Cup of Joe – October 31, 2023

Punchbowl News: “House Republicans are planning to try to offset the $14 billion for Israel with spending cuts elsewhere. The White House has sought this as emergency funding, and it’s unheard of for Congress to seek such cuts. Republicans haven’t said what programs they’ll cut yet, which will be a critical part of this debate.”

“The House GOP’s goal here is to maximize the vote on their side while splintering Democrats. The decision by Johnson’s leadership team to seek budget cuts to offset the Israel money has pretty broad implications.”

Given Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) lack of leadership experience, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) may end up becoming an “unusually powerful majority leader,” the Washington Post reports.

“Scalise was Johnson’s mentor when he first arrived in Washington in 2017… They were never particularly close, but Scalise — a fellow Louisianian — is closer to him than any other member of leadership.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson told Fox News that he “isn’t afraid” of changing the rules governing how the speaker can be removed from the post by any one member who introduces a “motion to vacate.”

Said Johnson :”Everyone’s here in good faith … and everyone has told me that that rule has to change.”

He added: “I’m not afraid of it because I’m going to openly work transparently and work with every member and everyone will be … will fully understand what we’re doing and why.”

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) linked school mass shootings to feminism, no-fault divorce and legalized abortion in a videotaped 2017 address to a Louisiana congregation, The Messenger reports.

“Mitch McConnell is abandoning his typically cautious style when it comes to aiding Ukraine, shrugging off potshots at his leadership and expending political capital for the embattled country despite a painful rift in the party,” Politico reports.

“McConnell is at odds with new Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, who wants to split off Israel aid from Ukraine funding rather than pass a sweeping national security package. And the Senate GOP leader faces brewing discontent within his own conference, which is buzzing over whether to stick with McConnell or side with conservatives who want a strategy change on Ukraine.”

 “Israeli tanks and infantry pushed into the outskirts of Gaza City on Monday and severed one of the main roads connecting the northern part of the Gaza Strip to the south, witnesses said, in a major advance that appeared aimed at encircling the enclave’s biggest population center,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Washington Post: U.S. negotiated to restore internet, send more aid to Gaza.

President Biden raged against The New York Times in a private White House meeting early last week, after the Times amplified a Hamas claim that an Israeli airstrike was behind the Oct. 17 bombing of a Gaza hospital, Semafor reports.

Staunch U.S. ally Jordan asked Washington to deploy Patriot air defense systems to bolster its border defense at a time of heightened regional tensions and conflict, Reuters reports.

“A federal judge on Sunday reinstated the gag order in Donald Trump’s election interference case, agreeing with Special Counsel Jack Smith that the former president should remain muzzled when talking about certain people involved in his upcoming criminal trial even as he tries to appeal the speech restrictions,” The Messenger reports.

“U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan’s one-sentence order means that the original Trump’s gag order she’d imposed on the GOP’s 2024 front-runner is back in place.”

CNN: “The gag order, which was limited in scope, had prohibited Trump from making certain statements about the special counsel’s team or potential witnesses, including any comments that directly targeted court personnel, potential witnesses or the special counsel and his staff.”

New York Times: “This week, the attorney general plans to call Mr. Trump’s sons and his daughter Ivanka to the witness stand. Donald Trump Jr. is expected to testify on Wednesday, Eric Trump on Thursday and Ivanka Trump on Friday.”

“Mr. Trump himself is expected to take the stand the following Monday, Nov. 6. A lawyer for the attorney general’s office said on Friday that it would rest its case after Mr. Trump testifies.”

Donald Trump’s spokesperson says he is “confused” about why Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Ken Chesebro would plead guilty because they are lawyers and should’ve known there was no case, Rolling Stone reports.

Said Liz Harrington: “According to the law, there’s literally nothing to plead guilty to because there’s nothing that was — no laws that were broken. Speaking out against a fraudulent election and telling people to watch hearings and petition their elected officials about fraud that was happening on camera. I mean, it’s just surprising.”

This is not a surprise at all, but The Guardian confirms that some of the bigger fish in the Georgia RICO case have not (yet) received offers of plea deals, including Donald Trump, Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman.

