Cup of Joe – September 16, 2023

Punchbowl News: “When President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a deal to raise the debt limit back in May, they also set a ‘topline number’ for all of the FY2024 spending bills. That would smooth the process of writing the 12 annual appropriations bills. There weren’t going to be any shutdowns or a massive omnibus bill written in secret by party leaders. It would be a return to the good ol’ days of regular order.”

“But instead, McCarthy has faced an ongoing backlash from the House Freedom Caucus that’s largely cost the GOP leadership control of the appropriations process during the last three months.”

Politico: “The government is barreling toward a shutdown. House Republicans threaten to impeach the president — though some of them don’t see the evidence. A Republican senator has a one-man blockade on military promotions with no end in sight.”

“The Capitol is in crisis. And though Democrats control much of the government, Republican divisions are driving the chaos.”

“Each of the Hill’s messes will reach a peak this fall, starting with a Sept. 30 shutdown deadline. Each on its own is a headache; the collection of problems lawmakers have to juggle at once is almost unthinkable.”

Susan Glasser: “If there is any lesson to take from the past few years of American politics, it is that things can always get worse.”

“This is worth remembering as Washington begins another fall of self-made and yet painfully real crises—the political prologue to a 2024 campaign season unlike any other, as the ex-President turned criminal defendant Donald Trump threatens to return to the White House after challenging core tenets of our democracy. The word ‘unprecedented’ is no longer sufficient. We’ve run out of synonyms, analogies, and time to escape the mess.”

“The questions now are of a different sort, about the exact details of what we will face and when. To wit, as Congress returned from its protracted summer recess, the Trumpified, radicalized House Republican Conference was preparing to shut down the federal government when funding runs out at the end of this month and to impeach President Biden, both for no apparent reason. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a majority so slim that he’s effectively a prisoner of his party’s most reckless extremists.”

“I’m concerned for the speaker that he seems to be a little rattled and unhinged at a time when we need focus and strong effort. Whether or not McCarthy faces a motion to vacate is within his own hands.” — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), to CNN.

“Facing renewed threats to his speakership, Kevin McCarthy is making a strategic bet: his critics don’t have the votes to oust him – and if they do, he’ll grind it out on the floor again as he did back in January,” CNN reports.

“The speaker is fully prepared to ride out the coming storm and move ahead with a short-term spending bill to fund the government, despite repeated warnings from his right flank that such a move would result in a floor vote to remove him, called the motion to vacate the chair.”

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) is expected to resign from his seat later today, further complicating Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s thin majority, Politico reports.

A general election for the seat will be held in late November.

“Rep. James Comer, the leader of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden, has repeatedly exaggerated and distorted the findings of his investigation into the Biden family this year,” Axios reports.

“Now, with the spotlight getting brighter, even some of Comer’s Republican colleagues and their aides are worried about him being the public face of the inquiry — and hope he’ll take a more measured approach.”

“How Comer handles the inquiry as chair of the House Oversight Committee could be critical to whether many Americans see the impeachment probe as credible or partisan — and could go a long way toward determining how it will affect the 2024 election.”

“I haven’t heard an accurate fact in conference in a long time. I’m not going to waste my time.”— Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), to CNN, when asked if he changed his mind on the impeachment inquiry after House Republican conference meeting.

Donald Trump has “no idea” whether Republicans will vote to impeach President Biden, Politico reports.

“But he does have a theory on what motivated House Republicans to launch a Biden impeachment inquiry: revenge.”

Said Trump: “They did it to me. And had they not done it to me, I think, and nobody officially said this, but I think had they not done it to me… perhaps you wouldn’t have it being done to them.”

Donald Trump said Thursday that it is “very unlikely” he would pardon himself if he wins another term in 2024, NBC News reports.

Said Trump: “I think it’s very unlikely. What, what did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong. You mean because I challenge an election, they want to put me in jail?”

David Graham: “Ironies abound in this story. As former President Donald Trump complains that he is a victim of selective prosecution for his brazen attempts to defy a federal subpoena, Hunter Biden may actually be experiencing it. Republicans who are usually quick to criticize gun laws for abridging a constitutional right are clamoring to see Hunter Biden punished, while some Democrats who prefer stricter gun laws are dismissing the prosecution as a distraction.”

