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Editors Daily Rundown: Biden Tours The Middle East

(Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Vince Coglianese Contributor
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BIDEN HEADS TO SAUDI ARABIA ON HIS KNEES… REUTERS: Biden heads to Saudi Arabia amid tension on oil, Khashoggi killing

 

President Joe Biden will discuss energy supply, human rights, and security cooperation in Saudi Arabia on Friday on a trip designed to reset the U.S. relationship with a country he once pledged to make a “pariah” on the world stage.

The White House said Biden would hold a bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the royal palace in Jeddah and then the president and his team would have a working session with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, and Saudi ministers at the palace.

Energy and security interests prompted the president and his aides to decide not to isolate the kingdom, the world’s top oil exporter and regional powerhouse that has been strengthening ties with Russia and China.

A U.S. official told Reuters on Friday that Washington is not expecting Saudi Arabia to immediately boost oil production and that the United States was eyeing what the OPEC+ group decides in its next meeting on Aug. 3.

 

PRESS DOWNPLAYS EXPECTATIONS… 2 DAYS AGO… POLITICO: Don’t expect Biden’s Saudi trip to bring down oil prices

 

President Joe Biden insists his trip to Saudi Arabia on Friday is about everything from bolstering security in the region to reorienting policy with the kingdom. Everything except the one thing he really needs but can’t get: more oil.

A hard push by the president would probably fail to get Saudi leaders to pump new crude supplies into the world oil market, where soaring prices this year have lifted gasoline prices above $5 a gallon. It’s unclear that Saudi Arabia could even ramp its production quickly enough to have much impact, despite holding some of the world’s largest oil reserves. […]

If Biden focused on pressing the kingdom to hike its oil production or loosen OPEC policy, Saudi Arabia would likely be unwilling or unable to deliver, according to several analysts and diplomats. Instead, the best that could come out of the talks would be relatively modest agreements from Saudi Arabia to invest in its oil production capacity or expand capacity at the giant Motiva Enterprises refinery that its state-owned oil company runs in Texas.

So what should the U.S. expect on oil from the trip?

“Not much,” said David Goldwyn, head of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center’s Energy Advisory Board and a former State Department energy adviser in the Obama administration.

 

THIS DIDN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN… WSJ ED BOARD: Biden, Iran, and the Crown Prince

President Biden visits Saudi Arabia this weekend to meet with Gulf Arab leaders, including the Saudi crown prince he once vowed to isolate. America’s left is giving the President grief for meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, the erstwhile “pariah,” but realpolitik has its demands. The U.S. needs a better relationship with the Saudis for regional security as much as for oil. […]

Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries that has excess production capacity, though not enough to cause a big decline in the oil price that is now about $96 a barrel. The world’s spare oil suppliers these days are the Saudis, Iran and Venezuela, and the Saudis are St. Francis of Assisi in that crowd.

The other country that could produce more? The United States. Mr. Biden wouldn’t need to beg MBS if he shed his climate obsessions and unleashed American oil production. As it did with the Saudis, Team Biden came to office in 2021 wanting to turn the U.S. oil and gas industry into a pariah. […]

If Mr. Biden can meet face to face with MBS, why not do the same with U.S. oil and gas executives and promise them new leases on and offshore, faster permits, and an end to the regulatory war on pipelines and the supply of capital?

REMEMBER THE UKRAINIAN-AMERICAN CONGRESSWOMAN? NOW CONGRESS IS TRYING TO QUIET HER DOWN… POLITICO: Republicans wince as their Ukrainian-born colleague thrashes Zelenskyy

 

House Republicans gave Ukraine-born Rep. Victoria Spartz a coveted platform to speak out against Russia’s war. They’re coming to regret that.

Spartz (R-Ind.), who has traveled to Ukraine a half-dozen times since the war began and spoken passionately about the conflict, shocked lawmakers in both parties recently with her intense criticisms of the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and his confidants. She drew a rare rebuke last weekend from the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, which accused her of “trying to earn extra political capital on baseless speculation.”

