Cup of Joe – 5/24/22

“A shipment of infant formula intended to fill a nationwide shortage arrived in the United States from Europe on Sunday, and a second flight was expected to bring additional supplies in the coming days,” the New York Times reports.

Tom Friedman had an off-the-record lunch with President Biden but had this observation: “Biden didn’t say it in so many words, but he didn’t have to. I could hear it between the lines: He’s worried that while he has reunited the West, he may not be able to reunite America.”

“President Biden said the U.S. would get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China tries to take it by force, issuing a stark warning to Beijing and appearing to break with the longstanding American policy of strategic ambiguity,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Biden: “We agree with the One China policy and all the attendant agreements we made. But the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, would just not be appropriate.”

He added: “It would dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine. So, it’s a burden that is even stronger.”

New York Times: “The president’s declaration, offered without caveat or clarification, surprised some members of his own administration watching in the room, who did not expect him to promise such unvarnished resolve.”

A White House official said Biden’s remarks did not reflect a decades-old policy shift, the AP reports.

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot “intends to hold six hearings, with the first and last in prime time, where its lawyers will run through how Trump’s schemes took shape before the election and culminated with the Capitol attack,” The Guardian reports.

While marching in a New York City parade, Rudy Giuliani got into a shouting match with a spectator.  Said Giuliani: “You are a jackass… You are a brainwashed asshole… you are probably as demented as Biden.”

“The question for every one of us is in this time of testing, will we do our duty? Will we defend our Constitution? Will we stand for truth? Will we put duty to our oath above partisan politics? Or will we look away from danger, ignore the threat, embrace the lies and enable the liar?” — Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), speaking at the JFK Profiles in Courage award ceremony Sunday.

“U.S. military and diplomatic officials are weighing plans to send special-forces troops to Kyiv to guard the newly reopened embassy there, proposals that would force the Biden administration to balance a desire to avoid escalating the U.S. military presence in the war zone against fears for the safety of American diplomats,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the bipartisan nature of the recent Ukraine aid vote marked a personal victory for him over the isolationist wing of the Republican Party skeptical of long-term military and economic support for Kyiv, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said McConnell: “I am interested in diminishing the number of my members who believe that America somehow can exist alone in the world.”

He added: “I think the fact that only 11 in the end ended up voting against the package was indication of success in convincing a larger number of our members that no matter what was being said by some on the outside that those views were simply incorrect.”

A diplomat at Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva has resigned over the war in Ukraine, writing that he has never been “so ashamed” of his country, in a rare public rebuke of the war from within the Russian government, the Washington Post reports.

Said Boris Bondarev, a counselor in the Russian mission since 2019: “The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia.”

“President Biden has enlisted a dozen Asia-Pacific nations to join a new loosely defined economic bloc meant to counter China’s dominance and reassert American influence in the region five years after his predecessor withdrew the United States from a sweeping trade accord that it had negotiated itself,” the New York Times reports.

“The alliance will bring the United States together with such regional powerhouses as Japan, South Korea and India to establish new rules of commerce in the fastest growing part of the world and offer an alternative to Beijing’s leadership. But wary of liberal opposition at home, Mr. Biden’s new partnership will avoid the market access provisions of traditional trade deals, raising questions about how meaningful it will be.”

Washington Post: “Part personal chronicle and part political journey, Conway’s book is filled with the sorts of barbed one-liners and bon mots that she dispensed on cable news on Trump’s behalf, becoming — depending on one’s perspective — increasingly famous or infamous.”

“Unlike many other Trump-focused tomes in the post-presidency era, Conway has not set out to pen a scathing tell-all, in which she distances herself from the president or administration she once served.”

Kellyanne Conway writes in her new book that there was no “deal” between her and her husband as she served as one of Donald Trump’s top aides, Axios reports.

“Night after night, I would come home from a busy day at work and be there for the kids: dinner, homework, projects. While I was minding dishes, dogs, laundry, managing adolescent dramas and traumas, George would be just steps away from me, tucked away in his home office, plotting against my boss and me.”

“There was no subject he considered beyond his expertise. Criminal justice reform. Middle East peace. The southern and northern borders. Veterans and opioids. Big Tech and small business. If Martian attacks had come across the radar, he would have happily added them to his ever-bulging portfolio.”  — Kellyanne Conway, quoted by the Washington Post, about Jared Kushner in her new book.

Former president Donald Trump considered quitting his first run for the presidency after the notorious recording about him grabbing women surfaced a month before the election, Kellyanne Conway writes in her upcoming book, which was obtained by the Daily Beast.

“Shortly before the 2020 election, Trump administration officials unveiled a U.S. government-sponsored program called the Abraham Fund that they said would raise $3 billion for projects around the Middle East,” the New York Times reports.