“It’s tempting to think that the charges mark the moment when Hunter Biden’s good luck ran out, but the indictment is really a manifestation of the same luck that he’s always had: He’s a Biden and son of one of the country’s most prominent politicians. That has brought him wealth and connections, but the bill is coming due now.”

“The Justice Department is challenging efforts by former President Donald Trump to disqualify the Washington judge presiding over the case charging him with plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election,” the AP reports.

“Prosecutors with special counsel Jack Smith’s team wrote in a court filing late Thursday that there was ‘no valid basis’ for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself.”

“A federal judge in Texas on Wednesday rejected the Biden administration’s latest effort to save a program that has shielded hundreds of thousands of undocumented young adults from deportation, saying that it remained unlawful even after recent changes,” the New York Times reports.

“The judge, Andrew S. Hanen of the Federal District Court in Houston, maintained that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, by executive action in 2012.”

“The decision is the latest twist in a five-year-long court saga that has left the program and its beneficiaries, known as Dreamers, hanging in the balance.”

“The United Auto Workers union for the first time ever went on strike at all three Detroit car companies, with workers hitting the picket lines shortly after midnight Friday in targeted work stoppages at plants in Michigan, Ohio and Missouri,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Automotive News: “Talks stalled in the final hours of negotiations, even as the automakers offered record raises as high as 20%.”

Said UAW President Shawn Fain, per the Detroit News: “This is our generation’s defining moment. The money is there. The cause is righteous. The world is watching, and the UAW is ready to stand up.”

“Rarely do so many parts of a president’s political identity collide in one place,” the New York Times reports.

“Friday’s walkout by the United Auto Workers is a real-time test of President Biden’s economic agenda: his call for higher wages for the middle class; his unapologetic pro-union stand; his climate-driven push to reimagine an electric vehicle future for car companies — centered in Michigan, a state that he must win in 2024 to remain in the Oval Office.”

“President Biden on Friday sided with members of the United Auto Workers, who have walked out of three plants in the Midwest amid a contract dispute over pay, pensions and work hours at the three Detroit automakers,” the New York Times reports.

Said Biden: “Let’s be clear, no one wants a strike. Say it again. No one wants a strike. But I respect the workers right to use their options on in the collective bargaining system, and I understand the workers’ frustration.”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump told NBC News: “The auto workers are being sold down the river by their leadership.”

“Wisconsin’s Republican Assembly leader announced Wednesday that he’s created a panel to investigate the criteria for impeachment as he mulls taking that unprecedented step against a liberal state Supreme Court justice,” the AP reports.

“Republicans are targeting Justice Janet Protasiewicz over comments she made during her winning campaign about redistricting and nearly $10 million in donations she received from the state Democratic Party.”

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to travel to Washington next week after a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York,” the Washington Post reports.

“Zelensky’s visit was coordinated with the Biden administration in a joint push to reinforce the importance of Congress granting the White House’s supplemental request for more than $24 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.”

Washington Post: “For all the nefarious glamour of Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia — bulletproof trains, a meeting at a remote spaceport, dinner of duck salad and crab dumplings — many experts believe the visit shows the reality of grim battlefield math: The Russian army is burning through artillery shells in Ukraine at a rate it can’t sustain.”

“Whether Vladimir Putin can find a solution to this calculation or not is crucial for the next stage of the war in Ukraine.”

“China’s defense minister, Gen. Li Shangfu, has not been seen in public in more than two weeks, fueling speculation about further upheaval in the military after the abrupt removal of two top commanders in charge of the country’s nuclear force,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “The expected purge of Li, who has been noticeably absent from public view for the past two weeks, in the wake of other dismissals will heighten a sense of uncertainty over how China’s day-to-day foreign policy is being managed. It will also further call into question Xi’s leadership as he consolidates power.”

Related from the Financial Times: Xi Jinping turns anti-corruption focus to China’s military.

“A last-minute legal challenge by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers could disrupt a trial scheduled for next month in the New York attorney general’s business fraud lawsuit against the former president and his company,” CBS News reports.

“A state appeals court judge on Thursday ordered a potential postponement of the non-jury trial, scheduled to start Oct. 2, after Trump’s lawyers filed a lawsuit accusing the trial judge, Arthur Engoron, of repeatedly abusing his authority.”

