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Happy Memorial Day

Reflecting on the solemn sacrifices men and women have made for this country.

Happy Monday! Delivering the commencement address at UMass Boston last week, billionaire Robert Hale informed the graduating class that he’d be giving each and every one of them an envelope with $1,000 in cash—$500 to keep, and $500 to give away.

We have an equally exciting announcement for you: Today, every single TMD reader will receive … a newsletter on a federal holiday!

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • After weeks of negotiations, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached a tentative agreement on Saturday evening—days before the U.S. was set to default on its debts—to raise the debt ceiling until January 2025. Congressional leaders are now racing to pass the bill ahead of June 5—when the Treasury says it will run out of money to pay its obligations—but the far-right and far-left flanks of both parties have balked at some of the provisions. The agreement raises the debt limit for two years and effectively freezes non-defense spending for the same period while also protecting spending on veterans programs and imposing expanded work requirements on some adults receiving food stamps. House Republicans released draft text of the legislation Sunday, even as GOP and Democratic representatives criticized the deal.   
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won reelection in a runoff Sunday with about 52 percent of the vote to challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s 48 percent. The unusually united opposition coalition campaign had threatened to end Erdoğan’s 20-year rule, but he will now continue leading the country amid high inflation, the fallout from February’s twin earthquakes, and his growing ties with Russia and tensions with fellow NATO allies.
  • The Texas House voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to impeach the state’s Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton, over accusations of bribery, using his position to enrich himself and a campaign donor, and abuse of public trust. The vote immediately removed Paxton—in his third term as A.G.—from office, pending a trial in the state Senate, where a two-thirds majority of the 31 senators is needed to convict him. If convicted, he would be barred from ever holding office in Texas again. This is the first time since 1917 Texas has impeached a state-wide office-holder.
  • Ukraine faced a barrage of missile and drone strikes over the weekend and on Monday as Russia escalated its bombing campaign. In rare daytime attacks this morning, Russia launched dozens of drones and missiles at Kyiv, sending civilians scrambling to take shelter in the capital city’s metros. Early on Sunday, Russia carried out the largest drone attack on Kyiv since the war began, coinciding with the ancient anniversary of the city’s founding in 482 A.D. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 59 drones were deployed and 58 shot down. One person was killed and another hospitalized from building debris felled by the attack. Strikes on the Ukrainian city of Dnipro preceded the Kyiv attacks—Russia launched 17 missiles and 31 drones overnight Friday, killing one and injuring 23. Russian officials said over the weekend Ukraine used drones to attack oil pipelines and refineries inside Russia.
  • Oleksiy Danilov, a top Ukrainian security official, told the BBC over the weekend the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces is set to begin any day. “It could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, or in a week,” he said. Danilov also confirmed Wagner mercenaries were pulling out of the embattled Eastern city of Bahkmut—likely just to regroup—and conceded Ukraine now only controls a small part of the city over which Russian forces declared victory last week.
  • The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index—the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation—rose 4.4 percent year-over-year in April, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported Friday, up from a 4.2 percent annual increase in March. The core index, which excludes volatile food and energy prices and is considered a better predictor of future inflation, was up 4.7 percent year-over-year, a tick above March’s 4.6 percent annual rise. Consumer spending, meanwhile, grew by 0.8 percent in April—0.5 percent adjusted for inflation—up from March’s 0.1 percent increase. Although many central bankers have signaled a desire to pause their campaign of interest rate hikes, Friday’s data could potentially lead the Federal Reserve to stay the course at its June meeting.
  • Microsoft announced last week it’d discovered that a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group, “Volt Typhoon,” had been targeting critical U.S. communications infrastructure since mid-2021. The latest episode in a yearslong hacking campaign, the attack appeared to be an attempt to lay the groundwork to disrupt communications between North America and Asia in case of a military conflict. The U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom issued a joint warning against ongoing Chinese hacking efforts.
  • The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, over allegations he and his wife received tens of thousands of dollars worth of gifts—including a Mercedes-Benz, an apartment in D.C., and jewelry—from a New Jersey business. In 2019, the Egyptian government named the company—IS EG Halal—the sole authorized importer of halal meat into the country, despite a U.S. Department of Agriculture assessment finding such a move would disrupt markets and increase prices worldwide. 
  • Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill on Friday limiting instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The bill, similar to measures enacted in Florida, also removes all books depicting sexual acts from school libraries and requires parents be notified if students request a new name or gender pronouns. 
  • Special counsel John Durham will reportedly testify before the House Judiciary Committee in late June on the findings of his probe into how federal law enforcement handled the Trump-Russia investigation.

