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Cup of Joe – October 10, 2023

“Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant meanwhile ordered a ‘complete siege’ on Gaza, saying authorities would cut electricity and block the entry of food and fuel,” the AP reports.

“Israel and Egypt have imposed various levels of blockade on Gaza since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.”

Times of Israel: Israeli Air Force pounds Gaza overnight.

Hamas fighters are holding more than 100 Israeli hostages in Gaza, including high-ranking army officers, CNN reports.

“Israel is calling up 300,000 army reservists as it prepares for an escalation in the conflict with Hamas after the militant group’s deadly attacks,” Bloomberg reports.

“Israel has officially declared war and says it won’t stop until Hamas’s military infrastructure is dismantled, a task that would likely include a ground invasion and take months.”

The Jerusalem Post says the mobilization drive is the largest in history.

“Israel’s military acknowledged on Monday that it was still battling to drive Palestinian militants out of southern towns near the Gaza Strip and that more militants could still be crossing through breaches in the border fence, two days after an invasion that has killed hundreds and provoked furious retaliatory strikes by Israel,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “U.S. officials expect Israel to launch a ground incursion into the densely populated Gaza Strip early this week.”

Wall Street Journal: Israel says Hamas still coming across the border.

Treat the following story with skepticism, since it appears to be sourced entirely from Hamas: “Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday, according to senior members of Hamas and Hezbollah, another Iran-backed militant group,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions—the most significant breach of Israel’s borders since the 1973 Yom Kippur War—those people said.”

“Details of the operation were refined during several meetings in Beirut attended by IRGC officers and representatives of four Iran-backed militant groups, including Hamas, which holds power in Gaza, and Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group and political faction in Lebanon, they said.”

“The Biden administration is working to fulfill Israel’s request to urgently transfer weapons to Tel Aviv, a day after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented wave of attacks on southern Israel in a conflict that threatens to erupt into a wider war,” Politico reports.

President Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a call on Sunday that additional military assistance is “now on its way to Israel with more to follow over the coming days,” Axios reports.

NBC News: U.S. is sending a carrier strike group closer to Israel and will begin supplying munitions starting today.

“The Palestinian militants who attacked Israel this weekend have done Benjamin Netanyahu a much-needed political favor: They’ve revived his foundering relationship with Joe Biden,” Politico reports.

“Major U.S. and international airlines are canceling dozens of flights to Israel’s main international airport in Tel Aviv as Israeli forces continue to battle Hamas militants inside the country and launch strikes in Gaza,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

 “The devastating surprise attack by Hamas on Saturday represented an equally stunning intelligence failure by Israel that involved undetected warnings, overwhelmed missile defenses and a slow response by apparently unprepared military forces,” the New York Times reports.

“American officials said Hamas had achieved a complete tactical surprise, reflected in a death toll of at least 700 Israelis. The Palestinian militant group sent hundreds of fighters through breached walls, breaking through with bulldozers and then killing civilians and soldiers in shooting sprees that went on for hours.”

“None of Israel’s intelligence services had specific warning that Hamas was preparing a sophisticated attack that required coordinated land, air and sea strikes.”

Times of Israel: Hamas carried out years-long campaign to fool Israel before attack.

An editorial in Haaretz: “The disaster that befell Israel on the holiday of Simchat Torah is the clear responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu.”

“The prime minister, who has prided himself on his vast political experience and irreplaceable wisdom in security matters, completely failed to identify the dangers he was consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation and dispossession, when appointing Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to key positions, while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians.”

Punchbowl News: “House Republicans will return tonight and hold a conference meeting. There’ll be a candidate forum for speaker on Tuesday featuring Jordan and Scalise. And as of now, the internal GOP election for speaker will be held Wednesday. Many House Republicans want to ensure no candidate goes to the floor for a roll-call vote unless he has the support of 218 Republicans.”

“House Democrats will return Tuesday night for an organizational meeting, and they’ll caucus Wednesday morning. Democrats, of course, will nominate House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries for speaker.”

“As noted above, the earliest a floor vote for speaker can take place is Wednesday. However, we think Thursday or later is more likely for any floor action.”

“If neither Jordan nor Scalise — or any Republican — can round up enough support to get 218 votes (really 217) and the House goes into next week without a speaker, then that raises a whole new set of questions. Would the House formally approve Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) as speaker pro tem — the post he only nominally holds now — for 30 or 60 days in order to get moving on critical issues? Would a ‘caretaker speaker’ be tapped? Do Republicans have to figure out their internal rules fights first? Some lawmakers want to reelect Kevin McCarthy. That’s not happening, though.”

New York Times: Scalise, a McCarthy rival, seeks to unite Republicans in taking his place.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said he wants House Republicans to agree on a candidate for speaker in private before putting the candidate up to the full House for a vote, Politico reports.

Said Buck: “It makes a lot more sense to do this behind closed doors and get it finished before we go to the floor.”

“Many House Republicans say Hamas’ attack on Israel has added urgency to the need to agree on a new speaker, echoing the Biden administration’s concern that not having a leader could affect their ability to approve aid to Israel,” Axios reports.

“Several lawmakers want the U.S. to move quickly with some combination of sanctions, aid and resolutions supporting Israel — but say Republicans will have to get beyond their divisions and deal with the ambiguity over the extent of the temporary speaker’s powers.”

“The attacks in Israel and demand for U.S. aid are injecting new urgency into recent talks among centrist House Republicans to attempt to reinstate Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, with scores of Republican lawmakers now discussing the effort,” Politico reports.

