Cup of Joe – 6/1/22

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to freeze the sale, importation and transfer of handguns in Canada, the CBC reports.

House Democrats will try to advance a raft of gun-control bills on Thursday in the wake of two high-profile mass shootings that rocked the nation earlier this month, CNBC reports.

“Video obtained by ABC News, taken outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, as last week’s massacre was unfolding inside, appears to capture a 911 dispatcher alerting officers on scene that they were receiving calls from children who were alive inside the classroom that the gunman had entered — as law enforcement continued to wait nearly an hour and a half to enter the room.”

New York Times: “The bipartisan group of 10 senators working on the issue was to have a Zoom call on Tuesday to work out a framework for negotiations during the holiday recess, Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, told reporters on Monday. Congress will be back in session June 6.”

“Failure on this — which many Democrats, including Mr. Schumer, concede is likely after a decade of similar efforts have collapsed — would be lumped onto a growing pile of disappointments that have depressed Democratic voter enthusiasm since the party took control of Washington.”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) told CNN on Sunday that he doesn’t support red flag laws–laws that would let law enforcement temporarily seize guns from people deemed to be a danger to themselves and others–because “what you’re essentially trying to do with a red flag law is enforce the law before the law is broken.”

Yeah Crenshaw didn’t have that concern two years ago when he advocated for red flag laws, so the Texas Republican really isn’t acting in good faith here!

Crenshaw was slated to speak at the National Rifle Association’s convention in Houston this past weekend before the Uvalde elementary school shooting.

Donald Trump Jr. argued over the weekend that guns aren’t to blame for the massacre at a school in Uvalde, Texas, suggesting that the shooter could have killed children “with a bat, or a bomb, or some sort of improvised device, or a machete.”


“Texas authorities dealing with the Uvalde school shooting’s aftermath have so far provided public updates only in English, prompting criticism that the many Spanish speakers in the largely Latino community are being excluded,” Axios reports.

“Over 81% of residents in Uvalde, where a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at a school last week, are Latino, and many speak Spanish at home.”

“Amid calls for gun control after last week’s massacre at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, shots rang out across the country over the Memorial Day weekend, with more than a dozen mass shootings in the span of 72 hours,” NBC News reports.

“According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings in the United States, there were at least 14 “mass shootings” in the country over the weekend, from early Saturday to late Monday.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) told CNN he was willing for a “conversation” on raising the minimum age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle from 18 to 21 and “AR-15-style weapons” amid fresh talks on gun reform following a deadly mass shooting in Texas last week.

Ex-White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Monday that he received a grand jury subpoena from the FBI last week demanding records and testimony on the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Navarro’s subpoena signals for the first time that the Justice Department’s investigation into the attack is expanding to include Trump’s cronies in the White House.

The subpoena seeks information on “any communications” Navarro had with Trump in connection to the insurrection, according to the ex-adviser.

Navarro claims that he plans to try to block the subpoena by filing a lawsuit against the House Jan. 6 Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. In fitting Navarro fashion, he plans to represent himself.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) is formally objecting to the House Jan. 6 Committee’s subpoena, with his lawyers claiming that the subpoena was invalid because the committee has nine members and not 13 and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) chose the members (despite the fact that Republicans did have a chance to pick members, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chose not to).

Biggs is also trying to go the “privilege” route–without even including Trump, which makes it doubly impressive: His lawyers are arguing that the congressman’s actions in connection to his 2020 election certification vote are “immune legislative acts that are privileged from compelled disclosure.”

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), a fellow subpoenaed Republican, isn’t going as far as shutting down the committee’s efforts to talk to him, but he’s taking the same tactic as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) by making a set of demands: On Sunday, Brooks asserted that he won’t testify unless 1) the hearing is public and 2) it gets held after his runoff GOP primary Senate race next month.

“The eighth Oklahoman charged over the U.S. Capitol attack was turned in by a college fraternity brother who saw his 10 Facebook videos of the riot,” the Oklahoman reports.

“An Atlanta-area prosecutor investigating former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results has subpoenaed state Attorney General Chris Carr,” CNN reports.

“Supreme Court officials are escalating their search for the source of the leaked draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, taking steps to require law clerks to provide cell phone records and sign affidavits,” CNN reports.

