Cup of Joe – February 28, 2023

“President Biden’s far-reaching initiative to forgive student loan debt will be debated this week before a Supreme Court that is skeptical of the administration’s bold claims of power — a nearly half-trillion-dollar showdown that could affect more than 40 million Americans,” the Washington Post reports.

“Tuesday’s oral arguments bring together a string of combustible issues: an ambitious program aimed at fulfilling a campaign promise for Biden’s political base; heightened suspicion by the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority about the ability of federal agencies to act without specific congressional authorization; and the power of Republican-led states to use the judiciary to stop a president’s priorities before they even take effect.”

“The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a case that could hobble the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and advance a key project of the conservative legal movement: to limit the power of independent agencies,” the New York Times reports.

“A ruling against the bureau, created as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act after the financial crisis, could cast doubt on every regulation and enforcement action it took in the dozen years of its existence.”

“The central question in the case, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Community Financial Services Association of America, No. 22-448, is whether the way Congress chose to fund the agency violated the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution, which says that ‘no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.’”

“One week after President Biden visited Kyiv to reaffirm an enduring commitment to helping defend against the Russian invasion, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Monday to emphasize that the United States would also continue to provide money Ukraine needs to keep its government operating as the war enters its second year,” the New York Times reports.

“Top administration officials said Sunday there is no evidence that China has sent lethal military support to Russia, a step Beijing is said to be considering,” the Washington Post reports.

“One top U.S. official also said China has been surprised by the steadfast support demonstrated by Ukraine’s allies and Russia’s poor military performance on the battlefield over the past year.”

“President Vladimir Putin cast the confrontation with the West over the Ukraine war as an existential battle for the survival of Russia and the Russian people – and said he was forced to take into account NATO’s nuclear capabilities,” Reuters reports.

“A year since ordering the invasion of Ukraine, Putin is increasingly presenting the war as a make-or-break moment in Russian history – and saying that he believes the very future of Russia and its people is in peril.”

“Russia’s struggles to seize and keep territory in Ukraine over the past year has likely fueled doubts by Chinese leader Xi Jinping that China’s military could successfully invade Taiwan later this decade, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Burns: “I think our judgment at least is that President Xi and his military leadership have doubts today about whether they could accomplish that invasion. As they’ve looked at Putin’s experience in Ukraine, that’s probably reinforced some of those doubts.”

Elon Musk accused the media of being racist against whites and Asians after U.S. newspapers dropped a white comic strip author who made derogatory comments about Black Americans, Reuters reports.

The distributor of the long-running “Dilbert” comic strip, announced late Sunday that it was “severing” ties with creator Scott Adams after he went on a racist rant during his YouTube show, Axios reports.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports Penguin Random House has also dropped plans to publish Adams’ upcoming book.

Tweeted Adams: “My book agent canceled me too.”

Yeah, that tends to happen when you call ALL black people evil and then say you want racial segregation reimposed. You are a racist fuck, Scott Adams, and you”re career is over. And that is what Elon Musk is defending, so he is a racist fuck too, but he is an apartheid-loving white South African, so that is to be expected.

Washington Post: “Many of the accusations were made by Biden’s political adversaries, abetted by a spate of criticism on mainly right-wing social media accounts, not all of them accurate — including the charge that federal officials ignored the crash, when they sent personnel as they normally would.”

“Still, three weeks after the disaster, it seems clear that the administration was caught off guard, unprepared for the possibility that the nonfatal crash would become a prism for the country’s political battles.”

Washington Post: “From our analysis, none of the regulatory changes made during the Trump administration at this point can be cited as contributing to the accident.”

“The nation may not be in recession, but Americans are reckoning with a classic recessionary symptom: feeling poorer,” The Hill reports.

“Half of American respondents say they are worse-off financially than a year ago, according to a Gallup poll released this month. In nearly 50 years of polling on this question, only once before have so many people reported dwindling fortunes: during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009.”

New York Times: “Its actions could set a precedent for the next economic crisis, one in which Fed officials — insulated from voters by design — are left making sweeping decisions that shape which businesses, governments and economic sectors thrive and which ones struggle.”

“Central bankers tried to avoid picking winners and losers in 2020, at times resisting partisan pressure to do so, but that often owed to the personalities in charge rather than to strict legal limitations.”

“Rep. Andrew Ogles (R-TN), who is facing allegations of embellishing his résumé, acknowledged Monday that he misstated the degree he received from Middle Tennessee State University, claiming he learned of the discrepancy only last week after requesting an official copy of his transcript,” the Washington Post reports.

“Ogles said he mistakenly stated that he received a degree in international relations. In a statement Monday, he said his degree was for liberal studies. That is a general education degree typically for those who cannot settle on a major.”

“Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, isn’t doing himself any favors,” NPR reports.

“Despite being charged with orchestrating one of the largest financial frauds in history and facing the prospect of spending his life in prison, he has been tweeting and giving interviews with media — all in an attempt to defend himself in the court of public opinion.”

Associated Press: “Embracing election conspiracy theories was a political albatross for Republicans in states that weren’t completely red last year, with deniers losing every statewide bid in the swing states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”

“But the movement has focused on GOP state party chairs — positions that usually are selected by only dedicated activists and have the power to influence the party’s presidential nominating contest and some aspects of election operations, such as recruiting poll watchers.”

NBC News says election deniers challenged 92,000 Georgia Voter Registrations in 2022. “The numbers offer a window into the impact of both baseless claims of stolen elections and Georgia’s 2021 sweeping election law. Senate Bill 202, as it is known, codified that county residents could make unlimited requests to election officials, asking them to remove voters from the rolls if the challengers believed they were ineligible.”

Defense attorneys for Donald Trump told CBS News that they have “lost 100% confidence” in the Georgia investigation into efforts by Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The lawyers added that if the former president were indicted, “we will absolutely fight anything tooth and nail.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorth (D-IL), the top Democrat on the House China committee, told CBS News that he doesn’t think TikTok is going to get banned in the United States.

Said Krishnamoorth: “I don’t think it’s gonna get banned. I think what we’re asking for is, you know, TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, that’s required to provide its user data, including on the 140 million Americans, as well as control of algorithms to the Chinese Communist Party upon request.”

He added: “All we’re saying is, if TikTok is gonna operate here, don’t have that user data and algorithms controlled by an adversarial regime.”

David French: “Fox isn’t just the news hub of right-wing America, it’s a cultural cornerstone, and its business model is so successful that it’s more accurate to think of the rest of the right-wing media universe not as a collection of competitors to Fox, but rather as imitators.”

“From television channels to news sites, right-wing personalities aren’t so much competing with Fox as auditioning for it.”

“At a House hearing this month on fraud and waste in pandemic aid, some Republicans zeroed in on one group in particular for criticism: the federal employees overseeing the money,” the Washington Post reports.

“That sentiment is animating a newly empowered GOP House majority eager to ramp up scrutiny of the army of civil servants who run the government’s day-to-day operations. The effort includes seeking testimony from middle- and lower-level workers who are part of what Republicans have long derided as the “deep state,” while some lawmakers are drafting bills that have little chance of passing the Democrat-led Senate but give Republicans a chance to argue for reining in the federal bureaucracy of 2.1 million employees.”

“The Biden administration plans to leverage the federal government’s expansive investment in the semiconductor industry to make progress on another goal: affordable child care,” the New York Times reports.

“On Tuesday, the Commerce Department will announce that any semiconductor manufacturer seeking a slice of nearly $40 billion in new federal subsidies will need to essentially guarantee affordable, high-quality child care for workers who build or operate a plant.”

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

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