The almost constant war of diplomatic words between China and the US continued today, this time with China’s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, who accused the US of starting a trade war and stoking a new cold war with China. He said that there would be no winner from such an approach.
While he did not mention anybody by name, he said some US politicians were doing and saying anything to get elected.
“It is not China that has become assertive. It’s the other side of the Pacific Ocean who want to start new cold war on China, so we have to make response to that,” Liu told reporters. “We have no interest in any cold war, we have no interest in any war. We have all seen what is happening in the United States, they tried to scapegoat China, they want to blame China for their problems. We all know this is an election year.”
Rep. John Lewis’ final essay published on day of his funeral
Rep. John Lewis’ funeral will take place today at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Barack Obama is expected to deliver a eulogy, and former president George W. Bush is also expected to attend.
This morning the New York Times has published a short essay written by Lewis shortly before his death on 17 July, with the instructions for it to be published upon the day of his funeral.
It begins with a powerful opening, typical of the man’s oratory skill, and challenges the current generation to be the one that lays down the “heavy burdens of hate”.
While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity. That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.
It is well worth reading Lewis’ final words in full: John Lewis – Together, you can redeem the soul of our nation
Of course, it doesn’t help if the conspiracy theories and misinformation are coming from the top.
In comments that are being widely reported this morning, Texas Republican congressman Louie Gohmert, who has tested positive for Covid-19, told KETK his local news station:
I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place if I might have put some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in. I don’t know. But I got it, we’ll see what happens from here. The reports of my demise are very premature.
Ohio House set to vote to remove Republican speaker Larry Householder
Nine days after federal officials released details of a $60 million bribery probe, the Ohio House is preparing for an historic vote on whether to remove Republican speaker Larry Householder, who is alleged to have led the scheme.
The House will convene Thursday after a secret vote taken Tuesday by the Republican caucus during a closed-door meeting indicated enough support to remove him, report the Associated Press. Democrats have also called for him to be removed.
Remaining members of Householder’s leadership team said in a statement that he deserves the presumption of innocence but “has lost the trust of his colleagues and the public” and can’t effectively lead the House.
Householder was one of five defendants identified in a July 21 federal affidavit as allegedly taking part in a scheme involving money secretly funnelled to them in exchange for helping to pass House Bill 6 to financially bail out two FirstEnergy nuclear plants. Householder was one of the driving forces behind the legislation, which included a fee to every electricity bill in the state. Householder could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He and his attorney have ignored or declined requests for comment about the allegations and about his plans.
Bipartisan support for removing him as speaker has accumulated, with Rep. Niraj Antani, a Dayton Republican, described that move as “the first step to restoring integrity to the House.”
House Democratic leaders labeled the last week as “a dark time for our state” and asked the GOP “to do the right thing”.
“We refuse to let the latest GOP scandal derail the Ohio House of Representatives from the pressing work that needs to be done,” they said in a statement. “We do not need these distractions; we need to work to solve the critical issues facing working people and families in our state.”
Removing Householder as speaker would take 50 votes; expelling him from the House altogether would take 66. Republicans hold 61 seats, and Democrats have 38.
There’s a useful backgrounder on Householder and the case here: Are you just learning about Larry Householder following his arrest? Those in Ohio political circles know all about him
We are within days of finding out who Joe Biden is going to pick to be his running mate for the November election. It’s a crucial appointment, not least because Biden is attempting to become the oldest person to take on their first-term as president. A successful VP might expect to automatically be in pole position for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2024.
Biden has promised to pick a woman, and there is no shortage of options in the Democratic ranks. But, as my colleague Daniel Strauss in Washington reports, no single candidate will be able to satisfy all the interest groups and sectors of the party.
It’s possible Biden will infuriate varying sectors of the Democratic party depending on who he picks. If he picks a Caucasian women, Biden risks disappointing the African American community. If Biden picks a centrist he could disappoint the progressive wing of the party and depress turnout among activists in that wing. If Biden picks a progressive, he might turn off moderates and Republicans the campaign and its allies have been working to woo.
Read more here: Joe Biden’s running mate – none will satisfy all sections of the party
Police make arrest after arson attack on Arizona and Maricopa County Democratic HQ
Authorities have announced an arrest after a fire destroyed much of the Arizona and Maricopa County Democratic Party headquarters last Friday, according to a report from the Associated Press.
Phoenix police said 29-year-old Matthew Egler was booked on one count of arson of an occupied structure.
In charging documents obtained by KPNX-TV in Phoenix, police said Egler had been a volunteer for the Maricopa County Democratic Party but was banned for behavioural reasons. Investigators say the fire was retaliation after being recently rejected as a volunteer again.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked by today’s news, but appreciate the swift action by law enforcement to ensure that the suspect is in custody,” state and county Democratic leaders said in a statement.
Police in the charging documents also mention that Egler discussed starting the fire and his “discontentment” with county Democratic officials in a Twitter account.
The blaze occurred early Friday in a business district a few miles north of downtown Phoenix. Investigators said evidence indicated it was an act of arson. The building is the longtime home of both the state and county Democrats.
Steven Slugocki, the county chair, confirmed that the fire destroyed computers, tablets, phone-banking equipment, campaign literature and years of candidate and organizing information. It also burned political memorabilia accumulated over decades, including campaign materials for John F. Kennedy, he said.
Good morning, and welcome to what looks like a very busy day in US politics, with a lot of thing scheduled. Here’s a quick run-down of where we are, and what we might expect.
- Yesterday the US passed 150,000 coronavirus deaths amid a fresh surge in cases. The country has now seen more than 4.3 million infections in total. 28 states – plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC – are still seeing rising case numbers
- Representatives and staff must now wear masks on the House floor, after Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, one of several Republicans who have resisted masks, tested positive for coronavirus
- Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis will be laid to rest at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Former president Barack Obama is expected to deliver a eulogy
- Mike Pompeo will finally turn up to a Senate foreign relations committee session, for the first time since April 2019. It could prove contentious if he is asked about the firing of inspector general Steve Linick, who had an investigation of Pompeo in his sights. House speaker Nancy Pelosi warned back in May that the firing could be ‘unlawful if it’s retaliation’
- There’s also a Senate armed services committee confirmation hearing for retired army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata to become under secretary of defence for policy. Tata has previously called Obama a Muslim and a “terrorist leader”, which may derail his appointment
- Donald Trump will be visiting the American Red Cross national headquarters in Washington, where he will hold a roundtable on donating plasma
- After a last-ditch legal defeat, we may see the unsealing of what are described as “extremely personal” documents in the Ghislaine Maxwell case
- We’ll get the first estimate of US GDP figures for the second quarter, and new unemployment figures, which will indicate just how deep the impact of Covid-19 has been on the economy that Trump had hoped would sweep him forward to November victory
- Oh, and Nasa is shooting for Mars – where they might discover “lyfe”
I’m Martin Belam, I’ll be with you for the next few hours, and you can get in touch with me at [email protected]