Cup of Joe – 5/18/22

President Biden traveled to Buffalo on Tuesday to denounce the racist massacre in a predominately Black neighborhood as “terrorism motivated by a hateful and perverse ideology,” the New York Times reports. Biden also called for stricter gun control measures.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch and the network’s top executives in a letter to “immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called ‘Great Replacement’ theory on your network’s broadcasts” in the wake of a deadly racist rampage in Buffalo, the New York Times reports.

The Hill: White House says it won’t criticize by name those spreading “replacement theory.”

The Guardian: “Over at Fox News, however, there was barely any mention of the white gunman’s alleged reasoning for opening fire at a supermarket, killing 10 people and wounding three more, in a predominantly Black area.”

“The absence of coverage of the motive was revealing, given Fox News’s most popular host, Tucker Carlson, has pushed the concept of replacement theory in more than 400 of his shows – and has arguably done more than anyone in the US to popularize the racist conspiracy.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night tried to put up a wall between himself and a gunman’s alleged motive for opening fire in a Black neighborhood’s grocery store in Buffalo.

After peddling the Great Replacement Theory on the regular on his program, Carlson found himself shocked! at the backlash against him.

The Fox host insisted on Monday that the suspected shooter’s manifesto was, in fact, “not really political at all” and nothing more than “a rambling pastiche of slogans and Internet memes.”

Also, Carlson wants his viewers to know that they’re the real victims here. The Fox host accused his critics of using the shooting as a “pretext” to stifle free speech.

Carlson didn’t directly address the replacement conspiracy theory during his monologue. Again, it’s a conspiracy theory he’s advanced over and over on his show.

Tucker Carlson derisively referred to Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) who lost his eye while serving our country as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, as “eye-patch McCain.”

Dan Pfeiffer: “Trump did not lead the Republican base to MAGA-Land. He followed them there. He did to the Republican Party what he has done to countless buildings and brands — slapped his name on an existing structure and then pretended he built it.”

“A half-dozen mainstream Republican Senate candidates are drawing on the ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory once confined to the far-right fringes of U.S. politics to court voters this campaign season, promoting the baseless notion that there is a plot to diminish the influence of white people in America,” the AP reports.

“In some cases, the comments have gone largely overlooked given the hard-line immigration rhetoric that has become commonplace among conservatives during the Trump era. But a weekend mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, that may have been inspired by the racist theory is drawing new attention to the GOP’s growing embrace of white nationalist creed.”

The GOP-controlled Arizona Senate voted on Monday to launch an ethics investigation into state Sen. Wendy Rogers (R) after she baselessly suggested that the deadly Buffalo shooting, which was allegedly inspired by the racist “great replacement” theory, was a false flag operation by the government (there’s no evidence for that whatsoever).

“Fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” Rogers wrote in a Telegram post on Saturday after the attack.

The vote to approve the investigation came after Arizona Democrats’ motion to full-on expel Rogers failed. The Senate would need to reach a supermajority of two-thirds in order to kick her out.

David Leonhardt: “Over the past decade, the Anti-Defamation League has counted about 450 U.S. murders committed by political extremists.”

“Of these 450 killings, right-wing extremists committed about 75 percent. Islamic extremists were responsible for about 20 percent, and left-wing extremists were responsible for 4 percent.”

Philip Bump: “Deny, deny, deny. Lump the media in with critics on the left. Never acknowledge that you erred but, instead, argue that you are being unfairly accused of having erred because of bias. By now, it’s rote — even when the question is whether you stand by an argument that was allegedly deployed by a man accused of killing 10 people at a grocery store.”

“In 2016, Trump ran in explicit opposition to immigration, even at one point making an argument that the Democrats wanted to bring in uncountable numbers of immigrants who would vote for their party. He refused to admit his errors or his lies. And then he won. And then he retained enormous popularity with the base.”

“And lessons were imparted.”

