Cup of Joe – September 20, 2023

“House Republicans are close to an all-out war with each other. Conservatives are sniping at one another, moderates are furious at their more hardline colleagues and the GOP leadership is as frustrated as the rest of them,” Punchbowl News reports.

Said House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN): “The patients are now in charge of the hospital.”

Politico: “Beneath the surface, things are even worse for McCarthy this time around. The faceplant by the two negotiators he’d empowered has exposed a full-on House Republican rebellion that’s officially underway.”

“It’s bigger than a clash between the centrist and right wings of the party. The Freedom Caucus itself is divided, with many members swatting down a plan backed by their own leader. Many of those conservatives are now openly threatening to try to oust McCarthy if he relies on Democratic votes to avoid a shutdown, but they’re also withholding their support from the only Republican plan on paper.”

Playbook: “The embattled speaker could spark a showdown in the coming days, we’re told, under a plan his leadership team discussed yesterday. With 12 days till a government shutdown and more than 15 conservatives lined up in opposition to a proposed GOP stopgap, the plan is simple: Dare them to vote against it.”

“They might very well do that, the thinking goes, but at the cost of isolating themselves from the rest of the party by sinking a bill their fellow Freedom Caucus allies helped write — one that takes steps to slash spending and fortify the border, both key GOP issues.”

“That would set McCarthy & Co. up to blame those holdouts for undercutting the party’s negotiating hand with Democrats, ultimately leading to the Senate jamming the House with a shutdown-averting stopgap without any Republican concessions.”

Key takeaway: “The moves could very well blow up in his face, sparking a confrontation that could ultimately end his political career. On the other hand, the rest of the caucus has been waiting on McCarthy for months to tell conservatives to — we’ll be polite — pound sand.”

Punchbowl News: “The House Rules Committee will meet at 4 p.m. to consider the stopgap funding bill, which keeps the government open until Nov. 1. The House Republican elected leadership will meet this afternoon. And the House will vote at 6:30 p.m. The House GOP whip team will begin canvassing the conference on the proposed CR and the defense spending bill at the 6:30 vote. And they will report back to McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise as to whether these bills have a chance of passing.”

“McCarthy’s play here is a bit befuddling. This CR has no chance of passing the Senate, but it would, theoretically, show that the House isn’t completely feckless. And there are at least 10 House GOP no votes right now.”

“To say McCarthy has a herculean task ahead of him is an understatement.”

Bloomberg: “At least 10 hard-right lawmakers have announced their opposition to the measure… McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes in the face of unified Democratic opposition.”

“Several of the House Republicans currently blocking their party from passing a budget deal may have their eye on higher office — and that’s causing some gripes among their colleagues,” Semafor reports.

“In recent days, Kevin McCarthy’s inner circle — a cadre of aides and allies on and off Capitol Hill — has become convinced that conservative House Republicans are looking to provoke a shutdown in order to push him out of the speakership,” Punchbowl News reports.

“In a video released late Monday, United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain said if the union doesn’t see ‘serious progress’ in negotiations with the Detroit Three automakers, it will call on more members at different plants to strike come Friday,” the Detroit News reports.

Said Fain: “We’re not going to keep waiting around forever while they drag this out. I have been clear with the Big Three every step of the way. And I’m going to be crystal clear again right now. If we don’t make serious progress by noon on Friday, September 22, more locals will be called on to stand up and join the strike.”

Politico: “The UAW has amassed enough money to pay all of its members to stay out on strike against Detroit’s Big Three automakers for as long as 11 weeks. But the union’s decision to target just a few plants at a time is one of its biggest tactical ploys — and could allow it to keep the strike going far longer.”

“President Biden, who calls himself the most pro-union president ever and has sided with striking United Auto Workers — calling for ‘record contracts’ as the union walked out on Friday — has yet to convince many rank-and-file U.A.W. members that his sentiments are more than just nice-sounding words,” the New York Times reports.

 “That was the prevailing view in interviews with two dozen striking workers for Ford and Jeep in Michigan and Ohio this weekend. Many, including some who voted for him, said inflation had so undercut their wages that they felt pushed out of the middle class, laying the blame with Mr. Biden.”

