Cup of Joe – March 8, 2023

“Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday released new security footage from the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, using video provided exclusively to him by Speaker Kevin McCarthy to portray the riot as a peaceful gathering,” NBC News reports.

“Carlson focused Monday’s segment on promoting former President Donald Trump’s narrative by showing video of his supporters walking calmly around the U.S. Capitol. He asserted that other media accounts lied about the attack, proclaiming that while there were some bad apples, most of the rioters were peaceful and calling them ‘sightseers,’ not ‘insurrectionists.’”

Said Carlson: “The footage does not show an insurrection or a riot in progress. Instead it shows police escorting people through the building, including the now-infamous ‘QAnon Shaman.’”

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said that Tucker Carlson’s claims about the January 6 riots are “bullshit,” NBC News reports.

Said Tillis: “When you see police officers assaulted, all of that… if you were just a tourist, you should’ve probably lined up at the visitors’ center and came in on an orderly basis.”

Elon Musk took to Twitter early Tuesday morning to criticize several lawmakers that sat on the House Committee Investigating the Capitol Riots on January 6th, accusing them of “misleading the public,” Fox News reports.

Said Musk: “Besides misleading the public, they withheld evidence for partisan political reasons that sent people to prison for far more serious crimes than they committed.”

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger on Tuesday ripped into Fox News host Tucker Carlson over his commentary about footage from the January 6, 2021, insurrection that he aired Monday night, saying the host “cherry-picked” from the footage to present “offensive” and “misleading” conclusions about the attack, CNN reports.

“The FBI is searching for a Florida woman who did not show up to court in Washington, DC, on Monday, when she was set to go to trial on federal charges related to the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot,” CNN reports.

“Leaders of the Proud Boys activated a network of foot soldiers to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors argued to a federal judge on Monday, describing how more than a dozen of the group’s associates played pivotal roles in overrunning police lines, dismantling barricades and facilitating the mob’s entry into the building itself,” Politico reports.

“The Justice Department laid out its clearest evidence yet that it sees the Proud Boys — and the far-right group’s chairman, Enrique Tarrio — as uniquely responsible for the chaos that unfolded on Jan. 6. Though only five members of the group face seditious conspiracy charges over allegations of masterminding the plot, prosecutors say they deployed a much wider collection of associates to carry it out.”

“The Georgia House approved a measure to create a new state board that could punish or oust district attorneys, the latest step in an ongoing campaign by Republicans to exert oversight over prosecutors they see as skirting their duties,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.x

“President Biden’s coming budget blueprint will propose extending the solvency of a key Medicare trust fund by at least 25 years, according to the White House, in part by increasing tax rates on people earning more than $400,000 a year,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The plan would raise Medicare taxes to 5% from 3.8% for those top earners and effectively expand the reach of the tax so it applies to business income as well as investments, wages and self-employment income.”

Biden explains the plan in a New York Times op-ed.

 “House Republicans have unleashed an early onslaught of attacks against President Biden and his 2024 budget, as they ready their own plan seeking billions of dollars in spending cuts — and steel themselves for a political standoff over the country’s finances,” the Washington Post reports.

“The U.S. economy could quickly shed a million jobs and fall into recession if lawmakers fail to raise the nation’s borrowing limit before the federal government exhausts its ability to pay its bills on time, the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, Mark Zandi, will warn a Senate panel on Tuesday,” the New York Times reports.

“The damage could spiral to seven million jobs lost and a 2008-style financial crisis in the event of a prolonged breach of the debt limit, in which House Republicans refuse for months to join Democrats in voting to raise the cap.”

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said he wrote to the U.S. Senate on Monday morning to withdraw the city’s criminal code revision legislation, before the Senate votes on a Republican-led disapproval resolution that could overturn the bill, the Washington Post reports.

Said Mendelson: “I don’t know if that’ll stop the Senate Republicans, but our position is the bill is not before Congress any longer.”

“The Senate is headed towards a vote on the GOP’s D.C. crime bill Wednesday. But it’s hard to overstate how much frustration there is behind the scenes from top House Democrats over the debacle,” Punchbowl News reports.

“Democratic members feel they were blindsided by the White House on the issue, particularly when President Joe Biden announced last Thursday that he’d sign a GOP-drafted resolution disapproving of changes to the D.C. criminal code if it reached his desk.”

Donald Trump dominated the headlines once again over the weekend after he made an unhinged, two-hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. As a former president who incited an insurrection and now seeks to return to the Oval Office, the shear number of articles on Trump was completely justified.