“Calls and texts among GOP members picked up dramatically after news of the attacks reached the U.S. overnight Friday. The message, per one House Republican lawmaker involved in the long-shot effort: ‘We need to bring back Kevin, immediately.’”

 “Sen. Tommy Tuberville is not relenting from his monthslong blockade of military nominations over the Biden administration’s abortion policy — even in the face of one of America’s closest allies going to war,” Politico reports.

“After Hamas attacked Israel, Senate Democrats said it was past time for several top-level military nominees to be approved. But a Tuberville spokesperson confirmed Sunday that the senator’s position remains: Democrats must move top nominees individually until the Pentagon revokes its policy of covering travel costs for troops seeking an abortion across state lines.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was interviewed on Meet the Press by Kristen Welker:

WELKER: Congressman, just to put a fine point on it – Jordan or Scalise? Who’s going to get your vote this week?

GAETZ: I want to hear both of their specific plans on spending and on single subject appropriations bills.

WELKER: Will you vote for whoever has the most support?

GAETZ: I am heartened –

WELKER: Will you vote for whoever has the most support?

GAETZ: Yes.

WELKER: Okay –

GAETZ: If either of those men get the most support in the conference, I’m eager to vote for him on the floor.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) was interviewed on Face the Nation by Margaret Brennan about the Speaker’s race:

BRENNAN: Do the past allegations of Jim Jordan that he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse give you reservations?

MACE: I’m not familiar or aware of that. 

BRENNAN: Ohio State University allegations.

MACE: I don’t know anything.

“With Kevin McCarthy out as speaker, House Rules Chair Tom Cole says Republicans are free to step back from the deep appropriations cuts dictated by McCarthy’s backroom deal with the far right last June,” Politico reports.

Said Cole: “This agreement was faulty from the beginning. It’s changed over time, and now in a sense, it doesn’t exist at all because McCarthy isn’t the speaker anymore. So we’re not really bound by this agreement now.”

“Cole’s comments are striking because of his stature in the House … The Oklahoma Republican is also vice chair of the funding panel, the second-highest-ranking appropriations post. The fact that he should speak out so directly now could embolden GOP centrists to do the same in the party fight now over who will be the next speaker.”

David Graham: “It’s possible to construct a theory under which Trump’s outbursts at judges aren’t all that disastrous. Trump often seems to prioritize his political fortunes—fervor among his base, fundraising, press coverage—over his apparent best interest. But if you presume that losses in both the fraud and election-subversion cases are already foregone conclusions, then his strategy makes some sense. Engoron has already ruled that Trump committed fraud, and the facts in the election case are damning… Any conviction (or damages, in the civil cases against him) will likely be appealed, but at the trial level, Trump may have already accepted he is likely to lose, and thus may stand to gain the most by wrapping himself in a lost cause.”

“But even if the self-inflicted wounds in any individual case are incidental, his tendency to create unnecessary nightmares for defense teams (along with his history of stiffing contractors) means that he is less able to attract high-quality representation. Top-tier lawyers have repeatedly declined to work for him, and among those who have taken the job, many don’t stay for long. Over time, that could deepen his risk in all of the cases against him.”

Washington Post: “Indeed. Trump’s attacks on judges, prosecutors, their staffs and potential witnesses against him — which have long tempted judges to issue such gag orders and are also the subject of a looming decision in another case — follow a familiar formula. The substance and even the words tend to be virtually the same, they’re generally baseless, and they’re often ugly.”

“Trump has now attacked more than a dozen key figures in the cases against him, which include four criminal indictments, the New York civil fraud trial and two matters involving the alleged sexual assault and defamation of writer E. Jean Carroll.”

“Michael Benz, a former Trump State Department official whose work has been cited in congressional hearings and promoted by Elon Musk, has become a go-to voice for Republican criticism of government and social media censorship in the past year,” NBC News reports.

“But before his stints in government and as a pundit, Benz appears to have been a pseudonymous alt-right content creator who courted and interacted with white nationalists and posted videos espousing racist conspiracy theories.”

New York Times: “From this cavelie studio not far from where Congress meets, Mr. Bannon, the former Trump adviser, has been stoking the chaos now gripping the Republican Party, capitalizing on the spectacle to build his own following and using his popular podcast to prop up and egg on the G.O.P. rebels.”

“With Mr. McCarthy’s historic downfall this week, his wing of the party has claimed its most prominent trophy.”

A Michigan judge ruled that defendants accused of participating in a fake elector scheme will not have their charges dropped after the state attorney general said the group was “brainwashed” into believing Donald Trump won the 2020 election, the AP reports.

Jonathan Last: “The first is structural: The combination of polarization, population distribution, and the Electoral College has given the Republican party a large advantage in the Senate and presidential elections. Maybe this advantage is transitory; maybe it’s permanent. But it’s real and is probably worth at least 3 percentage points in the 2024 presidential contest.”

“The second is notional: The general public holds members of the two parties to very different standards.”

“As false information about the rapidly changing war between Gaza Strip militants and Israel proliferated on the social media platform X over the weekend, owner Elon Musk personally recommended that users follow accounts notorious for promoting lies,” the Washington Post reports.

 “President Biden’s painstaking campaign to strike a historic peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel was delivered a blow by Hamas’ surprise invasion of Israel,” Axios reports.

“A ground invasion of Gaza by Israel, which could come in retaliation for Saturday’s attack, risks escalating violence in other parts of the region.”

“That would make it harder, if not impossible, for Biden to broker a peace agreement between Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

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

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