“Spearheaded by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the fund promised to capitalize on diplomatic agreements he had championed between Israel and some Arab states — pacts known as the Abraham Accords. Steven Mnuchin, then Treasury secretary, helped inaugurate the fund on a trip to the United Arab Emirates and Israel, hailing the accords as ‘a tremendous foundation for economic growth.’”

“It was little more than talk: With no accounts, employees, income or projects, the fund vanished when Mr. Trump left office. Yet after Mr. Kushner and Mr. Mnuchin crisscrossed the Middle East in the final months of the administration on trips that included trying to raise money for the project, each quickly launched a private fund that in some ways picked up where the Abraham Fund had ended.”

Josh Marshall: “So many aspects of our corruption are so clear and so profound in their implications that most of the political class and elite publications aren’t even able to grapple with them. This article in the Times only glances at the surface of it. What was once an enduring alliance between the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has transformed into something more like an alliance between the Kingdom and the GOP, with a fairly open effort to undermine the Presidency of Joe Biden on behalf of the latter. And it’s not just the GOP. There’s a particular role for Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law who is toasted in the Kingdom as something like the de facto leader’s best friend.”

Former President Donald Trump shared a post on his social media platform that appeared to propose or predict a civil war in the U.S.

“State-level Democratic officials and abortion-rights advocates are discouraged by how little their allies in Congress and the White House have done since a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade became public,” Politico reports.

“Instead of executive actions that could increase access to abortion pills or help protect people’s medical information, national Democrats have largely highlighted what they can’t do in the Senate and focused on fueling midterm-election turnout, angering state and local leaders who feel the burden to protect and expand access is falling almost entirely on their shoulders.”

The Atlantic: “Starting in the spring of 2020, school boards and superintendents across the country faced a dreadful choice: Keep classrooms open and risk more COVID-19 deaths, or close schools and sacrifice children’s learning. In the name of safety, many districts shut down for long periods. But researchers are now learning that the closures came at a stiff price—a large decline in children’s achievement overall and a historic widening in achievement gaps by race and economic status.”

“The achievement loss is far greater than most educators and parents seem to realize. The only question now is whether state and local governments will recognize the magnitude of the educational damage and make students whole.”

Washington Post: “Since Sandy Hook, the nation has experienced more than 3,500 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks gun violence and defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are killed or injured.”

“The shootings have touched nearly every imaginable slice of American life: A Black church in Charleston, S.C. (2015). A government-funded nonprofit center in San Bernardino, Calif. (2015). A gay nightclub in Orlando (2016). A country music festival in Las Vegas (2017). A high school in Parkland, Fla. (2018). A synagogue in Pittsburgh (2018). A Walmart in majority-Hispanic El Paso, followed just hours later by a shooting in a popular nightlife corridor in Dayton, Ohio (2019). Asian American massage businesses in Atlanta (2021).”

“And just a week ago, a racist attack at a supermarket in a Black neighborhood of Buffalo left 10 dead and thrust mass shootings back into the news.”

“Armed with a secret list of more than 700 abusive pastors, Southern Baptist leaders chose to protect the denomination from lawsuits rather than protect the people in their churches from further abuse,” Christianity Today reports.

“Survivors, advocates, and some Southern Baptists themselves spent more than 15 years calling for ways to keep sexual predators from moving quietly from one flock to another.”

Washington Post: “The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform.”

“When historian Kristin Du Mez’s latest book, Jesus and John Wayne, came out in the summer of 2020, it received little attention from mainstream gatekeepers and reviewers,” the Washington Post reports.

“But the book, which explores evangelical fondness for former president Donald Trump and strong masculine figures, has since sold more than 100,000 copies through word of mouth, podcasts and book clubs. When it came out in paperback last month, the book shot up to No. 4 among nonfiction paperbacks on the New York Times bestseller list.”

“As journalists and academics tried to explain how evangelicals could bring themselves to vote for Trump, Du Mez argued that evangelical support was not a shocking aberration from their views but a culmination of evangelicals’ long-standing embrace of militant masculinity, presenting the man as protector and warrior.”

The U.N. reports that a staggering 95% of Afghans are not getting enough to eat, with that number rising to almost 100% in female-headed households.

“New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a trade delegation to the US this week but is yet to confirm a meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House due to her recent Covid-19 infection,” Bloomberg reports.

“Beijing reported a record number of new Covid-19 cases for its current outbreak, reviving concern China’s capital may face a broad lockdown as authorities seek to stamp out community spread of the virus,” Bloomberg reports.

“An Israeli lawmaker who quit the government this past week decided to rejoin the ruling, yet shaky, coalition helping Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to stay in power and avoid new elections for the time being,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

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

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