But Jennifer Rubin makes a really important point: “From the coverage, you would never understand how incoherent he sounds, how far divorced his statements are from reality, and how entirely abnormal this all is. Talk about burying the lead.”

There is a disturbing trend of normalizing Trump’s dangerous behavior once again. The media seeks to prioritize “balance” over accuracy and context. And in doing so, much of the coverage ignores or misses important information simply because it requires calling out what is truly insane behavior.

Nearly as bad, as Rubin also points out, is the refusal of other Republicans to call out the danger that Trump presents to our country and our democracy. Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo made their criticisms without actually calling out Trump himself. Mike Pence has done the same. Chris Sununu went so far as to thank Trump for his service, before saying he preferred someone else as the Republican nominee. Trump has never been a normal candidate but most media coverage still tries to treat him as one.

Ignoring Trump is definitely not the solution. Trump might be the most important story in politics today.  But explaining how his behavior is completely out-of-bounds is crucial. Rubin rightly points out what we all know: “If no one is willing to call out Trump for what he is, and the danger he poses to the United States, we risk returning him to the Oval Office.”

 “Donald Trump has for decades trafficked in the language of vengeance, from his days as a New York developer vowing “an eye for an eye” in the real estate business to ticking through an enemies ledger in 2022 as he sought to oust every last Republican who voted for his impeachment,” the New York Times reports.

“But even though payback has long been part of his public persona, Mr. Trump’s speech on Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference was striking for how explicitly he signaled that any return trip to the White House would amount to a term of spite.”

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider making it harder for people to challenge what they allege is the unconstitutional government endorsement of religion,” NBC News reports.

“The court turned away a dispute over a vigil held by uniformed police officers in Florida that included Christian prayers after a local shooting spree, with conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas both writing opinions suggesting they believe the court should take up a similar case in future.”

“Two of the most consequential Supreme Court cases this term may fizzle out, recent orders from the justices suggest, meaning the court may not rule on the role of state legislatures in conducting federal elections or on whether Republican-led states may challenge a pandemic-era immigration measure,” the New York Times reports.

“The end of the term, probably in late June, will still be busy, with the court poised to deliver decisions on affirmative action, a clash between gay rights and claims of religious liberty, the scope of a law protecting internet platforms and the Biden administration’s plan to cancel more than $400 billion in student debt.”

“But the justices may dismiss two of the thorniest questions before them.”

“When Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan is sworn into the House of Representatives this evening, Congress’s lower chamber will be something it hasn’t been in a long time: full,” FiveThirtyEight reports.

“The last time the U.S. had a full House — with all 435 of its voting representatives seated — was nearly three and a half years ago. And even then, it wasn’t full for long.”

 “A sharp drop in illegal border crossings since December could blunt a Republican point of attack against President Joe Biden as the Democratic leader moves to reshape a broken asylum system that has dogged him and his predecessors,” the AP reports.

“The Biden administration is considering reviving the practice of detaining migrant families who cross the border illegally — the same policy the president shut down over the past two years because he wanted a more humane immigration system,” the New York Times reports.

“Although no final decision has been made, the move would be a stark reversal for President Biden, who came into office promising to adopt a more compassionate approach to the border after his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, introduced a series of harsh immigration policies.”

“President Joe Biden’s plan for greening the economy relies on a simple pitch: It will create good-paying jobs for Americans,” Politico reports.

“The problem is there might not be enough Americans to fill them. That reality is pressuring the Biden administration to wrestle with the nation’s immigration system to avoid squandering its biggest legislative achievements.”

Michael Bloomberg: “In more than 20 years of public life, I have steadfastly supported Israel and its people in both word and deed, including by building medical facilities there, co-founding a leadership center, supporting its innovative local programs and funding other good causes.”

“I have never gotten involved in its domestic politics or criticized its government initiatives. But my love for Israel, my respect for its people and my concern about its future are now leading me to speak out against the current government’s attempt to effectively abolish the nation’s independent judiciary.”

“Under the new coalition’s proposal, a simple majority of the Knesset could overrule the nation’s Supreme Court and run roughshod over individual rights, including on matters such as speech and press freedoms, equal rights for minorities and voting rights.”

Adrienne LaFrance: “In recent years, Americans have contemplated a worst-case scenario, in which the country’s extreme and widening divisions lead to a second Civil War. But what the country is experiencing now—and will likely continue to experience for a generation or more—is something different.”

