Cup of Joe – 10/9/21

An attorney for former president Donald Trump instructed former advisers, including Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino and Stephen Bannon, not to comply with congressional investigators who requested documents by Thursday at midnight, the Washington Post reports.

This is a crime. Obstruction of Justice, to be precise. Donald Trump is not President and he does not enjoy any Executive Privileges, so he cannot give such an order. These witnesses are subject to the criminal justice system, so their noncompliance exposes them to criminal contempt and jail until they comply. And Trump should be indicted and arrested.

Steve Bannon rebuffed a congressional subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, citing Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege. It’s curious since Bannon was not working for the executive branch then. And again, even if he did, Trump can’t assert Executive Privilege since he is no longer President.

“The special committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued three more subpoenas Thursday, turning its focus to organizers of the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that led into the mob violence,” the New York Times reports.

“I’m the only one in this race for U.S. Senate saying we should abolish the Jan. 6 commission and replace it with a Nov. 3 commission to really investigate what happened when the Democrats stole the election.”  — Ohio U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel (R), speaking to a reporter.

Former President Donald Trump, who famously described Haiti as a “shithole” country while in office, told Fox News that many Haitians crossing the U.S. border “probably have AIDS” and letting them in “like a death wish.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told the AP that she has “pushed Biden to hold the line and keep his ambitious social spending plan closer to $3 trillion instead of the $2 trillion range that he has floated to Democrats in recent days.”

“Democrats will likely drop hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed tax increases on the rich as they scramble to shrink the size of their ‘reconciliation’ package,” Politico reports.

“That’s good news for moderates who are less enthusiastic about raising rates. But it’s potentially terrible news for progressives hoping to stick it to the rich. Many see this as their best chance in years to push through major changes in how wealthy people are taxed — such as a proposal to begin taxing, for the first time, billionaires’ unrealized capital gains.”

Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) writes in the Portland Press Herald that he doesn’t support the budget reconciliation bill yet:

“I strongly support the bipartisan infrastructure bill and think the House should pass and send it to the president immediately. As for the separate $3.5 trillion draft reconciliation proposal in the House, while there are many worthy policies under consideration, I cannot support it in its current form, nor does it currently have the votes to pass in Congress. While those may be difficult realities for some to acknowledge, there is a silver lining: There is still time for us to get it right.”

CNN: “Rep. Ro Khanna had a suggestion for President Biden on a private conference call earlier this week: Have Sens. Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders sit in the same room and try to cut a deal on the Democratic Party’s massive social safety net expansion. Because once they do, the California Democrat suggested, it would almost certainly satisfy the moderate and liberal wings of the Democratic caucus, which have been battling over the size, scope and details of the plan for months.”

“But Biden, according to multiple sources in the virtual meeting, told the progressive House Democrats that he’s been in politics a long time — and getting them together in the same room would almost be like ‘homicide.’ The group laughed, as Biden then made a joke about getting into the boxing ring with Khanna himself.”

When asked about sitting down with Manchin, Sanders said: “This is not a movie.”

“Right now things in Washington, as you all know, are awfully noisy. Turn on the news and every conversation is a confrontation. Every disagreement is a crisis. But when you take a step back and look at what’s happening, we’re actually making real progress.”  — President Biden, quoted by Politico.

“Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) withheld support for a joint statement condemning last weekend’s protests against Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) because it also wouldn’t include a rebuke of her political views,” Axios reports.

Charlie Sykes: “There are two possibilities here: Bernie is playing some form of ideological four-dimensional chess; or the cranky old guy can’t count to 50 — as in the 50 votes he will need to get anything at all from the reconciliation bill. (There’s a third possibility, but let’s pass over that in the spirit of charity.)”

“In any case, it’s a bold move to piss off one of the swing votes that he absolutely, positively will need someday.”

Um, why was there even a statement of condemnation? Sinema was not attacked. She refuses to hear from constituents, from not keeping state offices open to not holding town halls and not accepting constituent calls. When a public official does that, they deserve to be followed into the bathroom an heckled on a plane.

