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Cup of Joe – October 30, 2022

“Elon Musk planned to begin laying off workers at Twitter as soon as Saturday, with some managers being asked to draw up lists of employees to cut,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Musk, who completed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on Thursday, has ordered the cuts across the company, with some teams to be trimmed more than others… The scale of the layoffs could not be determined. Twitter has around 7,500 employees.”

John Gruber: “I can see this acquisition going badly — for Twitter as an institution, for Musk personally, or both. It’s high risk. That’s what makes it captivating. This is a $44 billion personal wager.”

“In the wake of Elon Musk buying Twitter Inc., a tide of slurs and racist memes swelled on the platform, sparking concern that the site is entering an era of hateful speech,” Bloomberg reports. “Twitter has long wrestled with how to enforce content policies fairly on its platform in order to appease the advertisers, users and powerful world leaders that use its service. But as Musk, a self-styled ‘free speech absolutist,’ took over ownership of the company, some conservative officials, partisan extremists and conspiracy peddlers saw reason to celebrate the change.”

Jonathan Last: Please God, let Elon Musk kill Twitter.

“Elon Musk kicked off his ownership of Twitter with trademark gusto, firing top executives, tweeting jests about the company and saying he would form a special council to tackle the thorny issue of content moderation that has long been a challenge for the social-media platform,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover, more than six months in the making, launches a new period of tumult for one of the world’s most influential platforms as he works to remake business and content practices that he has repeatedly criticized.”

Casey Newton: Elon takes over Twitter.

“Google is funneling revenue to some of the web’s most prolific purveyors of false information in Europe, Latin America and Africa,” a ProPublica investigation has found.

“The company has publicly committed to fighting disinformation around the world, but a ProPublica analysis, the first ever conducted at this scale, documented how Google’s sprawling automated digital ad operation placed ads from major brands on global websites that spread false claims on such topics as vaccines, COVID-19, climate change and elections.”

Donald Trump told Fox News that he wished Elon Musk the best with Twitter but stressed he will stay on his own Truth Social, a social media platform he touts as “better,” “safe” and that feels “like home.”

He added: “I don’t think Twitter can be successful without me.” 

Donald Trump has remained silent on the recent attack of Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), even as fellow members of the Republican Party have condemned the assault, The Hill reports.

“The San Francisco Police Department confirmed during a press conference on Friday evening that Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was somehow able to call 911 before being attacked with a hammer, allowing dispatch to respond,” Insider reports.

“Confirmation that Paul Pelosi made a 911 call came after media reports said he had secretly called 911 so that the intruder would not know and spoke in a way that would alert the dispatcher to what was happening without giving himself away.”

“In the months before police accused him of attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, David DePape had been drifting further into the world of far-right conspiracies, antisemitism and hate,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“DePape’s daughter, Inti Gonzalez, told The Times that she and her mother were reeling from the news that DePape had been arrested in connection with the attack on Paul Pelosi.”

Said Gonzales: “I’m a little shocked, but not really that shocked, in all honesty.”

“An America that can already feel like it’s hurtling toward political disintegration has been jolted yet again, this time by the violent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi less than two weeks before Election Day,” the AP reports.

New York Times: “Members of Congress have watched warily in recent years as threats and harassment against them have crescendoed, privately worrying that the brutal language and deranged misinformation creeping into political discourse would lead to actual violence.”

Axios: “Members of Congress are sounding new alarms about their personal security — and broader concerns about what the drumbeat of threats against prominent political figures means for them and for the country.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) pointed the finger at many Republicans for promoting the same conspiracy theories that apparently motivated the suspect in the brutal assault on speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in a CNN interview.

Said Kinzinger: “This is what happens when you convince a third of the country that the election was stolen and that the other side is an enemy. This is the kind of stuff that every Republican needs to speak out on.”

Politico: Pelosi’s status as GOP campaign-ad villain faces new scrutiny after violent home invasion.

“I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel. It will be hard not to hit her with it.”— House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), quoted by MSNBC on August 1, 2021.

