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Cup of Joe – 5/22/22

“The U.S. is expected to keep 100,000 troops stationed in Europe for the foreseeable future unless Russia escalates and threatens Sweden and Finland or NATO members,” CNN reports.

“Russia will cut natural gas supplies to Finland on Saturday, the latest salvo in a growing confrontation between the two countries over the war in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.

“In a sign of Russia’s urgent need to bolster its war effort in Ukraine, parliament said on Friday it would consider a bill to allow Russians over 40 and foreigners over 30 to sign up for the military,” Reuters reports.

The Economist: “By invading Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will destroy the lives of people far from the battlefield—and on a scale even he may regret. The war is battering a global food system weakened by covid-19, climate change and an energy shock. Ukraine’s exports of grain and oilseeds have mostly stopped and Russia’s are threatened. Together, the two countries supply 12% of traded calories. Wheat prices, up 53% since the start of the year, jumped a further 6% on May 16th, after India said it would suspend exports because of an alarming heatwave.”

“The widely accepted idea of a cost-of-living crisis does not begin to capture the gravity of what may lie ahead.”

“Russia permanently banned nearly 1,000 Americans, including President Biden and Vice President Harris, from entering the country in response to the United States’ support of Ukraine and the historic sanctions facing Moscow nearly three months into its invasion,” the Washington Post reports.

“One prominent name missing from the list: former president Donald Trump. In fact, the only prominent Trump administration official included in the ban is former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.”

“Russia has fired more than 2,000 missiles on Ukraine since invading in February. The engines for many of these missiles were manufactured by a massive state-owned enterprise called Rostec, and executives for that company hired the global consulting giant McKinsey & Co. in recent years for advice,” NBC News reports.

“At the same time McKinsey was advising the Russian defense conglomerate, though not on any work directly involving weapons, the firm was carrying out sensitive national security contracts for the Defense Department and the U.S. intelligence community.”

“Ukraine’s military intelligence chief said the country would keep fighting until it evicts Russian forces from all of its territory—including Crimea and other areas effectively seized by Moscow in 2014—and called for deliveries of longer-range heavy weapons and warplanes from the West to help,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Elon Musk blasted Democrats on Twitter while doubling down on his vow to vote for Republicans in the next election.

Said Musk: “In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party. But they have become the party of division and hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican.”

He added: “Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold…”

Former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau responded: “Hey man, if you want to support a bunch of electric vehicle-hating climate deniers, that’s on you.”

“Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s onetime personal attorney and a lead architect of his attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, on Friday met with the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection,“ CNN reports.

“Despite Giuliani backing out of the original deposition, the two sides continued to negotiate an appearance, which led to a virtual appearance Friday that lasted for more than nine hours.”

New York Times: “The interview was transcribed, and he was under oath.”

Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, pressed Arizona lawmakers after the 2020 election to set aside Joe Biden’s popular-vote victory and choose “a clean slate of Electors,” according to emails obtained by the Washington Post.

Her emails argued that legislators needed to intervene because the vote had been marred by fraud.

New York Times: “At least three members of the group chat are now facing charges in connection with the riot at the Capitol in January 2021. They include Owen Shroyer, the right-hand man of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; Enrique Tarrio, the onetime chairman of the Proud Boys; and Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia.”

“But the focus of the chat was always the man whose photo topped its home page: Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime political operative and adviser to Mr. Trump.”

“Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle and the biggest backer of Elon Musk’s attempted Twitter takeover, participated in a call shortly after the 2020 election that focused on strategies for contesting the legitimacy of the vote,” the Washington Post reports.

Oklahoma State Rep. Mickey Dollens (D) floated an idea to go along with the most restrictive abortion law in the country, Mediaite reports.

Said Dollens: “I would invite you to co-author a bill that I’m considering next year that would mandate that each male when they reach puberty get a mandatory vasectomy that’s only reversible when they reach the point of financial and emotional stability.”

He added: “If you think that’s crazy then I think that maybe you understand how 50 percent of Oklahomans feel, as well.”

Michigan state Senate candidate Jacky Eubanks (R), who was endorsed by Donald Trump, promised to ban all birth control if she gets the chance.  Said Eubanks: “People believe that birth control — it’s better, like you said, oh, because then you won’t get pregnant and you won’t need to have an abortion.”

She added. “But I think it gives people the false sense of security that they can have consequence-free sex, and that’s not true and that’s not correct. Sex ought to be between one man and one woman in the confines of marriage.”

“Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left. The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint. Those who taught reporters in universities already had progressive leftist principles.”  –Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, quoted by The Guardian.

“The number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell in early May to the lowest point in more than 50 years, adding to signs the U.S. labor market remains unusually tight,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Stocks dropped on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 into a bear market for the first time since early in the pandemic, as investors feared the effects of higher inflation, rising interest rates and the risk of a recession,” the New York Times reports.

“The S&P 500 was down about 1.6 percent in intraday trading, pushing the benchmark index into bear market territory, a Wall Street term for a 20 percent decline from a recent peak — in this case, since Jan. 3.”