“The leaders of the Senate were happy Thursday with their deal to avoid a debt default. They were about the only ones,” Axios reports.  “The Band-Aid does nothing to solve the debt ceiling problem long term for Americans. Democrats fear it only kicks the can down the road to a very busy December. Republicans, meanwhile, are mad their party blinked.”

Punchbowl News: “McConnell and the GOP leadership struggled all afternoon [on Thursday] to round up the 10 votes they need to end a Republican filibuster of the debt-limit legislation, which extends the Treasury Department’s borrowing authority until Dec. 3.”

“This is very un-McConnell like. The deal McConnell cut with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer guaranteed that he could provide the votes to break a filibuster or, alternatively, convince his colleagues to allow Democrats to lift the cap with 50 votes. Despite an afternoon of whipping by the leadership, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) still insisted on 60 votes, therefore forcing Republican leadership to find 10 GOP lawmakers to vote for cloture.”

“McConnell doesn’t typically enter into a pact like this with the other party without having his votes locked down. It looks like McConnell will get there in the end, but it ain’t been easy.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post quotes former President Trump: “Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again. He’s got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it’s time to play the hand. Don’t let them destroy our Country!”

Punchbowl News: “There was some last-minute drama, as well. Schumer went to the floor and harshly criticized Republicans for provoking the crisis. Schumer won this round of his never-ending battle with McConnell, and he made sure everyone knew it. But Republicans — and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) — didn’t like the tone of Schumer’s remarks. Senate Minority Whip John Thune complained personally to Schumer on the floor, while Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) complained to reporters.”

“Manchin told Schumer the speech was ‘fucking stupid,’ according to four sources. Then Manchin complained to reporters too. The incident doesn’t really signify anything, except to show how tense everyone is in the Senate these days. And it’s only going to get worse.”

Washington Post: “The attacks reflect McConnell’s contradictory, difficult role in the Republican Party. He is its top elected leader, running its Senate wing and leading the charge against the Democratic agenda. Yet he is openly reviled by the former Republican president, who is also the party’s most influential figure, with millions of followers, and its potential 2024 presidential nominee.”

“The renewed barrage by Trump and his allies is part of a bid by the former president to turn Republicans against the senator from Kentucky and oust him as the party’s leader in the Senate. And it marks the latest effort by Trump to retaliate against his critics, since McConnell said after the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that Trump was ‘practically and morally responsible.’”

“U.S. job growth fell to the slowest pace of the year in September, as the Delta variant and a persistent shortage of workers restrained the ability of companies to hire,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The economy added 194,000 jobs in September, the smallest gain since December 2020 and down from the upwardly revised 366,000 jobs added in August, the Labor Department said Friday. The jobless rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2% a month earlier. The rate fell largely because many workers exited the labor force.”

Washington Post: “September was supposed to be a big month for the labor market, with widespread coronavirus vaccinations, falling caseloads and the return of normal functions like in-person schooling allowing the economy to rev back up. The country is still about 5 million jobs below where it was before the pandemic, and needs to gain back an even bigger number to stage a full recovery.”

Derek Thompson: “This is the economy now. One-hour errands are now multi-hour odysseys. Next-day deliveries are becoming day-after-next deliveries. That car part you need? It’ll take an extra week, sorry. The book you were looking for? Come back in November. The baby crib you bought? Make it December. Eyeing a new home-improvement job that requires several construction workers? Haha, pray for 2022.”

“The U.S. economy isn’t yet experiencing a downturn akin to the 1970s period of stagflation. This is something different, and quite strange. Americans are settling into a new phase of the pandemic economy, in which GDP is growing but we’re also suffering from a dearth of a shocking array of things—test kits, car parts, semiconductors, ships, shipping containers, workers. This is the Everything Shortage.”

