Cup of Joe – July 27, 2023

“The plea deal for Hunter Biden was on the brink of falling apart Wednesday, when the two sides could not agree on whether admitting to two tax crimes would immunize the president’s son from possible additional charges,” the Washington Post reports.

“The judge urged the two sides to spend some more time talking on Wednesday, in the hopes that the guilty plea hearing might be salvaged. If not, prosecutors could decide to press ahead toward trial.”

“Judge Maryellen Noreika has delayed a decision on whether to accept the plea agreement between federal prosecutors and Hunter Biden — demanding that the two sides make changes in the deal clarifying her role and insert language that limits the broad immunity from prosecution offered to Biden on his business dealings,” the New York Times reports.

“Biden’s lawyers estimated it would take about two weeks.”

“After a grueling three-hour hearing, Biden entered a plea of not guilty on the tax charges, which he will reverse if the two sides redo their agreement to the judge’s satisfaction.”

The Hunter Biden plea proceedings have restarted with the president’s son agreeing to a limited agreement that covers 2014 to 2019 that only includes conduct related to tax offenses, drug use and gun possession, CNN reports.

The two sides have agreed that this deal does not shield him from potential future charges.

New York Times: “The highly unusual legal maneuvering — which experts said was unlikely to succeed — illustrated the lengths that House Republicans and their allied groups have been willing to go to as they have tried to use Biden’s legal and personal troubles to inflict political damage on his father.”

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suddenly stopped speaking during a weekly Republican leadership press conference on Wednesday afternoon, appearing to freeze, and then went silent and was walked away,” NBC News reports.

“McConnell had been making his opening remarks and suddenly stopped talking. His Republican colleagues asked if he was okay and Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) escorted McConnell away from the cameras and reporters.”

“Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) made a sign of the cross as if she was praying for McConnell.”

“President Joe Biden’s younger dog, Commander, has been involved in several biting incidents at the White House and in Delaware, according to US Secret Service email correspondence, which show personnel from the agency raising concern about safety around the German Shepherd,” CNN reports.

Punchbowl News: “House Republicans are on a path to force a government shutdown this fall. If you talk to senior GOP leadership figures privately, they’ll admit this. At some point between now and the end of 2023, the rift inside the House Republican Conference will be so deep and profound that there’s little chance that they can avert a ‘lapse in appropriations,’ aka a government shutdown.”

“The party disagrees internally on spending levels, policy priorities and riders — just to name a few differences. And this is even before engaging with Democrats or the White House.”

“The strategy at this point for the House GOP leadership is try to pass the toughest bills it can, and then get into a negotiation with the Senate. But just listen to Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), a leader in the far-right House Freedom Caucus, describing the upcoming funding fight. He’s in no mood to compromise.”

Said Good: “We’re going to pass a good Republican bill out of the House and force the Senate and the White House to accept it.”

New York Times: “As the Republican Party has moved further to the right, the fringe has become the mainstream, swelling the ranks of the Freedom Caucus but making it difficult for the group to stay aligned on policy and strategy. The rise of another hard-right faction in the House calling itself ‘the Twenty’ — including some members of the caucus and some who have long refused to join — has raised questions in recent months about where the real power lies on the far right.”

“The answer could help determine the outcome of a critical period of spending battles that begin in the House this week and could culminate in a government shutdown this fall, as ultraconservative lawmakers insist on funding cuts and social policy dictates that cannot clear Congress. As the hard right expands and fractures, its members are struggling to figure out how to exert their power and divided over how disruptive they want to be.”

Some House Republicans privately expect a spending fight to trigger a government shutdown in October, with one member saying they “wouldn’t be making any plans” for that month, Axios reports.

“We should not fear a government shutdown. Most of what we do up here is bad anyway.”— Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), quoted by NBC News.

“House Republicans’ push to ban mail delivery of abortion pills is at the center of a major snag in Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s pre-recess appropriations sprint, with a larger bloc of moderate Republicans now digging in to strip out the measure,” Politico reports.

“That spending bill already faced a major whip issue. Now, even as talks continue with GOP leaders the week of the vote, about a dozen moderate Republicans are still demanding that the GOP abortion pill measure be removed from the bill to fund the Agriculture Department before they can back it.”

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy in recent weeks has heard similar advice from both a senior House Republican and an influential conservative lawyer: prioritize the impeachment of President Joe Biden over a member of his Cabinet,” CNN reports.

