Cup of Joe – October 18, 2022

Donald Trump claimed that he “could easily be” the Prime Minister of Israel.

Said Trump: “No President has done more for Israel than I have. Somewhat surprisingly, however, our wonderful Evangelicals are far more appreciative of this than the people of the Jewish faith, especially those living in the U.S.”

He added: “Those living in Israel, though, are a different story — Highest approval rating in the World, could easily be P.M.!’

So a White Nationalist, who is supported by violent white supramacist militias who already have attempted to violently overthrow the government, is saying that American Jews are ungrateful, that they should be supporting him or else. Hitler would be proud.

Axios: “It is not clear what prompted Trump’s remarks, but they echo similar comments that the former president has made about the U.S. Jewish community since he was elected in 2016.”

Kanye West “plans to acquire Parler, a Twitter-like social media app that has become a haven for conservatives,” Axios reports.

The Verge: “Parler’s emphasis on free speech has made it a lightning rod for ring-wing conspiracy theorists. The platform was accused of helping rioters plan and coordinate the storming of the Capitol building that took place on January 6th, 2021.”

This is going to be fun to see how the white supramacist Nazis that populate Parler react to having a black man own the platform. Which of their hatreds will win out?

One of Donald Trump’s political committees spent $158,000 on books just weeks after the release of Jared Kushner’s memoir, Forbes reports.  Four days after that bulk purchase, Kushner’s book appeared for the first time on the New York Times best sellers list.

“Former president Donald Trump’s company charged the Secret Service as much as five times more than the government rate for agents to stay overnight at Trump hotels while protecting him and his family,” the Washington Post reports.

“The records show that in 40 cases the Trump Organization billed the Secret Service far higher amounts than the approved government rate — in one case charging agents $1,185 a night to stay at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. The new billing documents, according to a congressional committee’s review, show that U.S. taxpayers paid the president’s company at least $1.4 million for Secret Service agents’ stays at Trump properties for his and his family’s protection.”

“Federal prosecutors urged a judge Monday to make former president Donald Trump’s political confidant Stephen Bannon the first person to be incarcerated for contempt of Congress in more than half a century, recommending he serve six months in prison for refusing to cooperate with a House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack,” the Washington Post reports.

“They also sought to fine Bannon the maximum $200,000 allowed because he refused to cooperate with court officials’ routine presentencing investigation and divulge his financial records.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Punchbowl News that he believes he can win the votes of the House Republican Conference no matter how large a GOP majority is and that if he doesn’t win, it wasn’t in “God’s plan.”

Said McCarthy: “I think I can win with any seat majority. If I’m even up for Speaker, that means we won seats. I’ve been the top House Republican for two cycles. I’ve never lost seats, I’ve only won.”

Hunter Walker: “During a debate on Sunday night, firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) insisted she had ‘nothing to do with what happened’ on January 6.”

“That’s simply not true. Text messages she appears to have exchanged with President Trump’s former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, indicate Greene was involved in organizing the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election at the U.S. Capitol that day. You can read all of those texts here for the first time.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told the New York Times that if Republicans win back the majority in the House, she’d have “a lot of power.”

If not, she made a veiled threat to House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Said Greene: “I think that to be the best speaker of the House and to please the base, he’s going to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway. And if he doesn’t, they’re going to be very unhappy about it.”

She added: “I think that’s the best way to read that. And that’s not in any way a threat at all. I just think that’s reality.”

“There’s going to be a lot of investigations. I’ve talked with a lot of members about this.”— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), quoted by the New York Times, describing what she anticipates if the Republicans regain the House majority this November.

“Russia’s struggling invasion of Ukraine has faced problems from poor coordination to unmotivated soldiers, but overshadowing and aggravating all was a critical blunder in the war’s early days, say Western military officials: failure to win control of Ukraine’s skies,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Without air superiority, Russia has been unable to stop Ukrainian attacks on its soldiers with U.S.-supplied M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or Himars, and other weapons. Kyiv’s forces have capitalized on Russia’s limited ability to respond by retaking hundreds of square miles of territory from the invading army since early last month.”

Washington Post: Russia is grabbing men off the street to fight in Ukraine.

