Cup of Joe – November 1, 2023

“Speaker Mike Johnson’s decision to seek spending cuts in exchange for $14 billion in new aid for Israel made it easy for Democrats to reject him out-of-hand. But it’s about to make Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s job even harder,” Punchbowl News reports.

“The Kentucky Republican — who doubled down Monday on a huge national-security funding package that addresses Israel, Ukraine, Taiwan and more — is seeing his rank-and-file grow even more bitterly divided over how to handle President Joe Biden’s $105 billion supplemental request.”

Playbook: “When he was elected House speaker last week after a hard-right putsch, no one expected Mike Johnson to usher in a bold new era of bipartisanship. But Johnson is showing a special taste for confrontation in his early days with the gavel, setting an aggressive tone for the fights ahead.”

“If the extreme-right plays politics with assistance to Israel and Ukraine during times of crises, it will only empower America’s enemies.”— Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), in a statement to Jewish Insider, on offsetting aid to Israel with spending cuts at the IRS.

Punchbowl News: “The House Republican proposal to provide $14.3 billion in aid to Israel also cuts $14.3 billion dedicated to the Internal Revenue Service in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act…”

“You can look at this in a few different ways. The charitable take is that House Republican leaders want to rally GOP lawmakers around the bill and force Democrats to take a tough vote.”

“But the decision to cut $14 billion from the IRA will make it easy for House Democratic leaders to oppose it and for Senate Democrats to reject this out of hand. This now opens the door to the Senate gutting the offsets from the bill and sending it back with Ukraine funding. Ukraine aid deeply splits House and Senate Republicans.”

“It also increases the deficit. Less money for the IRS means less money for tax enforcement and ultimately less revenue for the federal government. Thus higher deficits…”

“If Johnson had decided to pass a clean $14 billion-plus bill, it would’ve flown through the House and the Senate, potentially landing on President Joe Biden’s desk by the end of this week.”

NBC News: In his first act, Speaker Mike Johnson uses Israel aid to pick a fight with Joe Biden.

“It’s chilling to me that he is now third in line to the presidency.”— Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA), quoted by the HuffPost, on new Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA).  This annoys me.  He is not third in line, he is second in line.  President Joe Biden is the President.  He is not first in line for anything.  He is the line.   Kamala Harris is first in line.  And then the theocrat Handsmaid Tale Speaker.  The third in line is Senate Pro Tem Patty Murray, and then we go to the cabinet. 

“House Speaker Mike Johnson’s wife took down the website for her company, Onward Christian Counseling Services, a day after HuffPost pointed to documents on the site that compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest,” the HuffPost reports.

“Goldman Sachs removed its forecast for a U.S. government shutdown this year given new geopolitical risks and the election of a speaker at the House of Representatives, but warned of risks in 2024,” Reuters reports.

“The United Automobile Workers’ big wins with Detroit’s Big Three automakers could also prove to be a significant political victory for President Biden, who openly sided with striking workers to pressure the companies, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, to produce generous concessions,” the New York Times reports.

“But the U.A.W.’s turn now toward nonunionized automakers like Tesla, Hyundai, BMW and Mercedes will test whether Mr. Biden’s support, as well as measures that he signed into law, will produce the expansion of organized labor that he has long promised.”

Wall Street Journal: Three young activists who never worked in an auto factory helped deliver huge win for the UAW.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to authorize subpoenas for Harlan Crow, Leonard Leo, and Robin Arkley II as part of the panel’s Supreme Court ethics investigation, Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced.

Punchbowl News: “This is a significant escalation of the committee’s probe.”

“After winning major gains in wages and benefits from two of the three Detroit automakers, the United Automobile Workers union is looking beyond the Motor City to car companies operating nonunion factories across the South,” the New York Times reports.

“A federal judge on Monday ordered immigration agents to stop taking down or cutting through concertina wire placed on the Texas-Mexico border in Eagle Pass by state troopers and National Guard members in their efforts to deter migrants from crossing the border illegally,” the Texas Tribune reports.

Vanity Fair runs an excerpt from Network of Lies by Brian Stelter:

“When Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott called Tucker Carlson around 11:15 a.m. on Monday, April 24, and said, “We’re taking you off the air,” she didn’t give him a reason. To Carlson, cancellation was unthinkable. He was the highest-rated host across all of cable news—and he was suddenly sentenced to execution. It was like somebody canceling Taylor Swift mid-tour or removing Stranger Things from Netflix before anyone could stream the ending. It made no sense.”

“Carlson wasn’t given a path to sign off and pretend that it was on his terms, but Scott did offer him one thing—the chance to include his own comment in the press release. For a moment, he thought about saying yes; maybe he did want the breakup to sound mutually beneficial. But he quickly snapped out of that. He was being dumped, and he wanted everyone else to know it too. He tapped out a farewell email to his staff, known as the Tuckertroop, before his Fox email account was disabled.”

