Cup of Joe – October 26, 2022

“With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, Democrats are pivoting to a new economic message: That Republicans will crash the economy next year in order to gut Social Security and Medicare, a pair of politically popular safety-net programs,” Semafor reports.

“From President Biden to Speaker Pelosi to individual candidates in race after race, Democrats are pushing for a renewed focus on entitlements, a traditional strength for the party.”

Jonathan Capehart: “After my interview with President Biden aired on MSNBC over the weekend, I got the same question over and over again: How is he?”

“Each time, it was asked in that skittish way one speaks when inquiring about someone they fear is in decline. Folks, listen to me. Biden is just fine. More than fine. In fact, after nearly 30 minutes with the president at Delaware State University in Dover, Del., on Friday, I came away with two overwhelming impressions: Biden is totally going to run for reelection in 2024. And he doesn’t just like being president; he loves the job of president.”

“It has long been known that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to hold the post second in line to the presidency, does not sleep much. These days, as she races in and out of cities across the nation in a grueling, nonstop push for campaign money to hang on to her embattled House majority, even her bedtime hours are consumed with thoughts of how to win,” the New York Times reports.

Said Pelosi: “I don’t count sheep at night; I count districts. I go one by one by one.”

“The big question is whether she can count to 218, the number required to maintain control of the House — and one that a growing number of independent handicappers believe is out of reach for Democrats.”

“As Republicans seize on crime as one of their leading issues in the final weeks of the midterm elections, they have deployed a series of attack lines, terms and imagery that have injected race into contests across the country,” the New York Times reports.

“In states as disparate as Wisconsin and New Mexico, ads have labeled a Black candidate as ‘different’ and ‘dangerous’ and darkened a white man’s hands as they portrayed him as a criminal.”

“Nowhere have these tactics risen to overtake the debate in a major campaign, but a survey of competitive contests, particularly those involving Black candidates, shows they are so widespread as to have become an important weapon in the 2022 Republican arsenal.”x

“A group of 30 House liberals is urging President Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war and pursue direct negotiations with Russia, the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to Ukraine,” the Washington Post reports. Except, as of yesterday, and after a day of controversy and backpedaling, the Progressive caucus withdrew the letter, saying it was released without vetting by staff. LOL.

Josh Marshall: “More generally, I think there are people in the Progressive Caucus who simply weren’t comfortable with a position indistinguishable from the rest of their party and indeed from many more mainstream Republicans. But the fallout from the release of the letter shows a clumsiness and obtuseness I would not have expected from members like Rep. Jayapal or Jamie Raskin or Ro Khanna. And here I want to distinguish between positions I might disagree with versus position statements that are simply logical contradictions or ones that need to be recanted or explained or abandoned within hours.

The truth is that Biden administration has and continues to pursue diplomacy. There are no public negotiations because the two sides are simply two far apart for them to make any sense. Taken on its face the letter calls on the administration to do what it’s actually already doing (using diplomacy to find a settlement) while not doing what the letter says it shouldn’t do (act without Ukraine’s support) and has actually not done.”

I think Josh is right, some idiot progressives were looking to differentiate themselves on foreign policy from Biden, because progressives and liberals shouldn’t agree on foreign policy for some reason, and shot themselves in the foot in the process. These progressives were probably influenced by Tankies who always view all foreign policy with an anti-US lens, thus automatically taking a pro-Russian side (and yes, calling on Ukraine to negotiate are words straight out of Putin’s mouth).

“Western officials were trying on Monday to decipher Russia’s motives in alleging that Kyiv is preparing to deploy a so-called dirty bomb in Ukraine,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A Moscow regional court upheld the drug conviction of U.S. women’s basketball star Brittney Griner, paving the way for the two-time Olympian to serve nine years in a penal colony for the possession and smuggling of less than a gram of hashish oil,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The court hearing Ms. Griner’s appeal on Tuesday had the option of leaving the verdict as it is, reducing the sentence or overruling it and returning it to the lower court where the case was first heard.”

New York Times: “The flotilla of Russian superyachts in Turkish waters is raising tensions with the United States, which sees Turkey’s welcoming of the vessels as a symptom of the much larger problem: Russia’s access to Turkey’s financial system, potentially undermining Western sanctions.”

“In all, at least 32 yachts tied to oligarchs and sanctioned entities have sheltered in the country’s waters in recent months, able to move about or moor in its picturesque coves and bays without fear of seizure, according to a New York Times analysis. Ownership records of superyachts for the ultrawealthy are notorious for being hidden behind layers of shell companies.”

