New York Times: “Even in normal times, the days around Thanksgiving are a delicate period for the airlines. But this week is the industry’s biggest test since the pandemic began, as millions more Americans — emboldened by vaccinations and reluctant to spend another holiday alone — are expected to take to the skies than during last year’s holidays.”
“A lot is riding on the carriers’ ability to pull it off smoothly…”
“The Transportation Security Administration said it expected to screen about 20 million passengers at airports in the 10 days that began Friday, a figure approaching prepandemic levels. Two million passed through checkpoints on Saturday alone, about twice as many as on the Saturday before last Thanksgiving.”
“The Jan. 6 select committee on Tuesday subpoenaed the leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, extremist groups that responded to Donald Trump’s call to descend on Washington and played central roles in the attack on the Capitol,” Politico reports.
“The House select committee investigating the January 6 riot issued a new round of subpoenas on Monday to five of former President Donald Trump’s allies directly involved in planning ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies, including longtime Republican operative Roger Stone and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones,” CNN reports.
NPR: “Veteran figures on Fox’s news side, including political anchors Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, shared their objections with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its president of news, Jay Wallace. Those objections rose to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the network’s parent company, Fox Corporation.”
“A federal judge took aim at former President Donald Trump on Monday for lying about voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, saying that former Vice President Al Gore had a better standing to challenge the 2000 election results but that he was ‘a man’ and walked away,” CNN reports.
Said Senior District Judge Reggie Walton: “Al Gore had a better case to argue than Mr. Trump, but he was a man about what happened to him. He accepted it and walked away.”
A report by the New York State Assembly found “overwhelming evidence” that former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) engaged in sexual harassment and used state workers and resources for his memoir, the Washington Post reports.
The report also faulted his administration for undercounting the deaths at nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
The US has been added to an annual list of “backsliding” democracies for the first time, the International IDEA thinktank has said, pointing to a “visible deterioration” it said began in 2019, The Guardian reports.
“The Republican National Committee is paying some personal legal bills for former president Donald Trump, spending party funds to pay a lawyer representing Trump in investigations into his financial practices in New York,” the Washington Post reports.
“There has been no indication that either investigation involves Trump’s time as president, or any of his political campaigns.”
Punchbowl News: “We are 350 days from Election Day 2022, and House Republicans are heavily favored to win the majority. And let’s be completely clear about something: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is heavily favored to be the next speaker. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or it’s a certainty. It’ll be a big challenge for the man who dropped out of a speakership race just six years ago.”
“But think back: Has any minority leader led their party to the majority and then not become speaker? The answer is no, not in the last century (and please don’t say Bob Michel, he was retiring.) If Republicans win the majority in November 2022, it will be the second cycle in a row in which McCarthy has won seats. He’s a beast of a fundraiser — it’s his life — and that’s tough to top. He picked up lots of chits there.”
“Still, McCarthy needs to get the majority of the House Republican Conference and then 218 votes on the floor — or a majority of whomever is present and voting — to become speaker if the GOP wins.”
In an interview with Julie Mason, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) brushed off the idea that former President Trump could become the next House Speaker if the GOP takes control of the chamber next year.
Said Christie: “I just don’t think that’ll ultimately happen… I think that’s one of the things that the media likes to write about.”
He added: “It’s like a brokered convention. Every four years the media loves to write about a brokered convention, and it never happens.”
David Ignatius: “After a rocky few months in which President Biden sometimes seemed captive of the progressive wing of his own party, he took a solid step back toward the center Monday in renominating Jerome H. Powell as Federal Reserve chair…”
“Biden’s standing with the public won’t be affected much, one way or another, by who runs the Federal Reserve. But this week he seemed to recover a bit of authority to do what makes sense for the country, regardless of bickering on the left and right.”
Ben White: “In the end, Biden did what many close to him expected: He took a longer-than-anticipated amount of time to arrive at a reasonable, moderate decision that thrilled few but carried limited risk.”
