Cup of Joe – 10/27/21

“Democrats moved Tuesday to put the final touches on a deal to invest up to $2 trillion in social programs and climate policy, as they try to cap a months long slog to pass their economic agenda,” CNBC reports.

Said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD): “Most of that has been negotiated, most of it is ready to go. And we are just waiting for the last parts of the bill to be put together. We’re hopeful that that will be done in the next few hours, frankly.”

New York Times: “Negotiators were closing in on an agreement that could spend around $1.75 trillion over 10 years, half the size of the blueprint Democrats approved earlier this year, as they haggled with centrist holdouts in their party who are pressing to curtail the size of the bill…”

“But a final deal remained elusive amid disputes over the details of potential Medicare and Medicaid expansions, a new paid family and medical leave program, programs to combat climate change and a proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Top Democrats were also toiling to nudge the price tag up to $2 trillion, still far below the $3.5 trillion level they laid out in their budget plan.”

Punchbowl News: “Pelosi and her team are still telling House Democrats there could be a vote on both the reconciliation package and bipartisan infrastructure bill this week. Yes, you read that right. We don’t quite understand how the leadership can pull this off — nor do we expect them to — but it’s fascinating that their private posture matches their public statements.”

“President Joe Biden might be finally homing in on a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the elusive moderate. But a sense of discontent is starting to bubble up among progressives on the Hill, and it threatens to impede what the White House hoped would be a big week for the Biden agenda,” Politico reports.

“As the reconciliation bill’s provisions on Medicare, climate and family leave get watered down — if not axed entirely — progressives who initially sounded a positive note after meetings at the White House are now expressing concerns. And those worries are steering the left into a moment of reckoning over how hard to fight for their priorities.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has gone quiet.

“Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said on Tuesday that a deal on President Biden’s spending bill must expand Medicare and include a plan to lower the cost of prescription drugs,” The Hill reports.

Said Sanders: “Bottom line is that any reconciliation bill must include serious negotiations on the part of Medicare with the pharmaceutical industry, lower the cost of prescription drugs. That’s what the American people want.”

Politico: Sanders take a hard line against Manchin and Sinema.

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) shut down one of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) biggest priorities, expanding Medicare, which Manchin warned would undermine the solvency of the broader program,” The Hill reports.

Playbook: “The reconciliation bill is gradually shifting from a Sanders product that encapsulates the policy thinking of the modern progressive movement to a much more business-friendly and targeted package of programs reminiscent of 1990s Clintonism.”

“So far, Bernie and his allies seem OK with all of this — or at least quiet. But as the Democrats prepare to unveil the final agreement, we would be surprised if there isn’t one more rebellion from the left to protest how much progressives have lost in the sausage-making so far.”

“Manchin sharply criticized a proposal to force banks to report more account information to the IRS, making it much more likely that Democrats will have to drop a plan that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars for their social spending bill,” Politico reports. Said Manchin: “Do you understand how messed up that is? This cannot happen. It’s screwed up. I think that one’s going to be gone.”

Manchin is quoted by Playbook at a dinner party last night: “I have a hard time, and I’m totally out of sync with 48 other Democrats. I’m so, totally out of sync… I’m just trying to survive in a very, very, very divided Congress and a very divided country. And I don’t know how this is gonna work out, guys.” He added: “I really don’t. I can’t tell you what’s going to be the end result. I think we’ll get something. I really do.”

“The Senate needs to start saying yes or no on issues and stop fucking talking.”  — Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), quoted by Politico.

“One of the things that’s actually been pretty revealing to me is that the only people who have been drawing red lines in this process have been the people who have never been in a governing majority before.”  — Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), quoted on the Beyond Politics podcast, specifically calling out Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) by name.

Associated Press: “Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus whose support will be crucial for both bills, said lawmakers want more than just a framework for Biden’s plan before they give their votes for the smaller infrastructure package.”

Said Jayapal: “We want the whole bill. We want to vote on both bills at the same time.”

