“In a win for wild lands and wildlife, President Joe Biden recently moved to protect more than 10 million acres of Alaska’s North Slope from oil development. The action permanently bans drilling across large swaths of this region.”
“Biden administration officials are increasingly at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over how it is conducting its military assault on Hamas and how the two countries envision the political future of Gaza, current and former U.S. officials say.
Amid dire scenes from hospitals in Gaza and a rising civilian death toll, frustration is building among administration officials who have repeatedly appealed to Netanyahu and his government to take more action to protect Palestinian civilians and allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
“We are concerned that they aren’t doing everything possible to reduce civilian casualties,” said one administration official. The comments came as Israeli forces moved in on Gaza City’s main hospital, where they said Hamas militants have been operating from an underground command center.
The friction between the two governments is over crucial long-term questions about who will govern the Palestinian enclave after Israel completes its military offensive. That includes the role of the Palestinian Authority — which currently governs the West Bank — and reviving diplomatic efforts for a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state, current and former officials said.
“There’s a looming gap between the U.S. and Israel on where we’re going to be in a month or two,” one former U.S. official said.
Although the U.S. and Israel have tried to present a united front publicly, the divide was exposed after Netanyahu last week said that Israel would have a security role in Gaza for an indefinite period.
Less than 24 hours later, Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back, making it clear the U.S. would not accept any suggestion of a reoccupation of the Gaza Strip or a blockade of the enclave.
The U.S. believes there can be “no reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict, hence, no attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza,” and “no reduction in the territory of Gaza,” Blinken said during a visit to Tokyo.
Blinken also laid out his most detailed vision yet for the future of Gaza, saying it “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”
The Palestinian Authority, which was pushed out of Gaza by its rivals in Hamas, administers semiautonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The U.S. and other world powers view the Palestinian Authority, which is internationally recognized but lacks strong popular support, as the only realistic alternative to Hamas, which the U.S. and other Western nations considers a terrorist organization.
Netanyahu, in turn, brushed off Blinken’s proposal, telling NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that Gaza needed to be demilitarized and deradicalized and any Palestinian force including the Palestinian Authority was not up to the job.”
“About 15 minutes into President Joe Biden’s Zoom call last Friday with families of Americans taken hostage by Hamas, a White House aide started to end the session.
But Biden wouldn’t have it, according to one of the family members on the call.
“The president actually looked at him and said: ‘Last time I checked I’m the president of the United States. And this meeting will end when I say it ends,'” said Ruby Chen of Israel, the father of Itay Chen, a 19-year-old member of the Israel Defense Forces and a dual US-Israeli citizen who is among those missing. “He actually wanted to hear from every single one of us.”
The moment encapsulated Biden’s sudden transformation from a political figure whose commitment to Israel was often questioned by conservative critics inside and outside the Jewish state to – right now – arguably the world’s leading champion of Israel outside the Middle East.
Biden’s actions and words since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack, capped by a dramatic visit Wednesday to Israel, have been lauded even by many of Biden’s biggest skeptics in Israel as he stands in solidarity with Israel and pledges “unprecedented” military assistance.
“Israelis were hungry for a father figure that will hug them and show empathy. And the president has done that in such a way that really touched every Israeli,” said Nimrod Novik, a former foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and now a fellow with the Israel Policy Forum.”
“Yesterday, the Biden administration announced new actions to help get recent immigrants to work, including offering almost half a million Venezuelans a status that will let them live and work in the U.S. legally for the next 18 months. The new measures come at a critical time, as labor shortages persist and cities struggle to provide for newcomers.
Certain Venezuelan migrants are eligible for temporary protected status (TPS), a designation offered to migrants who can’t safely return to their home countries due to armed conflict, environmental disaster, or another temporary safety hazard. Venezuela was first designated for TPS in 2021 due to a severe political and economic crisis perpetuated by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. Under that designation, Venezuelans who came to the U.S. before March 2021 qualified for protection; now, the status will apply to Venezuelans who arrived before the end of July this year. There are currently 16 countries designated for TPS.”
“The Biden administration announced a raft of other immigration and border enforcement measures.., including harsh actions like deploying military personnel to the border and expanding family deportations.”
“The administration is also aiming for quicker review of work authorization requests filed by migrants who enter the country through mobile app appointments or through the private sponsorship program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans. DHS says it’s aiming to improve the median processing time for those work authorization applications from 90 days to 30 days. U.S. immigration agencies have long struggled to efficiently process various kinds of applications, so it remains to be seen whether those improvements will happen.”
“in the absence of broader immigration reform spearheaded by Congress, these are welcome actions. Getting immigrants to work is an obvious economic good—the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate there are 8.8 million job openings in the country—and it’ll also reduce the burden of government spending. The Biden administration has sent nearly $770 million to localities to help fund services for new arrivals. Without a clear legal pathway to employment, many migrants simply wouldn’t be able to provide for themselves and turn away from city-provided services. Encouraging migrant self-sufficiency is particularly important in New York City, which has a “right-to-shelter” law that has proven costly.”
“Biden on Thursday told reporters his administration moved forward with the waivers and construction to comply with a legal obligation to use the appropriated funds.
“One question on the border wall: The border wall, money was appropriated for the border wall. I tried to get them to reappropriate, to redirect that money. They didn’t. They wouldn’t,” Biden told reporters in the Oval Office.
“And in the meantime, there’s nothing in the law – they have to use the money for what it was appropriated. I can’t stop that.”
Asked whether he believes the border wall works, Biden sighed, “no.””
