Cup of Joe – November 30, 2022

Seven years into the Trump era, and we’re still getting this kind of nonsense from sitting U.S. senators: Whose fault was it that Trump had dinner with Nick Fuentes and Kanye West? Certainly not Trump’s! It was poor staffing!

  • Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “That’s just a bad idea on every level. I don’t know who was advising him on his staff but I hope that whoever that person was got fired”
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): “If the reports are true and the president didn’t know who he was, whoever let him in the room should be fired.”

A guy whose political career was launched by the catchphrase “You’re fired!” is the victim of his own failure to fire bad staff. Amazing.

For the most credulous audience, this dance let’s the senator sidestep any direct criticism of Trump while still handwringing and looking serious.

For the rest of us, the senators look like duplicitous boobs.

Mike Pence told News Nation that Donald Trump was “wrong” to have dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes last week. Said Pence: “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an anti-Semite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table, and I think he should apologize.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) condemned Donald Trump for dining with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Kanye West. Said Cassidy: “President Trump hosting racist antisemites for dinner encourages other racist antisemites. These attitudes are immoral and should not be entertained. This is not the Republican Party.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told CNN that white supremacist Nick Fuentes “is a purveyor and a spreader of an evil, poison.”

Asked if Donald Trump should condemn Fuentes after dining with him, Rubio said: “I hope he will. Because I know he’s not an antisemite. I can tell you that for a fact that Trump is not but this guy is evil. And that guy’s just a nasty, disgusting person. He’s an ass clown.”

Henry Olson: “The new Republican Party breaks down into four rough factions in response to this query, and none has a clear plurality. Instead, the party has three factions of nearly equal size and a fourth tiny one whose votes might be decisive.”

“The three lions are Mega MAGA, the Old Guard and the MAGA Adjacent. I estimate each are about 30 percent of the party’s voters and are numerous in virtually every state. The minnow is the Never Trump group, which constitutes about 10 percent of GOP voters. They are strongest in wealthy suburbs and major metropolitan areas such as New York and D.C.”

“For much of Donald Trump’s presidency, Jewish Republicans rationalized away the bigoted fringe of Mr. Trump’s coalition, arguing that the unsavory supporters in his midst and the antisemitic tropes he deployed paled in comparison with the staunchly pro-Israel policies of his administration,” the New York Times reports.

“But last week, Mr. Trump dined at his Palm Beach palace, Mar-a-Lago, with the performer Kanye West, who had already been denounced for making antisemitic statements, and with Nick Fuentes, an outspoken antisemite and Holocaust denier, granting the antisemitic fringe a place of honor at his table. Now, even some of Mr. Trump’s staunchest supporters say they can no longer ignore the abetting of bigotry by the nominal leader of the Republican Party.”

“Not all Republican leaders have spoken out, but Jewish Republicans are slowly peeling away from a former president who, for years, insisted he had no ties to the bigoted far right, but refused to repudiate it.”

Allen Wan: “In my almost 13 years in China, I’ve personally witnessed no more than a handful of protests: In Shanghai’s People’s Square during the Jasmine Revolution movement of 2011 and more recently last year in Shenzhen, where angry depositors demonstrated in front of distressed property developer Evergrande’s headquarters in an attempt to get their money back.”

“While people do push back, largely on issues of local importance — the building of a contentious road, say, or concerns about pollution near a village — never could I have imagined thousands of Shanghai residents, young and old, converging along Wulumuqi Road in the famous French Concession on a Sunday night, demanding an end to Covid Zero, among other grievances.”

New York Times: “In a country where dissent is quickly smothered, and most people have never had the chance to protest, many were unsure what to ask for, let alone what could actually happen. The only sure thing seemed to be a sense of urgency — that this was a rare moment that had to be seized.”

“Chinese universities sent students home and police fanned out in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent more protests Tuesday after crowds angered by severe anti-virus restrictions called for leader Xi Jinping to resign in the biggest show of public dissent in decades,” the AP reported reports.

Axios: China maintains zero-Covid despite unprecedented protests.

Washington Post: “While older Americans have consistently been the worst hit during the crisis, as evident in the scores of early nursing home deaths, that trend has become more pronounced. Today, nearly 9 in 10 covid deaths are in people 65 or older — the highest rate ever.”

“Some epidemiologists and demographers predict the trend of older, sicker and poorer people dying at disproportionate rates will continue, raising hard questions about the trade-offs Americans are making in pursuit of normalcy — and at whose expense.”

