Cup of Joe – May 21, 2023

“Debt limit talks between the White House and House Republicans stopped, started and stopped again Friday at the U.S. Capitol, a dizzying series of events in high-stakes negotiations to avoid a potentially catastrophic federal default,” the AP reports.

White House communications director Ben LaBolt said Saturday that “Any serious budget negotiation must include discussion both of spending and of revenues, but Republicans have refused to discuss revenue.”

Politico: “Privately, the White House shares some of the progressives’ anxiety that McCarthy will balk at the last minute, or prove unable to sell his conference on whatever deal is reached. But officials believe they have no choice but to forge ahead.”

The debt-limit negotiators are not scheduled to meet today after talks stalled again last night, Punchbowl News reports.

“Prolonged debt-ceiling squabbling could push the U.S. economy into recession, while a government default on its obligations might touch off a severe financial crisis,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“In a worst-case scenario, a failure to pay holders of U.S. government debt, a linchpin of the global financial system, could trigger severe recession and send stock prices plummeting and borrowing costs soaring.”

“Mitch McConnell has been Senate GOP leader for 16 years, with multiple bipartisan deals under his belt. Kevin McCarthy has led House Republicans for four years—and been speaker for just four months—with little history of reaching agreements with Democrats,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“But headed into the hard-fought talks over the debt ceiling, they made a critical decision that would shape how Republicans would negotiate with the White House: McCarthy would be in charge.”

New York Times: “Even as negotiators push forward with halting talks to resolve the federal debt-ceiling standoff, members of both parties are positioning themselves to try to dodge the blame for the economic fallout if things go south. Democrats lambaste Republicans for taking the debt ceiling hostage to appease ‘extreme MAGA’ conservatives bent on shrinking government spending. Republicans hit Democrats for waiting too long to open talks and not taking G.O.P. demands seriously.”

“But deep down — and in some cases not so deep — officials in both parties know they are all going to pay if they don’t get a deal, the government defaults and Americans lose money and jobs and confidence about their financial well-being and future.”

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “I would hate to be the politician trying to explain to people when the economy is in the toilet that it’s not my fault, it’s their fault. Yeah, that ain’t going to work. They will flush us all.”

“Republicans and the White House resumed debt ceiling talks on Friday evening after frustrated GOP negotiators hit pause for much of the day,” The Hill reports.

“But a key Republican negotiator is not confident about coming to an agreement this weekend, which Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said has to happen to allow legislation to pass through the House and Senate by June 1, the day Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could default by.”

Punchbowl News: “The dispute here, broadly speaking, is that Republicans want to revert spending to FY2022 levels and Democrats want to freeze current spending, according to sources. The gap between those two positions is more than $100 billion this year alone.”

“We’re gonna get to a point where McCarthy has to decide whether he’s willing to proceed to default.”— Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), quoted by Politico, on the debt ceiling talks.

“A Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant who supervised the intelligence branch of the Washington, D.C., police was indicted this week, charged with tipping off former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio about a pending warrant for his arrest just ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol,” NBC News reports.

“President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine landed in Japan on Saturday to meet with leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies, bolstered by a major shift from President Biden that opens a path for Ukraine to get the American-made F-16 fighter jets he has been pleading for,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: Zelensky makes dramatic G-7 visit as Biden mobilizes allies over China.

The U.S. will support a joint international effort to train Ukrainian pilots on modern fighter aircraft, including F-16s, Politico reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin bizarrely claimed that Kremlin critics living in exile drink beer with “female sex hormones,” the Daily Beast reports.

“The Nebraska Legislature [passed] Friday on a bill that would restrict access to abortion and gender-affirming care, two of the most contentious issues of the legislative session in the state and around the country,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Somebody on Twitter was like, ‘Oh, you’re gonna lose your next election because you won’t have their donor list.’ And I was like: Bitch, I’ve never seen a donor list in my life. Is the party supposed to help you fundraise? I’ve literally never heard of that. The national Democrats never noticed anything we were doing in Nebraska until one or two of us got a little popular on Twitter.”— Nebraska state Sen. Megan Hunt (I), in an interview with Semafor.

ABC News is hiring The Economist’s G. Elliott Morris to be the editorial director of data analytics for the news division, a post that also oversees FiveThirtyEight, Deadline reports.

“Three men currently staying at a homeless shelter in Poughkeepsie said they were among a group of 15 recruited a few days ago to portray homeless veterans displaced from upstate hotels by incoming migrants,” the Albany Times Union reports.

