Ukraine May Get Some Aid

As expected, the House passed $61 billion in aid for Ukraine this afternoon, as well as $26 billion in aid for Israel and Gaza. Earlier they passed $8.1 billion in aid for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and a bill that requires the current Chinese owner of TikTok to sell or face a potential ban.

Moscow Marjorie is pissed. I understand she threw a fit when many of the Dems started waving little Ukrainian flags when the bill passed.

Now these have to go back to the Senate. I don’t know how much the  House bills differ from what the Senate passed earlier. I hope the Ukraine bill can get done quickly.

The Mowcow caucus did its best to stop the Ukraine bill. MTG proposed an amendment that would have reduced the funding to zero. Some one else tried to get the bill sent back to committee. The final vote was 311 to 112. I believe all the Democrats voted yes. The vote among Republicans was 101 yes, 112 no, and one “present.”

The next question is, why did Mike Johnson decide to support aid to Ukraine? There is reporting from Politico that suggests he was swayed by new intelligence that Ukraine is on the ropes now. He seems to get that Putin wouldn’t stop and Ukraine and could eventually invade a NATO country eventually. And there’s World War III.

Will Mike Johnson be removed as Speaker? The Moscow Causcus will try. But there’s some interesting reporting from Sarah Posner at MSNBC. See Marjorie Taylor Greene’s attempts to out-Jesus Mike Johnson aren’t going to work.

Greene and her fellow ideologues may want to tread carefully. There is a growing backlash on the Christian right against the move to oust Johnson. While Greene’s MAGA influencer antics garner significant media attention, people with longtime clout in the evangelical political trenches, including Johnson himself, have been waging a quiet but scathing war against her in Christian media. The GOP’s evangelical base — vital to Republican hopes in the fall — is hearing that Greene is groundlessly attacking a godly man and imperiling the party’s election chances, thus bringing (in Johnson’s words) the Democrats’ “crazy woke agenda” closer to fruition.

Johnson himself struck first, appearing on the Christian Broadcasting Network with David Brody, a popular evangelical reporter known for nabbing newsy interviews with Washington insiders. The speaker pushed back at Greene’s attacks on his faith, including a tirade on X, railing against Johnson’s supposedly un-Christian capitulation to big government spending: “@SpeakerJohnson you can’t follow Christ and fund full term abortion clinics,” Greene wrote. Never mind that there is no federal funding for abortion, nor is there such a thing as a “full-term abortion.” Greene’s aim was to one-up Johnson as the most ardent Christian patriot in the room.

The problem for MTG, says Posner, is that Mike Johnson has been a big deal in right-wing evangelicalism for a very long time. MTG is someone on the periphery of that world, not really a long-time participant in it, and certainly not a leader of it. There is widespread concern that if there is another messy change of Speaker, it could cost Republicans seats in the House in November. Also it may be that most evengelicals aren’t as fond of Vladimir Putin as MTG is.

There’s also reporting from Time magazine that Russians have been targeting evangelicals in Ukraine with torture and imprisonment. Putin has been oppressive to all religious groups that aren’t that aren’t the Russian Orthodox Church. But he seems to especially hate evangelicals because that’s an “American” relligion.

After they beat Azat Azatyan so bad blood came out of his ears; after they sent electric shocks up his genitals; after they wacked him with pipes and truncheons, the Russians began to interrogate him about his faith. “When did you become a Baptist? When did you become an American spy?” Azat tried to explain that in Ukraine there was freedom of religion, you could just choose your faith. But his torturers saw the world the same way as their predecessors at the KGB did: an American church is just a front for the American state. …

… Evangelicals are targeted by the Russians disproportionally, and Azat’s story is typical for Russia’s systemic persecution of Protestants in occupied Ukraine. Protestants were the victims of 34 percent of the reported persecution events, and 48 percent in the Zaporizhzhia region where Azat was held. Baptists made up 13 percent of victims – the largest single group after Ukrainian Orthodox. Under Russian control 400 Baptist congregations have been lost, 17% of the total in Ukraine.   

This is the first I’ve heard of this. I wonder if Mike Johnson heard some of this, also. Awhile back there was some reporting in Christian publications that it was Volodymyr Zelensky oppressing Christians in Ukraine. This Christianity Today article from 2003 making this claim mentioned Tucker Carlson several times, which makes me suspect he was the source. It’s also the case that before he died Pat Robertson declared that Putin was compelled by God to invade Ukraine because it was part of a larger plan to invade Israel and bring about the end times. I believe I mentioned this at the time, noting that perhaps God needs better maps.

