Cup of Joe – 5/26/22

At a press briefing to discuss yesterday’s school massacre, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) was interrupted by challenger Beto O’Rourke (D), who condemned him for failing to enact gun control measures.

Said O’Rourke: “You are doing nothing. You’re offering us nothing. You said this is not predictable. This is totally predictable.”

He continued as he was taken away by security: “This is on you until you choose to do something different! This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed just as they were in Uvalde yesterday.”

Insider: “Texas has made it easier to purchase guns in recent months — despite the state’s playing host to a series of mass shootings in recent memory, including the killing of a combined 30 people in El Paso and Odessa in 2019.”

“A new state law that came into force on September 1 allowed anyone aged over 21 to carry a handgun in most places without a permit or training. The bill was put forward by Texas Republicans.”

“Before the change, Texans had to pass a background check, take a safety course, and take a competency test to get a license.”

This is why Republicans in Texas are directly responsible for the Uvalde Massacure of 19 children. Blood is dipping from their hands.

Bari Weiss: “There is a deep sickness in this country. It goes beyond our addiction to guns. It’s an anti-social, anti-human disease that has gripped our society and our politics.”

“A big part of that disease is how numb we have become to violence. The country has been experiencing the largest crime surge in decades. Armed robberies are up. Shoplifting is up. Road deaths are up. Car break-ins are so common in some cities that people leave notes on their windows to the thieves that nothing is inside.”

“But the most devastating rise has been in murders. Since the FBI started tracking the data, 2020 marked the highest single-year increase in homicides. In 2021, it went up again.”

“As of 2020, the leading cause of death among children in America is guns. Not cars. Not drugs. Guns. It was also the year that we had the highest rate of gun sales in American history.”

Josh Marshall: “In the interests of fairness and honesty with ourselves, we should be clear that this isn’t about standing up to the “gun lobby.” Yes, the NRA and other related groups play an important role coordinating messaging and operationalizing the desires of gun obsessives. But President Biden’s comment was one of the few times for me that he really did sound like someone speaking from a bygone era. A vast swathe of the population wants things exactly how they are. No restrictions on guns at all. The collateral damage is just tough shit basically.

I hesitate to say “majority” because intensity, geography, various idiosyncrasies of our political system and a bunch of other things magnify the political power of that part of the population. But in practice it’s a majority, a functional majority. Indeed, as we know, almost all of the policy movement in the country today is toward fewer restrictions — more open carry, concealed carry. It’s quite likely that the corrupt Supreme Court is about to invalidate the laws in cities like New York where there are actually pretty tight restrictions on guns.

We are also not captive to a constitution that may be out of date or rooted in outmoded rules. The entire individual right to bear arms is totally made up, a modern confection. The only power of those arguments — wholly empty by any historical analysis — is that a functional majority of the country chooses to pretend they’re true.

This is the America a big, big part of the country wants. It’s not about money in politics or some powerful advocacy group or a breakdown in the machinery of government. It’s not about politicians lacking courage. This is the America something like half the country wants.”

“Senate Democrats say a major floor debate on gun control is inevitable after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, left at least 19 children and two adults dead, only 10 days after another massacre killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo,” The Hill reports.

“The second high-profile killing spree in the span of just more than a week means that Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) will be under heavy pressure to bring a gun-control measure to the floor before the July 4 recess, risking a partisan brawl that could be tough on vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in swing states this fall.”

Within hours of the school shooting in Uvalde, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “moved to clear the way to force votes in coming days on legislation that would strengthen background checks for gun purchasers, pushing to revive measures with broad appeal that Republicans have blocked in the past,” the New York Times reports.

“The pair of bills would expand criminal background checks to would-be gun buyers on the internet and at gun shows and lengthen the waiting period for gun buyers flagged by the instant background check system to allow more time for the F.B.I. to investigate.”

“The measures, passed by the House in 2019 and again last year, have languished in the Senate amid Republican opposition. Even as they publicly mourned the massacre that killed 19 children and two adults on Tuesday, Republican senators gave little indication that their positions had changed.”

“Chuck Schumer is avoiding a quick Senate vote on gun legislation that would almost surely fail, choosing to hold out hope that the latest mass shooting will finally unstick a bipartisan deal,” Politico reports.

Said Schumer: “My Republican colleagues can work with us now. I think it’s a slim prospect. Very slim, all too slim. We’ve been burnt so many times before. But this is so important. We must pursue action and even ask Republicans to join us again.”

Playbook: “Don’t expect action soon. The Senate is set to go on a weeklong Memorial Day recess starting Thursday. And while Schumer is typically a huge fan of putting GOP lawmakers on record with tough votes he can use against them politically, the New York Democrat indicated he has no plan to rush a roll call on guns, and plans to give bipartisan conversations the time to develop.”

