegration of security has prompted the revision of an already stark intelligence assessment predicting Kabul could be overrun within six to 12 months of the U.S. military departing,” the Washington Post reports.

Associated Press: “A U.S. peace envoy brought a warning to the Taliban on Tuesday that any government that comes to power through force in Afghanistan won’t be recognized internationally after a series of cities fell to the insurgent group in stunningly quick succession.”

Florida is requesting hundreds of ventilators from the federal government after a surge in COVID-19 across the state, according to a Department of Health and Human Services planning document obtained by ABC News.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) told ABC News that he doubts of reports Florida requested 200 ventilators even as a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the request.  Said DeSantis: “I have not heard about that, so I have to check to see if that’s true or not. I would honestly doubt that that’s true, but I’ll look.”

CNN reports the federal government sent 200 ventilators and 100 breathing devices to Florida last week.

The Atlantic: “Seriously, why can I not fit this thing in my wallet?”

“The Biden administration won’t be turning over former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to the House until at least November, despite the recent dramatic Justice Department opinion that the IRS ‘must’ hand them over,” CNN reports.

“A federal judge will hear arguments then on whether Trump can block the tax returns’ release. The scheduling development puts on ice for the foreseeable future one of two major ongoing court cases over access to Trump’s tax returns.”

The Department of Homeland Security they have observed “an increasing but modest level of activity online” by people who are calling for violence in response to the conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated this month, ABC News reports.

“A federal judge suggested that federal prosecutors were being too lenient in their handling of cases stemming from the storming of the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were convening on Jan. 6 to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race,” Politico reports.

“Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) escalated a showdown with Democratic lawmakers who broke quorum for the third time over voting rights, signing arrest warrants Tuesday that a spokesman said would be delivered ‘for service’ Wednesday morning,” the Washington Post reports.

“The move followed approval of a House motion to send for absent members, which enabled Phelan to issue the warrants. The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday also stayed a trial court judge’s ruling that would have protected absent Democrats from arrest.”

Texas Tribune: “House Democrats who refuse to show up for the Legislature could soon be detained by law enforcement and brought back to the state Capitol, after the Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday voided a state district judge’s temporary restraining order barring their arrest.”

“One of the largest vot­ing-ma­chine com­panies in the U.S. on Tues­day sued two con­ser­v­a­tive me­dia net-works and a busi­ness­man it said had de­famed it by spread­ing ac­cu­sa­tions that it rigged the 2020 elec­tion for Pres­i­dent Biden,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Do­min­ion Vot­ing Sys­tems filed suits against News­max Me­dia Inc. and Her­ring Net­works Inc.’s One Amer­ica News Net­work. Do­min­ion also sued Patrick Byrne, the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of Over­stock­.­com Inc., an on­line seller of fur­ni­ture and other goods.”

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

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