“Part of the thinking, according to multiple sources familiar with the internal discussions, is that if House Republicans are going to expend precious resources on the politically tricky task of an impeachment, they might as well go after their highest target as opposed to the attorney general or secretary of homeland security.”

“And McCarthy – who sources said has also been consulting with former House GOP Speaker Newt Gingrich on the issue – has warmed up to an idea that has long been relegated to the fringes of his conference.”

President Biden responded to reporters asking about Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s hint at beginning impeachment proceedings by cracking a smile and letting out a chuckle.

“Senate Republicans see impeaching President Biden ahead of the 2024 election as a risky political strategy that could turn off moderate voters and are hoping to wave their House GOP colleagues off from marching down that road,” The Hill reports.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) pushed back on CNN against Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s apparent openness to impeaching President Biden, claiming the speaker is just distracting the public with a “shiny object.”

Said Buck: “I don’t think it’s responsible for us to talk about impeachment.”

“Federal Reserve policymakers are poised to hike interest rates to the highest level in 22 years, while retaining a tightening bias that signals the possibility of an additional move later in the year,” Bloomberg reports.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the Fed’s staff is no longer predicting near-term U.S. recession, Axios reports. Said Powell: “Given the resilience of the economy recently, they are no longer forecasting a recession.”

“U.S. consumer confidence shot to the highest level in two years this month as inflationary pressures eased and the American economy continued to show resilience in the face of dramatically higher interest rates,” the AP reports.

“The rally in consumer sentiment — like the rally in the stock market — is looking pretty broad,” Axios reports.

“This upswing has been building all year as inflation cooled. It’s visible across income groups — and across different national surveys measuring consumer attitudes.”

Bloomberg: “The participants on the Federal Open Market Committee are clustered into three main groups. The hawks are ready to tighten policy and are on the sharp lookout for inflation. The doves are inclined toward an easy policy that favors job creation. And finally, the centrists are seeking a middle ground.”

“The increasing split between them is clouding the outlook for rates and threatens the unity Fed Chair Jerome Powell has maintained during his tenure, which in turn could undermine the central bank’s credibility on inflation and communications with investors and the public.”

Politico: “Russian attempts to cut off all Ukraine’s grain export routes are threatening to erase the small reprieve in sky-high grocery prices Americans experienced this year.”

“Rudy Giuliani concedes he made defamatory statements about Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss in an effort to resolve their lawsuit against him and to satisfy a judge who has considered sanctioning him,” CNN reports.

Marcy Wheeler: “In a remarkable set of filings, Robert Costello — Rudy Giuliani’s defense attorney and a key player in the effort to package up a doctored laptop and pitch it as Hunter Biden’s — has provided an explanation for why his client wasn’t charged for doing the bidding of Russian-backed Ukrainians without registering as a foreign agent: Because many of the devices seized on April 28, 2021 were ‘corrupted’ (his word).”

“Israelis girded for a new period of political and economic tumult after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began overhauling the judicial system, as doctors went on strike, the stock market and currency sank, and protesters vowed to keep up mass demonstrations,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The chaotic events in the first seven months of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government have fed speculation that he doesn’t control his coalition as much as it controls him,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Gulf Stream system could collapse as soon as 2025, a new study suggests,” The Guardian reports.

“The shutting down of the vital ocean currents, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc) by scientists, would bring catastrophic climate impacts.”

Associated Press: “The water temperature on the tip of Florida hit hot tub levels, exceeding 100 degrees two days in a row. And meteorologists say that could potentially be the hottest seawater ever measured, although there are some issues with the reading.”

“Russian lawmakers on Tuesday voted to raise the top age for military conscription, aiming to expand the pool of trained recruits who could potentially join the battle in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.

“Starting next year, those ages 18 to 30 would be required to serve; currently, it is 18 to 27. The bill also prohibits men who have been conscripted from leaving the country, an attempt to cut down on draft dodging.”

“President Biden has quietly ordered the U.S. government to begin sharing evidence of Russian war crimes in Ukraine with the International Criminal Court in The Hague, signaling a major shift in American policy,” the New York Times reports.

“The decision, made by Mr. Biden in recent days, overrides months of resistance by the Pentagon, which argued that it could pave the way for the court to prosecute American troops.”

“The slow pace of Ukraine’s counteroffensive against entrenched Russian invaders is dimming hopes that negotiations for an end to the fighting could come this year and raising the specter of an open-ended conflict,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A potential stalemate would test President Biden’s stated strategy of pouring billions of dollars in military aid into Ukraine, to enable Kyiv to negotiate with Russia from a position of strength. It could also challenge the West’s continuing ability to supply weaponry that is already in short supply, and provide political fodder to those opposing U.S. support for the war.”

