Cup of Joe – 6/2/22

“The official response to the mass shooting at an Uvalde elementary school — a response already marred by shifting narratives, finger-pointing and a general lack of timely and accurate information — took a further turn toward dysfunction on Tuesday,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“The Uvalde school district’s police chief — who made the decision to wait for more resources rather than confront the gunman sooner — has stopped cooperating with state investigators and had not responded to requests for information for over two days.”

Multiple people were shot and some were killed on Wednesday afternoon at a medical building in Tulsa, the New York Times reports. The assailant, who was armed with a rifle, was dead.

President Biden writes in the New York Times that the U.S. is providing Ukraine “more advanced rocket systems and munitions” as its war with Russia grinds on.

He said the new shipment of arms would “enable them to more precisely strike key targets on the battlefield in Ukraine.”

“The Biden administration plans to sell Ukraine four MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that can be armed with Hellfire missiles for battlefield use against Russia,” Reuters reports.

Ukraine defense official to CNN: “It’s too early to relax.”

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shut down a Newsmax interviewer who prompted him to say that there would be no war in Ukraine if former President Donald Trump were still US president,” Insider reports.

Said Zelensky: “I am sorry if I’ll be saying something that you don’t like but for us as the country in war, it doesn’t matter whether its Democrats or Republicans. It’s the people of the United States that support us.”

General Paul Nakasone told Sky News that U.S. military hackers have conducted offensive operations in support of Ukraine.

“The United Kingdom is asking the U.S. to sign off on a plan to send advanced, medium-range rocket systems to Ukraine within a few weeks, a move that follows President Joe Biden’s announcement that he’s sending similar weapons,” Politico reports.

“The U.S. must officially approve the move due to export regulations, though the Biden administration is near certain to give the green light.”

Politico: “For the past several months, a White House-led team of economic specialists has marked each day in the same way: With a painstaking, state-by-state examination of gasoline prices and the intricate market forces pushing them relentlessly upward.”

“Senior officials and others close to President Joe Biden view those prices as the cost that most directly affects voters’ everyday lives, and therefore their perception of the economy as well. As such, Biden and his top advisers fixate on them with an intensity that some aides describe as obsessive. White House chief of staff Ron Klain has grown particularly absorbed by the issue, checking the average price of a gallon of gas every morning. He’s lamented that it’s the one item everyone knows the cost of because gas station billboards are so ubiquitous throughout the country.”

“The White House’s focus on gas prices is bred from two sobering political conclusions top officials have made. The first is that they have little control over the problem. The second is that as prices rise at the pump, so do Democrats’ odds of a midterm wipeout — especially as the average U.S. gallon of gas hits fresh record highs.”

Wall Street Journal: “Senior White House advisers have expressed frustration in recent weeks with their messaging around inflation… Some officials have said they should publicly accept that the administration’s stimulus contributed to higher prices while arguing that such steps were worthwhile, while others have been opposed to making such concessions.”

“Political advisers have trotted out different inflation counterattacks, for example, by linking higher prices to corporate greed or blaming them on Russian President Vladimir Putin. But economic advisers haven’t eagerly embraced those lines.”

A person in touch with White House economists tells the Washington Post: “It seems like they’ve given up doing anything and have settled into figuring out what the best thing to say is. There’s almost more debate about the right narrative than the right policy stance.”

Politico: “Some top executives, especially in the banking sector, are now complaining that while Biden pays lip service to caring about their views on how to fix things, he doesn’t actually listen to them or solicit their input. The finance industry is especially alarmed at the moment given the big losses in stocks and the impact of changing interest rates on their businesses.”

Said one big bank CEO: “They said everything was going to be different under Biden and they would be more engaged with us, and they weren’t. Now they are going to get slaughtered in the midterms. And they deserve to get slaughtered because they haven’t really accomplished anything except maybe increasing inflation.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told CNN that it was wrong to downplay the threat of rising inflation last year as the White House works to combat rising consumer prices that have hampered Joe Biden’s presidency.

Said Yellen: “I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take.”

She added: “There have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that boosted energy and food prices, and supply bottlenecks, that have affected our economy badly that I, at the time, didn’t fully understand. But we recognize that now.”

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday put on hold a Texas law that bars social media companies from removing posts based on a user’s political ideology, while a legal battle over whether such measures violate the First Amendment continues in lower courts,” the Washington Post reports.