Inside the House GOP Conference, there’s a widespread fear that her posture is damaging U.S.-Ukraine relations at the worst possible time — and that she’s being played by forces that aim to weaken the Western alliance. GOP national-security hawks also worry that the MAGA wing of their party, where there’s already resistance to supporting Ukraine, will point to Spartz’s comments as justification. […]

The Biden administration is even getting involved — another sign of growing worries that Spartz’s comments may damage cohesion among the Western coalition in defense of Kyiv. A Foreign Affairs Committee aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the U.S. intelligence community is planning to brief Spartz about her claims in a classified setting Friday morning.

While Zelenskyy’s political opponents have openly cheered Spartz, domestic political squabbles are largely getting sidelined while the country fights for its survival. Western nations’ longstanding concerns about corruption in Ukraine, an element of former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, have also been shelved in the interest of fostering both domestic and international unity against Russia’s invasion.

 

CHINA IS SENDING RUSSIA MILITARY SUPPLIES… Chinese Firms Are Selling Russia Goods Its Military Needs to Keep Fighting in Ukraine

BEIJING—Chinese exports to Russia of microchips and other electronic components and raw materials, some with military applications, have increased since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, complicating efforts by the U.S. and Western allies to isolate the country’s economy and cripple its military.

Chip shipments from China to Russia more than doubled to about $50 million in the first five months of 2022, compared with a year earlier, Chinese customs data show, while exports of other components such as printed circuits had double-digit percentage growth. Export volumes of aluminum oxide, which is used to make the metal aluminum, an important material in weapons production and aerospace, are 400 times higher than last year.

The rise in reported export values may partly be explained by inflation. But the data shows that many Chinese tech sellers have continued to do business with Russia despite U.S. scrutiny.

 

‘AMERICA HAS BECOME UNSAFE’ … STARBUCKS CEO EXPLAINS WHY COMPANY HAS TO SHUTTER STORES… ARI HOFFMAN: EXCLUSIVE: Today at an internal meeting CEO Howard Schultz said: “Starbucks is a window into America… we are facing things in which the stores were not built for… we’re listening to our people and closing stores, & this is just the beginning. There are gonna be many more. (VIDEO)

 

Schultz blamed elected leaders of the Democrat cities where the stores are closing “at the local state and federal level, these governments… and leaders, mayors & governors & city councils have advocated their responsibility in fighting crime & addressing mental illness. (VIDEO)

 

CNBC: These are the 16 U.S. stores that Starbucks is set to close because of safety concerns

 

Starbucks will close 16 U.S. stores, mostly on the West Coast, by the end of July because of safety concerns, according to the company. Most of the stores set to close are in the Los Angeles and Seattle metro areas.

“We’ve had to make the difficult decision to close some locations that have a particularly high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe for us to operate,” a Starbucks spokesperson told CNBC.

The map below shows the six stores in California and the six in Washington State that will close. The coffee chain will also close two stores in Portland, Oregon, one store in Philadelphia and another in Washington, D.C., also for safety.

 

SOFT ON CRIME PROSECUTORS ARE GETTING THEIR ASSES KICKED BY VOTERS… KIM STRASSEL: The 2022 Referendum on Crime

Jose Alba made national news when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg outrageously slapped murder charges on the 61-year-old bodega worker who stabbed a career criminal in an act of self-defense. Progressive prosecutors everywhere should be worried. […]

Take North Carolina, whose liberal cities witnessed mass protests in 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. The state held Democratic primaries in May. In Mecklenburg County (encompassing Charlotte), District Attorney Spencer Merriweather trounced with 70% of the vote an activist challenger who promised to “stop the mass incarceration policies” of the incumbent. In Buncombe County (Asheville), incumbent Todd Williams beat back a liberal public defender who opposed cash bail. District Attorney Lorrin Freeman of Wake County (Raleigh), targeted by an array of civil-rights groups, prevailed over a defense lawyer who ran on a pledge never to prosecute abortion, even if the state restricts it. Ms. Freeman now faces a general election against Republican Jeff Dobson.