Remembering the Fallen

Los Angeles National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Los Angeles National Cemetery on Memorial Day.

In lieu of a main item today, we hope you’ll take a minute or two to read a few poems we’ve selected commemorating and honoring the memory of those who gave their lives for their country.

They sent him back to her. The letter came

Saying . . . And she could have him. And before

She could be sure there was no hidden ill

Under the formal writing, he was there,

Living. They gave him back to her alive—

How else? They are not known to send the dead—

And not disfigured visibly. His face?

His hands? She had to look, and ask,

‘What was it, dear?’ And she had given all

And still she had all—they had—they the lucky!

Wasn’t she glad now? Everything seemed won,

And all the rest for them permissible ease.

She had to ask, ‘What was it, dear?’

                                                              ‘Enough

Yet not enough. A bullet through and through,

High in the breast. Nothing but what good care

And medicine and rest, and you a week,

Can cure me of to go again.’ The same

Grim giving to do over for them both.

She dared no more than ask him with her eyes

How was it with him for a second trial.

And with his eyes he asked her not to ask.

They had given him back to her, but not to keep.

  The last sunbeam

Lightly falls from the finish’d Sabbath,

On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,

   Down a new-made double grave.

   Lo, the moon ascending,

Up from the east the silvery round moon,

Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,

   Immense and silent moon.

   I see a sad procession,

And I hear the sound of coming full-key’d bugles,

All the channels of the city streets they’re flooding,

   As with voices and with tears.

   I hear the great drums pounding,

And the small drums steady whirring,

And every blow of the great convulsive drums,

   Strikes me through and through.

   For the son is brought with the father,

(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,

Two veterans son and father dropt together,

   And the double grave awaits them.)

   Now nearer blow the bugles,

And the drums strike more convulsive,

And the daylight o’er the pavement quite has faded,

   And the strong dead-march enwraps me.

   In the eastern sky up-buoying,

The sorrowful vast phantom moves illumin’d,

(‘Tis some mother’s large transparent face,

   In heaven brighter growing.)

   O strong dead-march you please me!

O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!

O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial!

   What I have I also give you.

   The moon gives you light,

And the bugles and the drums give you music,

And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,

   My heart gives you love.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
        In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
        In Flanders fields.

