Cup of Joe – 12/15/21

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has signaled anew that he’s still not ready to back his party’s $2 trillion social and environment legislation, then talked to President Joe Biden as party leaders scrambled for a pathway to advance the long-stalled package — preferably by Christmas,” the AP reports.

“The West Virginia lawmaker declined to describe his telephone conversation with the president Monday, saying he and Biden are ‘talking about different iterations’ and saying ‘anything’s possible’ when asked if they could reach a deal by the holiday.”

“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is telling colleagues the expanded child tax credit is both the most underpriced item — and biggest inflation-driver — in President Biden’s $1.75 trillion Build Back Better plan,” Axios reports.

“While Manchin’s concern over the CTC could trigger elimination of a program Democrats believe is crucial to address child poverty, it’s also an indication he’s engaging with the White House about how to reduce the plan’s price tag to a level he can support.”

Said Manchin to CNN: “Whatever Congress is considering, we should do it within the limits of what we can afford.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), chair of the Finance Committee, told Politico there are more than 20 issues about President Biden’s social spending bill that are currently playing out before the Senate parliamentarian.

That means it isn’t just Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) standing in the way of getting the bill done before Dems’ ideal Christmas deadline.

Wholesale prices increased at their quickest pace on record in November — up 9.6% from a year ago — in the latest sign that the inflation pressures bedeviling the economy are still present, CNBC reports.

FiveThirtyEight: “It’s no secret that inflation is politically powerful. You can’t miss rising prices, and research has found that Americans care deeply about inflation. But the politics of handling it is messy, and should prices continue to rise, Biden has a difficult task. He faces a country that views inflation through a highly partisan lens — and that will judge his performance on the issue accordingly. If he ignores inflation, it could spiral as it did with Carter. But at the same time, should Biden react too forcefully, the cure could be worse than the disease.”

A new Monmouth poll finds about 4 in 10 Americans report experiencing a higher than usual level of supply chain problems this holiday season and many have pared down their shopping lists due to rising prices.

In addition, four in ten Americans have cut back on their holiday shopping lists this year because of high prices – 19% have cut back a lot and 21% a little, while nearly half (48%) say they are purchasing the same amount of gifts as usual. Another 10% say they don’t shop for the holidays or wait until later.

“The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Monday night voted unanimously to hold Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, in criminal contempt for defying a subpoena,” the Washington Post reports.

The House Jan. 6 select committee on Monday night unveiled some truly damning texts flying between former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Trump’s loyal soldiers at Fox News and Don Trump Jr. during the Capitol insurrection.

The texts were read aloud by committee vice chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) before the panel voted to recommend that Meadows be charged with criminal contempt of Congress.

  • Fox hosts Laura Ingraham, Brian Kilmeade and Sean Hannity texted Meadows on Jan. 6 to plead for Trump to do something to stop the violence unfolding at the Capitol, according to texts Meadows had turned over to the committee.
  • Don Jr.’s hair was on fire: “He’s got to condemn this shit ASAP. The Capitol Police tweet is not enough,” the president’s son wrote, adding in another text that Trump needed to give an Oval Office address because the riots had “gone too far.”
  • Kilmeade fretted that Trump was “destroying everything you have accomplished.” “Please get him on TV,” he texted Meadows.
  • Hannity asked if the then-president could “make a statement” and urge his supporters to leave.
  • Ingraham told Meadows that Trump needed to tell the insurrectionists to go home because “[t]his is hurting all of us” and “He is destroying his legacy.”

Here’s Ingram on Jan. 6 blaming antifa for the insurrection:

But it was more than just dramatic television. The text messages substantiated what Trump knew about the riot and when he knew it. And although Meadows replied he was doing what he could to get Trump to make a statement, we know Meadows failed to convince him.

As Cheney stated: “When action by our president was required, essential and indeed compelled by his oath to our Constitution, Mr. Meadows received numerous text messages, which he has produced without any privilege claim, imploring Mr. Trump to take specific actions we all knew his duty required. These text messages leave no doubt the White House knew exactly what was happening here at the Capitol.” 

The full House could vote as soon as today on a contempt resolution against Meadows. The Department of Justice would then decide whether to proceed. Before last night, it seemed Meadows might have a decent case for claiming executive privilege. After all, he was chief of staff to the former president.

But the text messages Cheney read last night came from Meadows voluntarily before he abruptly decided to stop cooperating with the Select Committee. His privilege claims have all but evaporated.

Daniel Goldman: “Meadows was clearly on his way to full cooperation by turning over loads of documents. But then something happened before testimony. One new fact: the Committee subpoenaed his cellphone metadata, which would show the date and time of his calls. He stopped cooperating. What’s in those phone records?”

“Dustin Stockton, a conservative activist who helped promote rallies leading up to Jan. 6, and Keith Kellogg, who served as the national security adviser to former Vice President Mike Pence, arrived for interviews with the select panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection Tuesday morning,” Politico reports.

“Omicron appears to cause less severe illness than earlier variants of the coronavirus but is more resistant to the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine widely used in South Africa, according to the first major private study since omicron was first detected last month,” the Washington Post reports.

New York Times: Omicron is a dress rehearsal for the next pandemic.

The New York Times’ new analysis of COVID-19 deaths paints a grim picture of where the country’s at with the pandemic.

  • One in 100 of Americans 65 or older has died from the coronavirus.
  • 75 percent of Americans who’ve passed from the virus have been 65 or older.
  • The overall death toll in the U.S. is at almost 800,000.

“Top federal health officials warned in a briefing Tuesday morning that the omicron variant is rapidly spreading in the United States and could peak in a massive wave of infections as soon as January,” the Washington Post reports.

