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Republican Civil War Over McCarthy May Cost Them in 2024

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Republican's Civil War Over Kevin McCarthy May Cost Them in 2024

Republican Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become Speaker of the United States House of Representatives was derailed in a series of votes on Tuesday, as hardline conservatives rebelled against him, throwing the new Republican majority into disarray.

McCarthy twice fell short of the 218-vote majority required to succeed Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker in what could be a brutal showdown between hardliners and the overwhelming majority of House Republicans. The House failed to elect a speaker on the first ballot for the first time in a century.

McCarthy also appeared to be lacking in support as the vote entered a third round on Tuesday afternoon, with at least 20 Republicans voting for popular conservative Representative Jim Jordan to try to block McCarthy, despite the fact that Jordan did not run.

McCarthy gave no indication that he would drop out of the race after the second ballot, telling reporters, “We stay in it ’til we win… it will eventually change.”

A protracted speaker election could jeopardize House Republicans’ ability to move quickly on priorities such as investigations into President Joe Biden’s administration and family, as well as legislative priorities involving the economy, U.S. energy independence, and border security.

A standoff would effectively paralyze the House and force lawmakers to consider another candidate. Along with Jordan, incoming Majority Leader Steve Scalise was considered a possible candidate.

Republican McCarthy Stumped by Biggs and Gaetz

McCarthy had served as House minority leader and sought to become speaker, the second in line of succession to the presidency of the United States, only to face stiff opposition from his party’s right flank.

In Tuesday’s vote, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries defeated McCarthy by 212 to 203 votes. Representative Andy Biggs, a hardline conservative, ran against McCarthy on the first ballot and received 10 votes.

A majority of those voting, rather than a plurality, is required to select a speaker.

In the second vote, popular conservative Jordan attempted to rally support for California Republican McCarthy, only to be defeated by McCarthy opponent Matt Gaetz of Florida.

“We need to rally around him,” Jordan said passionately on the House floor. “I believe Kevin McCarthy is the right person to lead us.”

Jordan, 58, is a close friend of former President Donald Trump and a co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus.

Challenges Republicans face

Jordan, a former college wrestler who represents an Ohio congressional district, was nominated as McCarthy’s opponent on Tuesday but voted for him three times. Jordan is preparing to lead the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the Justice Department and FBI.

It was an unsettling start to McCarthy’s new majority, and it highlights the challenges Republicans may face over the next two years as they prepare for the 2024 presidential election. Their slim majority gives a small group of hardliners more clout, allowing them to focus on defeating Democrats and pushing various investigations.

Republicans won a narrow 222-212 majority in the midterm elections in November, which means McCarthy – or any candidate for speaker – will need to unite a fractious caucus in order to take the gavel. Democrats have a slim Senate majority.

McCarthy’s opponents are concerned that he is less deeply invested in the House’s culture wars and partisan rivalries, which have dominated since Trump’s presidency.

McCarthy tried to persuade the holdouts during a closed-door party meeting before the vote, vowing to stay in the race until he received the necessary votes, but many attendees emerged unscathed.

It was unclear whether McCarthy, who has a large majority of his caucus’ support, would be able to overcome the hard-line opposition and win the speakership. He ran for speaker once before, in 2015, but was defeated by conservative opposition.

McCarthy has worked in politics his entire adult life, first as a congressional staffer, then as a state legislator before being elected to the House in 2006. McCarthy, as speaker, would be well placed to thwart Biden’s legislative ambitions.

Any Republican speaker, however, will face the difficult task of managing a House Republican caucus that is moving ever further to the right, with uncompromising tendencies and – at least among some lawmakers – close allegiances to Trump.

Over a two-month period in the 1850s, the record number of voting rounds to elect a House speaker was 133.

After Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker, announced her intention to step down, the Democrats chose Jeffries to serve as minority leader. Pelosi will continue to serve as a representative.