“Rishi Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister of the year on Tuesday and now must turn his attention to taming an economic crisis that has left the country’s finances in a precarious state and millions of Britons struggling to afford food and energy bills,” the AP reports.

“Sunak, the U.K.’s first leader of color, met at Buckingham Palace with King Charles III, who had just accepted the resignation of Liz Truss.”

“Sunak — at 42 the youngest British leader in more than 200 years — is expected to immediately begin appointing a Cabinet and getting to grips with an economy sliding toward recession. The third Conservative prime minister this year, he will also try to unite a governing party that is riven with divisions after Truss’ brief, disastrous term weakened Britain’s already difficult economic outlook.”

After winning the Tories’ leadership contest on Monday, ex-British finance minister Rishi Sunak met King Charles at Buckingham Palace before giving his first speech as the new prime minister outside Number 10 today.

The British people have had the same Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office longer than they’ve had the same prime minister since David Cameron resigned in 2016: Larry’s outlasted Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

A new Redfield and Wilton survey of Conservative party voters found that 82% disapproved of Liz Truss’s job performance as Prime Minister while just 7% approved.

Jonathan Chait: “Last week, a reporter asked President Biden if he would support a repeal of the debt ceiling. ‘A permanent repeal of the debt ceiling? Just say we don’t have a debt limit?’ he asked with a laugh, as if the notion were fantastical. ‘No. That’d be irresponsible.’”

“The reality is in fact just the opposite. Repealing the debt ceiling, or raising it to a level at which it is practically repealed, is the responsible course of action. Leaving the debt ceiling in place invites political chaos and creates the risk of a global economic meltdown with absolutely no benefit whatsoever. Biden’s dismissive comment was the most irresponsible act of his entire presidency.”

Luckily, Biden’s Administration is well ahead of him: The administration is in early, quiet discussions with key Senate offices about raising the debt ceiling in the lame-duck session of Congress, Axios reports.

“Donald Trump’s company on Tuesday lost a bid to dismiss an initial group of 18 prospective jurors for the real estate firm’s criminal trial on tax fraud charges after arguing that the pool was tainted by observing one juror candidate who said she was biased,” Reuters reports.

Bob Woodward: “The Trump Tapes leaves no doubt that after four years in the presidency, Trump has learned where the levers of power are, and full control means installing absolute loyalists in key Cabinet and White House posts. The record now shows that Trump has led — and continues to lead — a seditious conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election, which in effect is an effort to destroy democracy.”

Donald Trump still hasn’t paid back the city of El Paso the more than $500,000 he owes for hosting his 2019 rally there, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Donald Trump tore into his former communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin, saying she should be fired by ABC as a co-host of its hit daytime political talk show The View.

“For nearly a year, regulators have been examining whether a proposed merger involving the social media company backed by former President Donald Trump broke securities laws,” the New York Times reports.

“To save the deal ahead of a December deadline, lawyers for Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company that plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, recently met with regulators to plead their case. Trump Media stands to get $300 million if the deal is completed, money it would use to fund its Truth Social media platform.”

“Digital World’s case could hinge on the meaning of the word ‘substantive.’”

The Economist: “Any conclusion that Sars-Cov-2 was engineered will be hotly contested. China denies the virus came from a Chinese lab, and has asked for investigations into whether it may have originated in America. Dr Washburne and his colleagues say their predictions are testable. If a progenitor genome to Sars-Cov-2 is found in the wild with restriction sites that are the same, or intermediate, it would raise the chances that this pattern evolved by chance.”

“Any widely supported conclusion that the virus was genetically engineered would have profound ramifications, both political and scientific. It would put in a new light the behavior of the Chinese government in the early days of the outbreak, particularly its reluctance to share epidemiological data from those days. It would also raise questions about what was known, when, and by whom about the presumably accidental escape of an engineered virus. For now, this is a first draft of science, and needs to be treated as such. But the scrutineers are already at work.”

“America’s closest allies are nervously watching US midterm elections for any signals that voters could return Donald Trump to the White House in two years, with foreign officials fanning out to battleground states for meetings to collect information that might help avoid a 2016-like shock,” Bloomberg reports.

“Officials from Europe and Asia are flying from their home countries to augment the traditional work of consulates and embassies in trying to decipher the political contests.”