Playbook: “There’s been some talk by leadership of having an infrastructure vote this week if a BBB framework comes together in time. But don’t expect progressives to just roll over and accept that: They’re already indicating that a mere agreement is insufficient.”

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who is currently the richest man in the world, ripped the Democratic proposal for an annual tax on billionaires’ investment gains saying: “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”

Musk’s net worth jumped $36 billion on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

Washington Post: “It’s not exactly what Warren offered on the campaign trail, but as negotiations over President Biden’s legislative agenda have led to a potential revenue shortfall, Democratic leaders are taking another look at a wealth tax. They are weighing a levy targeted at the country’s billionaires — a concept similar to the one popularized by candidate Warren.”

“Her allies are relishing the moment and finding some degree of irony in the notion that the idea resembling the centerpiece of her platform might help seal the legislative legacy of her onetime rival Joe Biden.”

Facebook has for years struggled to crack down on content related to what it calls domestic servitude: “a form of trafficking of people for the purpose of working inside private homes through the use of force, fraud, coercion or deception,” CNN reports.

“Five years ago, Facebook gave its users five new ways to react to a post in their news feed beyond the iconic ‘like’ thumbs-up: ‘love,’ ‘haha,’ ‘wow,’ ‘sad’ and ‘angry,’” the Washington Post reports.

“Behind the scenes, Facebook programmed the algorithm that decides what people see in their news feeds to use the reaction emoji as signals to push more emotional and provocative content — including content likely to make them angry. Starting in 2017, Facebook’s ranking algorithm treated emoji reactions as five times more valuable than ‘likes,’ internal documents reveal. The theory was simple: Posts that prompted lots of reaction emoji tended to keep users more engaged, and keeping users engaged was the key to Facebook’s business.”

“The company’s data scientists confirmed in 2019 that posts that sparked angry reaction emoji were disproportionately likely to include misinformation, toxicity and low-quality news.”

It’s just indisputable at this point that Facebook has caused considerable harm to our society.

Brian Stelter: “Last week the number of American news outlets with access to internal Facebook documents supplied to the SEC by Frances Haugen stood at 17. Those outlets — from CNN to NYT, Wired to Politico — agreed to a Monday morning embargo, which is why more than 50 stories all came out on the same day.”

“There are many more stories in the works – and there are more newsrooms joining the consortium.”

Associated Press: “Each member of the consortium pursued its own independent reporting on the document contents and their significance.”

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law a bill banning transgender girls from participating in female sports at public schools, joining a wave of similar measures emerging from Republican-controlled statehouses across the country,” Reuters reports.

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump’s claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN reports.

“At least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol,” CNN reports.

A man charged in the attack on a police officer amid the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, called his conduct “unequivocally an aberration” and that he was “consumed by the mob mentality,” the Buffalo News reports.

Said Thomas Sibick: “January 6th was a disgrace to our nation that left a scar Trump is ultimately responsible for, but we are strong and will heal from it. While many praise Trump I loathe him.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told Real America’s Voice the Capitol riots on January 6 seeking to overturn the election are what America was founded upon.

Said Greene: “If you think about what our Declaration of Independence says, it says to overthrow tyrants.”

She added: “So there’s a clear difference between January 6th and the Marxist-communist revolution that antifa, BLM, Democrat ground troops waged on the American people in 2020.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) denied he had any role in planning the rally before the Capitol riots on January 6, but said he would be “proud” if his staff was involved, reports.

Said Brooks: “Quite frankly, I’d be proud of them if they did help organize a First Amendment rally to protest voter fraud and election theft.”

“Greenhouse gas levels reached a record high in 2020 despite much of the world spending at least part of the year under lockdown or working from home, a United Nations agency announced Monday,” Rolling Stone reports.

“The last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere, humans did not exist.”

“As former President Donald Trump maintains his grip on the Republican Party and further spreads conspiracies about the 2020 election, some Democrats and progressive activists are urging President Joe Biden to speak out more forcefully against his predecessor,” McClatchy reports.