Republican civil war could cost them in 2024

The growing enmity between pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces raises the prospect of something no Republican wants: a GOP civil war that could split the party in two, paving the way for Democrats to win big in 2024.

The fear is that two years of infighting will jeopardize the White House. Republicans are concerned that it will give Democrats control of the House and Senate for at least two more years.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) raised the possibility last week, saying his “greatest fear” is a repeat of the 1964 party split between Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller.

“I can see a Trump-anti-Trump war over the next two years that guarantees Biden’s re-election in a landslide and guarantees Democrats control everything,” Gingrich told The Hill.

Top Republicans are not yet ready to panic and declare that a repeat of 1964 is unlikely, as former President Trump and other potential candidates stake their claims.

“There are divisions in the Democratic Party. “You have tensions here, but no,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “It is the norm for political parties to be dysfunctional. It is not an exception on either side.”

Several candidates pushed across the primary finish line by the former president failed to win key Senate races, including Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Nevada. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) of Georgia defeated Trump-backed Republican candidate Herschel Walker.

Republicans are still picking up the pieces from the disastrous 2022 midterm elections, in which the party expected to retake the Senate after a two-year hiatus. Neither of these things occurred, leaving the GOP to plan for the future while determining how much influence Trump will have.

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UK Energy Giant BP’s Profits Double To $27.7 Billion

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LONDON, England — On Tuesday, BP announced that it had made the most money ever in a single year. This added to calls for the UK government to raise taxes on companies that are making money off of the high prices of oil and natural gas because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

BP, which has its headquarters in London, said that its underlying replacement cost profit, which does not include one-time items or changes in the value of inventories, went up from $12.8 billion in 2021 to $27.7 billion in 2022. BP earned $26.8 billion in 2008 when tensions in Iran and Nigeria drove global oil prices to a record of more than $147 per barrel.

BP also said it would buy back more shares from shareholders worth $2.75 billion and raise its quarterly dividend by 10%.

But public anger, especially in the country where the company is based, is likely to make the good news for BP shareholders less exciting. High oil and gas prices have hit Britain hard, with double-digit inflation fueling a wave of public-sector strikes, a surge in food bank use, and calls for politicians to expand a tax on energy companies‘ windfall profits to help pay for public services.

Ed Miliband, who is in charge of the environment for the opposition Labour Party, has asked the UK government to put a “proper” windfall tax on energy companies.

BP

BP Faces Critisism Over The Profit Margins

“Yet another day of huge profits at an energy giant, windfalls from war,” Miliband said.

Shell, based in London, received similar criticism last week after reporting that its annual earnings more than doubled to a record $39.9 billion.

Energy companies around the world are making a lot of money, which has led to calls for the fossil fuel industry to do more to help with high energy bills and reduce carbon emissions that hurt the environment. Last week, Exxon Mobil, which is based in the United States, said it made a record $55.7 billion.

Last year, Britain put a 25% windfall tax on earnings from oil and gas production in the country. In 2023, the tax will go up to 35%. Opposition leaders have chastised the government for allowing energy companies to reduce their tax liability by investing in the United Kingdom.

BP said it took a $1.8 billion charge last year to cover the new UK tax.

BP

The Company Had To Pay Lots Of Fees To Leave Russia

The company also had to pay $25.5 billion in fees because it decided to pull out of its investments in Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine.

After taking into account one-time costs and changes in the value of inventories, BP reported a net loss of $2.49 billion for 2022. This is a big change from the year before, when it made a net profit of $7.57 billion.

BP said on Tuesday that it would invest an extra $8 billion in its oil and gas businesses, as well as in clean energy, hydrogen, and charging stations for electric cars, through 2030.

The investments will increase oil and gas production to approximately 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2030. BP had planned to cut production by 40%, but the new goal is only 25% less than what was planned for 2019.

“We will prioritize projects where we can deliver quickly, at a low cost, and using our existing infrastructure, allowing us to minimize additional emissions while maximizing both value and our contribution to energy security and affordability,” said CEO Bernard Looney statement.