“The financial leaders of the world’s most powerful countries warned this week of the potential for a global economic slowdown, as the threats caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continued to multiply,” the Washington Post reports.

“Globally, the war is sending energy and food prices soaring. In the United States, Great Britain and Europe, central banks determined to curb inflation are moving to hike interest rates, which risks pushing nations back into recession. The developing world faces an emerging debt crisis on top of a growing hunger problem sparked by the war.”

“After approving trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus to avert the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, world economic leaders are now grappling with the threat of ‘stagflation’ — slow, or negative, economic growth, coupled with rising inflation. The risks abroad may be even greater than in the United States, economists say.”

Senior Department of Homeland Security officials are concerned they will not have enough funding and resources to cover the recording-breaking number of migrants at the southern border, especially as the CDC prepares to lift Title 42 on Monday, NBC News reports.

“A federal judge has blocked the Biden administration from ending Title 42 — a controversial border policy that has allowed officials to rapidly turn back migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border nearly 2 million times,” Axios reports.

“The administration had planned to end the policy on Monday.”

“Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have decried the end of the policy — implemented as public health initiative under the Trump administration to block migrants from coming during the pandemic — out of concern that ending Title 42 would exacerbate already record numbers at the border.”

Nature: “More than 120 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox, a rare viral disease seldom detected outside of Africa, have been reported in at least 11 non-African countries in the past week. The emergence of the virus in separate populations across the world where it doesn’t usually appear has alarmed scientists — and sent them racing for answers.”

“The number of cases detected outside of Africa in the past week alone — which is all but certain to increase — has already surpassed the number detected outside the continent since 1970, when the virus was first identified as causing disease in humans. This rapid spread is what has scientists on high alert.”

Ed Yong: “A new viral outbreak is testing whether the world has learned anything from Covid.”

“About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear.”  — Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), quoted by Politico, saying maternal death rates are only bad if you count Black women.

Republicans, all of them, really don’t see black people as Americans.

“Anthony Albanese and his opposition Labor Party were poised on Saturday to end nine years of conservative government in Australia, according to the country’s national broadcaster, defeating the coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a campaign promising ‘renewal not revolution.’” the New York Times reports.

“The likely Labor victory would be only its fourth at the polls since World War II. After a race that became a referendum on Mr. Morrison and his combative style — in the final days he acknowledged that he could be ‘a bit of a bulldozer’ and promised to change — the results pointed to exhaustion with the incumbent more than enthusiasm for the challenger.”

“King Abdullah II of Jordan issued a royal decree Thursday restricting the communications and movements of his half brother Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, whom Jordanian authorities accused last year of taking part in a coup attempt against the king,” the Washington Post reports.

“The letter — an extraordinary public airing of a family conflict — was the latest twist in a royal drama that began more than a year ago, when Hamzah was placed under house arrest and accused of fomenting a coup along with Bassem Awadallah, a former top aide to the king, and Sharif Hasan, a little-known member of the royal family.”

“Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government is facing a new threat to its existence after a second lawmaker quit the ruling coalition Thursday, leaving it with a minority in parliament less than a year since coming to power,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

British prime minister Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley Johnson, has become a French citizen, The Guardian reports.  The elder Johnson campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU in 2016, while his son Boris led the leave movement.

“A long-awaited report into the partygate scandal by senior civil servant Sue Gray is unlikely to force Boris Johnson from office,” the Financial Times reports.

Wall Street Journal: “Economists routinely say that no one wins a trade war because costs rise on all sides. If that’s the case, the U.S., which started the fight and eventually slapped steep tariffs on three-quarters of everything China sold to the U.S. to force changes in Chinese economic policy, lost by not winning.”

“There is plenty of evidence for a U.S. loss. During a trip to Beijing in May 2018, top Trump administration officials laid out their demands: cut the bilateral trade deficit by $200 billion, end subsidies for advanced technology, halt pressure on U.S. companies to hand over technology and strengthen intellectual property protection.”

“To press Beijing to comply, the administration carried out four rounds of tariff hikes, which raised average U.S. duties on Chinese goods to 21% from 3.1%. China retaliated with similar levies.”

“The San Francisco archbishop issued a notice Friday that he would no longer allow House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to receive Communion, an escalation of his feud with the Catholic Democrat over abortion politics,” the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

“In a public notification to Pelosi, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone wrote that he had warned Pelosi in April that she must either repudiate her support of abortion rights or not refer to her Catholicism in justifying them, and that Pelosi declined to meet with him.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy railed against Peloton because Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave everyone in Congress a Peloton membership.  Said McCarthy: “It’s a $2,000 bike that you pay to use and pay to set up that doesn’t go anywhere. What’s a business like that?”

“The number of sailors who deserted the Navy more than doubled from 2019 to 2021, while desertions in other military branches dropped or stayed flat, pointing to a potential Navy-wide mental health crisis amid a spate of recent suicides,” NBC News reports.

“A bipartisan group of senators led by Utah Republican Mike Lee introduced legislation Thursday that would take aim at conflicts of interest in the advertising technology industry and force Google to break up its dominant online-ad business,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

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

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