Politico: “The accusation that about 20 veterans were tossed from a Newburgh hotel in Orange County to make way for the asylum-seekers drew national headlines and broad condemnation. But the claims soon began to unravel when the hotel showed proof that it was not housing homeless veterans and that no one was displaced when the migrants arrived.”

Rep. George Santos (R-NY), “the New York Republican under indictment for campaign finance violations, appointed himself as his own campaign treasurer Friday,” Bloomberg reports.

“Santos follows a line of people overseeing his campaign finances since his November election: Nancy Marks, a longtime New York GOP operative who resigned as his treasurer in January; Thomas Datwyler, who denied ever accepting the job after his name appeared on FEC paperwork; and Andrew Olson, who had never served as a campaign treasurer and whose only identifying information was a Google email address.”

A federal judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to provide a detailed accounting of his finances and net worth in connection with a lawsuit filed by two Georgia poll workers who contend the Trump lawyer defamed them by publicly accusing them of fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” Politico reports.

“A Nevada computer scientist has gone to federal court to pursue the $5 million prize he is owed by MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell following a ruling by private arbitrators last month,” the Washington Post reports.

“The arbitrators found that Robert Zeidman deserved the money because he had successfully challenged data related to Lindell’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen — and had thus won a contest Lindell had dubbed: ‘Prove Mike Wrong.’”

“North Carolina Republicans jumped out on a limb this week when they passed a controversial new abortion ban. Democrats are now rushing to saw it off,” CNN reports.

“The state GOP legislative supermajority’s decision to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the measure sharpened the stakes for next year’s elections – and gave Democrats new impetus to invest up and down the North Carolina ballot.”

“At the top of the ticket, President Joe Biden’s campaign is already drawing up plans to focus on the ban, which outlaws most abortions after 12 weeks, in its bid to win a state last captured by a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008.”

Washington Post: “Immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Republican lawmakers were quick to embrace so-called ‘trigger’ bans designed to take effect as soon as the decision was released, while others rushed to pass additional restrictions that would halt the procedure in their states, sometimes backing proposals that did not include exceptions for rape or incest.”

“Now, almost a year later, lawmakers in some Republican-led states have started coalescing behind bans that allow most abortions to continue — a reaction, some Republicans say, to the sustained political backlash to abortion restrictions that has been mounting since the landmark decision in June.”

“While the 12-week bans have so far only passed in two states — North Carolina and Nebraska — the proposal has also gained traction with some national antiabortion groups who say they’re supportive of restricting abortions as far as a state can, including Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which has also been pushing for, at minimum, national limits on abortion at 15 weeks.”

Ron Brownstein: “Mocking the sexual-harassment reckoning is a feature of Donald Trump’s political persona.”

“Roger Stone has been in and out of Donald Trump’s orbit for more than four decades. But since Trump commuted his three-year prison sentence for lying to federal investigators, the self-proclaimed specialist in political ‘dirty tricks’ had been preaching the gospel of Trumpism to the former president’s most fervent religious supporters,” Yahoo News reports.

Said Stone: “I am a soldier in the army of the Lord.”

“Stone has been using more explicitly religious language over the past few years, especially when attending the Reawaken America tour events that mix evangelical church services with speeches promoting Qanon conspiracy theories and Trumpism.”

“The events combine a devotion to Trump with an apocalyptic religious view of politics.”

Another indicator of the growing Christian nationalism in the GOP.

“Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) decision last week to call a special legislative session to tackle gun reform has prompted a number of unfamiliar allies to line up behind the Republican leader,” NBC News reports.

“Democrats and gun control groups have lauded Lee’s move — which came weeks after a shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville killed six people, including three 9-year-old children.”

“On the other hand, Republicans in the gun-friendly state have signaled they’re unwilling to go along with Lee, who, following the shooting, pleaded with his conservative Legislature to take action.”

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) vetoed three pieces of legislation that would have placed additional restrictions on gun ownership and purchasing in the state, The Hill reports.

“The tightest job market in generations is transforming the employment prospects for Black Americans in ways that could be more long-lasting than in past economic expansions,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The unemployment rate for Black workers fell to a record low 4.7% in April. That was still above the national average, but below 5% for the first time in Labor Department records of employment for Black Americans, which began in 1972.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wants to investigate Bud Light for marketing to children, Fox News reports.

