Cup of Joe – November 20, 2023

“Israel, the United States and Hamas have agreed to a tentative deal that would free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza, in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting,” the Washington Post reports.

“The release, which could begin within the next several days — barring last-minute hitches — could lead to the first sustained pause in conflict in Gaza.”

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter passed away at her home in Plains, Georgia, at the age of 96.

Washington Post: “The Carters had been married for more than 77 years, the longest presidential marriage in U.S. history, and spent the final months of their time together at the family home in the town of Plains, in southwest Georgia.”

“Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, said on Saturday that he would kill off a Pacific trade pact being advanced by U.S. President Joe Biden if he were to win the 2024 election and return to the White House,” Reuters reports.

“Speaking to supporters in Iowa, Trump said he was against the regional trade deal being negotiated by the Biden administration with 13 other countries, arguing that it would hollow out U.S. manufacturing and trigger job losses.”

Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him “strong like granite,” “a fierce person” and “a very smart person” during a campaign rally in Iowa Saturday, The Messenger reports.

“Javier Milei, a libertarian candidate with radical solutions to Argentina’s economic crisis, beat out Economy Minister Sergio Massa to win Sunday’s presidential runoff,” Bloomberg reports.

“With 87% of ballots counted after Sunday’s election, Milei took 56% of the votes to 44% for Massa of the incumbent left-wing Peronist coalition.”

“Argentina is teetering on the brink of an unpredictable new political era this weekend with an erratic far-right populist known as ‘El Loco’ (the Madman) the slight favorite to become president of South America’s second-largest economy in Sunday’s election,” The Guardian reports.

“As 35 million Argentinian voters prepared to choose their new leader against a backdrop of soaring inflation and widespread poverty, analysts believed Javier Milei, a TV celebrity turned congressman, held a slender advantage over his rival, the finance minister, Sergio Massa, but said the result was too close to call.”

Dan Balz: “Presidential elections are often about many things. In 2024, the economy will be a factor for most voters. For many, immigration will be another. Abortion, too, will continue to be a motivator. President Biden’s record certainly will be a consideration, as will the incumbent’s age and perceptions of his capacity to lead the nation for another four years, until he is 86.”

“But the Economist puts the focus where it needs to be, which is on the former president — what he did during his first term, including what he did to help provoke the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and, most important, how much farther out he has gone rhetorically and substantively since then to preview what a second term might portend.”

Dennis Aftergut: “Before Tuesday’s unhinged Republican behavior recedes from memory, it’s worth emphasizing one aspect of it that has been underappreciated in the press coverage: that it didn’t happen in a void, but rather fits into larger patterns in the world of Donald Trump.”

“Time and again, Trump has issued permission slips to those who practice violence. His fascination with the use of force, including by violent militias like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, is well documented. Tuesday’s events can only really be understood in that larger context of Trump and violence.”

“Nancy Pelosi, the speaker emerita, had the best statement about that: ‘Even those folks that voted no want the dough.’ But the worst part is some of them will actually come back to Washington and vote to repeal it after having taken credit. That’s a level of chutzpah that we haven’t seen in a very, very long time.” — White House adviser Mitch Landrieu, in an interview with the Washington Post, on some lawmakers taking credit for spending they voted against.

Former Gov. Chris Christie told CNN he believes Donald Trump will be a convicted felon by this spring. Said Christie: “George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, they are rolling in their graves.”

He added: “If they knew that anyone would have the audacity as a felon, which Donald Trump will become this spring, to run for president? And that other people running for the office would be willing to support someone like that? They would have added: ‘You can’t be a convicted felon’ to age 35 and natural-born American citizen as requirements for the presidency.”

The Economist: “A shadow looms over the world. In this week’s edition we publish The World Ahead 2024, our 38th annual predictive guide to the coming year, and in all that time no single person has ever eclipsed our analysis as much as Donald Trump eclipses 2024. That a Trump victory next November is a coin-toss probability is beginning to sink in.”

“Mr Trump dominates the Republican primary. Several polls have him ahead of President Joe Biden in swing states. In one, for the New York Times, 59% of voters trusted him on the economy, compared with just 37% for Mr Biden. In the primaries, at least, civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions have only strengthened Mr Trump. For decades Democrats have relied on support among black and Hispanic voters, but a meaningful number are abandoning the party. In the next 12 months a stumble by either candidate could determine the race—and thus upend the world.”