“Some clerks are apparently so alarmed over the moves, particularly the sudden requests for private cell data, that they have begun exploring whether to hire outside counsel.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) “has been using taxpayer dollars to cover the cost of flights between a Florida family vacation home and Washington, D.C., including nine such trips last year, federal records show,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.  He responded on Twitter: “This isn’t journalism, it’s advocacy. It is a fully coordinated attack by the Dem Party and their allies in the media.”

“The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it was investigating three Republican lawmakers — Reps. John Rutherford of Florida, Pat Fallon of Texas, and Chris Jacobs of New York — who face allegations of stock trading law violations,” Politico reports.

Former Attorney General William Barr and special prosecutor John Durham set out to prove Donald Trump’s theory about the FBI. Instead, Jonathan Chait notes, they accidentally debunked it.

“Michael Sussmann, a prominent cybersecurity lawyer with ties to Democrats, was acquitted on Tuesday of a felony charge that he lied to the FBI about having no client in 2016 when he shared a tip about possible connections between Donald Trump and Russia,” the New York Times reports.

“The verdict was a blow to the special counsel, John Durham, who was appointed by the Trump administration three years ago to scour the Trump-Russia investigation for any wrongdoing.”

The extremely fast verdict emphasizes total humiliation for John Durham.

White House economic adviser Brian Deese said that President Biden will use his meeting with Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell to stress that he’s giving the central bank “space to operate” independently to address the inflation crisis, Bloomberg reports.

Said Deese: “The president is underscoring something important. The respect for the independence of the Fed as an institution is not something that we can take for granted. It’s not something that prior presidents have done.”

Wall Street Journal: “President Biden said he would support the Federal Reserve in its effort to combat high inflation by reducing economic demand, as the central bank lifts interest rates at its fastest pace in more than three decades.”

“Mr. Biden outlined a broad three-part plan for addressing inflation, which is running at 40-year highs, in an opinion piece published Monday evening in The Wall Street Journal. He is set to meet with Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday at the White House, the first such meeting since Mr. Powell was tapped by Mr. Biden and confirmed to a second four-year term by the Senate on May 12.”

“Mr. Biden said it was likely that the pace of job growth could slow from a monthly pace of 500,000 jobs to around 150,000 as a necessary result of the Fed’s efforts to combat high inflation.”

“Some OPEC members are exploring the idea of suspending Russia’s participation in an oil-production deal as Western sanctions and a partial European ban begin to undercut Moscow’s ability to pump more,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Exempting Russia from its oil-production targets could potentially pave the way for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to pump significantly more crude, something that the U.S. and European nations have pressed them to do as the invasion of Ukraine sent oil prices soaring above $100 a barrel.”

“Two of President Biden’s senior advisers are on a secret visit to Saudi Arabia for talks about a possible arrangement between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt, a deal to increase oil production and Washington and Riyadh’s bilateral relationship,” Axios reports.

“Oil prices rose to their highest level in more than two months Monday, driven by China’s tentative emergence from Covid-19 shutdowns,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The twin prospect of rising oil demand in Asia and curbed supplies out of Russia pushed benchmark Brent-crude prices for July delivery up 1.9% to $121.67 a barrel. That is their highest level since early March. Since then, falling fuel consumption in China has tamed global demand and pulled crude prices down from their 2022 highs of about $139 a barrel.”

“U.S. gasoline prices surged to another fresh record, the latest blow to motorists heading into the summer driving season,” Bloomberg reports.

“Average retail prices in the U.S. reached $4.619 per gallon as of Monday, according to the latest data from the American Automobile Association. That’s up from $4.178 a gallon a month ago and is about 52% higher than a year-earlier.”

“Many Americans hoped this would be the first normal summer after two years of Covid-19 disruptions. A chronic labor shortage means it probably won’t be,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In Phoenix, less than half of the public pools are opening because the city can’t hire enough lifeguards, despite offering a $2,500 incentive payment. Trolley lines in coastal Maine that service beaches are shutting down for the summer due to a dearth of drivers. Across the country, restaurants in tourist destinations are operating on limited hours because they don’t have enough staff to stay open longer.”

“Faced with a worsening political predicament, President Joe Biden is pressing aides for a more compelling message and a sharper strategy while bristling at how they’ve tried to stifle the plain-speaking persona that has long been one of his most potent assets,” NBC News reports.

“Biden is rattled by his sinking approval ratings and is looking to regain voters’ confidence that he can provide the sure-handed leadership he promised during the campaign, people close to the president say.”