Politico: “The Biden administration is expected to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves in coordination with other nations in the coming days in a bid to tamp down the recent increase in gasoline prices.”
David Leonhardt: “For most people, the vaccines remain remarkably effective at turning Covid into a manageable illness that’s less dangerous than some everyday activities.”
“The main dividing line is age. In Minnesota, which publishes detailed Covid data, the death rate for fully vaccinated people under 50 during the Delta surge this year was 0.0 per 100,000 — meaning, so few people died that the rate rounds to zero.”
“Washington State is another place that publishes statistics by age and vaccination status. In its most recent report, Washington did not even include a death rate for fully vaccinated residents under 65. It was too low to be meaningful.”
“Hospitalization rates are also very low for vaccinated people under 65. In Minnesota during the Delta surge, the average weekly hospitalization rate for vaccinated residents between 18 and 49 was about 1 per 100,000.”
“The latest U.S. Covid-19 wave is taking its toll on some states’ intensive-care units, with several parts of the country seeing outbreaks that are as bad as ever,” Bloomberg reports.
“In 15 states, patients with confirmed or suspected Covid are taking up more ICU beds than a year earlier… Colorado, Minnesota and Michigan have 41%, 37% and 34% of ICU beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, respectively, the data show.”
“President Macron denounced his detractors as demagogues as he teed up his re-election campaign with a claim that he needed more time to complete the transformation of France,” the Times of London reports.
“With far-right extremists like Eric Zemmour, 63, the anti-Islam pundit, and Marine Le Pen, 53, the leader of the National Rally, setting their agendas around immigration and crime, Macron painted himself as a pragmatic, common-sense centrist bent on unifying a fractured nation. Polls suggest Macron is in a strong position, comfortably ahead of Zemmour and Le Pen, his closest rivals, in both the first and second rounds of the election.”
“Sweden’s populist anti-immigration party is talking openly about ways to join or support a potential conservative government and end a decade of political ostracism,” the Financial Times reports.
“MyPillow chief and 2020 dead-ender Mike Lindell has long promised that he would file an election-fraud complaint with the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning,” the Daily Beast reports. “But now he claims to have missed that goal because he was silenced by Republican National Committee Chairperson Ronna McDaniel.”
German health minister Jens Spahn warned that by the end of this winter “just about everyone in Germany will probably be either vaccinated, recovered or dead,” the New York Times reports.
Said Spahn: “Immunity will be reached. The question is whether it’s via vaccination or infection, and we explicitly recommend the path via vaccination.”
Jonathan Chait: “‘Never Trump’ was a label embraced by a handful of Republicans who deemed Donald Trump disqualified for office by some combination of his ignorance, his mendacity, his bigotry, and/or his authoritarianism. Almost no one still affiliated with the party or the conservative movement willingly uses the label any more. The label has largely been repurposed by Trump himself as an epithet against any Republican who dares utter criticism of him, however mild. “Never Trump” now serves essentially the same role in right-wing discourse as ‘Trotskyite’ did in Stalin’s Russia — an all-purpose accusation of secret disloyalties, which must be fervently disavowed.”
“In place of Never Trumpism, the Biden-era Republican party offers up figures like Chris Christie. Christie has put himself forward as the face of Republican resistance to Trump. But it is a form of ‘resistance’ so tepid as to become almost indistinguishable from support.”
“The U.S. government asked a federal appeals court to immediately lift a court-ordered stay on a sweeping workplace Covid-19 vaccine rule to avoid ‘enormous’ harm to public health, or alternatively to allow a masking-and-testing requirement,” Reuters reports.
The Joint Committee on Taxation corrected a report that had suggested the Build Back Better Act would give millionaires a net tax cut in 2022. In fact, millionaires’ average tax rate goes up by 3.2 percentage points in 2022 and by more in later years. This is a massive screw up that led to weeks of attacks on the legislation.