““But on a different point — and I’ve been trying to get answers from the administration because we just found out yesterday — why did they waive the environmental laws? That’s something else. And we’ve been trying to get an answer and they can’t give me an answer,” Cuéllar said.
An administration official said new construction will use “Jersey barriers” rather than digging to bury foundations for the planned expansion in an effort to mitigate environmental damage, but otherwise pointed to precedent for the administration’s waiver announcement.”
“For Biden, the tried-and-tested formula for defusing labor disputes has included back-channel negotiations that kept the pressure on companies to make concessions to workers, along with his agencies’ efforts to make it easier for employees to organize and his own frequent public praise for labor activists. Fain, though, made it clear he doesn’t want quiet murmuring from the administration behind closed doors, and he wasn’t satisfied with Biden’s remarks from Washington that automakers should “go further” in their offers.”
“Americans think Hunter Biden profited from his father’s position”
“Republicans are more convinced that Biden is implicated in Hunter’s wrongdoing”
“A GBAO/Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll for The Wall Street Journal conducted in late August found that 52 percent of Americans oppose impeaching Biden, and only 41 percent are in favor. More recently, a YouGov poll conducted on September 13 found that 41 percent of Americans oppose impeaching Biden, 44 percent are in support and 15 percent don’t know.”
“Whatever you may think about the impeachments of Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, they were at least impeached for things they verifiably did.
But Joe Biden may become the first president to be impeached entirely because of an unproven theory.
Republicans, and allies of Donald Trump in particular, have spent five years searching for the proof that will vindicate their long-held assertion that Joe Biden was corruptly in cahoots with his son, Hunter — being paid off by foreign interests and skewing US policy to support them.
Yet while much has emerged about Hunter’s sordid personal life and dubiously ethical behavior, Republicans have been unable to hang anything significant on his father.
Don’t take it from me. Take it from Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who wrote this month: “What’s missing, despite years of investigation, is the smoking gun that connects Joe Biden to his ne’er-do-well son’s corruption.”
Of course, the GOP’s impeachment effort isn’t really about what the evidence shows — it’s political. What’s really behind this is that the hard right has been demanding aggressive action against Biden, Trump wants payback for his own two impeachments, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to hold off threats to his speakership. The evidence is largely beside the point.”
“As far as Joe’s relationship with Hunter’s business partners, the investigation has revealed the following: the vice president occasionally spoke to some of Hunter’s business associates at golf outings and dinner events. Sometimes he called Hunter to say hello during Hunter’s business meetings, and Hunter put him on speakerphone, but Joe wouldn’t talk business. Officials in Biden’s office forwarded information about White House events to Hunter. Joe once wrote a college letter of recommendation for the son of a Chinese executive in business with Hunter.”
“did Joe actually make Hunter give him half his salary?
In the laptop material, there are many resentful tirades from Hunter about how much he does for his family and how unappreciated he is, often laden with exaggerations and persecution fantasies (usually coming when family members were trying to get him off drugs).
There is evidence of some intermingling of Joe’s finances with Hunter’s. Eric Schwerin, who Hunter had hired to help with his finances in the mid-2000s, also assisted Joe Biden with managing his finances when he was vice president. Hunter covered some expenses for Joe, like home repairs and cell phone bills.
And Hunter claimed in another text that his dad had long used one of his accounts. “My dad has been using most lines on this account which I’ve though the gracious offerings of Eric [Schwerin] have paid for past 11 years,” he texted in 2018.
But there’s no documentation of anything remotely near half Hunter’s (sizable) income, or any sort of set percentage, going to Joe. The covering of expenses that’s been documented seems to have been more informal — Hunter, the highest-earning Biden, picking up the tab for his dad, or setting some bills on autopay.”
“there’s no evidence that the US policy of pushing for Shokin’s ouster was meant to protect Burisma. As many US officials testified back during the Trump impeachment inquiry, the US government had concluded Shokin was corrupt for other well-documented reasons, and wanted him gone.”
“if Zlochevsky had secretly agreed to pay Joe Biden $5 million while he was vice president, that would be a huge scandal. But did it actually happen?
Currently, there’s not a shred of evidence that it did happen. Of course, Zlochevsky did say it was done so amazingly secretly that it will be impossible to find, which is… convenient.
Here’s another problem. The FBI document states that the informant had already briefed the Bureau on one of these talks with Zlochevsky several years ago. Back then, though, the informant didn’t mention any salacious bribe claims. Only years later, well after Trump had publicly been trying to make Biden and Burisma a huge scandal, and that the Justice Department was investigating it, did the informant “recollect” these juicy Zlochevsky claims.
Another issue is that the informant says he barely knew Zlochevsky, so this level of purported candor may seem odd. “CHS explained it is very common for business men in post-Soviet countries to brag or show-off,” the document reads.
In any case, all we have here is a claim. No evidence has emerged to prove that claim true.”
“Hunter messaged back, “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled.” He continued in a threatening vein: “I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction.”
It reads like a shakedown, and indeed, the Chinese company would send over $5 million a few days later. Was Hunter actually speaking on behalf of his father, as he appeared to imply, or again simply throwing his name around without his knowledge? When these messages emerged, an attorney for Hunter said that “any verifiable words or actions of my client, in the midst of a horrible addiction, are solely his own and have no connection to anyone in his family.””
“All of this is extremely messy and shady on Hunter’s part. It’s clear Hunter Biden wanted people to think his father was deeply involved in his dealings.
But again, evidence of Joe Biden’s actual involvement is absent.”