David Frum: “There’s nothing partisan about political violence in America… But if both Republicans and Democrats, left and right, suffer political violence, the same cannot be said of those who celebrate political violence. That’s not a ‘both sides’ affair in 2020s America.”

“You don’t see Democratic House members wielding weapons in videos and threatening to shoot candidates who want to cut capital-gains taxes or slow the growth of Medicare. Democratic candidates for Senate do not post video fantasies of hunting and executing political rivals, or of using a firearm to discipline their children’s romantic partners. It’s not because of Democratic members that Speaker Nancy Pelosi installed metal detectors to bar firearms from the floor of the House. No Democratic equivalent exists of Donald Trump, who regularly praises and encourages violence as a normal tool of politics, most recently against his own party’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell.”

“A federal appeals court rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to reconsider a ruling that his tax returns must be disclosed to a congressional committee,” Bloomberg reports.

“The order from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit clears the way for the House Ways and Means Committee to get Trump’s financial documents, although the former president could still try to petition the US Supreme Court to intervene.”

CNN: “The Supreme Court could still intervene if Trump appeals.”

“The judge in the criminal trial of former President Donald Trump’s real estate company on charges of tax fraud set opening statements for Monday after the conclusion of jury selection on Friday with six alternates named to the panel,” Reuters reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that his country’s battle was with “Western elites,” not with the West itself, in a speech seemingly aimed more at winning over political conservatives abroad than his own citizens, the New York Times reports.

Said Putin: “There are at least two Wests.”

“One, he said, is a West of ‘traditional, mainly Christian values’ for which Russians feel kinship. But, he said, ‘there’s another West — aggressive, cosmopolitan, neocolonial, acting as the weapon of the neoliberal elite,’ and trying to impose its ‘pretty strange’ values on everyone else.”

“He peppered his remarks with references to ‘dozens of genders’ and ‘gay parades.’”

Ukraine has carried out a “massive” drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, damaging one warship, the BBC reports.

“Moscow suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement brokered earlier this year that reopened Ukrainian ports for agricultural product export,” CNBC reports.

“Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that it would halt participation, citing retaliation for Kyiv’s ‘act of terrorism’ against Russian warships.”

“A group of House and Senate Republicans have objected to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act conference report that would allow the United States to transfer the proceeds of forfeited Russian property to Ukraine,” the Washington Post reports.

The Economist: “Polls underestimated support for Mr Bolsonaro in the first round. All now suggest that the result will be close… However, one of two maxims about Brazilian elections is bound to be upturned. Since the country’s return to democracy in 1985, the candidate who was ahead in the first round of the election has always gone on to win the run-off. But a sitting president has never lost.”

“Top officials from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and even the CIA have held meetings and calls with Brazilian officials to try to head off any efforts by Bolsonaro to subvert the results of the country’s heated presidential elections,” Foreign Policy reports.

“A federal judge on Friday refused to ban an activist group from gathering near ballot boxes in Arizona, arguing that the members’ actions did not appear to constitute a ‘true threat’ or intimidation and that their right to assemble in public spaces is constitutionally protected,” the New York Times reports.

“In his 14-page ruling, Judge Michael T. Liburdi found that while ‘many voters are legitimately alarmed by the observers filming’ at ballot boxes in Maricopa County, there has been no proof that the group, Clean Elections USA, has encouraged any acts of violence against anyone, nor has it posted personal or identifying information about anyone.”

“It’s a nightmare scenario for American democracy: The officials in charge of certifying an election refuse to do so, setting off a blizzard of litigation and possibly a constitutional crisis,” the New York Times reports.

“And there are worrying signs that the fears of independent scholars, Democrats and a few anti-Trump Republicans could become a reality. We could soon be in legal terra incognita, they said — like the days when medieval cartographers would write ‘Here Be Dragons’ along the unexplored edges of world maps.”

“First time I ran for Congress, I got whooped. Had a big L on my forehead. I was frustrated too. You know what I didn’t do though? I didn’t claim that the election was rigged. I didn’t incite a mob to storm the Capitol.” — Barack Obama, at a rally in Georgia.

