The Bob Cesca Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog https://www.bobcesca.com We Cover The World Wed, 27 Jan 2021 22:00:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.16 22972724 Crime Scene https://www.bobcesca.com/crime-scene-2/ https://www.bobcesca.com/crime-scene-2/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2021 22:00:42 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157553
(Cartoonist - Jack Ohman)

In other news, the Senate Commerce Committee has advanced the confirmation of Pete Buttigieg by a comfortable margin of 21 to 3 to be the next secretary of transportation. Buttigieg will be the first openly gay cabinet secretary ever confirmed by the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve says it will continue the stimulus measures that Trump and the GOP tried to stop in the year-end government funding bill passed last month.

Finally, Reuters exclusively reported this morning that the leader of the Proud Boys is a snitch.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group, has a past as an informer for federal and local law enforcement, repeatedly working undercover for investigators after he was arrested in 2012, according to a former prosecutor and a transcript of a 2014 federal court proceeding obtained by Reuters.

In the Miami hearing, a federal prosecutor, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and Tarrio’s own lawyer described his undercover work and said he had helped authorities prosecute more than a dozen people in various cases involving drugs, gambling and human smuggling. [...]

Law-enforcement officials and the court transcript contradict Tarrio’s denial. In a statement to Reuters, the former federal prosecutor in Tarrio’s case, Vanessa Singh Johannes, confirmed that “he cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

A lot of people's immediate reaction to this report was to call him a "snitch" which is obvious and accurate, but my immediate takeaway was that this could be why law enforcement has always treated the Proud Boys with kid gloves while beating liberal protesters.

Did they have some kind of arrangement? I'd like to know more.

In interviews with Reuters, however, he said that before rallies in various cities, he would let police departments know of the Proud Boys’ plans. It is unclear if this was actually the case. He said he stopped this coordination after December 12 because the D.C. police had cracked down on the group.

If it ever appeared that police departments and white supremacists were working together, it's possible they literally were.

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The Bob Cesca Interview: Mary Trump Returns 1/27/21 https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-interview-mary-trump-returns-1-27-21/ https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-interview-mary-trump-returns-1-27-21/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2021 21:55:06 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157558 Mary Trump Returns -- [Explicit Language] Mary is of course a clinical psychologist and the niece of the ex-president. She's also the author of the must-read book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. Link in the description at bobcesca.com. You can follow Mary's work and her brilliant political commentary on Twitter @MaryLTrump. Today we'll talk about the insurrection and its aftermath, frustrations with the Senate, how Uncle Donald is coping with losing the election, and a lot more. Meanwhile, if you like what you hear today, don't forget to subscribe to our bonus content at patreon.com/bobcescashow.]]>

Please consider supporting the show by subscribing to our bonus content on Patreon.

Mary Trump Returns -- [Explicit Language] Mary is of course a clinical psychologist and the niece of the ex-president. She's also the author of the must-read book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man. Link in the description at bobcesca.com. You can follow Mary's work and her brilliant political commentary on Twitter @MaryLTrump. Today we'll talk about the insurrection and its aftermath, frustrations with the Senate, how Uncle Donald is coping with losing the election, and a lot more. Meanwhile, if you like what you hear today, don't forget to subscribe to our bonus content at patreon.com/bobcescashow.

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DHS Warns of Right Wing Terrorism. Again. https://www.bobcesca.com/dhs-warns-of-right-wing-terrorism-again/ https://www.bobcesca.com/dhs-warns-of-right-wing-terrorism-again/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2021 19:30:50 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157545 This feels familiar.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a security bulletin warning the extremists with grievances against the government may be plotting to carry out attacks.

“Information suggests that some ideologically motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the department said in a national terrorism advisory.

There was no information on a specific credible plot but the heightened threat across the United States was likely to persist for weeks, it said.

It was almost exactly this time twelve years ago when the Department of Homeland Security released a similar bulletin warning that right wing extremists including veterans and law enforcement officers may be plotting against the Obama administration.

An uproar from Republicans and the media coerced the department into withdrawing that bulletin, but here we are today. Right wing terrorists including veterans and law enforcement officers literally tried to overthrow the government; killing at least one Capitol Police officer in the process.

In hindsight, the Obama-era department clearly shouldn't have bowed to political pressure to withdraw it, but that was a different time and different atmosphere. It feels difficult to me to play side-seat driver a decade later and the Biden administration isn't going to withdraw this warning because very few if any people who matter are going to make a stink out of it. Well saw just happened three weeks ago. The threat isn't theoretical.