“Wisconsin’s largest provider of abortions announced Thursday it was resuming services in the state after a Dane County judge signaled in July she did not believe the state’s abortion law actually bans consensual procedures like those performed at Planned Parenthood,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) denied she was vaping from her seat in a Denver theater before being escorted out, but surveillance footage shows she was lying.

The footage also shows Boebert pulling out her phone in the dark, either to take a selfie or record the show, and waving her arms in the air, seemingly dancing in her seat.

Vanity Fair: “As the 2024 election takes shape, and Trump is again dominating the news cycle, from his four criminal indictments to Republican front-runner status, journalists with marquee bylines are knocking out book proposals. A trio of Washington Post reporters—Josh Dawsey, Isaac Arnsdorf, and Tyler Pager—are teaming up for a book on the 2024 election as well as Trump’s ongoing legal troubles, while their colleagues at the paper, Carol Leonnig and Aaron Davis, are also working on a book about the Department of Justice’s investigations into the former president… There’s also Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, who… is working on a 2024 book, and Meridith McGraw… is writing a book for Random House ‘that will examine Trump’s life from the time he left the White House through his 2022 exile to Mar-a-Lago.’”

“Here’s one more for the burgeoning 2024 canon: I’ve learned that New York’s Olivia Nuzzi and Politico’s Ryan Lizza, who were initially set to write a book on the 2020 race, are writing a book about the upcoming presidential election for Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.”

The Economist: “One of Donald Trump’s signature political achievements, which like most of them owes to his genius for shamelessness, has been to convert self-pity from a Republican vice into a virtue. He has likewise turned claims of victimhood inside out, from confessions of weakness into boasts… He has called one source of his suffering ‘the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country’, and another, simply, ‘a lynching’. It may be the only Trump whine he has ever managed to sell, but, as he exhorts his supporters to feel sorry for themselves and to rage at their oppressors, and presents himself as their persecuted billionaire champion, they gulp it all down.”

“As effective as this Trumpian theme has been, one category of Republican politician seems particularly reluctant to adopt it: non-white ones.”

“When President Biden took office, he swiftly canceled an executive order his predecessor Donald Trump had issued that could have enabled Mr. Trump to fire tens of thousands of federal workers and replace them with loyalists. But Democrats never succeeded in enacting legislation to strengthen protections for the civil service system as a matter of law,” the New York Times reports.

“Now, with Mr. Trump seemingly poised to win the GOP nomination again, the Biden administration is instead trying to effectively Trump-proof the civil service with a new regulation.”

“On Friday, the White House proposed a new rule that would make it more onerous to reinstate Mr. Trump’s old executive order if Mr. Trump or a like-minded Republican wins the 2024 election.”

Jonathan Last: “Trump owns some non-trivial percentage of Republican voters. Maybe it’s 25 percent; maybe it’s 35 percent; maybe it’s 45 percent. These are people who would follow him if he were to decamp from the GOP.”

“This isn’t even an open secret: Republicans have been talking about it since Trump popped into first place in polling during the summer of 2015. Back then they refused to attack him because they feared that even if they did beat him, he would sabotage the party in revenge.”

“Brazil’s Supreme Court handed a 17-year prison sentence Thursday to a supporter of former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed top government offices on Jan. 8 in an alleged bid to forcefully restore the right-wing leader to office,” the AP reports.

“Uranium prices have surged to their highest level in 12 years, underlining a global renaissance in nuclear power as utilities race to lock in fuel supplies,” the Financial Times reports.

“There are only two presidents in American history with fewer jobs the day they left office than when they started. One is President Hoover. The other is Donald Hoover Trump.”— President Biden, in a speech.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski “have been having a years-long clandestine affair,” the Daily Mail reports.

“In just over 48 hours this week, President Biden faced a double-barreled onslaught of political and personal setbacks, as his son’s business dealings and personal struggles created new turbulence at a time when his advisers wanted to focus attention on the problems of former president Donald Trump and House Republicans,” the Washington Post reports.

“The elite colleges that found an ally in Miguel Cardona while defending their admissions practices are now among the Education secretary’s biggest targets,” Politico reports.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to gut race-conscious college admissions policies ignited new urgency among civil rights groups concerned about Black and brown students being left out of higher education. But it also gave Cardona — and President Joe Biden — an opening to air long-held criticisms of how Harvard, Yale and other selective institutions favor applicants who come from wealthy alumni families through legacy admissions.”

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

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