BP

Prices Of Oil Has Been Falling

Following the invasion of Ukraine, energy prices skyrocketed. Brent crude, a global oil price benchmark, averaged $101.32 per barrel last year, 43% higher than in 2021. The average wholesale price of natural gas in the United Kingdom increased by 76%.

Prices have been falling in recent months, with Brent crude averaging $88.87 per barrel in the fourth quarter.

“The question is, what will they do with record profits and operating cash flow? Governments are already questioning record profits from peer global energy companies,′′ according to Gianna Bern, author of “Investing in Energy: A Primer on the Economics of the Energy Industry.” “At a time when inflation and gas prices are both at record highs, energy companies around the world will have to rethink the cost and availability of energy for everyone.”

According to Alice Harrison, fossil fuels campaign leader at environmental advocacy nonprofit Global Witness, BP’s profits were made “on the back of three global crises” — the Ukraine war, the energy crisis, and climate breakdown.

“These massive profits will be a bitter pill to swallow for those in need,” Harrison said. “There’s no denying it: BP is richer because we’re poorer.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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Salman Rushdie Gives First Interview Since 2022 Stabbing

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NEW YORK – Salman Rushdie is blind in his right eye, struggles to write, and has “frightening” nightmares months after being stabbed repeatedly as he prepared to give a lecture.

However, he expressed gratitude during his first interview since the attack.

“Well, you know, I’ve been better,” he told David Remnick of The New Yorker in an interview published Monday. “However, given what happened, I’m not so bad.”

“The major injuries are essentially healed,” Rushdie continued. “I have sensation in my thumb, index finger, and the bottom half of my palm. I’m getting a lot of hand therapy and am told I’m doing great.”

Remnick, who spoke with Rushdie in person at his agent’s office in Manhattan and via Zoom, wrote that the Booker Prize-winning author had lost more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and now reads mostly on an iPad, where he can adjust the lighting and font size.

rushdie

Rushdie Went Into Hiding In Iran

“On the right side of his face, there is scar tissue,” Remnick wrote. “He speaks as fluently as ever, but one side of his lower lip droops. His left hand’s ulnar nerve was severely damaged.”

Rushdie, 75, went into hiding for years after Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death because of the novel “The Satanic Verses'” alleged blasphemy. But he’d been moving around freely for a long time, with little security, and had no qualms about appearing at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center in western New York, last August.

Rushdie was on stage when he was approached by a young man in black carrying a knife. Hadi Matar, who is accused of assaulting and trying to kill the victim, has said he is not guilty. Rushdie called Matar an “idiot” in his New Yorker interview but expressed no resentment.

“Over the years, I’ve worked very hard to avoid recrimination and bitterness,” he said. “I don’t think it’s a good look. One of the ways I’ve dealt with this situation is to look forward rather than back. What happens today is less important than what happens tomorrow.”

rushdie

The Man Complained The Stabbing Made Book Sales Go Up

The interview was published on the eve of the release of Rushdie’s new novel, “Victory City,” which he finished a month before his assassination. “Victory,” which features a protagonist who lives to be 247, is a typically surreal and exuberant narrative about an imagined ancient poem that has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with The Washington Post’s Ron Charles writing that “Rushdie’s magical style unfurls wonders.”

Rushdie had been silent on social media for months but now occasionally tweets and even responds to insults. When a Twitter user told him last week that he was living a “disgraceful life,” Rushdie responded, “Oh, another fan! “I’m overjoyed.”

During the interview, he complained that the stabbing had increased his book sales, as if people liked him more when he was in danger.

rushdie

Rushdie Suffered From 15 Stab Wounds

“Everyone loves me now that I’m almost dead,” he said. “That was my error back then. I not only lived, but I tried to live well. That was a terrible oversight. Better to get 15 stab wounds.”

On Monday, he tweeted a photo of himself staring directly into the camera lens, his face thinner than in photos taken before the stabbing, his right eye hidden behind a dark lens in his glasses frame.

