Patterico's Pontifications

5/19/2022

Russian Military Analyst Boldly Says The Quiet Part Out Loud: …The Whole World Is Against Us … We Need To Get Out Of This Situation

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:18 am



[guest post by Dana]

Three months into a humiliating war, a well-known Russian military analyst and veteran shocked his fellow guests on state-controlled television by offering an honest, no holds barred assessment of Russia’s current status in the unprovoked war with Ukraine while simultaneously giving Ukraine a much-needed gift of hope:

“The situation, frankly speaking, will get worse for us,” Mikhail Khodaryonok, a retired Russian army colonel, told the “60 Minutes” talk show on Rossiya-1 TV program hosted by Olga Skabeyeva, who’s renowned for her pro-Kremlin stance.

“You should not swallow informational tranquilizers,” Khodaryonok told the host as he warned that Ukraine was in no way near being beaten by Russia, and that Kyiv could mobilize and arm a million people if it wanted to.

The report notes that Khodaryonok had warned against invading Ukraine. Russia has faced several humiliations in the face of Ukrainian determination to push back the invaders. As a result, Russia is now focused on Eastern Ukraine. Khodaryonok also noted the difference between the invading force and the everyday Ukrainians willing to take up arms to defend their homeland:

Khodaryonok emphasized that even if Ukraine had to rely on hundreds of thousands of conscripts that only had rudimentary military training, what mattered is that their hearts would be in the fight, and that would not bode well for Russia.

“The desire to defend one’s motherland in the sense that it exists in Ukraine — it really does exist there and they intend to fight to the last,” Khodaryonok said before he was interrupted by Skabeyeva who was trying to downplay the effectiveness of Ukraine’s forces.

“We need to treat this million Ukrainian soldiers as a reality in the nearest future,” he said.

I’ll leave you with Khodaryonok’s inarguable observation that left his fellow guests stunned:

“The main deficiency of our military-political position is that we are in full geopolitical solitude and — however we don’t want to admit it — practically the whole world is against us … and we need to get out of this situation”…

**It’s so shocking to hear such blunt unvarnished truth coming from a Russian veteran (and on state television), that I’m left wondering if Khodaryonok will soon disappear, or at the very least be compelled to publicly recant his observations? I suspect it’s only a matter of time…

Here’s Gary Kasparov confirming Khodaryonok’s concerns about the willingness of Ukrainians to fight for their homeland:

Moreover, in a recent report about the Mozart Group, which is currently in Ukraine to help train troops, the organization, which is made up of special-operations vets and whose two goals are: “to increase the Ukrainian military’s capability and sustainable capacity in a manner consistent with US foreign policy and to protect vulnerable civilians,” group leader Andy Milburn offered his observations on Russian and Ukrainian troops. Unsurprisingly, his views were similar to Khodaryonok’s when it came to troop resolve and morale, or the lack therein:

In areas where Ukrainians have fended off the Russian offensive, what do you think has allowed them to be successful?

Morale and resolve have been key components of success — but the terrain has been an important factor in enabling Ukrainian forces to hold their ground.

In the north and urban regions, the Russian proclivity to remain on the roads has played against them. Outside the cities in the north, the ground is either thickly wooded or swampy, and this has allowed the defenders to infiltrate easily through Russian lines to strike armored columns from the flank.

What’s your assessment of the Russian military’s performance so far? Is there anything it did well, and to what would you attribute its struggles?

Russian units here have proven to be singularly unimpressive. Almost without exception, they are poorly trained, ill-disciplined, and lack cohesion. Their tactics belong to a bygone era — little understanding of combined arms and no infantry integration with their armored attacks.

**I wrote this post yesterday afternoon, and this morning checked for any updated information on Khodaryonok. Sure enough, he is backpedaling on his assessment:

Regardless of his corrections, the damage is done and we all know it. Especially Ukraine. Also, Khodaryonok gets to live another day.

–Dana

5/18/2022

Abject Failure: White House Disinformation Panel Likely to be Scrapped

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:03 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Here is thus far the best political news of the week:

After a wave of backlash, the Department of Homeland Security is considering shutting down its just-created Disinformation Governance Board, which was officially tasked with combatting false narratives around domestic terrorism and human trafficking along the border, but which was widely interpreted as having a much broader brief to monitor and possibly curtail disfavored political speech.

Just three weeks after its inception, the disinformation board’s operations have been “paused,” multiple anonymous DHS officials told the Washington Post. DHS reportedly decided to shut down the board entirely on Monday and its director, Nina Jankowicz, tendered a voluntary resignation letter on Tuesday. But DHS officials quickly called Jankowicz to give her the option to stay on while the Homeland Security Advisory Committee determines whether to shut down the board entirely.