The new bulletin says there will be a heightened threat for weeks, but I believe the threat will persist for years.

There was no such warning when Donald Trump took office because while there are certainly young, left wing agitators who enjoy destroying private property, they are not in the same league as organized militias and extremist groups. Threatening to violently overthrow the government simply isn't a liberal thing.

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US, Russia Easily Agree to Extend Nuclear Weapons Treaty https://www.bobcesca.com/us-russia-easily-agree-to-extend-nuclear-weapons-treaty/ https://www.bobcesca.com/us-russia-easily-agree-to-extend-nuclear-weapons-treaty/#respond Wed, 27 Jan 2021 18:00:09 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157529 President Biden held his first phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday and Biden was frank about Russian aggression and Putin's behavior, at least according to the White House version of the call, but the phone call was also productive.

With only a week remaining before the treaty expires, both sides agreed to extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for another five years; the maximum extension allowed by current law.

From the New York Times:

The treaty limits nuclear arsenals to 1,550 strategic warheads. The five-year extension was built into the original text, if both countries agreed, so it does not need further approval by the Senate. But Mr. Putin will need to ratify the extension through the Duma, which he controls; it initially approved the treaty itself 10 years ago this week.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Biden “voiced their satisfaction” about diplomatic steps taken earlier in the day to exercise the extension, the Kremlin said.

You may recall that Trump refused to extend the treaty unless China became a signatory, but that was never about Chinese military superiority (which they don't have) and it does not appear that Trump was acting in Russia's interest even if he thought he was. Extending the treaty with a single phone call suggests that Putin did not consider it something worth arguing about.

Trump sought to expand rather than reduce our nuclear arsenal and extending the treaty wasn't in his own personal interests and personal fantasies. He also clearly viewed the treaty's renewal as another opportunity to make China a campaign boogeyman with no regard for the collateral damage.

Considering the origins of the START treaty, which was first signed by President George HW. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, it struck me that there's no Republican lawmaker alive today who could negotiate a treaty of much significant, let alone something like this. In the post-Trump era, the entire Republican bench of up-and-coming stars is a rogue's gallery of proudly stupid, belligerent nincompoops. Even their more presentable stars are utterly incapable of meeting any moment with truth and accuracy. They don't even know what truth is.

During their phone call, the White House says Biden also raised the issue of Russia's mistreatment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and their cyberespionage campaign that originated at SolarWinds.

I expect the Biden administration will take significant actions in response to Russia's machinations over the last five years, but not until later this year after his national security team have had time to fully assess everything we know.

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Extremist Groups https://www.bobcesca.com/extremist-groups/ https://www.bobcesca.com/extremist-groups/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2021 23:00:08 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157516
(Cartoonist - Chris Britt)

In other news, the Senate has confirmed Janet Yellen to be the next treasury secretary. She's the first woman to ever hold the position.

Meanwhile, the Senate also confirmed Anthony Blinken to be the next secretary of state. Blinken formerly served as the ambassador to Russia and former deputy secretary of state under President Obama.

Finally, British researchers say global ice is melting faster than ever.

Between 1994 and 2017, the Earth lost 28 trillion metric tons of ice, the survey showed. That is an amount roughly equivalent to a sheet of ice 100 meters thick covering the state of Michigan or the entire U.K.—and the meltwater from so much ice loss has raised the sea level just over an inch or so world-wide, the scientists said.

“It’s such a huge amount it’s hard to imagine it,” said Thomas Slater, a research fellow at the U.K.’s University of Leeds Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling and the lead author of a paper describing the new research. “Ice plays a crucial role in regulating the global climate, and losses will increase the frequency of extreme weather events such as flooding, fires, storm surges and heat waves.”

