Cup of Joe – August 28, 2023

Donald Trump’s indictment in Georgia is different than his previous three because he can’t pardon himself if convicted.

It’s different because the trial will be televised and he has 18 co-defendants. It’s also different because there’s finally a mugshot.

Trump apparently thinks the mugshot a political winner and is already selling t-shirts, mugs and koozies with the photo emblazoned on them.

Helped by Trump posting it to Twitter for his 87 million followers, the mugshot will soon be one of the most-shared photos in history.

But when I saw the front page of Atlanta Journal Constitution on Friday, my first reaction was that a police photo of Trump’s angry face — he was reportedly trying to be defiant — isn’t a great way to win over swing voters in a key battleground state. It’s hard to see how swing voters in Georgia — or Wisconsin, Pennsylvania or Arizona for that matter — think that Trump getting arrested makes him a more appealing candidate.

“I did see it on television. Handsome guy.”— President Biden, commenting on Donald Trump’s mug shot.

“The Russian authorities have officially confirmed the death of the Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, with investigators saying on Sunday that genetic testing showed that the victims of a plane crash last week matched all the names on the jet’s manifest,” the New York Times reports.

New York Times: “Wagner could be absorbed into Russia’s Defense Ministry or its military intelligence arm. A Russian general could also be installed to lead the group, U.S. and Western officials said.”

“Ahead of his arrest on Thursday in Georgia, Donald Trump repeatedly told his supporters about the legal peril he faced from charges of election interference. But the danger wasn’t his alone, he said. ‘In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you,’ he told a campaign rally,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“It was the latest example of the Republican former president employing a potent driver of America’s partisan divide: group identity. Decades of social science research show that our need for collective belonging is forceful enough to reshape how we view facts and affect our voting decisions. When our group is threatened, we rise to its defense.”

“Over a dozen of former President Trump’s close allies face growing legal bills when he’s least able to help — and they’re turning to desperate measures to raise money for their fights,” Axios reports.

“Trump’s co-defendants in the Fulton County case each need legal teams that could cost well into the six figures.”

Said Cornell Law School adjunct professor Randy Zelin: “I don’t see anyone’s fee less than $250,000-500,000 unless they strike a plea deal with prosecutors.”

Amanda Moore: “For 11 months, I pretended to be a far-right extremist. I discovered a radical youth movement trying to infiltrate the Republican Party.”

“A barrage of state and federal criminal charges leveled against your main political rival should be good news for any democratic leader facing reelection, but Donald Trump’s legal woes present U.S. President Joe Biden with a unique challenge in the months ahead,” Reuters reports.

“Biden has so far remained mum as his Republican predecessor was charged with 91 felony counts in four indictments this year related to paying hush money to a porn star, unlawfully keeping classified documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 election. Don’t expect any change, Biden advisers say, until after decisions are handed down in those trials.”

“However, sustaining that strategy, during the most contentious and consequential judicial actions in U.S. presidential history, will be severely tested in the coming months.”

“With coronavirus cases increasingly on the upswing across California and the nation, an updated Covid-19 vaccine is expected to come out even earlier than expected,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Coronavirus transmission has been rising this summer and hospitalizations, while still low, have recently started to tick up as well.”

New Scientist: “Cannabis and psychedelic drug use hit record highs last year among adults in the US. This peak caps off a decade-long upswing in the use of these substances.”

“The reasons the country’s appetite for mind-altering substances is booming are unclear, but the increase may reflect shifting attitudes around these drugs, increased accessibility and a faltering healthcare system.”

“The Taliban will use security forces to stop women from visiting one of Afghanistan’s most popular national parks, according to information shared by a spokesman for the Vice and Virtue Ministry,” the AP reports.

“The ministry alleges that women have not been observing the proper way to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf, when going to Band-e-Amir in the central Bamiyan province.”

Jerusalem Demsas: “Americans are used to pundits and civic leaders shaming them for low-turnout elections, as if they had failed a test of civic character. Voters are apathetic, parties don’t bother with the hard work of mobilization, and candidates are boring—or so the story goes.”

“But this argument gets the problem exactly backwards. In America, voters don’t do too little; the system demands too much. We have too many elections, for too many offices, on too many days. We have turned the role of citizen into a full-time, unpaid job. Disinterest is the predictable, even rational response.”

“Alabama is seeking to become the first state to execute a prisoner by making him breathe pure nitrogen,” the AP reports.

“The Alabama attorney general’s office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date for death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58. The court filing indicated Alabama plans to put him to death by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that is authorized in three states but has never been used.”

“Nitrogen hypoxia is caused by forcing the inmate to breathe only nitrogen, depriving them of oxygen and causing them to die. Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air inhaled by humans and is harmless when inhaled with oxygen. While proponents of the new method have theorized it would be painless, opponents have likened it to human experimentation.”

“The U.S. had more than 9 million open roles in June, and while that’s down from the peak of 12 million in March 2022, it’s still among the highest number of openings we’ve had since before 2000,” CNBC reports.

“With 5.8 million unemployed workers in the U.S., some economists say all of these roles are unlikely to be filled by people currently living in the U.S.”

“Currently, American immigration policies bar many employers from hiring unskilled migrants.”

Deborah Jian Lee: “Publicly funded Christian colleges and universities across the U. S. have long exploited a legal loophole to control and discriminate against LGBTQ+ students with impunity— inflicting financial pain and emotional trauma in the process.”

“Now there’s a new battle brewing over this warped version of religious freedom.”

“The former Navy SEAL who claimed he was the one responsible for Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011 was arrested in Texas this week for public intoxication and assault,” the Dallas Morning News reports.

Fintan O’Toole: “By launching a campaign of lies and harassment against an innocent Georgia election worker, the Trump team proved how much cruelty it was willing to inflict on ordinary people who stood in its way.”

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

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