Worth Your Time

  • We included this May 30, 1945 speech from U.S. Lt. Gen. Lucian Truscott in our Memorial Day newsletter last year, but we hope you’ll take a few minutes to read it again today. No full transcript or recording exists, but excerpts have been passed on by military newspapers and a secondhand account from Bill Mauldin, a political cartoonist who was present. “All over the world our soldiers sleep beneath the crosses,” the leader of the Fifth Army reportedly said in Italy. “It is a challenge to us—all allied nations—to ensure that they do not and have not died in vain.” He then turned his back on the audience gathered at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, choosing to instead speak directly to the approximately 20,000 American soldiers buried behind him. “It was the most moving gesture I ever saw. It came from a hard-boiled old man who was incapable of planned dramatics,” Mauldin wrote. “The general’s remarks were brief and extemporaneous. He apologized to the dead men for their presence here. He said everybody tells leaders it is not their fault that men get killed in war, but that every leader knows in his heart this is not altogether true. He said he hoped anybody here through any mistake of his would forgive him, but he realized that was asking a hell of a lot under the circumstances. … He would not speak about the glorious dead because he didn’t see much glory in getting killed if you were in your late teens or early twenties. He promised that if in the future he ran into anybody, especially old men, who thought death in battle was glorious, he would straighten them out. He said he thought that was the least he could do.”
  • With the Republican primary field starting to take shape, Jonathan Martin wonders if we’ll look back on last week as the moment Donald Trump wrapped up his third GOP presidential nomination. “For months, high-level Republican lawmakers, donors and strategists eager to block Trump have described, in separate conversations with me, an endgame to the presidential primary. When it becomes clear in the early state and national polling who is consolidating support, the most influential figures with ties to the lagging candidates will stage a sort of political intervention and tell them it’s time to quit and rally to the strongest alternative to Trump,” Martin writes for Politico. “Such a plot always struck me as a bit far-fetched, for starters because politicians aren’t known for putting party ahead of self. Yet the appetite among elite Republicans to move past Trump was and is so immense I thought there could at least be a do-the-right-thing effort. Yet as spring turns to summer, traditionally the period when presidential hopefuls consider whether they’re gaining any traction, this vision seems more fantasy than strategy. In fact, if Trump does emerge as the GOP standard bearer next year we will look back on this week to grasp why, just like in 2016, he was able to take advantage of a divided opposition.”
  • Even those in favor of the death penalty should think twice about the wisdom of making it easier to mete out, Christian Schneider argues in National Review. “Until April, it took a unanimous jury—twelve votes—to condemn a Florida defendant to death. But Governor Ron DeSantis, a newly minted presidential candidate, signed a bill lowering the threshold for death-penalty convictions to only eight juror votes—the lowest threshold of any of the 27 states that impose capital punishment,” Schneider writes. “The recent push to weaken the execution standard is the result of the tragic 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, in which 14 high-school students and three adults were gunned down and 17 others injured. In 2022, the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was spared the death penalty by a 9–3 jury vote. Republican state senator Blaise Ingoglia, the lead sponsor of the bill to lower the jury standard, said, ‘We all grieve for the families of Parkland and that community. But what that verdict did do was expose a flaw in the current system.’ The ‘flaw’ being due process. … As they say, hard cases make for bad law. For every case in which guilt is a foregone conclusion, there are many others in which the facts are muddier. And these cases can lead the government to executing innocent people.”

‘We’re Going to Game 7!’

Presented Without Comment 

Los Angeles Times: State Farm is No Longer Accepting Property Insurance Applications in California

Also Presented Without Comment 

National Review: Larry Elder: Swing Voters Wouldn’t Vote for Trump ‘If He Walked on Water’

Also Also Presented Without Comment

Wall Street Journal: Inmates Await Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes: ‘I Want to Be Her Friend’

Toeing the Company Line

  • The Dispatch Book Club (🔒) is back with its first discussion of the summer! Sarah talks with David Grann, author of The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder. Members can click here to tune in.
  • In the newsletters: The Dispatch Politics crew covered DeSantis’ announcement and the looming GOP fight over Joe Manchin’s Senate seat, Haley checked in on (🔒) debt ceiling negotiations, Jonah argued we need to reexamine our definition of “book banning,” Chris rounded up (🔒) the potential 2024 GOP presidential primary field, and Nick engaged in (🔒) a little nihilism vis-à-vis the DeSantis campaign.
  • On the podcasts: Price dives into the debt ceiling fight with Ben Ritz and Jonah bemoans the chronically online New Right. 
  • On the site over the weekend: Anthony Barr reflects on the final season of Succession, Peter Meilaender praises Yukito Ayatsuji’s The Mill House Murders, and Eric Edelman predicts what’s in store for Turkey after Recep Tayipp Erdoğan’s  reelection.
  • On the site today: Charlotte reports from Kurdish-majority eastern Turkey on Erdoğan’s nationalist victory, and Chris writes that the best tribute to the fallen is a good life well-lived.

Let Us Know

Who are you thinking about on this Memorial Day? What inspired them to serve their country?

Declan Garvey is the executive editor at the Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2019, he worked in public affairs at Hamilton Place Strategies and market research at Echelon Insights. When Declan is not assigning and editing pieces, he is probably watching a Cubs game, listening to podcasts on 3x speed, or trying a new recipe with his wife.

Esther Eaton is a former deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch.

Mary Trimble is the editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, she interned at The Dispatch, in the political archives at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), and at Voice of America, where she produced content for their French-language service to Africa. When not helping write The Morning Dispatch, she is probably watching classic movies, going on weekend road trips, or enjoying live music with friends.

Grayson Logue is the deputy editor of The Morning Dispatch and is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in political risk consulting, helping advise Fortune 50 companies. He was also an assistant editor at Providence Magazine and is a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh, pursuing a Master’s degree in history. When Grayson is not helping write The Morning Dispatch, he is probably working hard to reduce the number of balls he loses on the golf course.