“During his first nine months in office, Biden has largely avoided attacking Trump by name, even as he has broadly criticized those sowing doubt about the electoral process and pushed for measures to safeguard voting rights.”

“Some Democrats agree with Biden’s posture, arguing that he should not provide oxygen to Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud when he is no longer in power. But others in the party say Biden should be more focused on combating efforts they see as undermining democracy, especially as Trump ramps up his political activity ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections.”

“Three months after Gov. Gavin Newsom required state workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing, his pledge that California government would lead by example has not been fulfilled: Many public agencies face low vaccination rates, and most state-run workplaces have failed to test unvaccinated employees,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey stepped back on Monday from a threat to expel 10 Western ambassadors, averting a diplomatic storm that analysts and diplomats were warning would bring economic disaster upon Turkey and a lasting rupture in the NATO alliance,” the New York Times reports.

“In what seemed to be a calculated move, the 10 embassies involved issued identical statements confirming their compliance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, statements which were then welcomed by Mr. Erdogan.”

“Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has escalated a crackdown on people he and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, deemed a threat to their continued rule of 14 years and counting,” Politico reports.

“By mid-August, Ortega and Murillo had detained at least seven potential presidential rivals and barred the genuine opposition parties from participating in the Nov. 7 presidential election — effectively wiping away any real competition. They’ve also detained or otherwise threatened dozens more human rights activists, business leaders, students, journalists and others in the Central American country of 6.5 million.”

“The repression is among the most intense a Western Hemisphere country has experienced in decades… they appear to be taking things to a new level, imposing a police state with the goal of bringing about dynastic rule to the country.”

The Idaho House will vote on whether to censure Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R) “over her actions when a legislative intern accused a former legislator of sexual assault,” the Idaho Statesman reports. “The ethics complaint, supported by 25 House members, alleged that Giddings defamed a 19-year-old who accused a former House Republican of sexual assault by sharing an article from a far-right website that identified her. It also said she misrepresented her actions to the ethics committee while under oath.”

Tennessee state Sen. Brian Kelsey (R) has been indicted in a campaign finance conspiracy, the Tennessean reports. He is charged with conspiring to illegally transfer “soft money” — contributions that are made to political parties and political action committees — from his state campaign committee to his federal campaign committee.

Kansas state Sen. Gene Suellentrop (R) “will spend two days in jail for a wild wrong-way drunken ride down Interstate 70 in Topeka this spring after pleading no contest Monday to driving under the influence and reckless driving,” the Kansas City Star reports.

“He would have been forced to leave office if found guilty of a felony. By pleading no contest to the misdemeanor charges, Suellentrop neither admitted nor disputed the charges against him.”

When Suellentrop was arrested in March, he called the police officer “donut boy.”

Utah state Rep. Travis Seegmiller (R) “has been charged with three misdemeanors related to an incident in August involving the shooting of a deer in a residential area,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“When confronted, Seegmiller identified himself and said he was out of work and needed the meat to feed his family.”

Washington Post: “Democrats are scrambling intensely behind-the-scenes to address immigration in the framework they are crafting to expand the nation’s social safety net, according to people with knowledge of the situation, even as President Biden and other party leaders have said little publicly about their strategy in recent weeks.”

“The most pressing question confronting Democrats is what to do about millions of undocumented immigrants seeking a path to legalization. One option under discussion is a plan to provide protected status that stops short of a path to citizenship. Another, which is seen by some of the people with knowledge of the situation as something of a placeholder, is to include a proposal that would enable immigrants who arrived in the United States before 2010 to apply for a green card.”

Washington Post: “John Kerry has repeatedly pushed for direct diplomacy between Biden and Xi, believing that an improved bilateral relationship can produce better outcomes in Scotland. White House aides, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, are more skeptical that the United States alone can coax China into reducing emissions.”

“Just as Washington would be averse to overhauling its energy policies on the basis of foreign pressure, so too would Beijing.”

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

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