Days after President George W. Bush tapped him for the Supreme Court in 2005, Samuel Alito told Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) that he respected the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, according to Kennedy’s private diary (part of which will be published in an upcoming book by New York Times reporter John Farrell).

This is what Alito claimed, according to Kennedy’s notes: “I believe that there is a right to privacy. I think it’s settled as part of the liberty clause of the 14th Amendment and the Fifth Amendment. So I recognize there is a right to privacy. I’m a believer in precedents. I think on the Roe case that’s about as far as I can go.”

This is what Alito wrote as he was dismantling Roe 17 years later: “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” Alito’s in good company with fellow conservative Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who lied (or at best, misled) Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) about whether they’d take down Roe.

Kennedy was not fooled: He ultimately voted against confirming Alito the Supreme Court.

Rolling Stone: “The Republican Party is but one seat shy of capturing the Senate and virtually a lock to take the House, possibly by a lot. They’re fighting to win not just a majority, but a governing majority to maximize their negotiating leverage versus President Joe Biden. Yet many political action committees, run by some of the country’s most prominent and presumably influential corporations, are sitting on piles of cash for most of the year rather than greasing the wheels of the Republicans in line to wield enormous authority over big business — i.e. them — as chairmen of key policy committees and subcommittees.”

“This stinginess could be remembered as the final act in the GOP’s slow-motion breakup with corporate America, a relationship-unraveling years in the making. It’s a jarring split that stands to reshape American politics, furthering the realignment of the Democratic and Republican parties and upending policymaking on Capitol Hill.”

“Ashton Carter, an academic physicist who later climbed the leadership ranks at the Pentagon, culminating in two years as secretary of defense under President Barack Obama, a position he used to further open the military to women and transgender service members, died on Monday in Boston,” the New York Times reports.

Ed Luce: “Imagine that a superpower declared war on a great power and nobody noticed. Joe Biden this month launched a full-blown economic war on China — all but committing the US to stopping its rise — and for the most part, Americans did not react.”

“To be sure, there is Russia’s war on Ukraine and inflation at home to preoccupy attention. But history is likely to record Biden’s move as the moment when US-China rivalry came out of the closet. America is now pledged to do everything short of fighting an actual war to stop China’s rise.”

“It is not clear that corporate America, or its foreign counterparts, have fully digested what is about to hit them.”

“In 10 years of ruling China, Xi Jinping has expunged political rivals, replacing them with allies. He has wiped out civil society, giving citizens no recourse for help but his government. He has muzzled dissent, saturating public conversation with propaganda about his greatness,” the New York Times reports.

“Now, having secured a precedent-defying third term, Mr. Xi is poised to push his vision of a swaggering, nationalist China even further, with himself at the center.”

Tucker Carlson called the Democratic Party a “child sacrifice cult” in a rant about abortion on his Fox News show.

Said Carlson: “Abortion politics is a total fixation of Democratic donors. It’s the main thing they care about. Why is that, by the way? It’s a religion. It’s a child sacrifice cult.”

New York Times: “A key focus for prosecutors is Walt Nauta, a little-known figure who worked in the White House as a military valet and cook when Mr. Trump was president and later for him personally at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s private club and residence in Florida.”

“Prosecutors have indicated they are skeptical of an initial account Mr. Nauta gave investigators about moving documents stored at Mar-a-Lago and are using the specter of charges against him for misleading investigators to persuade him to sit again for questioning.”

Also interesting: Former Trump Aide Kash Patel took the Fifth when subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

The Republican-led states imposing significant abortion restrictions don’t have the support of their electorates, The 19th reports.

Across states that have passed near-total bans, 52% of people actually say they think abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Just 13% in those states, and 10% nationwide, support a complete ban.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll finds that 63% of Americans support a ban on the consideration of race in college admissions.

“At the same time, 64% say programs designed to increase racial diversity of students are a good thing. Support for boosting diversity is high across racial and ethnic groups, while Black Americans are less supportive of banning race as a factor in admissions than people of other backgrounds.”

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

2 comments on “Cup of Joe – October 26, 2022

  1. Stan Merriman

    Why are you tolerating the use of the word “entitlements” re: Social Security and Medicare? That is Republican propoganda you are supporting.

  2. Let’s check the dictionary.

    Entitlement: the fact of having a right to something.

    It’s called an entitlement because you’re entitled to it. The problem isn’t the word.

    The fact that Republicans turned it into a dirty word should be your clue that any word can be corrupted in exactly the same way. What word would you use, and how would you prevent it from being corrupted?

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