Otherwise, he is still attempting to recover. Rushdie has written that he initially struggled to write fiction after the fatwa and is still struggling, saying that when he sits down to work, “nothing happens,” just a “combination of blankness and junk.”

One project he might consider is a sequel to his 2012 memoir “Joseph Anton,” which he wrote in the third person.

“This does not feel third-person to me,” Rushdie said of a potential sequel. “I believe a first-person story is when someone sticks a knife into you. “That is an “I” story.”

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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MYANMAR: UN Chief Backs Democracy For Myanmar 2 Years After Takeover

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THE UNITED NATIONS – Two years after Myanmar’s military seized power, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed support for the country’s democratic aspirations while warning that the military’s planned elections coincide with a crackdown on civilians and political leaders “risk exacerbating instability.”

According to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the secretary-general strongly condemns all forms of violence in Myanmar as the country’s crisis worsens “and fuels serious regional implications.”

On February 1, 2021, the army deposed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government, arresting her and top members of her ruling National League for Democracy party, which had won a landslide victory for a second term in a November 2020 general election.

Security forces used lethal force to suppress widespread opposition to the military takeover, killing nearly 2,900 civilians and arresting thousands more who participated in nonviolent protests. The brutal crackdown sparked armed resistance across much of the country. The military government has designated major anti-army organizations as “terrorist” organizations.

The military enacted a new law on political party registration, published on Friday, making it difficult for opposition groups to mount a serious challenge to army-backed candidates in a general election later this year. It sets minimum requirements for parties, such as a number of members 100 times higher than in the 2020 elections and strict rules about how much money they can spend.

myanmar

The Secretary-General Continues To Stand In Solidarity

“The military’s stated intention to hold elections amid intensifying aerial bombardment and burning of civilian houses, as well as ongoing arrests, intimidation, and harassment of political leaders, civil society actors, and journalists,” said the United Nations spokesman. “The proposed polls risk exacerbating instability unless conditions allow the people of Myanmar to freely exercise their political rights.”

The secretary-general “continues to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and to support their democratic aspirations for an inclusive, peaceful, and just society, as well as the protection of all communities, including the Rohingya,” according to Dujarric.

Long-standing discrimination against Rohingya Muslims in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, including denial of citizenship and a slew of other rights, erupted in August 2017 when Myanmar’s military launched a “clearance campaign” in northern Rakhine state in response to attacks on police and border guards by a Rohingya militant group. As troops allegedly committed mass rapes and killings and burned thousands of homes, over 700,000, Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, where they remain in camps.

The International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s highest court, ordered Myanmar to do everything possible to prevent genocide against the Rohingya in January 2020. A two-day-old report from an independent commission set up by Myanmar’s government found that there were reasons to think that security forces committed war crimes against the Rohingya but not genocide.

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Myanmar To Work Closely With South-Asian Countries

Guterres praised the United Nations Security Council’s first-ever resolution on Myanmar, which called for an immediate cessation of violence in the Southeast Asian country and urged its military rulers to release all “arbitrarily detained” prisoners, including Suu Kyi, and to restore democratic institutions.

The resolution asks all parties to “respect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.” It also encourages opposing parties to talk to each other and make peace.

The resolution is “an important step that emphasizes the urgency for strengthened international unity,” according to Dujarric.

According to the spokesman, Noeleen Heyzer, the United Nations special envoy for Myanmar, will work closely with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to implement the Security Council’s call to “engage intensively with all relevant parties in Myanmar to achieve an end to the violence and to support a return to democracy.” On January 1, Indonesia took over as ASEAN chair from Cambodia.

“The U.N. is committed to remaining in Myanmar and addressing the multiple vulnerabilities that have arisen due to the military’s actions since February 2021,” Dujarric said, urging unrestricted access to all affected communities.

“The secretary-general reiterates his call for neighboring countries and other member states to urge Myanmar’s military leadership to respect the will and needs of the people and adhere to democratic norms,” a United Nations spokesman said.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

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