Politico on the politics of Biden’s new Artificial Intelligence Executive Order: “The 111-page laundry list of priorities has drawn immediate support from both the tech industry and its critics. But the vast scale of the order also suggests an effort by the White House to paper over the growing tension between Washington’s rival AI factions — including some with significant pull inside the Democratic Party.”

“When Israeli ground forces advanced en masse into the Gaza Strip on Friday evening, just after the Jewish Sabbath began, they did it so secretly that it was hours before the outside world understood what had happened,” the New York Times reports.

“In the three days since the long-anticipated invasion began, Israel’s military has operated with a similar ambiguity, defying expectations by carrying out a more incremental ground operation than was initially anticipated.”

Washington Post: Israel pushes farther into Gaza, rejects cease-fire.

New York Times: “While he continues to declare unambiguous support for Israel, Mr. Biden and his top military and diplomatic officials have become more critical of Israel’s response to the terrorist attacks and the unfolding humanitarian crisis.”

“The Palestinian militant group Hamas, facing the mounting fury of the Israeli military’s ground and air attacks, released a short video clip Monday showing three of the more than 230 hostages Israel says the group seized during its bloody Oct. 7 terror rampage,” CBS News reports.

“Sitting between two others, all apparently among those held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, one of the three women issues an impassioned message directly to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, deriding him for failing to prevent Hamas’ attack and for failing to secure the release of the captives.”

Wall Street Journal: “If he wins in 2024, Trump would find a friendlier Supreme Court than the one that sometimes frustrated him…”

“Some people who know him expressed concern that an emboldened Trump could push the limits of the law far beyond what he did in his first term, and would surround himself with advisers who are unwilling to resist his impulses.”

“It is unlikely there are sufficient votes to fully scrap the merit-based employment that has been part of the federal firmament for 140 years. But the president does have authority to manage the civil service system, and Trump could find a court open to expanding the class of employees that can be hired and fired at the White House’s discretion.”

“Ivanka Trump’s testimony in her family’s civil fraud trial will be postponed a little less than a week and now is scheduled to take place after her father appears on the witness stand,” The Messenger reports.

“The former president’s daughter is now scheduled to take the witness stand on Wednesday, Nov. 8, in testimony possibly spilling over to the next day. She was initially slated to testify on Friday, Nov. 3, following testimony by her brothers Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.”

“Former President Trump is currently scheduled to testify on Monday, Nov. 6.”

Ty Cobb, who was a White House attorney under Donald Trump, told CNN that he expects his old boss to end up in jail soon due to a gag order violation.

Said Cobb: “I think she’ll come in with a much heavier penalty. And ultimately, I think he’ll spend a night or a weekend in jail. I think it’ll take that to stop him.”

Donald Trump Jr. slammed the legal cases against his father, saying prosecutors want to send Donald Trump to jail “for a thousand years, and/or the death penalty,” The Messenger reports.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) elections team “has admitted in the run-up to pivotal General Assembly elections that it removed nearly 3,400 qualified voters from the state’s rolls, far higher than the administration’s previous estimate of 270,” the Washington Post reports.

“Although that number represents a tiny fraction of the state’s nearly 6 million registered voters, control of the state House and Senate could come down to a handful of very tight races.”

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) will go to trial on April 15 for security fraud charges that were first presented against him eight years ago, the Texas Tribune reports.

Associated Press: “Economists caution that such vigorous spending isn’t likely to continue in the coming months.”

“Still, the truth is no one knows where things go from here, given the unusual nature of the post-pandemic economy… Spending might cool in the coming months, yet it’s far from clear it will collapse.”

A federal grand jury in Atlanta has indicted 59-year-old Arthur Ray Hanson on charges of transmitting interstate threats to injure Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat over their connection to the arrest and prosecution of Donald Trump, CBS News reports.

“Leon Cooperman, the hedge fund billionaire who has famously clashed with Sen. Elizabeth Warren over her proposed wealth tax, is cautioning voters against returning Donald Trump to the White House,” CNN reports.

Said Cooperman: “It would be terrible for the country if Donald Trump were reelected. He’s a divisive human being who belongs in jail.”

It has been one year since Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, and in an internal memo, employees were told that it’s now worth just $19 billion.

“More than a half dozen U.S. Marshals, FBI agents and court security officers had to forcibly arrest a convicted Capitol rioter Monday after he refused to surrender following a judge’s order sending him to jail while he awaits sentencing,” WUSA reports.

“The Justice Department is seeking 10 years in federal prison for a former Donald Trump political appointee who assaulted law enforcement officers as he tried to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6,” NBC News reports.

Former North Dakota state Rep. Ray Holmberg (R) has been indicted on federal charges, including ones alleging he traveled internationally to have sex with minors and that he attempted to receive child porn, the Fargo Forum reports.

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

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