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The Bob Cesca Show 1/26/21 https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-1-26-21/ https://www.bobcesca.com/the-bob-cesca-show-1-26-21/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2021 22:15:22 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157521 Keeping Up With The Conways -- [Explicit Language] Big trouble for Kellyanne Conway; Topless photo of Conway's underage daughter shows up on Kellyanne's Twitter Fleet; Set up for a reality show?; Trump plotted to oust the acting Attorney General to overturn the Georgia election results; Trump's impeachment lawyer is a childhood friend of Bob's; Matt Gaetz doesn't understand impeachment; The storming of the SCIF; Nikki Haley wants us to give Trump a break; Another property drops Trump's name; The NYT and Biden's Rolex; McConnell caves on power sharing deal; Kayleigh to Fox News; Sarah Huckabee Sanders running for governor; With Rocky Mountain Mike; and music by Elijah Bone and Rene Trossman; and more!]]>

Keeping Up With The Conways -- [Explicit Language] Big trouble for Kellyanne Conway; Topless photo of Conway's underage daughter shows up on Kellyanne's Twitter Fleet; Set up for a reality show?; Trump plotted to oust the acting Attorney General to overturn the Georgia election results; Trump's impeachment lawyer is a childhood friend of Bob's; Matt Gaetz doesn't understand impeachment; The storming of the SCIF; Nikki Haley wants us to give Trump a break; Another property drops Trump's name; The NYT and Biden's Rolex; McConnell caves on power sharing deal; Kayleigh to Fox News; Sarah Huckabee Sanders running for governor; With Rocky Mountain Mike; and music by Elijah Bone and Rene Trossman; and more!

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Biden Orders End to Private Prison Contracts https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-orders-end-to-private-prison-contracts/ https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-orders-end-to-private-prison-contracts/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2021 21:00:29 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157512 Elections have consequences.

President Biden is resurrecting several Obama-era policies aimed at reducing policy brutality and ending the perverse incentive to imprison more people for profit.

Biden is signing an executive order directing the Department of Justice stop contracting with private prisons.

President Joe Biden is directing the Justice Department to not renew contracts with private prisons, as part of a slew of executive orders focused on racial equity he is signing Tuesday.

The Biden administration will not enter new contracts with private prisons, according to a senior administration official. The Biden administration has not yet released the text of the order.

Biden is also planning to sign an executive order to reimpose limits on military transfers to police departments.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden is poised to issue executive actions as soon as Tuesday scaling back the use of private prisons and placing new limits on the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement, according to a person familiar with the matter and a planning document. [...]

The Obama-era policy placed limits on the types of equipment police departments could receive, and required them to justify the need for items like helicopters, riot helmets and “flash-bang” grenades.

These orders do not apply to the Department of Homeland Security and the private companies they do business with, unfortunately, but I think there's good reason for that.

New limits on immigrant detention and the use of private prisons will likely be paired with a larger push for comprehensive immigration reform. I suspect it would be difficult to do one without the other. It will also take time to slowly empty out the facilities and vacate procedures used by the Trump regime that resulted in a massive expansion of private prison capacity.

There's no silver bullet or executive order that will eliminate institutions of white supremacy created by Trump and all those that came before him, but every action will add up to something more comprehensive over time.

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Schumer Hints He’ll Use Reconciliation for COVID Relief https://www.bobcesca.com/schumer-hints-hell-use-reconciliation-for-covid-relief/ https://www.bobcesca.com/schumer-hints-hell-use-reconciliation-for-covid-relief/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2021 19:30:19 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157503 Now that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally given up his bid to impose his will on the new majority, Senate Democrats can finally get down to business in the coming weeks. But that will still be difficult in some if not most cases because they will only control a simple majority of the chamber with no room to lose a single vote in an evenly divided Senate.

To that end, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is making it fairly clear that they will use budget reconciliation and possibly even eliminate the legislative filibuster to accomplish their goals.

“We want to work with our Republican colleagues to advance this legislation in a bipartisan way. But the work must move forward, preferably with our Republican colleagues, but without them if we must,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. [...]

Schumer’s comment comes the morning after top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, the chamber’s former majority leader, agreed to dropped his blockade of a deal for a power-sharing agreement in the Senate, where each party controls 50 seats. The Democrats have control of the chamber because Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tie-breaking vote.

Speaking to local interests in New York yesterday, Schumer said he hopes to pass a relief bill by March.

“We’ll try to get that passed in the next month, month and a half,” Schumer said with regard to pandemic aid on Monday, speaking on a call with New York City mass-transit advocates.

Biden said it would be up to Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as to whether to use a budget-rule procedure to forgo Republicans and proceed just with Democratic support. The Schumer timeline reflects the length it could take to craft a bill using that expedited process, called reconciliation.

“The decision to use reconciliation will depend upon how these negotiations go,” Biden said Monday.

Ideally, the new majority would take up a relief bill and vote on it tomorrow, but that can't happen without eliminating the legislative filibuster.