“They are disturbed, upset, troubled, but not willing to change where they are. Usually I want to be more optimistic. But, like, I don’t think it’ll change anything… I don’t see any hope today for getting 10 Republican senators to join us in further restrictions on military-style weapons.” — Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), quoted by Politico, on the prospects for gun reform legislation.

“Just to be clear, fuck you Ted Cruz. You fucking baby killer.”  — Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), on Twitter, after Cruz offered prayers for the families of the children killed at a Texas school.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) immediately opposed any efforts on passing new gun restrictions even after a gunman killed 21 in a Texas school, CNN reports.

Said Cruz: “Inevitably, when there’s a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

He added: “That doesn’t work… It doesn’t prevent crime.”

Jonathan Last gives three reasons why the gun problem in this country won’t be fixed:

  1. The Second Amendment, like it or not, provides cover that makes reforming gun laws difficult to do and then more difficult to legally sustain.
  2. Guns are more popular than you probably realize and our political system gives so much leverage to one particular political party that if this party holds a position with roughly 45 percent support in the populace, it’s basically impossible to pull back.
  3. Even if we reformed gun laws, the sheer number of guns in circulation would continue to contribute to tragedies and shootings for years—probably decades—to come.

“Nothing will change until the system is re-balanced, either through the passing of laws or the shifting of demographics.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) suggested to Newsmax that we arm teachers after a gunman killed 21 in a school shooting in his state.

After at least 19 students and two adults were killed during a shooting rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Houston on Friday. Abbott, Cruz and Crenshaw haven’t yet confirmed whether they’ll stick to their plans to attend.

The office of Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) claims that the senator had already canceled his appearance at the NRA convention before the shooting “due to an unexpected change in his schedule” and that he now has to be in D.C. “for personal reasons” on Friday.

Former President Trump is also set to go to the convention, but guns will be banned in the area, per the NRA’s website, so he and other attendees will be perfectly safe.

In response to the Texas elementary school shooting, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told reporters that he’ll “do anything I can” to prevent future shootings–except get rid of the Senate filibuster, which he insisted is “only thing that prevents us from total insanity.” Instead, Manchin proposed “common sense.” Okay!

After yesterday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ)  spread a false and transphobic claim that the suspected shooter was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien,” Insider reports.

Bloomberg: “With almost a fifth of the world’s people, limited farmland and the increasing challenge of climate change, President Xi Jinping’s government has exhorted farmers to maximize harvests and consumers to minimize waste. It’s built up huge stockpiles to cope with shortages and created new seeds to boost output.”

“Even so, the country still buys about 60% of all the soybeans that are traded internationally, and ranks as the biggest corn and barley importer. It has also recently emerged as one of the world’s largest wheat buyers. That makes soaring global crop costs and, potentially, a looming world food crisis very much a matter of concern for the government, especially in terms of how local prices perform.”

Washington Post: “Today, as Cuba careens through its worst economic crisis in 30 years, milk is one of the most potent symbols of the country’s precarious state. Cubans have been hit by mass shortages of dairy and other basic goods, reflecting a confluence of setbacks: The coronavirus pandemic crippled the vital tourism industry. Then-President Donald Trump squeezed the island with extra sanctions, and President Biden held off on reversing them. Socialist ally Venezuela reduced aid and investment.”

“The result: A nation that imports 70 percent of its food has run desperately short of the cash to buy it.”

New York Times: “Already though, many of the thousands of migrants crossing each day are being let in — of the record 234,088 migrants who arrived in April, nearly half were released into the country for various reasons, including humanitarian exceptions to the public health order and insufficient detention space.”

“In some cases, the government cannot expel people — Cubans and Venezuelans, for example — because it has no diplomatic relations with the country of origin.”

“As many as 50,000 migrants are waiting in Mexican shelters for a chance to cross the border, hoping to run out the clock on Title 42, the Covid-era rule limiting entry to the U.S.,” Axios reports.

“The Kansas Senate adopted a resolution Monday condemning proposed changes to the World Health Organization that some Republicans falsely contend would remove health policy authority from U.S. officials,” the Wichita Eagle reports. “Without debate or a roll call vote, senators approved the resolution, which is grounded in right-wing fears of a handover of ‘national sovereignty’ to the WHO.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker remains at the center of the fight within the state Republican Party over the false claims of voter fraud successfully deployed by former President Donald Trump to build doubt over his legitimate election loss in 2020.”

“And on Saturday, Vos withstood a second attempt in as many years to call for his removal — a punishment Republican activists want to level for his refusal to rescind the state’s 10 Electoral College votes cast for President Joe Biden.”