“Ukrainian fighters have ended their weeks-long defense of a besieged steel plant in the strategic port city of Mariupol, as hundreds of combatants — dozens of them seriously wounded — were evacuated from the complex Monday,” the Washington Post reports.

New York Times: “The steel plant had been the final pocket of resistance to Russia’s bid to create a land bridge between the Crimean Peninsula and areas it controls in the east. Mariupol and its residents had sustained some of the worst and most brutal attacks since it was surrounded in early March because the city stood squarely in the way.”

“Hours after meeting in Kyiv with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Senator Mitch McConnell issued a forceful counterargument to the isolationists in his party who have questioned whether the United States should be sending another $40 billion in aid to Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.

The Hill: “McConnell is framing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a clear threat to U.S. national security interests, espousing the muscular foreign policy worldview that Republicans were known for before Trump took office in 2017.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making low-level tactical decisions that would normally be decided by an officer in charge of as few as 700 Russian troops, the Times of London reports.

“A Michigan Court of Claims judge has granted a preliminary injunction to Planned Parenthood of Michigan that would stall the enforcement of Michigan’s 1931 abortion ban should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the landmark 1973 Roe decision enshrining abortion as a constitutional right,” the Detroit News reports.

Detroit Free Press: “A Michigan law from 1931 includes two key components: one makes any abortion a felony unless it is done to protect the life of the pregnant person. The second also criminalizes selling or advertising medications that could induce an abortion.”

“Under Tuesday’s ruling, the state could not enforce the 1931 law should Roe v. Wade be struck down.”

The defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard “has quickly amassed more online attention than some of the country’s biggest and most pressing news stories, including the leaked Supreme Court decision and Russia’s war in Ukraine,” Axios reports.

“The Republicans in Congress who most used the word “abortion” in social media posts and press releases recently were all men except one, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, according to data compiled by Quorum.,” Axios reports.

As Covid-19 cases rise across the country, you can now order a third round of free at-home tests from the federal government.

Associated Press: “The confirmed number of dead is equivalent to a 9/11 attack every day for 336 days. It is roughly equal to how many Americans died in the Civil War and World War II combined. It’s as if Boston and Pittsburgh were wiped out.”

Baby formula manufacturer Abbott Laboratories said it has reached deal with the Food and Drug Administration to restart production at factory tied to shortage, the AP reports.

Elon Musk stoked speculation that he could seek to renegotiate his takeover of Twitter, saying a viable deal at a lower price wouldn’t be “out of the question,” Bloomberg reports.

“Musk said his $44 billion bid for Twitter can’t move forward until the company is clearer about how many of its accounts are fake,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Associated Press: “Musk’s comments are likely to bolster theories from analysts that the billionaire either wants out of the deal or to buy the company at a cheaper price.”

Elon Musk said he plans to vote Republican in the upcoming election cycle after voting “overwhelmingly” for Democrats in the past, Insider reports. Said Musk: “I have voted overwhelmingly for Democrats, historically. Like I’m not sure, I might never have voted for a Republican, just to be clear.” He added: “Now this election I will.”

“A number of companies that were associated with President Trump have filed for bankruptcy. There can be no assurances that TMTG will not also become bankrupt.” — A disclaimer in the SEC filing for taking public Donald Trump’s social media company, the Trump Media & Technology Group.

“The White House and founder Jeff Bezos squared off on Monday over the Biden administration’s handling of U.S. inflation and its plans to tax the rich,” Reuters reports.

“Starting over the weekend, Bezos has been slamming President Joe Biden, accusing him of misleading the public on inflation by arguing that hiking taxes on corporations and the rich would lower consumer costs.”

“The administration responded with an unusually personal jab that suggested Bezos was trying to protect his wealth and undermine unions.”

Said Bezos, on Twitter: “Look, a squirrel! This is the White House’s statement about my recent tweets. They understandably want to muddy the topic.”

“Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell emphasized his resolve to get inflation down, saying Tuesday he will back interest rate increases until prices start falling back toward a healthy level,” CNBC reports.