New York Times: “Mr. Garland made it clear from the start that he was not inclined to tap outsiders to run investigations and indicated that the department was perfectly capable of functioning as an impartial arbiter in the two criminal inquiries involving Mr. Trump.”

“But the appointment of a special counsel, Jack Smith, on Nov. 18, and a painstakingly planned rollout of the announcement, signaled a significant, if subtle, shift in that approach. Mr. Garland has shown a growing willingness to operate outside his comfort zone — within the confines of the rule book — in response to the extraordinary circumstance he now finds himself in: investigating Mr. Trump, a top contender for the 2024 nomination of a party that is increasingly rallying around the charge that Mr. Garland has weaponized the Justice Department against Republicans.”

The former president has ratcheted up the attacks on the new special counsel, Jack Smith. It worked before, and no surprise he’s using it again.

Asha Rangappa writes about complicated interplay of Trump’s public attacks and DOJ rules and regs that limit public comment on investigative matters in “Information Asymmetry and the Special Counsel.”

“Supreme Court justices signaled they will put new limits on public-corruption prosecutions as they considered overturning the conviction of a onetime top aide to former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,” Bloomberg reports.

“Hearing arguments in Washington Monday, the justices questioned whether Joseph Percoco could be convicted of so-called honest-services fraud given that he was working for Cuomo’s re-election campaign — and not the government — during a key eight-month period in 2014. The Biden administration is defending the conviction.”

“Justices from across the court’s ideological spectrum said they worried the administration’s position would put influential lobbyists — and those who hire them — at risk of prosecution. Chief Justice John Roberts described the government’s arguments as ‘an effort to break down the concept of political power.’”

I don’t remember seeing anything quite like this before.

The legal counsel for the Supreme Court has written a letter defending Justice Samuel Alito from the allegations in a NYT story that he may have leaked in advance the results of the court’s 2014 Hobby Lobby decision, which he authored.

“There is nothing to suggest that Justice Alito’s actions violated ethics standards,” Ethan Torrey wrote. The letter was a response to questions from a Democratic senator and congressman raised by the NYT report.

“Twitter said it will no longer enforce its longstanding Covid misinformation policy, yet another sign of how Elon Musk plans to transform the social media company he bought a month ago,” CNN reports.

“With less than two weeks until a railroad strike deadline, President Biden plans to call on Congress to take action to avert a shutdown of the country’s freight railroads,” the Washington Post reports.

“A rail strike could threaten the nation’s water supply, halt passenger rail travel and trigger major disruptions to the U.S. supply chain during the height of the holiday season, potentially worsening inflation. Already, some tech companies have begun rerouting cargo shipments from railroads to trucks in preparation for a potential shutdown.”

“Union officials have said it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the unions and major rail freight carriers would reach a deal over lingering issues before a Dec. 9 strike deadline, renewing pressure on Congress and the White House to intervene.”

Playbook: “People familiar with the process told us last night that Biden and his advisers determined that the risk to the economy was just too great. A strike would disrupt supply chains — including such critical goods as motor fuels and water treatment chemicals — and could ultimately cost the U.S. economy $1 billion within a week.”

One member of a union that voted down the labor agreement told the New York Times that Biden’s move “seems to cater to the oligarchs.”

Reuters: “The Pentagon is considering a Boeing proposal to supply Ukraine with cheap, small precision bombs fitted onto abundantly available rockets, allowing Kyiv to strike far behind Russian lines as the West struggles to meet demand for more arms.”

“The Biden administration said Monday that Russia has abruptly and without explanation postponed the scheduled resumption of arms control talks this week,” the AP reports.

“A documentary on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s life and groundbreaking political career, shot and edited by her daughter, will debut on HBO next month,” the AP reports.

“Alexandra Pelosi’s ‘Pelosi in the House’ will premiere Dec. 13 and will include footage shot during the Jan. 6 insurrection.”

The House Ethics Committee is probing allegations Rep. Kai Kahele (D-HI) violated ethics rules by using official resources on his campaign social media accounts, Politico reports.

Max Boot: “The Democrats’ midterm wipeout in Florida — not a single Democrat will hold statewide office next year in what was once a swing state — is bad news for the party but good news for the future of U.S. foreign policy.”

