I would be remiss if I failed to tell you about the latest wave of mysterious cattle mutilations in Texas, or the animatronic dragon that caught fire at Disneyland. Now you're really up to speed. - Corey
THE BIG NEWS
2024 Roundup: Trump Promises Flying Cars and 'Super Police'
We have much to talk about.
- President Joe Biden plans to launch his reelection campaign tomorrow morning with a short video message, the Washington Post reports. Julie Chavez Rodriguez, now serving in the White House, is expected to manage the campaign. Current White House chief of staff Jeff Zients as well as his predecessor Ron Klain will both be involved. Up to 100 top Democratic Party fundraisers have been invited to a Friday night event with Biden, location TBD.
- Experts call Donald Trump's emerging 2024 platform authoritarian, "impractical, reckless, self-defeating, potentially illegal and even dangerous," the Post reports. At his Waco, Texas rally last month, he vowed to "totally obliterate the deep state," "drive out the globalists," "cast out the communists" and so on. His plans also include concentration camps for the homeless, "patriotic" education curricula and federal school vouchers. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner is credited with the campaign's new Saudi-style "Freedom Cities" boondoggle that pitches futuristic cities with flying cars and a "super police force" on undeveloped federal land.
- A new poll shows 46 percent of Republican primary voters favor Trump, putting him 15 percentage points ahead of the Guantanamo Bay torture overseer-turned-Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The same poll, by NBC News, shows 70 percent of all Americans, including 51 percent of Democrats, don't want Biden to run again. But people still dislike him less than they dislike Trump.
- Mike Pence, who had 6 percent GOP support in the NBC poll was among the Republican presidential aspirants who attended a campaign event in Iowa on Saturday. Per the New York Times, he was "greeted like a celebrity...though his pitch for military aid to Ukraine garnered a tepid response." Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was there. DeSantis and Trump were not.
- Abortion was a hot topic in Iowa, as it's one issue where Trump finds himself on the defensive with the party faithful. The Times reports that Republican-controlled legislatures like Ohio's are trying to keep pro-choice initiatives off the ballot in 2024.
- The nonprofit Center for Internet Security is trying to establish security standards for voter registration databases, election results reporting websites, and electronic pollbooks used to check in voters at polling places, the Associated Press reports.
- Michigan Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin's Senate campaign "may be good news for the effort to protect Democrats' fragile Senate majority," the AP says, "but it's complicating the party's bid to retake the House in 2024." Losing Slotkin's House seat, or California Rep. Katie Porter's, risks a potential House majority.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Reports of Foreign Backing for Rival Forces in Sudan
International governments including the U.S. evacuated their embassies in Sudan over the weekend. Fighting between Sudan's military and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces continued despite a supposed 72-hour cease fire for the Eid festival. In Khartoum, "the streets stank of death," the Washington Post reports; at least 420 people including 256 civilians have been killed. The Observer offers an in-depth look at Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar, who helped prepare the RSF for battle, and whoses involvement raises "fears of a long-drawn-out conflict in Sudan fuelled by outside interests." To that point, the Post reports that Russia's mercenary Wagner Group "has established close ties with Sudan's security forces and sought to exploit these connections to advance Moscow's economic and military interests, including lucrative gold mining concessions and arms deals." Citing anonymous sources, the Post says another Libyan milita close to Wagner sent supplies to the RSF, though the group denies this.
Ukraine Readies Its Troops for Spring Counteroffensive
Military analysts say Ukraine's military has established positions with "stable supply lines" on the eastern side of the Dnieper River. As the Associated Press reports, "a major goal would be to break through the land corridor between Russia and the annexed Crimean Peninsula, which would necessitate crossing the Dnieper." The analysts also point to signs that Russia may seek to consolidate its territorial gains in Ukraine with the spring thaw, rather than launch a major new offensive. In Bakhmut, the Washington Post reports that the closely watched fighting has closed in on a few square miles on the city's western edge; Russia has flattened entire apartment blocks with bombs to dislodge Ukrainian troops that were hold up inside. Cities across Ukraine endured missiles, mortar, artillery and airstrikes over the weekend, the New York Times reports; meanwhile in Russia, the AP says 17 apartment buildings were evacuated in Belgorod, near the Ukraine border, after a Russian warplane accidentally dropped a bomb.
- Supreme Court Keeps Abortion Pills on the Market, For Now In a 7-2 decision Friday night, the justices ruled that mifepristone can be sold without restrictions while lower courts argue about it. via Vice News and the New York Times.
- EPA Seeks Historic Limits on Power Plant Emissions Under proposed rules, all existing coal and gas-fired power plants would for the first time be required to cut or capture nearly all of their carbon dioxide emissions. via the Times.
- Justice Department Warns Judges Against Unconstitutional Fines Imposing fines on people "who cannot afford to pay them has been shown to cause profound harm," a memo sent to state and local judges late last week says. via the Washington Post.
- Unions Rally Behind Julie Su for Labor Secretary Su faces a Senate committee vote on Wednesday; Republicans fear she may be to the left of her predecessor, Marty Walsh. via Politico.
That's how many lobbyists the Florida-based Foundation for Government Accountability's Opportunity Solutions Project has employed in 22 states to push for the repeal of laws restricting child labor, the Washington Post reports. The group, funded by right-wing foundations including Uihlein and Scaife, has "found remarkable success among Republicans."
ON THE SHOW TODAY
4/24: Happy Monday! Sam and Emma host Jon Shelton, professor at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, to discuss his recent book The Education Myth: How Human Capital Trumped Social Democracy.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Work requirements for food stamps: evil.
Interesting interview with Justin Alo of Teamsters Local 542 and Matt Leichenger of Teamsters Local 804.
"I am meant to be in control. I am the führer. I'm the king who takes the decisions."
-- Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as quoted in a new book about how his conservative coalition fell apart.
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