“The form of extremism we face is a new phase of domestic terror, one characterized by radicalized individuals with shape-shifting ideologies willing to kill their political enemies. Unchecked, it promises an era of slow-motion anarchy.”

“New intelligence reviewed by U.S. officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year, a step toward determining responsibility for an act of sabotage that has confounded investigators on both sides of the Atlantic for months,” the New York Times reports.

The Atlantic: “In the past half century, Americans have had fewer and fewer babies with almost every passing decade; in 2020, the U.S. reported the lowest official fertility rate on record. But last year, statisticians observed a surprising baby bump. Researchers weren’t entirely sure what had happened. Maybe this was random noise. Maybe, like so many pandemic effects, it was a weird one-off phenomenon.”

“A new paper puts forth a fascinating theory: Maybe remote work is making it easier for couples to become parents—and for parents to have more children.”

“Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised to position himself on Tuesday as a champion of conservative causes during a State of the State address that will likely be as much about his national ambitions as it is an assessment of Florida’s status in the wake of a pandemic and a series of crippling storms,” the AP reports.

“The address comes at the outset of a 60-day legislative session that has added significance this year because it will likely be used to launch DeSantis into a highly anticipated presidential campaign.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis may be one of the two frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination, but very few Americans have ever heard him give a speech.  Well, here’s your chance: DeSantis gave a “major address” yesterday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

From start to finish, it was a pretty boring speech. There was nothing that suggested a grand vision for the country. There was no unifying ideology. There was nothing even remotely surprising.  The speech was nothing more than a collection of Fox News sound bites strung together over 45 minutes.  But even more striking was something the Washington Post noticed when the speech ended: “The Florida governor did not spend time mingling with members of the crowd and did not take questions from the media in California. ‘

Most speakers at the Reagan library take questions from the audience. And all Republican presidential candidates do. DeSantis is staying away from all that. It suggests he knows his lofty standing in the polls is very precarious.

“Donald Trump is seeking to prevent the special counsel investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election from using testimony provided by former top White House lawyers to a federal grand jury,” ABC News reports.

“Mike Pence has filed a motion asking a judge to block a federal grand jury subpoena for his testimony related to January 6 on the grounds that he is protected by the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause,” CNN reports.

 “Hope Hicks, a trusted aide to Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign, met with the Manhattan district attorney’s office on Monday — the latest in a string of witnesses to be questioned by prosecutors as they investigate the former president’s involvement in paying hush money to a porn star,” the New York Times reports.

“The appearance of Ms. Hicks, who was seen walking into the Manhattan district attorney’s office in the early afternoon, represents the latest sign that the prosecutors are in the final stages of their investigation.”

New York Times: “Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, the two main anchors, suggested it was not enough to call a state based on numerical calculations, the standard by which networks have made such determinations for generations, but that viewer reaction should be considered…”

Wrote Baier, in an email the next day: “It’s hurting us. The sooner we pull it even if it gives us major egg. And put it back in his column. The better we are. In my opinion.”

“Rupert Murdoch could potentially face financial penalties from the Federal Election Commission if the allegations that he shared confidential information with former White House advisor Jared Kushner are true,” Salon reports.

“Two of four Americans were killed in Mexico when their van was caught in the crossfire of rival cartel groups last week,” the AP reports.  “The two others are alive, with one wounded.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said US troops are “ready to remain in Iraq” in his remarks during an unannounced trip to Baghdad on Tuesday, CNN reports.

Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said he unwittingly posed for a photo with high profile members of the neo-Nazi movement last week walking between congressional hearings, the Billings Gazette reports.

Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton (R) has introduced a bill that would place a referendum for Texas’ secession from the United States on the 2024 ballot.

The influential sister of North Korea’s leader warned Tuesday that her country is ready to take “quick, overwhelming action” against the United States and South Korea, the AP reports.

The Republican Party of Texas voted overwhelmingly over the weekend to censure Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) for a number of positions they said went against the party, Politico reports. The vote was 57-5 with one abstention.

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has convinced Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy to meet in California instead of in Taipei in a bid to avoid an aggressive response from Beijing, the Financial Times reports.

Paul Manafort has agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle federal charges that he failed to disclose foreign bank accounts he used to funnel “millions of dollars” to himself without paying income taxes, the Florida Bulldog reports.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is expected to introduce legislation Monday that would ban senior executive branch officials from owning or trading individual stocks, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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

1 comment on “Cup of Joe – March 8, 2023

  1. cassandram

    No Labels gets a ballot line in AZ.

    Always remember that No Labels = Joe Lieberman

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