Cup of Joe – October 28, 2023

“House Republican speaker nominee Mike Johnson is working to convince ultraconservatives to avert a Nov. 18 government shutdown, a signal that even hardliners in the GOP may be willing to compromise on a short-term spending deal,” Bloomberg reports.

“Johnson spelled out a plan in a letter to his colleagues on Monday that lacked key details on government funding levels and US support for Ukraine and Israel. But it didn’t draw immediate blowback from Republicans who have tried to leverage the threat of a federal funding lapse to make deep cuts and enact conservative policy priorities.”

President Biden met newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson today in the Situation Room to discuss Biden’s $105  billion request for Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and border security, Reuters reports.  House Minority Leader Hakeen Jeffries (D-NY) was there as well.

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) in the past has “questioned climate science, opposed clean energy and received more campaign contributions from oil and gas companies than from any other industry last year,” the New York Times reports.

“Someone asked me today in the media, ‘People are curious, what does Mike Johnson think about any issue?’ I said, ‘Well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it. That’s my worldview.”— Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), on Fox News.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) told Real America’s Voice that Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was sent on a mission from God to make Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) Speaker. Said Burchett: “If you can’t see the hand of God in this, then you’re just not looking.”

“Before arriving in Washington less than a decade ago, House Speaker Mike Johnson, a deeply religious Christian, was a legal crusader associated with a fringe evangelical movement called ‘young Earth creationism,’ based on a literal reading of the Bible’s Book of Genesis that posits the Earth is only several thousand years old,” the HuffPost reports.

Nick Catoggio: “That’s the whole party in one clip. There’s Johnson, smug at having been not merely absolved by his colleagues for abetting a coup attempt but commended for it with their nomination for speaker. There’s Scalise and Elise Stefanik, two members of leadership leering like gargoyles at the idea that they should care about the party’s turn toward insurrectionism. And there’s Virginia Foxx, one of the elder statesmen in the conference, goading the press to just shut up about it already.”

“Participants, enablers, apologists. That’s the House GOP. They’ve moved on from their attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power, they’re eager for you to know —unlike a certain someone for whom they’ll all be campaigning three or four months from now.”

“New House Speaker Mike Johnson has joined his conservative Republican colleagues in voting against abortion and same-sex marriage, but has drawn the most attention for his efforts to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat,” Reuters reports.  “His new role gives him huge clout steering the chamber, and a seat at the table with Democratic President Joe Biden and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in negotiating bills of all kinds. But after action Congress took last year he’ll have little ability to interfere with the 2024 presidential election, unless he refused to follow the law.”

“Newly elected speaker Mike Johnson will swiftly face a test of his ability to resolve an intense intra-GOP fight,” Politico reports.  “A majority of the House Republican conference backs a provision in the food and agriculture funding bill that would ban mail delivery of abortion pills nationwide, with some hard-liners even pledging to oppose any version without it. But a handful of Republican centrists who face tough reelection bids next year say federal curbs on mifepristone, a widely used abortion pill, are ‘a non-starter.’”

“The impasse threatens to derail Johnson’s pledge to pass all 12 government spending bills while avoiding a shutdown. Government funding is set to run out in mid-November.”

“Many women use abortion as a form of birth control, you know, in certain segments of society, and it’s just shocking and sad, but this is where we are. When you break up the nuclear family, when you tell a generation of people that life has no value, no meaning, that it’s expendable, then you do wind up with school shooters.”— Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), in a 2015 interview.

“Conservatives who spent months worrying that their drive to impeach Joe Biden would go nowhere under Kevin McCarthy hope it’s just a matter of time before Republicans vote to remove the president under Speaker Mike Johnson,” Politico reports. 

“The Louisiana conservative — a longtime member of the committee that’d oversee an impeachment inquiry — has leaned into the right flank’s unproven allegation that Joe Biden took actions as president or vice president to benefit his family’s business deals. But his calculation is more complicated as speaker, since he has to protect members in battleground districts who worry an impeachment vote would hurt them back home.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) told Fox News he sees cognitive decline in President Biden: “This isn’t a personal slight to him. It has to do with age and acumen.”

“Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), a conservative Democrat, reversed his previously held opposition and said on Thursday that he now supports an assault weapons ban following a mass shooting in his state,” Politico reports.  Said Golden: “I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime. The time has now come for me to take responsibility for this failure, which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) dismissed gun control in a Fox News interview after the mass shooting in Maine. Said Johnson: “The problem is the human heart. It’s not guns… this is not the time to talk about legislation.”

New York Republicans made a motion to bring an expulsion resolution against Rep. George Santos (R-NY). The action forces a full House vote within two legislative days.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is introducing a measure to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) over her comments on Israel, Politico reports.

“The privileged motion will follow a fast-tracked process that bypasses House committees and has to be considered on the floor within two days.”

“Democrats are likely to respond to Greene’s resolution by pushing a retaliatory censure against the Republican firebrand herself, citing her history of incendiary rhetoric — including her past flirtations with antisemitic tropes and comparison of vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.”

“Here’s one approach to discourage migrants from settling in New York City: Give them a free, one-way plane ticket out of town,” Politico reports.  “Mayor Eric Adams is ramping up efforts to fly migrants to the destination of their choice, figuring it’s cheaper than sheltering them for months on end. And he’s simultaneously warning that those opting to stay in New York may be in for a winter of sleeping outside with shelters full.”

Wall Street Journal: “Pervasive networks of smugglers and freelance guides have thrived on demand from a desperate clientele looking to begin new lives in America.”