“In a year and a half of conflict, land mines — along with unexploded bombs, artillery shells and other deadly byproducts of war — have contaminated a swath of Ukraine roughly the size of Florida or Uruguay,” the Washington Post reports.

“It has become the world’s most mined country.”

“United Parcel Service and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have reached an agreement over a five-year labor contract, preventing a potential strike by roughly 330,000 package delivery drivers and package sorters,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“A federal judge struck down a stringent new asylum policy on Tuesday that government officials have called crucial to managing the southern border, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s strategy that has coincided with a sharp decline in illegal crossings by migrants in recent months,” the New York Times reports.

“The rule, which had been in effect since May 12, disqualifies most people from applying for asylum if they have crossed into the United States without either securing an appointment at an official port of entry or proving that they sought legal protection in another country along the way.”

“House lawmakers are holding a hearing Wednesday to pressure the executive branch to release more information about unidentified anomalous phenomena, known as UAPs or UFOs, as bipartisan momentum grows for greater transparency about the strange encounters documented by hundreds of pilots,” CBS News reports.

NBC News: “In a preview of what voters will see more of if Biden wins re-election and serves into his mid-80s, the White House seems to be making concessions to his age. An iconic image of the modern presidency is the chief executive walking up the stairs to a majestic Air Force One, then turning at the doorway and waving. More and more, Biden is forgoing the long staircase for the shorter stairway that takes him up through the plane’s belly.”

“Biden’s use of the shorter staircase, which, of course, reduces the risk of a televised fall that goes viral, has more than doubled since Biden’s tumble at the commencement ceremony, according to an analysis by NBC News. In the weeks prior to tripping onstage, Biden used the shorter set of stairs to get on and off the presidential aircraft 37% of the time. In the past seven weeks he’s used them 84% of the time, or 31 out of the 37 times he’s gotten on and off the plane.”

Wall Street Journal: “The broader scope and increasing complexity of the exercise, called Talisman Sabre, reflect the latest U.S. planning as Washington seeks to deter Beijing from launching military action against Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory.”

“To do that, the U.S. is looking to bolster its network of alliances in the region, while improving the ability of the U.S. military to operate seamlessly with friendly nations.”

Jill Lawrence: “It is tremendously satisfying after all this time to see facts and evidence assembled into an organized narrative of chaos, lawlessness, amorality, and insatiable needs—for attention, money, and control. Finally, the system is working. Finally, there are indictments that lay out a narrative for us and for the record. At the very least, there is accountability for the history books.”

“Unfortunately, it’s not enough. Not when Trump is on the brink of a comeback—an almost-certain third-time Republican nominee, with increasingly detailed plans to cement minority rule and his own powers and priorities across the entire government. “Presidents are not kings,” Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote in a reproach to the Trump administration, when she was still a federal judge. But that’s what Trump seems to have in mind.”

“The question is how to guarantee that he never gets the chance. And though Trump may be facing four criminal indictments by summer’s end, with more possibly to come, there are fewer paths than most people might think—or hope.”

“What we’re seeing from Fox is industrialized devil worship. We have an obligation to call them out. Christianity is under attack.”— Beth Ailes, the widow of Roger Ailes, telling Newsmax that Fox News is helping satanic organizations.

Washington Post: “Since at least the 1950s, revenue agents have knocked on tens of thousands of taxpayers’ doors each year, according to agency staff. The new policy will reduce these visits to no more than a few hundred per year, and only under unusual circumstances.”

“Conservative news channel Newsmax saw its prime-time viewership more than double in the second quarter, as it held on to a good chunk of the gains it made following the departure of Tucker Carlson from rival Fox News,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Fox News star Greg Gutfeld is currently under fire over his recent observation that Jewish people “had to be useful” in order to survive concentration camps, the Daily Beast reports.

Politico on the FTC’s coming action to break up Amazon: “The coming case would be one of the most aggressive and high-profile moves in the Biden administration’s rocky effort to tame the power of tech giants. The wide-ranging lawsuit is expected as soon as August.”

Wired: “How a U.S. Navy task force is using off-the-shelf robotics and artificial intelligence to prepare for the next age of conflict.”

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

0 comments on “Cup of Joe – July 27, 2023

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: