Cup of Joe – 7/9/22

“The U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June, extending a streak of strong gains despite signs of slowing economic growth,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Employers hired across industries, with government the only major category to shed jobs.”

CNN: “The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, still close to the 52-year low last reached in the months before the pandemic hit.”

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assasinated after being shot on Friday during a campaign rally in Nara, Japan, Nikkei Asia reports.

Washington Post: “Abe was stumping for a fellow politician from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Nara, near Osaka, on Friday morning when a gunman wielding what police described as a homemade weapon fired two shots.”

New York Times: “A stunned Japan grappled to make sense of the shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who remained the most recognizable Japanese politician even after stepping down from office two years ago.”

“The graphic footage of Mr. Abe lying unconscious with blood covering his dress shirt rocked the consciousness of a nation where violent crime is rare and gun violence is almost nonexistent.”

Tetsuya Yamagami was arrested as a suspect in the shooting, but current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it was too early to determine a motive for the assassination.

Politico: “The so-called special relationship that binds the United States and the United Kingdom has survived wars, Donald Trump and Brexit. It will survive the departure of Boris Johnson. It might even improve. And if his no-namecheck statement on the matter is any indication, President Joe Biden is ready to move on.”

“Outwardly, U.S. officials are playing it cool even as the resignation has rattled the U.K. If the clamor surrounding Johnson’s myriad scandals fades and a more solid prime minister emerges, that could work to Washington’s benefit.”

Dan Balz: “The resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is testament to the power of elected politicians to hold their leaders accountable. It is a lesson that has been lost on Republican Party officials as they have weighed repeatedly how to deal with former president Donald Trump.”

“Johnson’s resignation Thursday came after a collapse in support among members of his government and Conservative Party backbenchers. Nothing like that has happened to Trump, not during his first impeachment, nor his second impeachment, not even after the role he played in the attack on the Capitol by his supporters on Jan. 6, 2021. In each case, all but a handful of Republican elected officials rallied behind Trump — and still do.”

New York Times: Johnson’s lies worked for years, until they didn’t.

Jonathan Pie has some thoughts on Boris Johnson’s resignation as British prime minister today.

Jonathan Last: “I never fully bought the idea that Boris Johnson was the UK’s version of Trump. For one thing, he’s smart. For another thing, he was semi-competent at the the basics of governing. And for a third thing, Johnson never seemed like he was intent on blowing up NATO because he was a Russian cat’s paw.”

“Certainly, the similarities to Trump were too obvious to ignore. Both old men with extravagantly engineered hair. Both populist avengers who played to the working man while privately reviling the rubes. Both interested in using raw executive power in ways rarely contemplated. Both tabloid darlings. Both guys so corrupt that their scandals had scandals.”

“And another similarity was Johnson’s unwillingness to yield power even as his government collapsed around him.”

“But for all of their similarities, there are three very large differences between Boris and Donald that are worth talking about because they highlight how particularly dangerous Trump was/is to American democracy.”

“Boris Johnson joked to staff he’d acted like a Japanese soldier fighting in the woods after the end of World War II by trying to cling to power last night, before realizing Thursday morning he had to go,” Bloomberg reports.

“It was a dramatic shift in tone that illustrates just how rapidly events unraveled for Johnson overnight.”

There’s been a lot of British political news here lately, but that’s because Boris Johnson’s forced resignation explains what is wrong with the Republican Party.

In the U.K, a dysfunctional and scandal-ridden leader was actually forced from power by his own party.

David Frum points out: “Johnson will leave office for much the same reason, and in much the same way, as his predecessors Theresa May, David Cameron, and Tony Blair left it: because he lost the confidence of his party.”

It’s the same way President Richard Nixon left office after being told by Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) in 1974 that he faced all-but-certain impeachment, conviction and removal from office in connection with the Watergate scandal.

Even though British Conservatives made excuses for Boris Johnson for years, he finally crossed a line that was too far. Unfortunately, the Republican Party has still not found that line with Donald Trump — not after two impeachments or even an attempt to violently overthrow the 2020 presidential election.

“Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone will testify today behind closed doors to the Jan. 6 select committee, one of the most highly anticipated moments in the panel’s probe,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Sources tell us that the select committee does not have an agreement with Cipollone about what investigators can or cannot ask him. Prior to Hutchinson’s testimony, the panel had discussed an arrangement with Cipollone for an on-the-record interview, but Cipollone backed away from it… Cipollone is expected to claim executive privilege over conversations he had with Trump, but there is plenty that the committee is interested in outside of that category. For example, we expect Cipollone will be asked about conversations with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.”

“The select committee is expected to hold two public hearings next week – a midday hearing on Tuesday, followed by a Thursday night primetime session.”

“President Joe Biden will take executive action Friday to protect access to abortion, as he faces mounting pressure from fellow Democrats to be more forceful on the subject after the Supreme Court ended a constitutional right to the procedure two weeks ago,” the AP reports.

“The actions he was expected to outline are intended to try to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but are limited in their ability to safeguard access to abortion nationwide.“

Washington Post: “In a nod to some of the legal battles that could come, Biden is also directing the attorney general and the White House counsel to convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage legal representation for those seeking or offering reproductive health services.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) made it clear during a press conference on Thursday that he’s losing patience with Biden over his plan to nominate Chad Meredith, a Republican anti-abortion Federalist Society member, to a federal judgeship.

“It’s been plenty of time, and by now, they should be telling us that it’s going to be rescinded,” said Beshear, several days after publicly releasing the White House’s “privileged” (in the White House’s words) email informing him of the upcoming nomination.

Meredith’s nomination is apparently part of some mind-boggling deal between Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who apparently agreed not to stonewall the President’s future nominations, Kentucky officials have suggested. That hasn’t been confirmed, though.

Don’t forget that Beshear’s taking something of a political risk in red Kentucky by slamming Biden over this mess (and unsuccessfully trying to veto his state’s trigger ban on abortion): He’s up for reelection in 2023, and several of his GOP challengers have highlighted their opposition to abortion.

Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced on Thursday that they support reforming the filibuster to codify abortion rights into law after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.

“The European Union’s parliament overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter,” the AP reports.

“Some key House Democrats think they’ve found a clever way to break Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s stranglehold on a popular bill to massively fund the U.S. chip industry at the expense of China,” Axios reports.

“The potential countermove is to bring the Senate-passed China bill to the House floor for an up-or-down vote and deprive McConnell of his hostage.”

“The risky gambit would require buy-in from almost every House Democrat, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who fiercely protects the House’s priorities.”

“Senate Democrats have reached an agreement to raise taxes on some high earners whom they say are abusing a loophole to slash their tax bills,” NBC News reports.

“The lawmakers, the sources said, plan to close the tax break for those earning more than $400,000 a year, requiring them to pay 3.8 percent in taxes on certain income from pass-through businesses, in what is effectively a slimmed-down package after the Build Back Better Act stalled last year.”

“Voters casting absentee ballots this fall for the highest state offices won’t be able to return their ballots in upcoming elections by using drop boxes following a ruling Friday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court ’s conservative majority,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

The Washington Post reports the court also ruled that voters could not give their completed absentee ballots to others to return on their behalf, a practice disparaged as “ballot harvesting.”

Mark Leibovich: “Trump said and did obviously awful and dangerous things—racist and cruel and achingly dumb and downright evil things. But on top of that, he is a uniquely tiresome individual, easily the sorest loser, the most prodigious liar, and the most interminable victim ever to occupy the White House. He is, quite possibly, the biggest crybaby ever to toddle across history’s stage, from his inaugural-crowd hemorrhage on day one right down to his bitter, ketchup-flinging end. Seriously, what public figure in the history of the world comes close? I’m genuinely asking.”

“Better objects of our scrutiny—and far more compelling to me—are the slavishly devoted Republicans whom Trump drew to his side. It’s been said before, but can never be emphasized enough: Without the complicity of the Republican Party, Donald Trump would be just a glorified geriatric Fox-watching golfer.”

“I’ve interviewed scores of these collaborators, trying to understand why they did what they did and how they could live with it. These were the McCarthys and the Grahams and all the other busy parasitic suck-ups who made the Trump era work for them, who humored and indulged him all the way down to the last, exhausted strains of American democracy.”

Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) re-campaign scrambled to have a planned radio ad downplaying gun violence pulled after the July 4th mass shooting but The Intercept got a copy anyway.

Johnson told Real America’s Voice that President Biden is “comprised” because he allegedly financed a “global sex scandal, sex… um… operation.” Ok.

The IRS said that it had asked the inspector general who oversees tax matters to investigate how James Comey, the former FBI director, and his deputy, Andrew McCabe — both perceived enemies of former President Donald Trump — came to be faced with rare, exhaustive audits that the agency says are supposed to be random, the New York Times reports.

Philip Bump: How unlikely were those Comey-McCabe audits? See for yourself.

“Gov. Greg Abbott (R) cleared state authorities to return migrants they apprehend to the border, setting up a potential clash with the federal government over the authority to enforce immigration law,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“Immigration law enforcement is a federal responsibility. Abbott appears to be testing the limits of state authority by empowering state law enforcement and National Guard troops under state deployment to bring migrants to the ports of entry — stopping short of using state resources to expel migrants from the country, as immigration hawks have increasingly called for in recent months.”

“Donald Trump removed himself from the board of his Sarasota-based social media company, records show, just weeks before the company was issued federal subpoenas by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and a grand jury in Manhattan,” the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports.

“Trump, the chairman of Trump Media and Technology Group, was one of six board members removed on June 8, state business records show.”

Washington Post on Trump profiting personally from his speeches: “In fact, the fees aren’t going to Trump’s political action committee, his $100 million war chest. This event was not a Trump rally, where attendance is free.”

“Instead, it was a for-profit show, more like a rock concert. The proceeds benefit Trump personally as part of a multimillion dollar deal to speak at the events.”

A rural Georgia monument that some conservative Christians criticized as satanic and others dubbed “America’s Stonehenge” was demolished Wednesday after a predawn bombing turned one of its four granite panels into rubble, NPR reports.

“Six decades after the historic trial in Jerusalem of Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief engineers of the Holocaust, a new Israeli documentary series has delivered a dramatic coda: the boastful confessions of the Nazi war criminal, in his own voice,” the New York Times reports.

“The hours of old tape recordings, which had been denied to Israeli prosecutors at the time of Eichmann’s trial.”

“Eichmann went to the gallows insisting that he was a mere functionary following orders, denying responsibility for the crimes of which he had been found guilty.”

“The French government said it plans to nationalize utility company EDF saying the step is necessary to manage the transition away from fossil fuels at a time of energy crisis in Europe,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The heads of the FBI and Britain’s domestic security service issued sharply worded warnings to business leaders about the threats posed by Chinese espionage, especially spying aimed at stealing Western technology companies’ intellectual property,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said FBI Director Christopher Wray: “The Chinese government is set on stealing your technology—whatever it is that makes your industry tick—and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market. They’re set on using every tool at their disposal to do it.”

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

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