Delaware

Cup of Joe – November 2, 2022

New York Times: “In the days since Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked by an intruder asking, ‘Where is Nancy?’, a litany of Republicans and conservatives have spread baseless conspiracy theories about the assault and its motives.”

“Although the police have not yet detailed all the circumstances of the crime, these theories have already seeped into the Republican mainstream. While many Republican officials have denounced the violence, others have at the very least tolerated, and in some cases cheered, a violent assault on the spouse of a political rival.”

Punchbowl News: “The horror of Friday’s attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is still reverberating across the Congress. Members are asking new questions about their own personal safety. The U.S. Capitol Police are conducting a review of security for top members and senators. And senior officials in the Capitol have sent out reminders of the services available to keep lawmakers and their families safe.”

“But there are GOP lawmakers and conservative figures who have posted or retweeted some truly horrendous comments about what’s looking more like a potential assassination attempt aimed at Pelosi.”

“Republicans and others on the right are amplifying misinformation and outright falsehoods about last week’s violent assault on Paul Pelosi by a hammer-wielding intruder searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA),” the Washington Post reports.

“The innuendo about the attack that billionaire Elon Musk and right-wing personalities spread on social media this past weekend showed no signs of abating Monday as elected officials and other conservatives perpetuated wild theories.”

The man accused of attacking Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, told police he wanted to hold the speaker hostage and “break her kneecaps,” the AP reports. The suspect also told investigators that “by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions.”

The imprisoned longtime partner of David DePape, the suspect in the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, said that mental illness and drug use had caused him to deteriorate so profoundly that he once grew convinced that “he was Jesus for a year,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

It’s worth noting that the criminal complaint against the man who violently attacked Paul Pelosi includes his confession — which debunks every conspiracy theory pushed and amplified by Republican politicians and right-wing media.

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson used his monologue on Monday night to cast doubt on authorities’ version of events surrounding the attack on the husband of the speaker of the House. He conveniently ommited key details from the charging documents that contradicted his take.

Matthew Dallek: “The assault on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul, last week shocked even those who have become inured to rising violence in the United States. The erosion of norms restraining extreme behavior that began well before the election of Donald Trump in 2016 appears to have accelerated. Society looks as if it is coming apart at the seams.”

“The Reagan-era ‘government is the problem’ language and ideology has been transformed into a philosophy that casts the government as not just a problem but as evil, a threat to the values MAGA supporters hold dear. Under Mr. Trump’s leadership, groups on the right have felt increasingly comfortable incubating, encouraging and carrying out violence.”

“The consistency of the rhetoric has ingrained dehumanization of Republican opponents in parts of the political culture; conservatives have often painted their critics as enemies who must be annihilated before they destroy you. As the Department of Homeland Security has reported, domestic violent extremism — such as the white supremacist Charlottesville riots and the Jan. 6 insurrection — is one of the most pressing internal threats facing the United States.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) “partly blamed Fox News for fueling the vitriol against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul, who was attacked by an intruder with a hammer at the couple’s San Francisco home last week,” CBS News reports.

Said Newsom: “I’ve seen the dehumanization of Nancy Pelosi. I don’t think anyone’s been dehumanized like she has consistently. Now I watched this one guy, Jesse Watters or something on Fox News. What he’s been saying about Paul Pelosi the last five, six months, mocking him consistently. Don’t tell me that’s not aiding and abetting all this. Of course it is.”

Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake (R) “made light of the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in remarks at a campaign event Monday, drawing laughter from the audience,” NBC News reports.

“Asked about school security, Lake suggested the protection afforded to federal lawmakers should be available to students, as well.”

Said Lake: “Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in D.C. — apparently her house doesn’t have a lot of protection.”

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After remaining silent for days, Donald Trump called the attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) husband in their San Francisco home a “terrible thing,” The Hill reports.

Said Trump: “With Paul Pelosi, that’s a terrible thing, with all of them it’s a terrible thing. Look at what’s happened to San Francisco generally. Look at what’s happening in Chicago. It was far worse than Afghanistan.”

Chief Justice John Roberts “temporarily halted the release of former president Donald Trump’s tax records to a congressional committee, and called for more briefing in the case,” the Washington Post reports.

“Without the Supreme Court’s intervention, the records could have been handed over to the House Ways and Means Committee as early as Thursday.”

Earlier, “Trump filed an emergency application asking the nation’s highest court to block the House Committee on Ways & Means of obtaining his tax records.”

“Members of billionaire Elon Musk’s inner circle huddled with Twitter’s remaining senior executives throughout the weekend, conducting detailed discussions regarding the site’s approach to content moderation, as well as plans to lay off 25 percent of the workforce to start,” the Washington Post reports.