40% of GOP delegates backed a resolution to “decertify” the 2020 election.

“New Mexico is delivering the first in a series of direct payments to the state’s adult residents to offset higher consumer costs amid inflation,” the Albuquerque Journal reports.  “Individual taxpayers who get direct deposit rebates were scheduled to receive $250 and couples who file jointly were set to receive $500 last week.”

“Republicans in the Pennsylvania Legislature are extending their inquiry into the state’s 2020 presidential election inspired by former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud,” WHYY reports.  “The contract is to last for another six months, through Nov. 18, under an extension signed last week by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, the Senate Republicans’ general counsel, and the Senate’s chief clerk.”

“Former President Donald Trump’s stature as GOP kingmaker has been dented in the past week, as some candidates he backed in major Republican primaries—particularly for governor—lost their bids,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Republican voters and strategists said Mr. Trump’s involvement in races will be important going forward, but consultants say the traditional tenets of successful candidates such as likability,  perceived electability, records and background have proved as important as ever.”

NBC News: Trump exposes the limits of his power with ill-fated endorsements.

Edward Luce: “This is not an obituary of Donald Trump. He still has a plausible shot at becoming the first ex-president to be re-elected since Grover Cleveland in 1892. But politics is about momentum — and the energy behind Trump is dissipating. The bad news for Trump’s detractors is that his ‘MAGA’ base is not fading. The Kraken lives on. It just no longer shows such deference to the man in Mar-a-Lago.”

“Trump’s handicap is that he is obsessed with one issue — that he was cheated by Joe Biden of his rightful election victory in 2020. Most Republican voters share in that belief, which is a litmus test for candidates. Yet the stolen election myth is their politics’ starting point, not its be-all and end-all. By confining himself to rigged elections, Trump is forgetting Maga’s animating spirit, which is hatred of America’s cultural elites.”

“When Trump’s monomania backfires, it leaves him looking weak.”

“One of Donald Trump’s most steadfast aides acknowledges in a new book that the president lost the 2020 election and says he was ill-advised by campaign staff and the election deniers who surrounded him,” Politico reports.

Writes Kellyanne Conway: “Despite the mountains of money Trump had raised, his team simply failed to get the job done. A job that was doable and had a clear path, if followed. Rather than accepting responsibility for the loss, they played along and lent full-throated encouragement (privately, not on TV) when Trump kept insisting he won.”

“The team had failed on November 3, and they failed again afterward. By not confronting the candidate with the grim reality of his situation, that the proof had not surfaced to support the claims, they denied him the evidence he sought and the respect he was due. Instead supplicant after sycophant after showman genuflected in front of the Resolute Desk and promised the president goods they could not deliver.”

Wall Street Journal: “Students and recent graduates with heavy debt loads worry that Mr. Biden’s plan will be too weak, after the president and his advisers signaled they are considering relief that could be far less than the $50,000-per-borrower sought by prominent Democrats.”

“At the same time, voters who tightened their belts to pay off their loans or didn’t go to college say it would be unfair to make taxpayers subsidize school debt for Americans whose education can boost their earning power.”

A notable quote from a recent UNC grad: “They dangled it over our heads to get us to vote for Biden and then did nothing.”

Bloomberg: “Global power grids are about to face their biggest test in decades with electricity generation strangled in the world’s largest economies.”

“War. Drought. Production shortages. Historically low inventories. And pandemic backlash. Energy markets across the planet have been put through the wringer over the past year, and consumers have suffered the consequences of soaring prices. But, somehow, things are on track to get even worse.”

“At least 357 sitting Republican legislators in closely contested battleground states have used the power of their office to discredit or try to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election,“ the New York Times reports.  “The tally accounts for 44 percent of the Republican legislators in the nine states where the presidential race was most narrowly decided. In each of those states, the election was conducted without any evidence of widespread fraud, leaving election officials from both parties in agreement on the victory of Joseph R. Biden Jr.”

“Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) was recorded on a wiretapped phone call in 2018 discussing with lobbyist confidant Michael McClain a plan to arrange secret payments to a close political ally who had been implicated in a sexual harassment scandal,” the Chicago Sun Times reports.

“The Pentagon seized a foreign reporter’s phone and would not allow them to use their electronics while traveling with the Defense Department’s No. 2 official on Sunday,” Politico reports.  “Before boarding the plane at Joint Base Andrews Sunday morning, the reporter was told of a new rule mandating that foreigners flying on Air Force planes using top secret classification would be prohibited from using their electronics on the flight. The reporter, who works for Reuters, is not a U.S. citizen.”

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

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