In Washington County, Ore., District Attorney Kevin Barton in May beat public defender Brian Decker, who rejected “mass incarceration and assembly-line prosecution.” The race was among the most expensive district-attorney races in Oregon history, at $1 million. Mr. Barton prevailed in part by pointing voters to nearby lawless Portland as a reminder of what happens when prosecutors don’t do their jobs. Marion County, Ore., also saw its first contested race for district attorney in 38 years, in which a progressive challenger to incumbent Paige Clarkson vowed to end “tough on crime” policies. Ms. Clarkson explained her office was serious about lower-level crimes like property damage and burglary, since “little things become big things.” She won.

 

WARREN DIVES INTO VEHICLE TO ESCAPE QUESTION ABOUT LEFTISTS OFFERING LOCATION BOUNTIES ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICES… Reporter Presses Elizabeth Warren On Left-Wing Group Offering Bounties For SCOTUS Justices’ Locations (VIDEO)

 

Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren refused to say if a pro-organization offering a bounty to track down Supreme Court justices is “too far” Thursday.

Shut DC Down, a left-leaning activist organization, vowed to Venmo anyone $50 for a “confirmed sighting” of one of the six conservative Supreme Court justices who rule to overturn Roe v. Wade and $200 if they were still at the sighting location 30 minutes later in a July 8 tweet.

Fox Business reporter Hillary Vaughn asked the Massachusetts senator if offering money to track down the justices’ location goes “too far” in front of Capitol Hill.

“Senator, an activist group is offering to pay people if they send in the locations of justices. Do you think that this has gone too far at this point?” During the questioning, Warren entered the passenger seat of a vehicle and quickly shut the door behind her.

 

LEFTIST HARASSMENT SQUADS ON THE ROCKS? … OR CHANGING TACTICS … JOHN SEXTON: Ruth Sent Us seems to be falling apart (VIDEO)

 

Ruth Sent Us, the group which posted home address for the six conservative Supreme Court Justices and invited people to protest at their homes on a weekly basis has been permanently banned by Twitter. […]

Maybe Twitter just decided to stop playing dumb and recognize that the group was soliciting people to stalk and confront six members of the Supreme Court everywhere they go. Twitter isn’t required to be part of that.

But it’s not just their Twitter account that is gone. The group’s website is also MIA at least at the moment. If you follow the link, it redirects you to a website for one of their allies, WallofMany.org. That group, which may be the same people under another name, focuses on disrupting church services. The Ruth Sent Us Tik Tok account is also promoting this group.

Finally, it seems the police are finally starting to crack down on the protests themselves. Below is a video of a police officer in Maryland explaining that under state law loud disruptions of a quiet neighborhood can lead to an arrest.

 

UPDATE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT RAPIST IN OHIO… JORGE BONILLA: WATCH: The mother of the Ohio 10/y rape victim tells Telemundo’s @MariaVargasPion that the child “is fine”, and “everything they say about (Gerson Flores) is a lie.” (VIDEO)

This portion of a broader interview sheds significant light on the familial dynamics of this case, and further vindicates all skepticism over how the story broke and was handled. We don’t even get to this point without the critical work of @MeganFoxWriter and so many others.

This appears to confirm my thesis of a domestic situation wherein the confessed rapist is also the paramour of the victim’s mother (other familial relation is possible but less likely). Unfortunately, I saw many such cases while working as a court interpreter.

The mother’s distressed defense of the rapist suggests that a: She is also here illegally and fears deportation b: The defendant is the family’s sole source of income c: There is a likelihood of other children in the home

d: Mom is exposed to removal of the children under dependency proceedings (failure to protect). Has there been such a filing yet and if not why not?

Other questions: what was the time gap between the initial reporting of the rape and the filing of criminal charges? Why did the referring abortion provider not report the rape to authorities? Was the child forced to live with her rapist in furtherance of an abortion narrative?

Was the child compelled to stay quiet until after news of the abortion was leaked to the media? If so, how so?

Was criminal reporting of the rape of a Latina girl suppressed or delayed in furtherance of a political agenda?

These questions need to be answered ASAP.