“Former President Donald Trump racked up more than $70 million in losses over a four-year period from his Washington, DC, hotel, while publicly claiming that the hotel was making more than tens of millions of dollars, according to documents released by the House Oversight Committee,” CNN reports.

“It’s the first time that congressional investigators have reviewed and released details of the former president’s financial information.”

Troy Bray, a Republican official in Wyoming, told state Sen. Tara Nethercott (R) in an email on vaccine mandates that if he was as “despicable a person as you, I would kill myself,” the Casper Star Tribune reports.  He added: “You sicken me. Thank you for ensuring that the people of Wyoming are subjected to tyranny once again. Fuck you cunt.”  Bray signed the email using his official title.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told Lucy Koh, a Korean American judicial nominee, that her Korean background reminds him of his daughter-in-law telling him that Koreans have “a hard work ethic” and “can make a lot out of nothing,” the HuffPost reports.   Said Grassley: “So I congratulate you and your people.”

Wall Street Journal: “Thawing earth once thought to be permanently frozen is springing to life and threatening a crucial chunk of Russia’s economy. The melting of the thick layer of the earth known as permafrost is a result of climate change, according to scientists and Russia government research. Two-thirds of the country sits on such soil, including much of its oil and gas infrastructure.”

Related from Green That Life: Should we be following Iceland’s sustainability model?

The Pentagon says that climate change “poses a serious threat to U.S. military operations and will lead to new sources of global political conflict,” CNBC reports.

“Water shortages could become a primary source of friction or conflict between U.S. military overseas and the countries where troops are based, the Department warned. It also expects that political efforts to mitigate food and water shortages will result in more frequent physical and cyber terrorist attacks from unknown third parties.”

Ten months after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, two Illinois women have been charged for their alleged participation in the day’s events, the Springfield News-Leader reports.   The FBI was able to identify the two women on security footage inside the Capitol building and then used cellphone location data to further verify they were inside the building at the time of the riot.  One of them also wrote on Facebook: “We storm Pelosi’s office and took her beer. She drinks Corona.”

“Police in Rio de Janeiro said on Wednesday they had found a haul of Nazi memorabilia and weapons worth an estimated 3 million euros at the home of a Brazilian man suspected of raping a minor,” Reuters reports.   Said the lead detective: “He is a smart guy and articulate, but he’s a Holocaust denier, he’s homophobic, he’s a pedophile and he says he hunts homosexuals. I’m no doctor, but he seems to me an insane psychopath.”

“Antisemitic graffiti has been found spray-painted on nine wooden barracks at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz,” CBS News reports.  The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum called the inscriptions “an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed two laws banning the use of toxic “forever chemicals” in children’s products and disposable food packaging, as well as a package of bills to overhaul the state’s recycling operations, The Hill reports.

“California became the first state to make stealthing, the act of removing a condom without consent during intercourse, illegal after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Thursday,” the New York Times reports.

“The bill amends the state’s civil definition of sexual battery, making stealthing a civil offense and giving victims the grounds to sue their assailants for damages.”

“A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there, part of efforts to shore up the island’s defenses as concern regarding potential Chinese aggression mounts,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

China told the U.S. to cut off military ties in Taiwan “in a cautious response to reports that U.S. Marines have been stationed on the self-ruled island for more than a year to strengthen its defenses against intensifying Chinese aggression,” the Washington Post reports.

“President Biden signed legislation Friday to provide financial aid to U.S. government personnel believed to be suffering from ‘Havana Syndrome,’ the mysterious illness that began afflicting diplomats and intelligence officers in Cuba’s capital in 2016,” the Washington Post reports.

“An effort to enact the biggest overhaul to the international tax system in a century gained further momentum on Friday when Hungary, one of the remaining holdouts in a group of more than 130 nations, said it would agree to adopt a 15 percent global minimum tax rate,” the New York Times reports.

“A deal, which is expected to be announced later Friday, would represent the culmination of years of fraught negotiations that were revived this year after President Biden took office and renewed America’s commitment to multilateralism.”

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

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