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) writes in the Toledo Blade:  ““With this moment, the UAW leadership has an opportunity they cannot let slip through their grasp. Rather than relenting to the Biden administration’s unjust transition to EVs, the UAW should use their leverage and force the President to stop subsidizing an industry that benefits Communist China more than it does American workers.”

“United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain on Monday said the White House will have no role in brokering an agreement to end the autoworkers’ strike as the walkout enters its fourth day with no resolution in sight,” CNBC reports.

Said Fain: “This battle is not about the president. It’s not about the former president or any other person prior to that. This battle is about the workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re fed up with going backwards.”

“Former President Donald Trump is planning to travel to Detroit on the day of the next Republican primary debate, injecting himself into the labor dispute between striking autoworkers and the nation’s leading auto manufacturers,” the New York Times reports.

“The trip, which will include a prime-time speech before current and former union members, is the second consecutive primary debate that Mr. Trump is skipping to instead hold his own counterprogramming.”

“United Auto Workers Union President Shawn Fain released a statement Tuesday blasting former President Donald Trump’s reported plan to speak with auto workers and union members in Detroit amid thousands of workers striking,” The Messenger reports.

Said Fain: “Every fiber of our union is being poured into fighting the billionaire class and an economy that enriches people like Donald Trump at the expense of workers.”

New York Times: “What unions haven’t had during that stretch is a true gut-check moment on a national scale. Strikes by railroad workers and UPS employees, which had the potential to rattle the U.S. economy, were averted at the last minute. The fallout from the continuing writers’ and actors’ strikes has been heavily concentrated in Southern California.”

“The strike by the United Automobile Workers, whose members walked off the job at three plants on Friday, is shaping up to be such a test. A contract with substantial wage increases and other concessions from the three automakers could announce organized labor as an economic force to be reckoned with and accelerate a recent wave of organizing.”

“But there are also real pitfalls. A prolonged strike could undermine the three established U.S. automakers — General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, which owns Chrysler, Jeep and Ram — and send the politically crucial Midwest into recession. If the union is seen as overreaching, or if it settles for a weak deal after a costly stoppage, public support could sour.”

“One of former President Donald Trump’s long-time assistants told federal investigators that Trump repeatedly wrote to-do lists for her on documents from the White House that were marked classified,” ABC News reports.

“The aide, Molly Michael, told investigators that — more than once — she received requests or taskings from Trump that were written on the back of notecards, and she later recognized those notecards as sensitive White House materials — with visible classification markings — used to brief Trump while he was still in office about phone calls with foreign leaders or other international-related matters.”

Meanwhile, after Trump heard the FBI wanted to interview Michael last year, Trump allegedly told her: “You don’t know anything about the boxes.”

“As a Justice Department lawyer after the 2020 election, Jeffrey Clark drafted a letter to top Georgia officials declaring that the agency had reason to doubt the legitimacy of the state’s election only after he was pressed to do so by then-president Donald Trump, Clark’s lawyer told a skeptical federal judge Monday,” the Washington Post reports.

“That fact alone, Harry MacDougald argued, warrants that the criminal case against Clark, who was indicted last month in Fulton County, Ga., along with Trump and 17 others in connection with their efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, should be moved to federal court.”

“President Biden will attempt on Tuesday to focus global attention on the need to protect and nurture democracies, calling for the world to continue backing Ukraine and urging advanced nations to do more to bolster economies in the developing world,” the New York Times reports.

“In his third speech as president to the United Nations, Mr. Biden is expected to promote his administration’s achievements around the globe even as he confronts challenges at home: growing resistance to additional Ukraine aid, a looming government shutdown, inflation and listless approval ratings ahead of next year’s election.”

 “This time last year, President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Eric Adams were together at a high-dollar Democratic fundraiser and at the United Nations General Assembly’s marquee reception,” Politico reports.

“This week, their relationship in tatters over the migrant crisis in New York, Biden and Adams have no plans to cross paths during the president’s three days in the city.”