 

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS THANK BIDEN SECONDS AFTER CROSSING BORDER… BILL MELUGIN: NEW: I spoke with this group of men from Venezuela & Cuba moments after they crossed into Eagle Pass, TX. Re: Biden: “A president that is helping us a lot. Very strong.” Says thank you for receiving us. Several say they’ve been traveling for months in bad conditions. @FoxNews (VIDEO… *IN SPANISH)

 

LEFTIST WHO MAINSTREAMED ‘REPLACEMENT THEORY’ SAYS THE LEFT IS TOO OBSESSED WITH RACE… POLITICO: ‘A real chilling effect’: A Lefty Scholar is Dumping CAP — For AEI

 

Ruy Teixeira is one of Washington’s most prominent left-leaning think-tank scholars, a fixture at the Center for American Progress since the liberal organization’s founding in 2003. But as of August 1, he’ll have a new professional home: The American Enterprise Institute, the longtime conservative redoubt that over the years has employed the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dinesh D’Souza, and Robert Bork.

Teixeira, whose role in the Beltway scrum often involved arguing against calls to move right on economic issues, insists his own policy views haven’t changed — but says the current cultural milieu of progressive organizations “sends me running screaming from the left.”

“My perspective is, the single most important thing to focus on in the social system is the economic system,” he tells me. “It’s class.” We’re sitting in AEI’s elegantly furnished library. Down the hall, there’s a boisterous event celebrating the conservative intellectual Harvey Mansfield. William Kristol, clad in a suit, has just left the room. Teixeira’s untucked shirt and sneakers aren’t the only thing that seems out of place. “I’m just a social democrat, man. Trying to make the world a better place.” […]

Like a lot of older and whiter veterans of liberal think-tanks and foundations, he also says he’s exhausted by the internal agita. “It’s just cloud cuckoo land,” he says. “The fact that nobody is willing to call bullshit, it just freaks me out.”

 

TEIXEIRA CO-AUTHORED ‘THE EMERGING DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY’ (2004)… FANTASIZED THAT ELITES, COLLEGE WOMEN, & — SPECIFICALLY — MINORITY VOTERS WOULD REPLACE ‘WHITE WORKING-CLASS VOTERS’ TO GIVE DEMS POWER…

While the ranks of white working-class voters will not grow over the next decade, the numbers of professionals, working, single, and highly educated women, and minorities will swell. They are products of a new postindustrial capitalism, rooted in diversity and social equality, and emphasizing the production of ideas and services rather than goods. And while some of these voters are drawn to the Democratic Party by its New Deal past, many others resonate strongly to the new causes that the Democrats adopted during the sixties. These new causes help ensure that these groups of voters will continue to support Democrats rather than Republicans, paving the way for a new majority.

 

ANN COULTER WROTE ABOUT THIS IN MAY… COULTER: Here Are the Nutcases Who Believe in ‘Replacement’

 

Then in 2002, Democrats Ruy Teixeira and John Judis wrote “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” arguing that demographic changes, mostly by immigration, were putting Democrats on a glide path to an insuperable majority. After Obama’s reelection in 2012, Teixeira crowed in The Atlantic (which was then a magazine that people read, as opposed to a billionaire widow’s charity) that “ten years farther down this road,” Obama lost the white vote outright, but won the election with the minority vote — African-Americans (93-6), Hispanics (71-27) and Asian-Americans (73-26).

 

NEWS OUTLET SAYS REPUBLICANS WILL ‘STEAL’ HISPANICS FROM DEMS… ED MORRISSEY: The Hill warns Dems: GOP about to “steal” Hispanic voters, you know

Old and busted: Republicans pounce®! New hotness: Republicans steal! The Hill changed its headline — without noting the change first — but its original take on GOP success in outreach to Hispanic voters lives on in its URL, and in its tweet.

I’ve screencapped it rather than trust that the tweet will remain up in its original version:

[HILL HEADLINE: GOP sees chance to steal Hispanic voters from Democrats]

I’ve heard of progressives putting ethnic demographics on an electoral plantation, but I’ve never seen that embraced quite so enthusiastically before.