“North Korea officially claimed zero Covid-19 cases until last Thursday. Now, Pyongyang says 1.2 million people have feverish, Covid-like symptoms, 50 people have died and the entire country is under lockdown,” Axios reports.

“North Korea has a 0% vaccination rate and meager health facilities, and it was already struggling to feed its population.”

Nikkei Asia: “After more than two years of insisting it was Covid-free, North Korea is now battling a massive surge of infections and is reaching out for help to its closest ally and main economic benefactor: China.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hinted the state would take control over Disney World’s self-governing district, instead of handing it over to local governments if it is dissolved next year, WTSP reports.

Washington Post: “The tense discussion — which played out in a conference room tucked inside the world’s largest library, where members posed for pictures with historic texts such as the Gettysburg Address — reflected just one among numerous weighty questions the committee must resolve before nationally televised hearings kick off next month.”

“With only weeks to go, panel members are grappling with how to synthesize a complex investigation into a cohesive narrative — and how best to tell the story of what went wrong on Jan. 6 in a way that captivates and moves a hyper-polarized American public.”

Liz Cheney has been significantly more aggressive than Democrats on the committee — highlighting a problem that also plagued the two Trump impeachments.

“The Biden administration is restoring flights to Cuban cities other than Havana and reestablishing a family reunification program suspended for years, following recommendations of a long-anticipated review of U.S. policy toward Cuba,” the Miami Herald reports.

“The administration will also allow group travel for educational or professional exchanges and lift caps on money sent to families on the island.”

Ian Bremmer writes in his new book, The Power of Crisis, that the globe’s three great threats are the next pandemic, the climate emergency and the unexpected impact of disruptive technologies, Axios reports.

Writes Bremmer: “The speed of technological change is the biggest risk of all. Companies are now using artificial intelligence to figure out the most efficient ways to change human behavior in ways that profit them.”

He adds: “New technologies are already changing what it means to be human — and we have no idea where that might lead.”

“A federal trial begins Monday for a lawyer for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign who is accused of lying to the FBI as it investigated potential ties between Donald Trump and Russia in 2016,” the AP reports.

“The case against Michael Sussmann, a cybersecurity attorney who represented the Clinton campaign in 2016, is the first trial arising from the ongoing investigation by special counsel John Durham and will test the strength of evidence he and his team have gathered while scrutinizing the early days of the Trump-Russia probe for potential misconduct.”

John Della Volpe: “The growing presence of Mr. Trump’s voice back on the national stage; the leak of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on abortion and the likely fall of Roe v. Wade; and the opportunity for Mr. Biden to make good on a campaign commitment to address the student debt crisis have formed ideal conditions for Democratic renewal. While older voters will prioritize each party’s pledges to reduce inflation this fall, younger voters will additionally weigh the broad set of values and vision for the future held by Democrats and Republicans.”

“Young Americans are more likely to vote when they see a tangible difference between the parties and feel the consequences of election outcomes. As Generation Z and young millennials were tuning into politics more closely, millions watched Mr. Trump roll back climate policy, undermine the Affordable Care Act, deliver tax breaks for the wealthy and pave the way for white nationalist theorists to enter the public square — all moves that were antithetical to the values of reducing inequality and standing up for those without a voice. These are values that we’ve found in young Americans across most points on the ideological spectrum.”

“Fifteen minutes before Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was due to go on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on March 30, 2021—hours after a bombshell report that he was under investigation for allegedly sex trafficking a minor—Gaetz was shouting, repeatedly, at FBI agents in his family home,” the Daily Beast reports.

“This scene and others are detailed in previously unreported documents that shine new light on the sting operation, which Gaetz helped orchestrate in the frenzied days before The New York Times published the explosive report that changed the Panhandle congressman’s public and political life.”

“Joel Greenberg, the former Florida official whose crimes in the state ensnared US Rep. Matt Gaetz in a federal sex trafficking investigation, has been granted another delay of sentencing as he continues to cooperate with authorities following a guilty plea last year,” CNN reports.

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

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