“The briefing detailed two scenarios for how the omicron variant may spread through this country. The worst case scenario has spooked top health officials, who fear a fresh wave, layered on top of delta and influenza cases in what one described as ‘a triple whammy,’ could overwhelm health systems and devastate communities, particularly those with low vaccination rates.”

“Officials stress that early data shows individuals who are fully vaccinated and received a booster shot remain largely protected against severe illness and death from omicron. But they worry about how few Americans have been boosted to date.”

“Preliminary laboratory tests gave encouraging signs that Pfizer’s experimental Covid-19 pill for the newly infected could work against Omicron,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Pfizer also said Tuesday that a final analysis of late-stage study results confirmed the drug, named Paxlovid, was 89% effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in adults at high risk of severe Covid-19.”

Matthew Walther: “I don’t know how to put this in a way that will not make me sound flippant: No one cares. Literally speaking, I know that isn’t true, because if it were, the articles wouldn’t be commissioned. But outside the world inhabited by the professional and managerial classes in a handful of major metropolitan areas, many, if not most, Americans are leading their lives as if Covid is over, and they have been for a long while.”

“In my part of rural southwest Michigan, and in similar communities throughout the country, this is true not despite but without any noticeable regard for cases; hospitalization statistics, which are always high this time of year without attracting much notice; or death reports. I don’t mean to deny Covid’s continuing presence…. What I wish to convey is that the virus simply does not factor into my calculations or those of my neighbors, who have been forgoing masks, tests (unless work imposes them, in which case they are shrugged off as the usual BS from human resources), and other tangible markers of Covid-19’s existence for months—perhaps even longer.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to meet virtually with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, CNBC reports.

“A new book by former President Donald Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows offers a detailed account of the then-commander in chief’s infamous Bible photo-op at St. John’s Church in June 2020, during the height of the summer’s racial justice protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer,” the Religion News Service reports.

“Meadows said it was Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who came up with the idea to ‘send a message to people of faith.’”

The National Rifle Association (NRA), which is currently engulfed in legal and financial woescomplained yesterday about California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) asking the legislature to create an assault weapon ban modeled after Texas’ extreme anti-abortion ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court.

“Senate Democrats on Tuesday approved a measure to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, taking the first step toward staving off a potential default and deferring the high-stakes fiscal fight until after the 2022 election,” the Washington Post reports.

“The vote comes less than a week after lawmakers struck an unusual bipartisan deal that allows Democrats to adopt the increase, and Republicans to oppose it, without putting the country at risk of missing a critical December 15 deadline. House lawmakers are expected to follow suit Tuesday evening.”

Washington Post: “Conservative lawmakers, anticipating the GOP retaking one or both congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections, are already calling for and strategizing around a coming fiscal clash in 2023, where they insist of using the threat of federal default to place new curbs on government spending and reduce the $28 trillion national debt.”

“What they are envisioning is, at a minimum, a return to the brinkmanship seen after the last time a Democratic president confronted a new Republican majority, in 2011. It already threatens to become the dominant domestic political clash ahead of the 2024 presidential election.”

At least five workers at the candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky destroyed by a tornado on Friday allege that their supervisors warned them that they’d get fired if they left their shift early due to approaching storms.

The hundreds of athletes who were sexually assaulted by former national female gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar reached a $380 million settlement with U.S.A. Gymnastics, U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their insurers on Monday. It’s one of the biggest recorded settlements ever reached with sex abuse victims, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Insider compiles a list of the 25 wealthiest members of Congress — 13 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

Insider rated every member of Congress on their financial conflicts and transparency.

The president of California’s medical board said she was “followed and confronted” by members of a group under investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives panel for promoting dubious Covid-19 treatments, saying they flew a drone over her family’s home and “ambushed” her outside her office, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

New York Times: “Return-to-office dates used to be like talismans; the chief executives who set them seemed to wield some power over the shape of the months to come. Then the dates were postponed, and postponed again. At some point the spell was broken. For many companies, office reopening plans have lost their fear factor, coming to seem like wishful thinking rather than a sign of futures filled with alarm clocks, commutes and pants that actually button. The R.T.O. date is gone. It’s been replaced with ‘we’ll get back to you.’”

David Leonhardt: “An anti-democratic movement, inspired by Donald Trump but much larger than him, is making significant progress, as my colleague Charles Homans has reported. In the states that decide modern presidential elections, this movement has already changed some laws and ousted election officials, with the aim of overturning future results. It has justified the changes with blatantly false statements claiming that Biden did not really win the 2020 election.”

“The movement has encountered surprisingly little opposition. Most leading Republican politicians have either looked the other way or supported the anti-democratic movement. In the House, Republicans ousted Liz Cheney from a leadership position because she called out Trump’s lies.”

“The pushback within the Republican Party has been so weak that about 60 percent of Republican adults now tell pollsters that they believe the 2020 election was stolen — a view that’s simply wrong.”

Edward-Isaac Dovere: “Democratic governors are facing a messaging conundrum: they say American democracy may hinge on their elections in 2022, but they’re not sure they can get most voters to care.”

“The Biden administration admitted that a court decision did not compel it to lease vast tracts of the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling, shortly before claiming it was legally obliged to do so when announcing the sell-off,” The Guardian reports.

“The enormous sale, which took place just four days after crucial UN climate talks in Scotland, represented a spectacular about-turn from Joe Biden’s previous promise to halt offshore drilling and was denounced by outraged environmental groups as a ‘huge carbon bomb.’”

“U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was be in Manchester on Monday, cheering the city’s $25 million grant from the Department of Transportation, and highlighting the potential of a commuter rail connection to Boston,” the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

“Buttigieg has been traveling extensively to talk up the infrastructure bill.”

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

0 comments on “Cup of Joe – 12/15/21

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: