The Ukraine Air-War in 2024 – Interviewing Professor Justin Bronk

“The Ukrainians are losing thousands of people because they don’t have enough ammunition…political game in Washington, it’s an election year…thousands of people are dying because of this.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R31hMWs25UI

Congress takes aim at nation’s nuclear regulator

“Lawmakers who support a new generation of advanced nuclear power are setting their sights on what they see as the technology’s top obstacle: the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Biden administration has touted small, factory-built reactors as a possible lifeline for an aging nuclear industry and a crucial step toward cutting the nation’s planet-warming emissions. But only one reactor design has gotten the greenlight from the NRC, and administration-backed advanced nuclear energy projects are struggling to get off the ground.

Key leaders in the House and Senate are now considering fundamental changes to the NRC, an independent federal agency tasked with protecting public safety and health.

The House Energy and Commerce and Senate Environment and Public Works committees are negotiating a compromise legislative package that would streamline regulations at the NRC and potentially adjust the agency’s mission statement, as I write today.

The talks come after four Senate Democrats recently kneecapped a renomination bid for one of the NRC’s longtime regulators, Jeff Baran, who was first appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was among the Democrats who called Baran an overzealous regulator overtly hostile to nuclear energy. Today, Manchin said he won’t support any nominee who’s too focused on safety.

“We’re just looking for people who understand that we have to have nuclear energy in the mix,” Manchin said.

Lawmakers believe fundamentally changing the NRC, in leadership and policy, will give so-called small modular reactors a fighting chance to succeed.”

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/power-switch/2024/01/24/congress-takes-aim-at-nations-nuclear-regulator-00137531

Sen. Lankford says a ‘popular commentator’ threatened to ‘do whatever I can to destroy you’ if he negotiated a border deal during a presidential election year

“Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma spoke on Wednesday about the political challenges he’s encountered while serving as the top GOP negotiator on a bipartisan border security deal.
In a speech shortly before the expected failure of the deal, Lankford bemoaned the fact that some fellow Republicans were objecting to the bill for purely political reasons.

“Some of them have been very clear with me,” Lankford said of his GOP colleagues, “they have political differences with the bill. They say it’s the wrong time to solve the problem. We’ll let the presidential election solve this problem.”

Lankford went on to say that a “popular commentator” — without naming any names — threatened to “destroy” him if he negotiated the deal during a presidential election year, regardless of what was in it.

“I will do whatever I can to destroy you, because I do not want you to solve this during the presidential election,” Lankford recounted the commentator saying.

“By the way, they have been faithful to their promise, and have done everything they can to destroy me,” he added.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/sen-lankford-says-popular-commentator-200553824.html

How Congress is planning to lift 400,000 kids out of poverty

“Putting all the provisions together, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that the deal will lift about 400,000 children out of poverty, and make another 3 million less poor, in its first year. By 2025, it will be keeping 500,000 children a year out of poverty. The Tax Policy Center finds that the bulk of the tax cut will go to families earning $20,000 to $40,000 a year, with most families in the bottom fifth of the income scale getting a tax cut. Because of the business tax cuts, the total package winds up concentrating its benefits at the bottom and at the very top of the income scale.

While nothing to sneeze at, this is a far cry from the roughly 3 million children that would been lifted out of poverty in 2022 if the 2021 expansion of the credit had been extended. It is a dramatically more modest step. It also takes as a given that the credit will not be available to families with zero earnings, a key disagreement between Democratic and Republican legislators on which the latter have shown no flexibility.”

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2024/1/16/24035922/child-tax-credit-wyden-smith-deal

The US House passes the bipartisan tax deal to expand the child tax credit. Up next: the Senate.

“Republicans are hoping to renew three business world deductions from the 2017 Trump tax cuts that have begun to phase out in recent years. Those provisions would allow companies to deduct more for things like research and development, equipment investments, and interest costs.
For the Democrats, the child tax credit would receive a new expansion that would allow poorer families greater access to the credit. One report from the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that 16 million children in lower-income households would benefit from the enhancement with a half a million of them lifted above the poverty line.

The deal includes a range of other provisions around issues like double taxation for companies that operate in Taiwan, additional assistance for disaster-struck communities; the costs of the bill would be paid for by implementing changes to a pandemic-era employee retention tax credit.

This bill — if enacted — would serve as a stopgap of sorts ahead of a tax debate in 2025, which will center around an array of provisions in the 2017 Trump tax cuts that are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2025.”

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-us-house-passes-the-bipartisan-tax-deal-to-expand-the-child-tax-credit-up-next-the-senate-013737690.html

What History Says About Biden’s Power to Strike Back Against the Houthis

“During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the framers debated how to allocate military and war powers among the branches of government. Some, like Pierce Butler of South Carolina, thought that power should lie with the president, while most others, including Elbridge Gerry, “never expected to hear in a Republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.” (Emphasis added.) Reflecting this consensus, James Madison successfully moved to change a draft sentence that empowered Congress to “make” war to language empowering it to “declare” war — the implication being that “the Executive should be able to repel and not commence, war,” in the words of Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman.”

“Convinced that paying off the pirates was both costly and without an end in sight, Jefferson resolved to take military action. For weeks, his cabinet debated whether the president had sole authority as commander-in-chief to send naval forces to the Mediterranean in a defensive posture. Only one, Attorney General Levi Lincoln, argued that he needed congressional approval even for this limited measure. But the cabinet’s general consensus held that Jefferson enjoyed some prerogative.

Jefferson agreed. Without congressional approval, he sent an American fleet to the Mediterranean, with detailed instructions of what to do — and what not to do. Commodore Richard Dale, the officer in charge, was ordered to “sink, burn, capture, or destroy vessels attacking those of the United States.” But his men were not to initiate combat or step foot on Barbary land. Only after the Republican Congress authorized “warlike operations against the regency of Tripoli, or any other of the Barbary powers,” did Dale’s forces proactively attack the pirate states on their own land. Ultimately, American military success, particularly at the Battle of Derna in 1805, convinced the Barbary authorities that it was time to call a truce. The Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed the same year, effectively drew a close on Jefferson’s Barbary wars.”

“Contrary to the assertions of progressives like Jayapal and conservatives like Greene, presidents since the founding have affirmed their authority and responsibility to deploy military forces defensively without congressional approval.
To date, Biden has unilaterally ordered targeted strikes against Houthi military targets to diminish the terrorists’ ability to persist in their piracy. He hasn’t ordered a ground invasion of Yemen, a wider offensive against civil and governmental assets or an initiative to depose the Houthi government. He has followed closely in Jefferson’s footsteps, even if 250 years of evolution in technology and warfare make a direct comparison complicated.”

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2024/01/24/biden-power-houthis-history-00137185

Romney: ‘Appalling’ Trump wants to kill border bill so he can ‘blame Biden’

“Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday took aim at former President Trump for pushing Republican lawmakers to oppose a border deal so that he could use the issue to campaign against President Biden in the 2024 presidential election.
Romney told CNN’s Manu Raju he thought it was “really appalling” that Trump would try to prevent progress on addressing the surge in migration at the southern border.

“I think the border is a very important issue for Donald Trump,” Romney said. “And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is really appalling.”

“But the reality is that we have a crisis at the border, the American people are suffering as a result of what’s happening at the border, and someone running for president ought to try to get the problem solved as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, save that problem. Don’t solve it. Let me take credit for solving it later,’” Romney continued.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/romney-appalling-trump-wants-kill-171110219.html

‘Trainwreck’: Conservative GOP senators break on border, Ukraine deal as Donald Trump pressures Republicans

““If someone is running for president and is trying to actively undermine governance, that’s bad,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., told USA TODAY. “Is it really better to have 10,000 people crossing a day illegally or 5,000? Clearly it’s 5,000. So somebody who is trying to defeat legislation, all in the name of running for office? That is irresponsible.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., acknowledged the new political challenges of linking Ukraine aid to border policy in the closed-door meeting Wednesday, according to reporting by Punchbowl. “We don’t want to do anything to undermine” Trump, McConnell reportedly said. “We’re in a quandary.””

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trainwreck-conservative-gop-senators-break-004108227.html

US Congress passes bill to avert government shutdown, sends it to Biden

“The Democratic-majority Senate and Republican-controlled House are far behind in carrying out their basic duty of funding the government for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, with lawmakers scrambling to keep the lights on to give them more time to pass a full-year bill.
Schumer and his House Republican counterpart, Mike Johnson, early this month agreed to a $1.59 trillion discretionary spending level for the year that ends on Sept. 30. But in a sign of how bitterly the Congress is divided, the two parties now disagree on that number, with Democrats saying the actual amount agreed to is $1.66 trillion.

The intense jockeying between House Republicans seeking deep spending cuts and Democrats comes amid a $34.4 trillion national debt that is rapidly escalating and has prompted worries in part because of the heavy interest payments now being borne by the Treasury Department.

This third stopgap funding bill, known as a “continuing resolution” or “CR,” would simply extend last fiscal year’s spending levels until two deadlines of March 1 and March 8 for completing action of spending for various government agencies.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-congress-scrambles-pass-stopgap-110511493.html

Why Republicans are pursuing an unfounded impeachment inquiry into Biden

“So far, Republicans have found that Biden’s son, Hunter, made millions of dollars while his father was vice president. Devon Archer, a business associate of Hunter Biden’s, has previously testified to the House Oversight Committee that businesses were interested in working with Hunter in part due to his proximity to the Biden “brand.”

One key piece of evidence Republicans have cited from Archer’s testimony is that Biden participated in roughly 20 phone calls with Hunter’s business contacts. However, Archer stressed those encounters consisted of small talk like the weather and not issues of substance. Archer also testified that he hadn’t seen President Biden attempt to use his office to help Hunter advance his career.

Some “evidence,” such as claims Biden engaged in quid pro quo schemes, have been disproved. Others, like testimony from whistleblowers who claim the government gave Hunter Biden lenient treatment in its investigations into potential misconduct, have been largely discredited. As the New York Times explained, “there is no evidence that Mr. Biden ordered that his son get special treatment in any investigation.”

Overall, House Republicans’ investigations have not found any actual, concrete proof of wrongdoing by President Biden. As a result, their decision to keep on backing an inquiry is surprising, since it’s historically not been done until there’s significant evidence of misconduct. Republicans have argued that the inquiry will help them gather this information: It provides a legal framework that could enable these committees to gain more subpoena powers for documents, though the legal precedent for this is unclear, and though the inquiry is now formalized, any subpoenas are likely to be met with lawsuits.

Republicans who are backing the House vote on the inquiry argue it will give lawmakers even more legal grounds to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House. “That doesn’t mean we have high crimes or misdemeanors. We may not ever. But let’s get the facts, and we’ll go from there,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), a swing-district Republican, told the Hill.”

“Multiple Republicans — including Senate leaders like Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) — have expressed concerns that the GOP is moving forward on an inquiry without providing clear evidence of the offenses it will center on. “I think before you begin an impeachment inquiry, you ought to have some evidence, some inclination that there’s been wrongdoing. And so far, there’s nothing of that nature that’s been provided,” said Romney in an NBC News interview. In that same interview, he noted that he would vote against an inquiry if he were a member of the House.”

https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/9/13/23871948/biden-impeachment-inquiry-kevin-mccarthy