Russia struck the central area of Ukraine’s capital with kamikaze drone strikes on Monday, according to Ukrainian officials. At least one person has died and multiple have been injured from the attack, the mayor of Kyiv reported. Iran provided the drones, and U.S. security officials have warned that the country is planning on sending more.

Washington Post: “Iran is strengthening its commitment to supply arms for Russia’s assault on Ukraine, according to U.S. and allied security officials, secretly agreeing to send not only attack drones but also what some officials described as the first Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles intended for use against Ukrainian cities and troop positions.”

“Elon Musk backtracked on his complaints over the cost of funding Starlink internet terminals in Ukraine and said his company would continue to pay for them,“ the Wall Street Journal reports.

A U.S. recession is effectively certain in the next 12 months in new Bloomberg Economics model projections, a blow to President Joe Biden’s economic messaging ahead of the November midterms.

Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. will enter a recession in the coming 12 months as the Federal Reserve battles to bring down persistently high inflation, the economy contracts and employers cut jobs in response, according to The Wall Street Journal’s latest survey of economists.”

“On average, economists put the probability of a recession in the next 12 months at 63%, up from 49% in July’s survey. It is the first time the survey pegged the probability above 50% since July 2020, in the wake of the last short but sharp recession.”

“Many U.S. households are still struggling to find baby formula, almost a year since supplies thinned on store shelves and eight months after a nationwide recall,” the Washington Post reports.

“President Xi Jinping has called on the Chinese Communist party’s 97mn members to steel themselves for a “critical time” in the country’s history, as he opened a congress that will solidify his status as its most powerful ruler since revolutionary hero Mao Zedong,” the Financial Times reports.

“Xi Jinping said China had faced arduous challenges over the past five years, portraying himself at the start of a momentous Communist Party congress as a leader who can guide the country through an era of danger and uncertainty,” the New York Times reports.

“His comments, in a speech of nearly two hours, represented a movement in the party’s focus squarely toward his obsession with security — that is, quashing all ideological and geopolitical challenges to the party’s rule — and away from economic development.”

USA Today: Xi Jinping to remain “chairman of everything” in China after being presented a third term.

Politico: “Xi has harnessed a masterful combination of strategic planning and an uncanny aptitude to lead allies and enemies alike to underestimate his ambition to pave a path to becoming the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.”

Wall Street Journal: Xi Jinping stakes out ambitions, with himself at the center.

“Military research groups at the leading edge of China’s hypersonics and missile programs — many on a U.S. export blacklist — are purchasing a range of specialized American technology, including products developed by firms that have received millions of dollars in grants and contracts from the Pentagon,” the Washington Post reports.

“Chinese government hackers are scanning U.S. political party domains ahead of next month’s midterm elections, looking for vulnerable systems as a potential precursor to hacking operations, and the FBI is making a big push to alert potential victims to batten down the hatches,” the Washington Post reports.

“Over the past week, FBI agents in field offices across the country have notified some Republican and Democratic state party headquarters they might be targets of the Chinese hackers, according to party and U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.”

New York Times: “Only about 15 million doses of the new shots have been administered nationally since their introduction at the beginning of September, representing less than one in 10 people who are eligible, and there are signs that many Americans are unaware of or simply uninterested in them.”

“Booster shots against current SARS-CoV-2 variants can help the human immune system to fight variants that don’t exist yet,” Nature reports.

“That’s the implication of two new studies analyzing how a booster shot or breakthrough infection affects antibody-producing cells: some of these cells evolve over time to exclusively create new antibodies that target new strains, whereas others produce antibodies against both new and old strains.”

New York Times: “President Biden sought to put Saudi Arabia on notice this week for teaming up with Russia on a drastic production cut by OPEC Plus, the oil cartel.”

“But those tough words don’t appear to have dissuaded Jamie Dimon and other leaders of corporate America from attending a Saudi-sponsored business conference — popularly known as Davos in the Desert — in Riyadh this month.”

“Mr. Dimon, JPMorgan Chase’s chief executive, who is listed on the conference’s website as a featured speaker, is still expected to attend. So are Steve Schwarzman of the investment giant Blackstone, Ray Dalio of the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates and Michael Arthur, Boeing’s top international executive.”

