Cup of Joe – July 9, 2023

The U.S. economy looks surprisingly strong.  It has the fastest growth rate of the G7 countries and the lowest inflation. The unemployment rate is just 3.6%, near a five-decade low. Wages are now growing faster than year-over-year inflation.

Nonetheless, very few are giving President Biden any credit.  His approval ratings remain at record lows. And his economic approval ratings are running about 7 percentage points worse than his overall numbers.

Seeing this discrepancy, the White House has begun to brand the administration’s agenda as “Bidenomics” as the president tours the country highlighting infrastructure projects.  And Biden touted today’s jobs report as “Bidenomics in action.”

Said Biden: “We are seeing stable and steady growth. That’s Bidenomics — growing the economy by creating jobs, lowering costs for hardworking families, and making smart investments in America.”

But there’s no sign yet that it’s changing the public’s perception.  In fact, Republicans are embracing the term “Bidenomics” to frame what they see as a terrible economy.  Speaker Kevin McCarthy said this week that Biden’s agenda is a “bust” and “does nothing to utilize the resources God has blessed America with.”

Whoever is right will probably depend on whether the U.S. enters a recession before the 2024 election.

“The Biden administration is mapping out the billions of dollars in infrastructure, green technology and chips money it muscled through Congress, as it tries to convince a skeptical public that Bidenomics is working for them,” Axios reports.

“In the second leg of their ‘Investing in America’ tour, President Biden and his Cabinet are buzzing across the country. They’re carrying a message that’s upbeat about the economy — topped with a jab at Republicans.”

“More than anything, they want to draw a direct link between a booming jobs market and the trillions of dollars in new government spending Biden signed into law.”

New York Times: “The federal government is on track to give $6.88 billion, the most ever awarded to a mass-transit project, for the construction of a second rail tunnel under the Hudson River to New York City…”

“The two-tube tunnel is part of Gateway, a massive infrastructure project that is widely considered the most important in the country. The new tunnel would supplement a troublesome pair of single-track tunnels that opened in 1910 and have been steadily deteriorating since Hurricane Sandy flooded them with salt water in 2012.”

“A remarkable spate of historic heat is hitting the planet, raising alarm over looming extreme weather dangers — and an increasing likelihood this year will be Earth’s warmest on record,” the Washington Post reports.

“New precedents have been set in recent weeks and months, surprising some scientists with their swift evolution: Historically warm oceans, with North Atlantic temperatures already nearing their typical annual peak; unparalleled low sea ice levels around Antarctica, where global warming impacts had, until now, been slower to appear; and the planet experiencing its warmest June ever charted, according to new data.”

“And then, on Monday came Earth’s hottest day in at least 125,000 years. Tuesday was hotter.”

Politico: “Weed legalization advocates are running out of friendly territory… And there are increasing signs of a legalization backlash in deep red America: Voters in four states — Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota — have rejected adult-use referendums in the last nine months.”

Tim Miller: “In other countries, being conservative is more about conserving national identity and traditional values. Their right-wing parties have some similarities with Republicans, like being more supportive of religious values and being pro-business, for example. But they don’t tend to care so much about the whole freedom and natural rights stuff.”

“In the Trump era, the GOP has started to sound more like those foreign right-wing nationalist parties than the classical liberal party that I grew up in.”

“The administration of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) quietly took down LGBTQ+ youth resources from a state website after a conservative media outlet questioned the links, records show, building on a pattern of removals derided by public health employees who say their work is being politicized,” the Washington Post reports.

A preliminary report from the D.C. Bar Association recommends that former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani be disbarred over his efforts to challenge the 2020 election, The Hill reports.

Two former staffers for Florida state Rep. Fabian Basabe (R) filed a lawsuit detailing allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted touching by the freshman lawmaker, the Miami Herald reports.

“The lawsuit says Basabe made repeated lewd sexual comments and advances toward a legislative aide and an intern, slapped the aide’s butt without his consent while they attended an elementary school career day, and groped and tried to kiss a Florida State University graduate student in a car before hiring him as an intern.”

Basabe is married to a woman and describes himself as a “devoted family man.”

“Special Counsel Jack Smith spent more than $5 million in the first four months of the federal investigations into former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents and his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection,” NBC News reports.

Washington Post: “As the 80-year-old incumbent president begins his fourth and final presidential campaign, he once again is turning toward questions of his age. But where he once was defensive, now he tries to be good-humored. Where he once rebuffed questions about being the oldest president and any accompanying suggestions of frailty, now he embraces them and argues that with age comes wisdom.”

“To follow the arc of Biden is to follow a man talking about his age in different ways as he enters the different stations of life. As he begins his ninth decade — when he is already the oldest president in history, with many voters voicing concern about a president who would be 86 at the end of a second term — Biden has increasingly attempted to suggest that he is not the butt of the joke — he is in on it.”

“John Kelly, who served as former President Donald Trump’s second White House chief of staff, said in a sworn statement that Mr. Trump had discussed having the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies investigate two F.B.I. officials involved in the investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Kelly said that his recollection of Mr. Trump’s comments to him was based on notes that he had taken at the time in 2018.”

“Donald Trump ‘must face consequences’ for mishandling classified documents, former Central Intelligence Director Michael Hayden said in a new political ad that’s another indication of the degree to which the former president’s legal troubles will dominate the 2024 campaign,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Hayden: “We don’t know who saw them, but we have to assume those documents were compromised.”

“A federal judge nominated by former President Donald Trump gave a ‘break’ Friday to a man who used bear spray during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying he did not deserve the prison sentence requested by prosecutors,” NBC News reports.

“A forthcoming book by an ex-Trump administration aide describes an episode in which officials worried that then-President Donald Trump was cavalier in his handling of classified information while talking to reporters,” according to a copy obtained by NBC News.

“Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has not responded to calls by top members of the House Freedom Caucus aimed at notifying her that she has been ousted from the influential conservative group,” Axios reports.

Tom Nichols: “Nostalgia is usually an unproductive emotion. Our memories can deceive us, especially as we get older. But every so often, nostalgia can remind us of something important. As we celebrate another Fourth of July, I find myself wistful about the patriotism that was once common in America—and keenly aware of how much I miss it.”

Twenty people were killed and 126 were injured in 22 mass shootings that erupted across the country between 5 p.m. ET Friday and 5 a.m. ET Wednesday, ABC News reports.

The Daily Mail spotted Jeff Zucker, Allison Gollust and Don Lemon — who were all fired from CNN — wining and dining on the Amalfi Coast in Italy. This comes after Zucker emerged as a frontrunner vying to buy CNN.

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

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