The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismissed prospects for an early resumption of diplomacy with the United States, saying that U.S. expectations of talks would “plunge them into a greater disappointment,” NBC News reports.
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“Former president Donald Trump is offering to help back a primary challenger to Rep. John Katko, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him in January,” the Syracuse Post-Standard reports.
Said Trump: “Katko will never win again. He is bad news… Will help with campaign – find a great candidate.”
Politico: “In the span of a week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed bills restricting the teaching of critical race theory and allowing Texans to carry handguns without a license. He’s preparing to order state lawmakers back into a special session to pass legislation restricting voting access, a GOP priority. And in the most pugilistic affront to President Joe Biden’s White House yet, he announced Texas will build its own border wall.”
“Less than six months into Biden’s presidency, Texas conservatives are in revolt against the new administration. And Abbott, the often overshadowed governor of the nation’s biggest red state, is emerging as an unlikely leader of the Biden resistance.”
Former President Donald Trump addressed the speculation he might try to become Speaker if Republicans win back the House next year in an interview with CBN.
Said Trump: “Well, I’ve heard the talk and it’s getting more and more. But it’s not something that I would’ve considered but it is certainly — there’s a lot of talk about it. I have a good relationship with Kevin McCarthy and hopefully we will do everything traditionally. But the election was a horrible, horrible thing for our country.”
Punchbowl News: “The White House is dispatching three of its top aides to Capitol Hill today for a flurry of meetings with senators, with the aim of trying to get a better handle on whether a bipartisan Senate infrastructure deal is possible.”
“Assuming that these meetings go well, the administration plans to invite senators from this group to meet with Biden later this week at the White House.”
However: “You should still be skeptical that a deal will come together quickly. These kinds of agreements take forever to turn into legislative text. They still haven’t even settled on the right pay-for mix. We’re really at the beginning of the interesting part.”
“As the national economy recovers from the pandemic and begins to take off, New York City is lagging, with changing patterns of work and travel threatening the engines that have long powered its jobs and prosperity,” the New York Times reports.
“New York has suffered deeper job losses as a share of its work force than any other big American city. And while the country has regained two-thirds of the positions it lost after the coronavirus arrived, New York has recouped fewer than half, leaving a deficit of more than 500,000 jobs.”
“Early evidence suggests that the highly contagious delta variant, which has prompted concern worldwide as it leads to new surges of Covid-19 across the globe, is spreading in under-vaccinated pockets of the U.S.,” Bloomberg reports.
“The ongoing spread of the variant in pockets of low vaccine uptake are troubling because they create more opportunities for the virus to thrive and mutate. The longer the virus spreads, the more chances it has to create easier inroads into human cells, and potentially take on deadlier forms.”
Barack Obama told Yahoo News that he supports Sen. Joe Manchin’s voting rights proposal, calling it a “product of compromise” as the landmark bill struggles towards a crucial vote in the US Senate on Tuesday, The Guardian reports.
Said Obama: “I have tried to make it a policy not to weigh in on the day-to-day scrum in Washington, but what is happening this week is more than just a particular bill coming up or not coming up to a vote.”
He added: “I do want folks who may not be paying close attention to what’s happening … to understand the stakes involved here, and why this debate is so vitally important to the future of our country.”
Wall Street Journal: “John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s national security division, said the sole time in his three-year tenure he considered resigning came when the agency fell under pressure from Trump to pursue baseless claims of election fraud.”
“In early January, Mr. Trump was threatening to fire the acting attorney general over the sought-after election investigation, and, Mr. Demers recalled Monday, he was trying to figure out who would sign foreign intelligence surveillance requests and conduct other agency business if he resigned in protest along with other leading officials.”
Politico: “Two states that switched during the pandemic to universal mail voting — mailing ballots to all active registered voters in each election — will now continue that practice permanently, for at least general elections: Nevada and Vermont. Several other states are moving to allow no-excuse mail voting permanently, after allowing it temporarily while Covid-19 raged in 2020.”
“And while many of the state-level expansions of voting programs are happening in blue states, some red states have made changes as well. Kentucky, where Republicans have legislative supermajorities and Trump won the presidential contest by 25 points in 2020, codified in-person early voting for the first time this year.”
New York Times: “The realignment of national politics around urban-versus-rural divisions has seemingly doomed Republicans in these areas as surely as it has all but eradicated the Democratic Party as a force across the Plains and the Upper Mountain West. At the national level, Republicans have largely accepted that trade-off as advantageous, since the structure of the federal government gives disproportionate power to sparsely populated rural states.”
“But the party’s growing irrelevance in urban and suburban areas also comes at a considerable cost, denying conservatives influence over the policies that govern much of the population and sidelining them in some of the country’s centers of innovation and economic might. The trend has helped turn formerly red states, like Georgia and Arizona, into purple battlegrounds as their largest cities and suburbs have grown larger and more ethnically mixed.”
The Republican National Committee paid just over $175,000 to former President Donald Trump’s private club to host part of its spring donor retreat, CNBC reports.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reiterated her opposition to ending the legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed, amid growing pressure from Democrats to change the rules to help pass voting rights.
Wrote Sinema: “It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. … My support for retaining the 60-vote threshold is not based on the importance of any particular policy. It is based on what is best for our democracy. The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles.”
“New York prosecutors are investigating whether a top Trump Organization executive, Matthew Calamari, received tax-free fringe benefits, as part of their probe into whether former President Donald Trump’s company and its employees illegally avoided paying taxes on such perks,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Prosecutors’ interest in Mr. Calamari, once Mr. Trump’s bodyguard, indicates that their probe into the Trump Organization’s alleged practice of providing some employees with cars and apartments extends beyond Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer, and his family.”
Michael Gerson: “I grew up in a middle-class neighborhood of a middle-class suburb in a Midwestern city. I went to a middle-class high school, with middle-class friends, eating middle-class fried bologna sandwiches. And for most of my upbringing, this seemed not only normal but normative. I assumed this was a typical American childhood.”
“But none of this was neutral or normal. Systems had been carefully created to ensure I went to an all-White church, in an all-White neighborhood, while attending an all-White Christian school and shopping in all-White stores. I now realize I grew up in one of the most segregated cities in the United States.”
“Was this my fault? Not in the strictest sense. I didn’t create these systems. But I wish I had realized earlier that these systems had created me.”
“He lied over and over and over again… poisoning our democracy, lighting a fire between Republican state legislatures who immediately launched the most sweeping voter suppression effort in at least 80 years. Just a note, how despicable a man is Donald Trump?”
— Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), quoted by The Hill.
☑️ SECRETS by Fred Ellis Brock, the third novel in The Seven trilogy, now available on Amazon, etc. A thriller out of today’s headlines: murder, treason, and UFO conspiracies. Published by Wyatt-MacKenzie.
☑️ On the American Exchange podcast, ex-pat Erich McElroy reaches across from London to try and find out what is happening to his home country. Past guests include Mary Trump, SE Cupp, Anthony Scaramucci and more.
☑️ A House Divided: Slavery and American Politics from the Constitution to the Civil War by Ben McNitt - on Amazon - Barnes & Nobel Bookstore