A new Stockton University poll in New Jersey finds support for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has cratered since his indictment, with his approval ratings now at a jaw-dropping 8% to 72%.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) “pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor count for triggering a fire alarm as lawmakers scrambled to pass a funding bill before a government shutdown deadline,” the AP reports.  “He will pay a $1,000 fine and serve three months of probation, after which the false fire alarm charge is expected to be dismissed from his record under an agreement with prosecutors.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has said he has an adopted African-American son, but Josh Marshall can’t find any photos of him. “No African-American son shows up in any of the family photographs on Johnson’s House website or on his personal Facebook page. Nor does Michael figure anywhere in any of Johnson’s campaign biographies.”

“As I went further down this rabbit hole tonight I was a bit dumbfounded. Is Michael made up? Is he excluded from family pictures? I was so baffled that I went pretty far down that rabbit hole trying to figure out what was going on.”

“The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that its airstrikes in the Gaza Strip during the day had killed five senior commanders in the Hamas terror group, as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reiterated that a ground operation was looming and vowed to win the war, asserting that the country’s next 75 years largely depend on it,” the Times of Israel reports.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official told the Associated Press that the Palestinian militant group had expected stronger intervention from Hezbollah in its war with Israel.

“President Biden is expected to meet with Muslim-American leaders at the White House on Thursday as part of discussions to combat anti-Muslim attitudes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “The Biden administration has faced criticism from many Muslim and Arab-American organizations over its response to the humanitarian crisis and civilian death toll in Gaza.”

Associated Press: “Friday’s court session is set to start with a hearing on the issue. Ivanka Trump has been dismissed from the case, and lawyers for her family and its business contend that she shouldn’t have to take the stand. New York state lawyers say she should, and they argue that the former Trump Organization executive vice president has relevant information.”

“It’s unclear how soon Judge Arthur Engoron will decide, or when Ivanka Trump would testify if ordered to do so.”

Charlie Sykes: “Matt Gaetz may be loathed and detested by his colleagues, but in the end, it was Gaetz and his fellow members of the crazed slavering jackal caucus who feasted on the carcass of the GOP normies.”

“Gaetz and his confederates blew up the House, destroyed Kevin McCarthy, torpedoed Steve Scalise, and watched Trump shiv Tom Emmer. They bullied. harassed, and exhausted the majority, and on Wednesday they got a full-throated election denier and coup-plotter as speaker.”

“For a few halcyon moments, it looked like the center would hold as a modest rump of ‘moderates’ blocked the ludicrous Jim Jordan. But in the end, the squishes did what squishes do; and their defeat was as comprehensive as it was condign.”

Chris Christie told Fox News that Mark Meadows’ cooperation with special counsel Jack Smith represents a major blow to Donald Trump in his election interference case.

Said Christie: “The walls are closing in around him. I understand that, and more importantly, he understands that. I was there in 2020 when Mark Meadows was chief of staff, regularly preparing Donald Trump for the debates against Joe Biden. I can tell you that Mark Meadows was velcroed to Donald Trump’s hip in the White House at that time.”

He added: “That means that Mark Meadows knows everything. Everything that Donald Trump said, and did, and ordered other people to do on his behalf, and just as importantly, everything that he was told about the lack of facts to back up his contention that the election was stolen. Yet he continued to act as he did then and as he does now.”

“Federal prosecutors have quietly withdrawn a subpoena seeking records from former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign as part of their investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s political and fund-raising operations committed any crimes as he sought to stay in power after he lost the election,“ the New York Times reports.  “The decision this week by the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, to effectively kill the subpoena to the Trump campaign came on the heels of the withdrawal of a similar subpoena to Save America, the political action committee that was formed by Mr. Trump’s aides shortly after he lost the race in 2020.”

“Republicans didn’t have a speaker for 40 years until Newt Gingrich finally reclaimed the gavel for the party in 1995 after decades in the wilderness. But hanging on to it has proved extremely challenging for Republicans in the years since — a potential object lesson for incoming Speaker Mike Johnson,” the New York Times reports.  “From Newt Gingrich to John A. Boehner to Kevin McCarthy and points in between, Republican speakers and speaker candidates have encountered significant turbulence from their own colleagues. The result has been internal revolts of the sort that led to Mr. Johnson’s ascent from practically nowhere to the highest office in Congress on Wednesday.”

“Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the surge in longer-term bond yields in recent months is a reflection of a strong US economy, not the jump in government borrowing driven by a widening fiscal deficit,” Bloomberg reports.

The Economist says the pandemic has “broken” people’s perceptions about the economy.

“Although Americans report being worried about their finances, they are behaving as flush as ever—and in economic forecasting, actions speak louder than words. When used to project future spending rather than consumer sentiment, the same battery of economic variables has fully maintained its forecasting power since 2020. In contrast, since Covid began, the correlation between sentiment and both current and future spending has vanished.”

Jonathan Last: “I hear every person who says that times are tough for them and I honor and respect that. But in the aggregate, people’s views are not just a little bit off. They are wildly out of sync with reality.”

Politico: “Whether the Republican Party can ever reconcile its divergent response to Jan. 6 is not the next question. It’s the question defining this turbulent political moment in Washington and beyond — roiling and coursing just below the surface. These days, all roads lead back to the original lie that Donald Trump won.”

Crispin Blunt confirmed he had been arrested on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances, the BBC reports. He has been asked to stay away from Parliament.

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

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