“Crises have piled up in ways that have at times made the Biden White House look flat-footed: record inflation, high gas prices, a rise in Covid case numbers — and now a Texas school massacre that is one more horrific reminder that he has been unable to get Congress to pass legislation to curb gun violence. Democratic leaders are at a loss about how he can revive his prospects by November, when midterm elections may cost his party control of Congress.”

Playbook says the purpose of the June pivot to the economy appears threefold:

  1. To convince skeptical voters that, despite their current misgivings, the economy is actually doing quite well.
  2. To calm fears about inflation and reassure both everyday Americans and major economic players that Biden has a plan to address it.
  3. To thwart GOP efforts to try to hang inflation like an albatross around Democrats ahead of the midterms — and maybe even go on offense by accusing the GOP of pushing policies that will make the economy worse.

President Biden kicked this off himself with a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning: “In January 2021, when I took office, the recovery had stalled and Covid was out of control. In less than a year and a half, my administration’s economic and vaccination plans helped achieve the most robust recovery in modern history. The job market is the strongest since the post-World War II era, with 8.3 million new jobs, the fastest decline in unemployment on record, and millions of Americans getting jobs with better pay.

Since I took office, families have increased their savings and have less debt: A recent Federal Reserve report found that a higher percentage of Americans reported feeling financially comfortable at the end of 2021 than at any time since the survey began in 2013. Business investment is up 20% and manufacturing jobs are growing at their fastest rate in 30 years. There were more new small business applications in 2021 than in any previous year.”

The U.S. is in a better economic position than almost any other country.

“U.S. consumer confidence edged lower in May as Americans’ view of their present and future prospects dimmed in the midst of persistent inflation,” the AP reports.

“The expectations index, based on consumers’ six-month outlook for income, business and labor market conditions, also declined in May.”

“European Union countries finally reached a deal to wean themselves off Russian oil, their most significant effort yet to hit the Russian economy over the war in Ukraine, although the impact will be softened by an exemption for pipeline oil, a concession to landlocked holdouts, notably Hungary,” the Washington Post reports.

“The European Union’s pledge to ban most Russian oil is forcing it to rewire an economy that is geared to run on cheap Russian fuel—and threatens to deprive Moscow of revenue from its most valuable export,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The EU also is set to agree on a ban on insuring ships that carry Russian oil, officials and diplomats familiar with the measure said, a move designed to strangle Russia’s access to international oil markets.”

New York Times: “The Russian military, beaten down and demoralized after three months of war, is making the same mistakes in its campaign to capture a swath of eastern Ukraine that forced it to abandon its push to take the entire country, senior American officials say.”

“While Russian troops are capturing territory, a Pentagon official said that their “plodding and incremental” pace was wearing them down, and that the military’s overall fighting strength had been diminished by about 20 percent. And since the war started, Russia has lost 1,000 tanks, a senior Pentagon official said last week.”

“The devastation in Ukraine brought on by Russia’s war has leaders around the world calling for seizing more than $300 billion of Russian central bank assets and handing the funds to Ukraine to help rebuild the country,” the New York Times reports.

“But the movement, which has gained momentum in parts of Europe, has run into resistance in the United States. Top Biden administration officials warned that diverting those funds could be illegal and discourage other countries from relying on the United States as a haven for investment.”

“Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are laying the groundwork for a probe into Hunter Biden’s finances, part of efforts to keep the president’s son in the spotlight ahead of midterm elections,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In a rare phone interview, James Biden said he tries to keep a low profile, and he used more than a few expletives to describe unwelcome attention from Republicans and the media,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Biden: “I’m the guy who assists in everything. When it comes to my family I try to be as supportive as I can. But this notion of ‘the fixer,’ or any reference that has a negative connotation, is offensive.”

He added: “The notion I am some underworld figure and I am a fixer or the cleaner or I’m this or that — I’m a very concerned family member who tries to protect my family in every way I can, in what is a very ethical way.”

Associated Press: “Christian nationalism is often accompanied by a belief that God has destined America, like the biblical Israel, for a special role in history, and that it will receive divine blessing or judgment depending on its obedience.”

“That often overlaps with the conservative Christian political agenda, including opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and transgender rights. Researchers say Christian nationalism is often also associated with mistrust of immigrants and Muslims. Many Christian nationalists see former President Donald Trump as a champion despite his crude sexual boasts and lack of public piety.”

“Candidates seen as Christian nationalists have had mixed success in this year’s Republican primaries, which typically pitted staunch conservatives against opponents even further to the right.”

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

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