“Since the day President Biden took office, Republicans have publicly called for his impeachment, introducing more than a dozen resolutions accusing him and his top officials of high crimes and misdemeanors and running campaign ads and fund-raising appeals vowing to remove the president from office at the first opportunity,” the New York Times reports.

“But in the homestretch of a campaign that has brought the party tantalizingly close to winning control of Congress, top Republicans are seeking to downplay the chances that they will impeach Mr. Biden, distancing themselves from a polarizing issue that could alienate voters just as polls show the midterm elections breaking their way.”

“Still, should he become House speaker, Mr. McCarthy would be under immense pressure from hard-right members of his rank and file — and from core Republican voters who swept his party into the majority in part based on promises to take down Mr. Biden — to impeach. The pressure will only increase if former President Donald J. Trump adds his voice to those pushing for the move.”

“A jury found former Capitol police officer Michael Riley guilty Friday of obstructing the investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the building he was once sworn to protect, handing the Justice Department a victory in a unique and high-profile prosecution stemming from the insurrection,” Insider reports.

“The verdict came a year after Riley’s indictment on charges he advised a Capitol rioter to delete social media posts placing him within the pro-Trump mob that besieged the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.”

“One of Donald Trump’s most outspoken defenders, Kash Patel, who in interviews and on social media has launched blistering attacks against the FBI and repeatedly insisted Trump did nothing wrong in keeping a cache of allegedly classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, recently said he is no longer talking about the matter,” ABC News reports.

“One of the Justice Department’s most experienced national security prosecutors has joined the team overseeing the intensifying investigation of classified documents at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and private club,” the Washington Post reports.

“National security law experts say prosecutors appear to have amassed evidence in the case that would meet some of the criteria for bringing charges against the former president — an unprecedented action that they said likely would only happen if the Justice Department believes it has an extremely strong case.”

“David Raskin,who served for many years as a senior federal prosecutor in New York City, and more recently has worked as a prosecutor in Kansas City, Mo., has been quietly assisting in the investigation into Trump and his aides… Raskin is considered one of the most accomplished terrorism prosecutors of his generation.”

“For President Biden, the Dreaming-of-F.D.R. phase of his presidency may end in little more than a week. If Republicans capture one or both houses of Congress in midterm elections, as polling suggests, Mr. Biden’s domestic agenda will suddenly transform from a quest for a New Deal 2.0 to trench warfare defending the accomplishments of his first two years in office,” the New York Times reports.

“On a wide array of issues like abortion, taxes, race and judges, Mr. Biden’s opportunities would invariably shrink as he focuses less on advancing the expansive policy goals that have animated his administration and more on preserving the newly constructed economic and social welfare architecture that Republicans have vowed to dismantle.”

“While the president and Democratic leaders have not publicly given up on the possibility of hanging onto Congress in the balloting that concludes on Nov. 8, privately they are pessimistic and bracing for two years of grinding partisan conflict.”

“The White House rejected a recommendation by senior Pentagon officials to promote an Army general who came under intense scrutiny after the Pentagon’s slow response to the riot at the Capitol, pushing the officer to a near-certain retirement,” the Washington Post reports.

“Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, the director of the Army staff, was backed to become the four-star general at Army Futures Command by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth — both of whom were appointed by President Biden — and Gen. James McConville, the Army’s top officer, said two defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue. The White House declined to send a nomination for Piatt to the Senate for months, the officials said, effectively killing the possibility.”

 “Government plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions aren’t enough to avoid catastrophic global warming, with the planet on track to heat up between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times,” Bloomberg reports.

“Despite some progress in the last year, governments need to do more by 2030 to ensure that the global temperature increase is below 2C and ideally closer to 1.5C — the goal set in the Paris Agreement reached in 2015.”

“Hours after disgraced North Carolina Sheriff Jody Greene (R) announced his long-awaited resignation, the top cop who was caught on tape calling his Black colleagues ‘bastards’ made it clear his exit was just a strategy to ensure that he could continue his reelection campaign,” Vice News reports.

“By resigning before the county’s attempt to remove him from office could move forward, Greene is free to continue his reelection bid without consequences.”

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

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