Joshua Green: “From the standpoint of maintaining one’s personal sanity and mental well-being, the answer is probably yes. Trump’s absence from Twitter has robbed him of the ability to dominate cable news coverage and diminished his exhausting prominence in most people’s daily lives. (He had 90 million Twitter followers, compared with a paltry 4.4 million on Truth Social, which also has much lower traffic.) That all stands to change if Musk reinstates him.”

“But from a standpoint of what’s politically best for Democrats, choking down the castor oil of having Trump back on Twitter may be just what they need to rebound from what is shaping up to be a rough Election Day and start preparing for 2024.”

“The last few years have clarified that, as much as they may hate him, Trump is the great Democratic unifier.”

“The Justice Department stepped in to an ongoing Arizona election lawsuit Monday, supporting a claim by the League of Women Voters of Arizona that monitoring ballot drop boxes can amount to illegal voter intimidation,” the Washington Post reports.

“The department said such ‘vigilante ballot security measures,’ including filming voters at drop boxes, probably violates the federal Voting Rights Act.”

David Corn: “If you want to see just how crazy the GOP has become, you need only watch the video recording of a conference on ‘election integrity’ held in Florida on Saturday by a group of 2020 election denialists. In attendance, either virtually or in person, were the Republican candidates running for secretary of state—the guardians of election integrity—in the crucial swing states of Arizona, Nevada, and Michigan, respectively, Mark Finchem, Jim Marchant, and Kristina Karamo.”

“Each has already demonstrated their own devotion to extremism by associating with QAnoners and championing Donald Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. But they further signaled their loyalty to the politics of paranoia and conspiracism by hobnobbing with conference participants who have promoted some of the looniest conspiracy theories.”

“The Arizona and Michigan state Republican Parties are calling voters urging them to return their ballots by mail or to drop boxes in those battleground states, despite their candidates promoting false claims that such practices are rife for voter fraud,” CNN reports.

“Afghan special forces soldiers who fought alongside American troops and then fled to Iran after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal last year are now being recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine,” the AP reports.

Washington Post: “Opposition to — or skepticism of — sending more U.S. money to Ukraine has accelerated within the GOP in recent weeks, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) signaling earlier this month that Republicans would end or limit spending on the war if they take control of the House in next week’s midterms.”

“The threat to cut funding marks a sharp turn for a party whose members almost universally embraced aiding Ukraine after Russia invaded in February. Over the past eight months, supporters of former president Donald Trump have joined with skeptics of military intervention and anti-Biden forces within the GOP to challenge traditionally hawkish Republicans.”

“The result is a rare fissure in the GOP, one likely to flare into a more open battle if Republicans retake Congress and are faced with forceful requests from Biden and emotional appeals from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.”

“Conservative Supreme Court justices on Monday seemed open to ending decades of precedent allowing race-conscious admission decisions at colleges and universities, repeatedly expressing doubt that the institutions would ever concede an ‘endpoint’ in their use of race to build diverse student bodies,” the Washington Post reports.

“After nearly five hours of oral argument, the programs at Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill seemed endangered. The question is how broad such a decision might be, and what it would mean for other institutions of higher education.”

New York Times: “Such a ruling could jeopardize affirmative action at elite colleges and universities around the nation, decreasing the representation of Black and Latino students and raising the number of white and Asian ones.”

“Progressives aren’t waiting to see if Janet Yellen stays on as U.S. Treasury secretary after the midterm elections. They’re already lining up against a potential successor,” Politico reports.

“Key players on the Democratic Party’s left flank are poised to oppose Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, a business-friendly contender who has a close relationship with President Joe Biden and is favored by many in the White House to take the position if Yellen leaves, as some officials expect.”

The ex-president’s attorneys have a busy week ahead of them in the concrete jungle where courts are made of, there’s nothing you can’t sue (alright, that clumsy…whatever I’m trying to do with that Alicia Keys song only really applies to two out of three of the cases). 

Anyway, Trump and/or his business are going to court in New York City for the following cases:

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) $250 million tax fraud civil lawsuit against Trump, his three eldest children, and the Trump Organization
  • The Manhattan district attorney’s tax fraud criminal case against the Trump Organization
  • A group of protesters’ 2015 lawsuit against Trump, his 2016 presidential campaign, and the Trump Organization alleging that the then-candidate sicced his security team on them to violently crack down on their protest against his racist comments outside Trump Tower.

“As Israelis vote on Tuesday in their fifth parliamentary election in less than four years, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to return to power, but polls are predicting another deadlock,” the New York Times reports.

“Once again, voters are choosing between a right-wing bloc led by Mr. Netanyahu, who is currently the opposition leader, and the governing alliance of right-wing, left-wing and centrist parties that share little beyond their opposition to the former prime minister.”