As of this afternoon, the plan as I understand it is that the House crazy fringe is not going to call for Johnson’s removal right away, but instead will build up support for removal in the House which is somehow going to force him to resign. But as I’ve also said before I would not be utterly shocked if some Democrats would vote to keep him in place, if such a vote came to the floor. Because the Republicans could always do a lot worse.

In other news: There’s been a lot of yakking about whether the Manhattan Trump trial is going to help him or hurt him politically. A lot may depend on whether he is convicted, of course. Dahlia Lithwick addressed this last week. I liked this part:

And so, those who are dismissing the electoral consequences of this criminal trial by declaring that events in Manhattan over the next few weeks will merely animate Trump’s base—a base that will see this trial as yet more proof of the Deep State’s (™) persecution of their Lord—are also demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of electoral math. You cannot mobilize the voters who are already absolutely voting for Trump to any greater heights. No matter how rabid their fury, and how bottomless their sense of shared grievance, they still get only one vote each—at least until they figure out how to commit the voter fraud they love to decry on a broader scale. The rank and file in the tank for MAGA cannot become more impactful.

A lot about this trial could have an impact on people who aren’t tuned into politics and may just be starting to pay attention to the election. And I don’t see anythnng about this trial that makes Trump look good.

And let us not forget that Monday is the day Trump’s $175 million bond may be bounced. Or at least there will be a hearing. Yesterday Letitia James asked the court to bounce it.

In a filing on Friday, James said Knight Specialty Insurance Company, which underwrote Trump’s bond, has not been able to show that it has enough collateral to back it. She described KSIC as “a small insurer that is not authorized to write business in New York and thus not regulated by the state’s insurance department,” and said the company had never written a surety bond in New York or in the past two years in any other jurisdiction.

Next week could be eventful.

8 thoughts on “Ukraine May Get Some Aid

  1. "suggests he was swayed by new intelligence that Ukraine is on the ropes now"

    He needs an intelligence briefing to get that through his thick skull? Maybe he should watch the news (not FAUX) one evening? Anyway at least he got it done, I had my doubts.

  2. And there will be a hearing on the gag order on Tuesday, and the USSC hears the oral arguments on Trump's divinely ordained omnipotence. 

    Trump honestly wants to testify. His confidence in his ability to BS his way out of anything knows no bounds. He thinks his Alpha male status will overwhelm the jury. Men will swoon and women will sink to their knees… Or maybe the other way around. One talking head suggested that the Sandoval hearing on what questions will be allowed if Trump takes the stand badly rattled him. Trump taking the stand in his defense is the worst thing he could do but I don't rule it out. His strategy is to get elected and use the power of the presidency to end everything. So he'll decide based on what he thinks will sway voters, not jurors. 

    He continues to fall asleep in court. His defense on TS has been that he's not sleeping, he's praying. I expected that the prosecution would medicate Trump to keep him awake and alert but that might also make him even less manageable. 

    Reliable reports that Russians are going after Baptists for torture might have motivated Johnson. I'm seeing garbage from progressives about Biden re Gaza. I'm hoping we get a beachhead for humanitarian aid and some thanks from the Palestinians before November. I know we are not their favorite people, with cause, but Trump would shut down aid to Gaza in January if Biden loses. That's the choice. 

    • Men will swoon and women will sink to their knees… Or maybe the other way around.

       Normally its the other way around, but you have to consider Lindsey Graham, but then again no matter which way you view it, you still have to consider Lindsey Graham.

  3. Susan Lynn the psychic says the trial will bring out weeks of sordid, salacious dirt between Trump, Stormy, and Karen McD, and as such will captivate Americans who don't care about or pay attention to politics but love stuff like this. Combine this with Trump's boast about ending Roe, and the resulting misogynic total is going to further sink him in the eyes of the public. He's already taking on water and this is going to damage him further.

  4.  The best answer I've heard was from one of the Repug Congressmen.. "Who are we going to get to replace him?" They know that if they do to Johnson what they did to McCarthy they'll end up in a situation similar to the mess they found themselves in when they were without a speaker and showed the American public the complete disarray their party is in. They can't touch Johnson until they've found a replacement that is acceptable to the entire party. And that somebody doesn't exist as long as there are still the MAGA extremist. Bad governance is always better than no governance in the eyes of the American public.

  5. Any sane person, with this case against them, would cop a plea.  Remember, Michael Cohen, Trump's former lawyer, did hard time for this same crime.  Trump and Barr managed to delay this trial for quite some time.  A poor person would quicky find no lawyer who would take this case as the bill would never get paid as the cost per billable hour is huge and their chances of winning would be nil.  Trump will try to get the fix done one way or another.  He will probably rely on the magic of social media.  He has much stock in Truth Social, which is the ultimate oxymoron.  It is neither true nor social.  I guess he thinks when you put both words close together, they fool people.  As I began, any sane person…

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