 

IS TRUMP PLANNING ON SURFING THE RED WAVE? … WAPO: Donald Trump looks to fall launch for 2024, potentially upending midterms

For nearly a year, a kitchen cabinet of Donald Trump confidants have told the former president not to announce his 2024 comeback candidacy before the midterms, arguing that he could be a drag on 2022 candidates and would be blamed if Republicans underperformed.

But Trump has continued to regularly push for an early announcement in private meetings, as potential 2024 rivals become more aggressive amid signs of weakening support among his base. Now an increasing number of allies are urging him to follow his instincts as a way to shore up his standing in the party and drive turnout to help the GOP take over the House and Senate next year.

The former president is now eyeing a September announcement, according to two Trump advisers, who like some others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. One confidant put the odds at “70-30 he announces before the midterms.” And others said he may still decide to announce sooner than September.

 

WHY WON’T PELOSI’S JAN 6 COMMITTEE RELEASE THE DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPTS? … WSJ ED BOARD: Release the Pat Cipollone Transcript

 

For eight hours last Friday, the committee interviewed Pat Cipollone, Mr. Trump’s top White House lawyer during his final weeks as President. What did Mr. Cipollone say, in full? Inquiring minds want to know. […]

Near the end of the hearing, Rep. Liz Cheney offered a tease about “the many things you will hear next week from Mr. Cipollone.” Yes, the Jan. 6 inquiry is doing cliffhangers, like an episode of “Better Call Saul.” […]

The point of the Jan. 6 inquiry should be to get to the truth. The American people deserve to know. The committee is free to spend however long it wants making its best argument about how the dots connect. But partial disclosure of witness and other testimony is a disservice to the country. Give us the facts, and that means access to transcripts of all of the testimony, including Mr. Cipollone’s.

 

JAN 6 COMMITTEE LAUNCHES ATTACKS ON BIDEN’S DHS… RELEASES DHS OIG LETTER TO PRESS… KYLE CHENEY, POLITICO: NEW: The DHS inspector general says “many” Secret Service text messages dating to Jan. 5-6, 2021 were erased — even after the IG asked to see them.

 

SECRET SERVICE SPOKESMAN ANTHONY GUGLIELMI: We take strong issue with these categorically false claims and I will be responding in detail shortly.

 

JUST IMAGINE IF *THIS* BECOMES THE SCANDAL THAT TAKES MAYORKAS DOWN… CNN: Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021 — after oversight officials asked for them, watchdog says … READ THE DHS OIG LETTER (PDF)

 

The US Secret Service erased text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, shortly after they were requested by oversight officials investigating the agency’s response to the US Capitol riot, according to a letter given to the House select committee investigating the insurrection and obtained by CNN.

The letter, which was originally sent to the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General, says the messages were erased from the system as part of a device-replacement program after the watchdog asked the agency for records related to its electronic communications.

“First, the Department notified us that many US Secret Service text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, were erased as part of a device-replacement program. The USSS erased those text messages after OIG requested records of electronic communications from the USSS, as part of our evaluation of events at the Capitol on January 6,” the letter from DHS IG Joseph Cuffari stated.

“Second, DHS personnel have repeatedly told OIG inspectors that they were not permitted to provide records directly to OIG and that such records had to first undergo review by DHS attorneys,” Cuffari added. “This review led to weeks-long delays in OIG obtaining records and created confusion over whether all records had been produced.” […]

The US Secret Service pushed back on the allegations in a statement, saying that “the insinuation that the Secret Service maliciously deleted text messages following a request is false. In fact, the Secret Service has been fully cooperating with the OIG in every respect — whether it be interviews, documents, emails, or texts.”

The statement continued later: “DHS OIG requested electronic communications for the first time on Feb. 26, 2021, after the migration was well under way. The Secret Service notified DHS OIG of the loss of certain phones’ data, but confirmed to OIG that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration.”

 

Calling All Patriots: Who Is Less Likable, Hillary Clinton Or Kamala Harris?

 

Amid a barrage of gaffes, several recent polls have found Kamala Harris’ approval rating below 40%. At the same time, Hillary Clinton has a new Apple TV+ show as rumors of her return to politics swirl. Which politician is less likable, Kamala Harris or Hillary Clinton? Let us know in the form.