“In the tightest presidential election in Brazilian history, following a bitterly fought campaign that deepened divisions in Latin America’s largest nation, President Jair Bolsonaro has remained out of public view since 8 p.m. Sunday, when the Superior Electoral Court declared Lula the winner of the second and final round.” the Washington Post reports.

“Bolsonaro, a close ally of former president Donald Trump, known for his fiery rhetoric and incendiary missives on social media, has opted for a response that for him has been extremely uncommon: silence.”

However, the Times of London reports Bolsonaro “appeared ready last night to concede” and “told his cabinet that he did not plan to challenge the result of the election but nor did he plan to congratulate the winner.”

“This is not an easy time to lead a government. Right-wing challengers have taken power in Italy and Sweden. Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro was defeated by a leftist former President. Rishi Sunak is Britain’s third Prime Minister in seven weeks. Joe Biden’s Democrats are bracing for a tough election night next month. All over the world, democracies face anti-incumbent anger,” Time reports.

“In France, meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron had hoped to buck this trend. In April, he became the first chief executive to win re-election in his country in 20 years. Last year’s retirement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel provided him an opportunity to act as Europe’s lead statesman. His idea for a 44-nation ‘European Political Community,’ which held its first meeting in October, is meant to give Europe a strategic unity (and independence of action from Washington) that Macron and many of his French predecessors have dreamed of for decades—even in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

“Yet once again Macron finds himself bogged down with domestic political resentments. Right-wing parties point an accusatory finger at his globalist vision of France’s future. Politicos and activists on the left say he’s a king who cares nothing for the struggles of working people.”

William Saletan: “Chris Sununu, the governor of New Hampshire, is one of the saner people in today’s Republican party. He concedes that the 2020 election was free and fair. He acknowledges climate change. He has criticized Republican leaders for ostracizing Rep. Liz Cheney and other principled dissidents while protecting the party’s worst extremists.”

“That’s why Sununu’s decision in the final weeks of the 2022 campaign to embrace election deniers is a particularly bad sign. Like other Republican officials, he has decided that sabotage of public faith in democracy doesn’t matter, as long as the saboteurs are Republicans. And he’s defending their reckless behavior with pernicious excuses.”

Of course, if you embrace election deniers are you really sane?

“House Republicans will announce later today that their leadership elections will take place just one week after the midterms,” the Washington Post reports.

“The decision to quickly lock down the conferences’ top slots is a strategic move to ride the high if Republicans retake the House and cement  the top leadership team and pave the way for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to become speaker in January.”

“It’s hard to start a fight when people are still celebrating.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told New York Magazine that he is “better prepared” to lead as Speaker in the lower chamber than he was in the past.

“President Biden will head to Florida Tuesday with a focus on how a Republican-controlled Congress could threaten Social Security and Medicare benefits for millions of Americans,” The Hill reports.

Associated Press: Biden aims to drive GOP contrast in Florida.

“President Biden is steering clear of some presidential battleground states with pivotal Senate and gubernatorial races, as his low approval ratings and voter frustration over the economy weigh on his party ahead of the November midterm elections,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Of the 14 states with some of the most competitive Senate and governor races, based on ratings from the Cook Political Report, Mr. Biden has visited six since Sept. 1. He hasn’t been to Arizona, Nevada or Georgia, three states with high-profile midterm races that also helped put him in the White House.”

“Graydon Young, the first Oath Keeper to plead guilty to conspiracy in connection to January 6, 2021, told a jury Monday in the trial of five alleged leaders of the far-right group that after the 2020 election, he and other members believed the US government was covering up election fraud and the militia needed to act,” CNN reports.

Said Young: “I felt sort of a sense of desperation and hopelessness. At the time I thought that there had been fraud committed. I listened to what Trump’s attorneys were saying, and I didn’t think there was anything that wasn’t going to keep it from going on course.”

He added: “Now, looking back, I guess I was acting like a traitor against my own government.”

“In former Vice President Mike Pence’s So Help Me God — out Nov. 15 — he describes a scene in November 2020, just after the election, when he and former President Trump met in the Oval Office to review legal challenges with the campaign’s lawyers,” Axios reports.

From an excerpt: “What began as a briefing that Thursday afternoon quickly turned into a contentious back-and-forth between the campaign lawyers and a growing group of outside attorneys led by Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, an attorney who had represented General Mike Flynn.”

“After the campaign lawyers gave a sober and somewhat pessimistic report on the state of election challenges, the outside cast of characters went on the attack … Giuliani told the president over the speakerphone, ‘Your lawyers are not telling you the truth, Mr. President.’”

“Even in an office well acquainted with rough-and-tumble debates, it was a new low… and went downhill from there.”

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

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