“President Biden, with no hope of winning the state in 2024, is now free to pursue more pragmatic policies towards Cuba and Venezuela, rather than catering to politically potent constituencies of conservative Cuban Americans and Venezuelan Americans in south Florida, as administrations of both parties have been doing for decades.”

Donald Trump for the first time explicitly acknowledged taking White House documents when he left office and said that he did so “openly and transparently.”

The special master in the Mar-a-Lago documents case has cancelled a hearing scheduled for Dec. 1 and instructed Trump and the Justice Department to respond in writing to questions he has about the dwindling number of dubious privilege issues being raised by Trump.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule at any moment now on the Justice Department appeal that would halt the special master’s review. Stay tuned.

“The swelling protests against severe pandemic restrictions in China — the world’s second-largest economy — are injecting a new element of uncertainty and instability into the global economy when nations are already struggling to manage the fallout from a war in Ukraine, an energy crisis and painful inflation,” the New York Times reports.

“For years, China has served as the world’s factory and a vital engine of global growth, and turmoil there cannot help but ripple elsewhere. Analysts warn that more unrest could further slow the production and distribution of integrated circuits, machine parts, household appliances and more. It may also encourage companies in the United States and Europe to disengage from China and more quickly diversify their supply chains.”

“Key data indicators suggest that this year’s rampant global inflation has peaked and that the pace of headline price growth is set to slow in the coming months,” the Financial Times reports.

Gaslighting” is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, the AP reports.  Searches for the word “increased 1,740% in 2022 over the year before. But something else happened. There wasn’t a single event that drove significant spikes in the curiosity, as it usually goes with the chosen word of the year.”

“As Biden weighs a final decision on whether to run for a second term, White House officials are showing how the powers of the presidency can be harnessed for a re-election campaign,” Axios reports.

“The emerging strategy is on full display this week. Biden is traveling to Michigan to talk domestic manufacturing and semiconductors, addressing tribal nations at the Interior Department, and hosting a glitzy state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron.”

“It’s a formula we can expect to see more of over the next two years as legislating comes to a standstill: diplomatic engagements to emphasize Biden’s statesman role, day trips to swing states and special attention for key Democratic constituencies.”

“Biden advisers don’t expect the president to dominate the news cycle; they want him to fly above it.”

“Anthony Ornato, the former Secret Service agent and White House aide at the heart of a dispute over conflicting accounts of President Donald Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, is scheduled to be interviewed on Tuesday before the House committee investigating the attack,” the New York Times reports.

“The committee has sought for weeks to re-interview Mr. Ornato as it digs deeper into the activities of the Secret Service around the time of Jan. 6, 2021, an area of inquiry that members believe is one of the most important final pieces of unfinished business before the panel completes its much-anticipated report into the attack.”

“Mr. Ornato, who as deputy White House chief of staff oversaw the logistics of the president’s movements outside, is key to a dispute over the events in a presidential SUV that day.”

The jury deliberating in the trial of the Oath Keepers sent a note to the judge asking for more clarity on the seditious conspiracy charges.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the top Republican on the House Oversight committee, told NBC News: “We’re going to investigate between 40 and 50 different things.”

The Economist: “The most enduring legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency are the 234 judges he installed in the federal courts, amounting to more than a quarter of America’s judiciary and a third of the Supreme Court.”

“Now that Democrats have retained control of the Senate, Joe Biden can make a mark of his own. He has already seated 85 judges, including 25 to the powerful circuit courts of appeal and one—Ketanji Brown Jackson—to the Supreme Court.”

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

2 comments on “Cup of Joe – November 30, 2022

  1. cassandram

    I heard this report from the BBC earlier today.talking to the son of convicted Stewart Rhodes. It’s a horriffic story of a man who abused and controlled every bit of his family’s life and now wants to impose all of that authoritarian bullshit on the rest of us.

  2. cassandram

    Tax filing websites have been sending users’ financial information to Facebook

    This is just not good. Not s surprise, but still a giant problem. There’s data that you should just outright own and these companies should get your permission — and not a permission that is the key to using the site — before they just harvest this kind of info from you. TaxAct, TaxSlayer, and H&R Block seem to be the major miscreants here, but Intuit does not have clean hands. The Europeans are far more attentive and prescriptive about this kind of thing and it is time for the US to draw some boundaries. There’s an effort to get people (kids) to delete TikTok from these devices because of pretty high risk of the Chinese harvesting data from there. Time to look at the US based companies harvesting data that you have no idea how it gets used.

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