As much as I would personally like to see the filibuster eliminated, doing so may have long term consequences if Republicans regain control of the Senate. And while I still think that's a risk worth taking to make significant progress between now and then, Democrats in Washington are only going to do so as a last resort and I can't necessarily fault them for being cautious.

Without immediately eliminating the filibuster, the alternative to passing a relief bill is budget reconciliation and that's why it will take so long to pass a relief bill without Republican support. Reconciliation is a lengthy process that requires both chambers of Congress to pass a formal but rhetorical budget resolution that includes a relief bill. Final passage of a bill will take a week or more as every Republican who wants to can sponsor amendments to it that must all be voted down.

All of this is frustrating, but it's just the beginning of the next two years. Frustration should be directed at Senate Republicans who wouldn't vote for good policy even if the lives of their own constituents depend on it.

Both parties at not the same and Senate Democrats have never been opposed to voting for good GOP policies. It's just that the GOP has no good policies or much policy at all to speak of.

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Biden Order Will Halt New Oil Drilling, Protect New Lands https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-order-will-halt-new-oil-drilling-protect-new-lands/ https://www.bobcesca.com/biden-order-will-halt-new-oil-drilling-protect-new-lands/#respond Tue, 26 Jan 2021 18:00:50 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157490 As soon as tomorrow, President Biden is expected to sign a series of executive orders that all revolve around climate change and environmental protection.

According to White House sources who spoke to the Associated Press, the orders will include a very wide range of policies center around a mortarium on drilling and an aggressive expansion of federally protected land.

The drilling moratorium is among several climate-related actions Biden will announce Wednesday. He also is likely to direct officials to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and ocean waters in the next 10 years, initiate a series of regulatory actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and issue a memorandum that elevates climate change to a national security priority. He also is expected to direct all U.S. agencies to use science and evidence-based decision-making in federal rule-making and announce a U.S.-hosted climate leaders summit on Earth Day, April 22.

The conservation plan would set aside millions of acres for recreation, wildlife and climate efforts by 2030, part of Biden’s campaign pledge for a $2 trillion program to slow global warming.

Ordering federal agencies to "use science and evidence-based decision-making" may sound nebulous and obvious, but the Trump regime literally imposed limits on scientific debate at federal agencies. It feels ridiculous to even print those words, but it really happened. Trump's White House also imposed limits on the sharing and publishing of federally-funded research so no one would see it.

Personally, I'm most encouraged by the plan to set aside more land to protect it from development and exploitation.

I know it's legally, economically, and logistically complicated -- and I know it's unlikely to happen in the immediate future -- but at some point we should say there will be no more drilling contracts on publicly-owned land. All federally owned land should be protected for future generations.

It's possible that simple market capitalism and the rise of electrified vehicles will make oil drilling unappealing before we come to the point of legally banning it. The coal industry is going to slowly disappear over the next decade without banning it. It's what Free Market Jesus intended.

After writing this, I took a moment to pause and recall that Trump's first EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, was a ridiculous character who traveled around the country with a SWAT team who is he also ordered to pick up his dry cleaning and Ritz Carlton lotion for him. What the hell was that?

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Warp Speed https://www.bobcesca.com/warp-speed/ https://www.bobcesca.com/warp-speed/#respond Mon, 25 Jan 2021 22:00:46 +0000 https://www.bobcesca.com/?p=157483
(Cartoonist - Jack Ohman)

In other news, Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz has launched an investigation of current and former agency officials who may have tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Meanwhile, Dominion Voting Systems has filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump's former clownshow attorney Rudy Giuliani who repeatedly accused the company of fraud.

Finally, President Biden has signed an executive order that instructs federal agencies to prioritize American-made goods and service when they sign contracts with new vendors.

The order directs federal agencies to reevaluate the threshold used to determine U.S. content, to prevent companies that sell to the government from importing largely foreign-made goods and selling them as U.S.-made after making minor tweaks.

It sets a deadline of 180 days for regulators to finalize the changes once they are proposed, and orders up a new website to ensure transparency about any waivers granted. The official gave no new percentages for required U.S. content, saying they would be determined as a result of the process being launched on Monday.

Trump told people to "Buy American," but he never actually had a policy that called on federal agencies to raise content thresholds. Like most other similar policies, waivers will be granted when American-made goods aren't available.

Forgive the light posting today, but there really wasn't much happening and I don't like to ramble just to fill content space.

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