The Guardian: “The exact nature of the subpoena – served on 26 May 2022 and first obtained by the Guardian – and whether it means Trump himself is under criminal investigation for January 6 could not be established given the unusually sparse details included on the order.”

“But certain elements appear to suggest that it is related to a new investigation examining potential criminality by the former president and, at the very least, that the justice department is expanding its inquiry for the first time into Trump and his inner circle.”

Vox: “A coordinated communications plan apparently sent from the Republican National Committee recommends pushing back on the select committee as ‘partisan’ while also taking care not to be seen as explicitly speaking on behalf of Trump or embracing his lies about the 2020 election’s legitimacy.”

The January 6 select committee last week publicly released a long-hidden memo that a federal judge previously determined was evidence of “likely” felonies by Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman, Politico reports.

“Top Republican congressional aides huddled this month with conservative think-tank leaders on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to hone tactics and messaging for Biden administration probes,” Axios reports.  “If the GOP wins control in the midterms, leaders want to kick off high-profile investigations as soon as the new Congress is seated. Republicans plan to draw on investigative power from allies across Washington.”

“If we have fully electable candidates on the ballot in November, I think there’s a decent chance that the country will change directions… I think that would be a period of relative stability, without any more of these wild spending sprees that pretty much defined the first year of the presidency.”  — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by Politico.

“Taiwan on Monday reported the largest incursion since January by China’s air force in its air defense zone, with the island’s defense ministry saying Taiwanese fighters scrambled to warn away 30 aircraft in the latest uptick in tensions,” Reuters reports.

“Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained for the past two years or so of repeated missions by China’s air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.”

Chinese military researchers have called for the development of a “hard kill” weapon to destroy Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system if it threatens China’s national security, Live Science reports.

The researchers drew attention to Starlink’s “huge potential for military applications” and the need for China to develop countermeasures to surveill, disable or even destroy the growing satellite megaconstellation.

“Amid growing tensions with China, the Biden administration is forging closer economic ties with Taiwan in areas including trade, supply chains and technology-export controls,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Calling off plans at the last minute used to be seen as rude. Now it can feel like a fixture of social life,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“As Covid-19 cases rise in some parts of the country, cancellations keep coming. Among friends, families and colleagues, reasons for canceling plans range widely, as does the timing. This is partly due to the uneven nature by which Covid-19 spreads, and partly due to a willingness to beg off plans with little more than sniffles. The availability of rapid tests—and events that require them—has also meant that people find out their health status at the last minute.”

“Efforts to update Covid-19 vaccines can’t seem to keep up with changes in the virus itself,” Axios reports.

“New variants appear to be even more immune-resistant than the original Omicron strain, raising the possibility that even retooled vaccines could be outdated by the time they become available this fall.”

“Preliminary data suggests that the most recent Omicron subvariants are significantly different from the original version that began spreading late last year.”

“The Senate’s bipartisan $10 billion Covid funding deal will need to be totally renegotiated, aides and senators expect, because some of the money laid out to pay for it has already been spent,” Politico reports.  “But don’t count on the Senate to pick up the scraps. The aide said Senate Democrats are not going to take the lead to figure out how to pay for the Covid aid package for a third time.”

Sarah Palin lost her bid for a new trial in her libel case against The New York Times on Tuesday, with a judge ruling that she had failed to introduce “even a speck” of evidence necessary to prove the newspaper had defamed her in a 2017 editorial, the New York Times reports.

“President Joe Biden is set to meet with infant formula manufacturers as his administration works to ease nationwide shortages by importing foreign supplies and using the Defense Production Act to speed domestic production,” the AP reports.

Washington Post: “The experience in the District highlights how aggressive tactics to seize guns can exacerbate tensions with communities and collide with the realities of successful prosecutions. To substantiate a case in court, police must show they had legitimate reason to conduct a search and tie a gun to a specific person, which can be a difficult task.”

“And defense attorneys and criminal justice advocates say officers are often stopping young Black men on flimsy pretexts and bringing weak cases in a so-far-unsuccessful effort to quell shootings.”

“Jestine Iannotti, one of three ‘ghost’ candidates who ran as independents for Florida Senate seats in 2020, has been arrested on several criminal charges, alongside a political consultant involved in launching her campaign and Seminole County’s Republican Party chairman,” the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Labor Party clinched a parliamentary majority after day of ballots getting counted in tightly contested seats, giving his government the heft to push through bills on issues ranging from climate change to anti-corruption measures,” Bloomberg reports.

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

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