New York Times: “Ahead of an expected White House bid, Mr. DeSantis has relied heavily on his rich allies to ferry him around the country to test his message and raise his profile. Many of these donors are familiar boosters from Florida, some with business interests before the state, according to a New York Times review of Mr. DeSantis’s travel. Others have been shielded from the public by a new nonprofit, The Times found, in an arrangement that drew criticism from ethics experts.”

“Ethics experts said the travel — and specifically the role of the nonprofit — shows how Mr. DeSantis’s prolonged candidate-in-limbo status has allowed him to work around rules intended to keep donors from wielding secret influence.”

In a stunning reversal, U.S. officials are “walking back claims that a recent strike in Syria killed an influential al-Qaeda  figure, following assertions by the dead man’s family that he had no ties to terrorists but was a father of 10 tending to his sheep when he was slain by an American missile,” the Washington Post reports.

“In the weeks since the attack, U.S. military officials have refused to identify publicly who their target was, how the apparent error occurred, whether a legitimate terrorist leader escaped and why some in the Pentagon maintain Misto was a member of al-Qaeda despite his family’s denials.”

Michael Schaffer: “If Trump does retake the presidency, he’ll be returning to an office that differs ‘minimally, if at all’ from the one he occupied during his chaotic term, in the words of Ian Bassin, whose Protect Democracy nonprofit is one of the capital’s highest-profile institutional-reform outfits.”

“Though that grim reality has been well-known to folks who followed the reform efforts in 2021 and 2022, it’s been lost on a larger Washington population that spent those years focused on the pandemic, inflation, Jan. 6 investigations and other more pressing subjects. A number of reform advocates told me this week that they’d started getting alarmed phone calls from folks whose interest in the state of guardrails had suddenly rebounded after a Washington Post poll suggested Trump really might win (and a Trump CNN town hall demonstrated that he was just as determined as ever to shred political norms).”

“I mean, he couldn’t build a border wall in 4 years. So, you know, there is a gap between promises and delivery.”— Tucker Carlson, when asked if he believes Donald Trump’s claim he would end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours.

“The fallout from Fox News’ $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems continued on Friday, with the network dissolving its investigative unit,” Rolling Stone reports.

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal opened up about her 10-month affair with Donald Trump, telling the Daily Mail he “followed me around like a puppy dog” when they met in 2006 — despite him being married to Melania.

Said McDougal: “I was in love with him. He was in love with me. I know that because he told me all the time.”

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and lying-in-state last year cost Britain’s government an estimated $200 million, the AP reports.

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to make it illegal for carmakers to eliminate AM radio from their cars, arguing public safety is at risk,” Axios reports.

“President Joe Biden on Thursday invited Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape to Washington later this year for a summit with Pacific island nations after he canceled a scheduled visit to the country because of the debt limit stalemate in Congress,” NBC News reports.

Salman Rushdie made his first public appearance since he was stabbed nine months ago, the AP reports.

New York Times: “Video evidence shows asylum seekers, among them young children, being rounded up, taken to sea and abandoned on a raft by the Greek Coast Guard.”

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

2 comments on “Cup of Joe – May 21, 2023

  1. cassandram

    That ProPublica article re: the cleanup of California’s oil and gas sites is fantastic reporting. This should be an investigation does in every state that has significant oil and gas industry. Oil and gas interests (Including those in Congress) have done a great job in hiding the real costs of fossil fuel extraction here. And they understand that oil and gas companies ABSOLUTELY count on American taxpayer to clean this mess up. American taxpayers subsidize oil and gas companies to the tune of $20B more or less per year. We could easily just put that money into a cleanup fund so we can be ready to tackle this job.

  2. cassandram

    Kevin McCarthy does not have enough control over his caucus to make a deal to avert default. I’m hoping that once it is clear that the House can’t make a deal, that Biden just invokes the 14th Amendment because somebody has to be the grownups in the room. Suing the Executive for doing its job and keeping the economy on track isn’t going to be a good look for Rs, and it isn’t as though the Supreme Court can make the Executive stop paying bills.

    EDIT — I sure hope that Democrats are running slash and burn ads in districts held by Rs that Biden won (looking at you NY). Hang this hostage taking around the necks of everyy vulnerable R.

    EDIT again: That NYT article is for shit. Their bothsides BS just normalizes the undermining of governing norms and normalizes GOP government terrorism.

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