Saturday, May 6, 2023

Last Call For Thrill Of The Hunter

For once, Jonathan Lemire and Team WIN THE MORNING actually are correct about Republicans looking desperately to get the news cycle off of abortion, mass shootings, holding the country hostage with the debt ceiling, and Donald Trump's multiple legal defenses. They want the focus to turn to Hunter Biden, and it doesn't matter if he's actually indicted or not, they're going to call it the biggest corruption scandal in American presidential history anyway.

The White House is bracing for the political fallout from the charging decision in the Hunter Biden case.

And they’ve concluded that Republicans will attack them over it whether President Joe Biden’s son is criminally indicted or not.

In conversations, Democrats and senior West Wing aides are downplaying the potential impact, arguing Hunter Biden was a factor in the 2020 election and voters elected his father anyway. They point out the president’s top rival, Donald Trump, was just indicted himself.

But people close to Biden still worry about the personal toll it will take on a father who has already felt anguish about a son’s struggles amid a long history of family tragedy. And they wonder how long he can compartmentalize personal anger with the attacks on Hunter and the political calculation that he’s better off not responding to it. Biden has long agonized over the fate of his surviving son, expressing that worry in phone calls with longtime friends and to Hunter himself.

Attorneys for Hunter Biden met at Justice Department headquarters in Washington last week to discuss the tax- and gun-related case with prosecutors, according to a person familiar with the matter. Often a signal that an investigation is concluding, such meetings are used by defense lawyers to urge prosecutors to refrain from seeking an indictment or to consider reduced charges. The probe has centered on whether Biden failed to report all of his income and whether he lied on a form for buying a gun. His attorneys declined comment.

“Obviously, the Biden team would hope that this investigation does not result in an indictment for a multitude of reasons,” said Jennifer Palmieri, who served as President Barack Obama’s communications director. “But the Republicans have failed — both in the 2020 campaign and in their 2023 congressional hearings — to have questions about Hunter Biden impact public opinion and I don’t think they will succeed now, regardless of what DOJ decides.”
I was afraid that the Biden camp would try to play this as nobly as possible, and not admit that every Republican in view of a microphone wouldn't be calling for his immediate resignation regardless of the decision by the DoJ.  They are not wearing blinders, thankfully. 

They understand that this is going to be used as leverage in the debt ceiling too. They know there's a very good chance that, whatever the decision to charge Hunter Biden or not ends up being, it will be used as a pretext to trash negotiations and to let the country default on its debt, triggering a near immediate recession.

Democrats are thankfully well aware of this, and are looking for a way out.

Time, of course, is running out too, we're maybe 4-6 weeks from the economy throwing a rod and ripping a huge chunk of the engine driving the country out and tossing it through a nearby building full of puppies.

Rest assured though that the Republican response will be entirely predictable and awful.

Tales Of The Shattered Rainbow, Con't

The GOP anti-trans agenda is working as intended in red states, and is gaining substantial support across America under the guise of "protecting women and kids".

Clear majorities of Americans support restrictions affecting transgender children, a Washington Post-KFF poll finds, offering political jet fuel for Republicans in statehouses and Congress who are pushing measures restricting curriculum, sports participation and medical care.

Most Americans don’t believe it’s even possible to be a gender that differs from that assigned at birth. A 57 percent majority of adults said a person’s gender is determined from the start, with 43 percent saying it can differ.

And some Americans have become more conservative on these questions as Republicans have seized the issue and worked to promote new restrictions. The Pew Research Center found 60 percent last year saying one’s gender is determined by the sex assigned at birth, up from 54 percent in 2017. Even among young adults, who are the most accepting of trans identity, about half said in the Post-KFF poll that a person’s gender is determined by their sex at birth.

Alyssa Wells, 29, a behavior therapist in Daytona Beach, Fla., who participated in the Post-KFF survey, said her views have changed on this issue in recent years as she has learned more, chiefly from Christian podcasts.

“At first I was on the side of acceptance, like using the pronouns and stuff, because I want people to be kind to each other. I don’t want people fighting all the time,” she said. But she has come to see things differently. “My concern with transgender is mostly with the children.”

“We can’t vote until we’re a certain age, we can’t smoke, drink or whatever, but we can change our bodies’ anatomy and how it works?” she said. “It just doesn’t seem like that’s okay to me.” Treatments for trans youth sometimes include hormone therapies, but not genital surgery, which guidelines generally say doctors should not provide until patients are 18.

Still, as the country engages in a national debate over public policy around gender identity, interviews and other poll findings suggest that many Americans hold complicated and sometimes contradictory views on the subject.

While a majority of Americans oppose access to puberty blockers and hormone treatments for children and teenagers, for instance, clear majorities also support laws prohibiting discrimination against trans people, including in K-12 schools.

“You have a big swath of the American public still trying to make sense of this issue,” said Patrick Egan, a scholar of American politics and public opinion at New York University. “This is a battle and a debate that is unfolding in real time before our eyes, and we don’t know how it’s going to turn out.
I disagree completely with Mr. Egan there. History tells us exactly how this will turn out, and it's already happening. 
Anti-trans legislation targeting trans kids and their parents and families will be expanded to include prohibitions of gender-affirming care for trans adults as well, being regulated into impossibility the way hundreds of abortion clinics were shut down over the last five years. Pretty soon in half the states, birth certificate changes won't be recognized and trans folks will be legislated out of existence, forced into a miserable limbo where they have no rights, no legal recourse, and no hope.

There aren't "complicated and sometimes contradictory views", there is only "should trans folks be allowed to exist" and increasingly the answer is "not here." All it needs to work is otherwise good people ready to stand by and do nothing.

The poll's crosstabs make it clear there's a wide array of groups willing to sacrifice trans folks.

But hey, maybe red states will make special places for trans folks where they can exist.

You know, camps.
Where populations of these people can be concentrated.

History again, it's like we've never learned anything from it in America.

The New Chief Chief For The Commander-In-Chief

With current Joint Chief of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley expected to step down, his replacement is slated to be Air Force Gen. C.Q. Brown, only the second Black JCS head after the late Colin Powell.
President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Gen. C.Q. Brown, the Air Force’s top officer and the first Black person to lead any branch of the military, to succeed Gen. Mark Milley as the next Joint Chiefs chair, two people familiar with the discussion said on Thursday.

If confirmed, Brown would become the second Black Joint Chiefs chair in the nation’s history, after the late Colin Powell.

Biden hasn’t given Brown the official stamp, and it’s unclear when he plans to make an announcement, said the people, a Democratic lawmaker and a congressional aide familiar with the White House’s planning, both of whom were granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

“When President Biden makes a final decision, he will inform the person selected and then announce it publicly,” a spokesperson for the National Security Council said when asked for comment. “That hasn’t happened yet.”

Brown’s reputation and command experience in both the Pacific and the Middle East made him the odds-on favorite to be Milley’s heir apparent dating back to the Trump administration. But his appointment seemed less of a sure thing in recent months, as the White House seriously considered Gen. David Berger, the Marine Corps commandant, for the top job.

He rose through the ranks as the sole Black pilot in classrooms filled with white men, an experience he spoke about in an emotional video after George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020.

Those who know Brown say he has the right experience to keep the military focused on its top priority: China. Brown’s most recent command experience was in the Pacific, as chief of Pacific Air Forces.

Brown also commanded troops in the Middle East, as head of U.S. Air Forces Central Command, and was serving in Europe when Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, as a director of operations for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration at U.S. Air Forces in Europe. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate for his current role as Air Force chief of staff in August, 2020.
So yeah, the Senate already unanimously confirmed him for the Air Force job, but who knows what te GOP will do.

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