“A surge of lawmakers calling it quits the past three weeks is on the verge of putting Congress on pace to have more members retire before the next election than in any similar cycle over the past decade. And the implications are huge,” Politico reports.

“In most cases, retirements deprive their party of a proven fundraiser and vote-getter. And several recent retirements are injecting fresh uncertainty into the tight battles for control of each chamber in 2024. Over the past few weeks, Democrats have lost a three-time winner in ruby-red West Virginia and a handful of swing-district House members who had success in competitive territory.”

Washington Post: “It’s important to note, however, at this moment there is no evidence that the number of retiring lawmakers is out of the ordinary. So far 29 members of the House, 19 Democrats and 10 Republicans, have announced their plans to leave. Of those 29, 13 Democrats and three Republicans are running for other offices, still believing in public service.”

The efforts to ban TikTok in the United States over its Chinese ownership have apparently stalled on Capitol Hill. However, President Biden’s campaign is reportedly considering joining the video service in an effort to court young voters.

That would be insane.

The Biden campaign would be giving TikTok — and potentially a foreign adversary — internal campaign data about who they’re trying to target and what the message they’re trying to put out. And TikTok would have the data in real time.

Here’s Ben Thompson from Stratechery: “That’s the thing that actually matters. It’s called lookalike audiences. You upload your own list of people into it, and then the way it works is, “Find other people on this platform that are similar to these people”, so this is where Facebook gets their data. It’s people uploading lookalike audiences.

All this bit about, that they get signals from stuff you surf around the web, that is what some of the signal comes from — the actual core data is people just giving it to Facebook… Campaigns are giving it to TikTok.”

If you’re concerned about foreign interference in our election, why would you give a foreign adversary access to so much sensitive data?

A warning emerged this week when Osama bin Laden — remarkably because he’s dead — became the TikTok’s latest influencer. Videos posted to the Chinese-owned app this week urged their followers to read bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America,” while suggesting he was on to something. The videos had been seen by millions before TikTok dialed down their algorithm to stop showing them.

And that’s the point. TikTok’s algorithm can be controlled by the Chinese government to show American voters whatever they want — including a flood of misinformation ahead of next year’s election. The Biden campaign may think they need to be on TikTok to reach younger voters, but that assumes those voters would even see his message. The Chinese could, if they wanted, easily counter program it — and Biden would be giving them the data to do it.

Biden shouldn’t join TikTok — he should work with Congress to ban it.

“Progressive Democrats who’ve condemned Israel over its war offensive in Gaza are demanding that House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries do more to protect them against primary challenges from pro-Israel Democrats,” Politico reports.

“The Israel-Hamas war is forcing Jeffries to navigate a treacherous divide between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian members just as he’s gearing up for a battle to retake the chamber next year.”

“No Labels, the nonprofit group actively working to field a third party ticket for president in 2024, doubled its annual revenue last year over 2021, collecting $21 million, nearly all of it from wealthy donors who gave $100,000 or more,” CNBC reports.

“No Labels is not required to publicly disclose the names of its donors, but CNBC obtained a list from the group of contributions last year that exceeded $5,000.”

Daily Beast: “It raised $21.2 million in 2022, a huge jump from the $11.3 million it raised in 2021, per the 990 that was reported by Politico last December. The group ended 2022 with about $20 million in the tank.”

“With that haul, No Labels could aim to make noise in the 2024 race, as the group insists it will. What they may prefer to keep quiet, however, are the lucrative paydays being doled out to the No Labels’ leadership team, which appear in the tax documents.”

“No Labels, a political organization that has alarmed some Democrats with talk of launching a third-party presidential candidate, has contemplated requiring a donation of at least $100 in order to cast a ballot at the group’s upcoming nominating convention,“ the AP reports.

“The idea, which breaks from longstanding norms, would raise a significant hurdle to participating in the democratic process — in this case No Labels’ selection of its potential candidates for president and vice president. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties charge to vote at their conventions, where delegates vote for candidates chosen by voters through primaries or caucuses.”

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

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