New York Times: “In the two years since, groups of right-wing activists have banded together, spreading false claims of widespread fraud and misconduct in elections. Now those activists are inserting themselves in the vote count, with a broad and aggressive effort to monitor voting in search of evidence that confirms their theories.”

“Many of the activists have been mobilized by some of the same people who tried to overturn Mr. Trump’s defeat in 2020.”

“Their tactics in primary elections have officials braced for a range of new challenges, including disruptive poll watchers and workers, aggressive litigation strategies, voter and ballot challenges and vigilante searches for fraud.”

New York Times: “Democratic candidates in competitive Senate races this fall have spent little time on the trail or the airwaves touting the centerpiece provisions of their party’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package, which party leaders had hoped would help stave off losses in the House and Senate in midterm elections. In part, that is because the rescue plan has become fodder for Republicans to attack Democrats over rapidly rising prices, accusing them of overstimulating the economy with too much cash.”

“The economic aid, which was intended to help keep families afloat amid the pandemic, included two centerpiece components for households: the direct checks of up to $1,400 for lower- to middle-class individuals and an expanded child tax credit, worth up to $300 per child per month. It was initially seen as Mr. Biden’s signature economic policy achievement, in part because the tax credit dramatically reduced child poverty last year. Polls suggested Americans knew they had received money and why — giving Democrats hope they would be rewarded politically.”

“Liberal activists are particularly troubled that Democratic candidates are not focusing more on the payments to families.”

Zeynep Tufekci: “Jones’ net worth was estimated during the trial to be anywhere between $135 to $270 million, and much of this comes from peddling dubious supplements, survivalist gear, flouride-free toothpaste, what-have-you. The trial revealed that his company makes many tens of millions of dollars each year from selling such merchandise, and that the Sandy Hook families reached out to him in anguish many times only to be rebuffed, according to the families, because the topic was so lucrative for his sales.”

“This type of money is a huge part of the incentive structure that shapes so much of our societal woes, and is often overlooked to the key role it plays.”

Also, read her related piece in the New York Times.

Giancarlo Granda was a 20-year-old pool boy at a Miami hotel when Jerry Falwell Jr.’s wife showed sudden interest in him — asking him to join her in her hotel room, where her husband, the prominent evangelical leader, wanted to watch, Rolling Stone reports.

In his upcoming book, Off the Deep End: Jerry and Becki Falwell and the Collapse of an Evangelical Dynasty, Granda writes about the love triangle, saying that Falwell’s giddiness and giggling throughout the encounter was “disconcerting.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told ABC News that he believes former President Trump took classified documents from the federal government and kept them at his Mar-a-Lago residence as a “trophy.”

Said Christie: “I think it’s much more likely that they’re a trophy, that he walks around and says, ‘Look, I got this, I’ve got this classified document or that.’”

He added: “Because, remember something, he can’t believe he’s not president. He can’t believe he still doesn’t get these documents. And he needs to display to everybody down at Mar-a-Lago, or up in Bedminster during the summer, that he still has some of those trappings.”

“Republicans plan to push to extend key parts of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts if they take control of Congress in this fall’s elections, aiming to force President Biden to codify trillions of dollars worth of lower taxes touted by his predecessor,” the Washington Post reports.

“With Democrats likely to lose control of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate, Republicans are preparing to advance legislation that would make permanent the GOP’s 2017 changes to the tax rates paid by individuals. Republican officials will also push for scrapping some of the law’s specific tax increases on corporations that were designed to offset the cost of their enormous overall cut to the corporate tax rate.”

“Many economists say the GOP’s plans to expand the tax cuts flies against their promises to fight inflation and reduce the federal deficit, which have emerged as central themes of their 2022 midterm campaign rhetoric.”

Bloomberg: “A Secret Service unit responsible for identifying threats repeatedly downplayed advance warnings of potential violence on Jan. 6, 2021, newly released documents show, a lapse that is now part of the House investigation into the attack on the US Capitol.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) told ABC News that it’s now up to the American people to prevent another insurrection.

Said Kinzinger: “The torch has been passed—yes to DOJ—but also to the American people.”

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

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