 “Senior Chinese officials were told that an internal Communist Party investigation found ex-Foreign Minister Qin Gang to have engaged in an extramarital affair that lasted throughout his tenure as Beijing’s top envoy to Washington,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Qin, once considered a trusted aide to leader Xi Jinping, was stripped of his foreign minister title in July—without explanation—after he disappeared from public view a month earlier. At one point leading up to his ouster, the Foreign Ministry said the absence of 57-year-old Qin was due to health reasons.”

Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-WI) “took a celebratory bow after he reportedly yelled and cursed at a group of teenage Senate pages while giving a late-night tour of the U.S. Capitol in July, according to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who on Monday viewed surveillance footage of the interaction,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

“Other than the reported bow, Pocan’s recounting of the footage offered few new details of the July 27 incident in which Van Orden allegedly called the group of high school-aged kids ‘lazy shits’ and told them to ‘get the fuck up’ off the floor as the pages were lying on their backs in the Capitol Rotunda taking pictures of the building’s dome during their final week at work.”

Donald Trump “is pushing his mug shot, arrests and criminal charges to try to claim new solidarity with Black voters — a group that has largely shunned him in elections,” Axios reports.

“Trump has latched on to a narrative promoted last month by Fox News commentators and others in conservative media — that his arrests could boost his standing among African mericans who believe the criminal justice system is unfair.” It is also highly racist, because you are assuming that all African Americans are criminals or know criminals. 

Philip Bump: “Donald Trump’s success in the 2016 Republican nominating contest was, at its essence, uncomplicated.”

“Running against a cadre of sitting and former elected officials, Trump said things they wouldn’t — mostly the things that were being said in the right-wing media and by pundits on Fox News. The reputation for ‘truth-telling’ his supporters embrace was born of his willingness to elevate false, popular claims, particularly about the left. He wasn’t elected for his policies; in fact, he broadly rejected the idea that people cared much about policy.”

“The only thing that’s changed over the past eight years, really, is that everyone should know the playbook by now. We should know that he will 1) flood the zone with things that are burbling on the right-wing fringe, 2) make sweeping promises without much follow-through and 3) reject any criticism out of hand, spinning it into a reason to praise himself.”

“And so it was with his interview on NBC’s Meet the Press that aired Sunday.”

Washington Post: “The American Library Association is facing a partisan firefight unlike anything in its almost 150-year history.”

“The once-uncontroversial organization, which says it is the world’s largest and oldest library association and which provides funding, training and tools to most of the country’s 123,000 libraries, has become entangled in the education culture wars — the raging debates over what and how to teach about race, sex and gender.”

“Over the summer, state libraries in MontanaMissouri and Texas announced that they were severing ties with the ALA, imperiling their libraries’ access to funding and training.”

Wall Street Journal: “Flying at least 20 times the speed of sound, [the hypersonic missile] could reach anywhere on earth in less than an hour.  The summer 2021 test flight ended with the missile striking near a target in China, but it sent shock waves through Washington. National security officials concluded Beijing had launched a hypersonic weapon—a projectile capable of traveling at least five times the speed of sound.”

“The weapons can attack with extreme speed, be launched from great distances and evade most air defenses. They can carry conventional explosives or nuclear warheads. China and Russia have them ready to use. The U.S. doesn’t.” 

The $1.6 billion defamation case Dominion Voting Systems brought against Newsmax following the 2020 presidential election is set to go on trial in late September 2024, a judge ruled, CNN reports.

Rudy Giuliani was sued Monday by his onetime lawyers in a lawsuit that says he owes $1.36 million in unpaid legal fees, NBC News reports.

“Record-low U.S. housing affordability is squeezing homebuyers and renters while threatening to spill into presidential politics,” Bloomberg reports.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that “agents of the Indian government” carried out the killing of a Sikh community leader in British Columbia last June, the New York Times reports.

“Democratic lawmakers [in North Carolina] vowed Monday not to support GOP-backed casino legalization, even if it were tied with one of Democrats’ long-held policy goals — Medicaid expansion — as Republicans seek to break an impasse over the state’s delayed budget,” WRAL reports.

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

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