As for the small fish, a great Liz Dye treatment of Jenna Ellis’ guilty plea.

“General Motors became the last of the Detroit automakers to reach a new tentative labor deal with the United Auto Workers union Monday to end a strike that has spanned more than six weeks,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Los Angeles Times: “Homicides in the U.S. dropped significantly in 2022 and have plummeted even faster this year, putting the country on track for one of the biggest declines in killing ever recorded, crime statistics show… but public perception has not kept pace.”

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), “who has held up military promotions for nine months, slammed a proposal being floated to change the chamber’s rules to allow a vote on many of the nominations en masse and attacked the White House and Senate Democrats for not negotiating with him,” CNN reports.

Said Tuberville: “It’s typical of this place. This administration would rather burn the Senate down and that’s what would happen… If you change the rules of the Senate then it lasts forever. So they would rather burn down the Senate than negotiate.”

Josh Marshall: One thing that is obscured into the current chaos and killing in Israel/Palestine is that the current government is essentially paralyzed. Benjamin Netanyahu remains Prime Minister despite a catastrophic loss of public support tied to his failure to prevent the October 7th massacres in southern Israel. In theory there’s a government of national unity now in place, with a war cabinet made up of Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, one of the two main leaders of the opposition. But just how much control Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff, is exercising is unclear.

Meanwhile many government ministers have been close to invisible since the war started. Some basic news about government policy comes out in the US first and only then gets reported in Israel. I should add that from a distance and without a subtle grasp of the textures of Israeli politics it’s difficult for me to judge the extent of this invisibility. But I’ve asked this question of numerous Israelis whose opinion I trust and all seem to agree with this basic read of the situation.

On top of this you have a Prime Minister who is thoroughly discredited but seems to be spending most of his time or at least focus on a) keeping out of jail (for his longstanding criminal prosecution) and b) lining up his defenses for an inevitable post-conflict inquiry into the failure to prevent the October 7th massacres. Needless to say that’s not what you want your head of government focusing on at a time like this. Over the last three weeks most of the key stakeholders in the Israeli national security sector have come forward with public apologies for their failure to prevent the October 7th attacks. But Netanyahu has conspicuously refused to do so.

Overnight Netanyahu tweeted explicitly blaming the country’s intelligence chiefs for failing to prevent the October 7th massacres. The response to this was so overwhelming that Netanyahu was compelled to delete the tweet and publicly apologize. For context, this is on a par with Donald Trump apologizing. It doesn’t happen. He hastily affirmed his confidence in the intelligence chief who are, needless to say, in charge of running a significant part of the current war. In short, Netanyahu is distracted, discredited and clearly focused in large part on saving himself.

Donald Trump claimed he has spent over $100 million in legal fees as he fights a litany of legal battles, The Messenger reports.

Trump commented on his indictments at an Iowa rally: “Think of this, that allows us to do it to Biden when he gets out, and that would be very easy.”

In Colorado, an evidentiary hearing is scheduled today in the case against Donald Trump, the New York Times reports.

In Minnesota, the AP reports oral arguments begin Thursday in a similar case.

Jared Kushner told Fox News that “one of the ironies is that as an American Jew, you are safer in Saudi Arabia right now than you are on a college campus like Columbia University.”

Not mentioned is that Kushner received a $2 billion investment from the Saudi Public Investment Fund after leaving the White House.

Donald Trump attacked former Attorney General Bill Barr as a “loser” in a new Truth Social post — despite the fact that Barr is a witness in the federal case against him and that a federal judge reinstated the gag order against intimidating witnesses.

Gallup: “Nearly one in four people worldwide — which translates into more than a billion people — feel very or fairly lonely, according to a recent Meta-Gallup survey of more than 140 countries.”

“Notably, these numbers could be even higher. The survey represents approximately 77% of the world’s adults because it was not asked in the second-most populous country in the world, China.”

Jill Lawrence: “Joe Biden is our oldest president, as everyone keeps saying, but he’s also—despite and possibly because of his age—an unusually forward-looking president.”

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

1 comment on “Cup of Joe – October 31, 2023

  1. cassandram

    So, House Republicans want to hold aid to Israel hostage to letting tax cheating billionaires off the hook.

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