Beyond the potential for Orwellian behavior from a government board tasked with determining what is legitimate political opinion and what comprises “disinformation,” the selection of Ms. Jankowicz as director was a completely avoidable error that the White House nevertheless blundered straight into. A fellow (but not a fella) at the Wilson Center, an ostensibly nonpartisan research center but one which receives almost a third of its funding from the taxpayer, and an alleged expert on Russia and Ukraine, Ms. Jankowicz has also distinguished herself for her insider dismissal of the Hunter Biden laptop story, her weird feminist musings which require her to concoct largely implausible scenarios of male boorishness to make her points, and her curious penchant for making up really weird songs and sharing them with the public.

The collapse of this ill-considered initiative has naturally disappointed the Biden Administration’s amen corner in the media, with the increasingly-shrill Taylor Lorenz of the Washington Post taking to her keyboard to huff about the unfairness of it all:

[W]ithin hours of news of her appointment, Jankowicz was thrust into the spotlight by the very forces she dedicated her career to combating. The board itself and DHS received criticism for both its somewhat ominous name and scant details of specific mission (Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said it “could have done a better job of communicating what it is and what it isn’t”), but Jankowicz was on the receiving end of the harshest attacks, with her role mischaracterized as she became a primary target on the right-wing Internet. She has been subject to an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse while unchecked misrepresentations of her work continue to go viral.

[. . .]

Jankowicz’s experience is a prime example of how the right-wing Internet apparatus operates, where far-right influencers attempt to identify a target, present a narrative and then repeat mischaracterizations across social media and websites with the aim of discrediting and attacking anyone who seeks to challenge them. It also shows what happens when institutions, when confronted with these attacks, don’t respond effectively.

Odd that Ms. Lorenz never bothers to cogitate on why Ms. Jankowicz, with her background in what Ms. Lorenz characterizes as “multiple nonpartisan think tanks and nonprofits,” would have drawn particular ire from “far-right influencers.” Could it be because Ms. Jankowicz’s online presence indicated nothing so much as a committed Democrat who viewed her mission as promoting the conventional center-left Washington wisdom, no matter how staid and fetid it has become? It’s not as if Bidenism, a less confident and thus more malleable version of the smug assuredness of Obamaism, has distinguished itself at all over the past sixteen months.

Ms. Lorenz argues that the board which Ms. Jankowicz was appointed to lead would have had no authority to declare any news stories as “true” or “false” and would have no regulatory power to threaten ISPs or media outlets, yet it’s a certainty that the board would exert an influence similar to that of a Politifact or any of the other gate-keepers who get to determine why a mostly true claim from a conservative source is wrong about some picayune item while a mostly incorrect claim from a progressive source has yet to be disproven. Since when has a Washington DC board hewed strictly to its mandate and not instead attempted to increase its reach well beyond its charter?

In any case, we are left to hope that this “pause” is actually the death-knell for the Biden Administration’s “disinformation governance board.” Like so much of what this Administration has proposed, it’s an idea that might sound vaguely practical in theory — at least to the media/academic/bureaucratic axis that runs the Democrat Party these days — but is so clearly open to manipulation and abuse that any thinking American who prizes personal liberties and a humble role for government would immediate recognize as a colossally bad idea.

ADDENDUM: I see that over at Powerline Steve Hayward points out a few more peculiarities in the WaPo’s coverage that I overlooked, like the standard reliance upon unnamed “experts” and the typical headline which announces what the paper really thinks about all of this. Indeed, as with most Taylor Lorenz pieces there is no shortage of elements to criticize.

– JVW

Asking the Question: What Are Americans Doing To Prevent the Next Coup Attempt?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:11 am



[guest post by Dana]

Mona Charen has a good piece over at The Bulwark today, suggesting that there will be a next coup attempt and noting that there is no time to waste in preventing it from happening:

Across the country, candidates who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election are seeking office in order to prepare the ground for the next election contest. Pardoned Trump ally Steve Bannon is encouraging MAGAites to run for local posts with authority to count votes. Bannon uses his popular podcast to tout “taking over the Republican party through the precinct committee strategy.. . . It’s about winning elections with the right people—MAGA people. We will have our people in at every level.”

At least 23 candidates who deny the outcome of the 2020 election are running for secretary of state in 19 states. Among those are battleground states that Biden won narrowly: Michigan, Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona. Trump has endorsed candidates in Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan, the only time in history that a former president has bestirred himself over races so far down the ballot. “We’re seeing a dangerous trend of election deniers lining up to fill election administration positions across the country,” Joanna Lydgate, chief executive of States United Action, told the Guardian. Lydgate’s group also tallies 53 election deniers seeking governorships in 25 states, and 13 election deniers running for attorney general in 13 states.

Additionally, death threats and intimidation from MAGA extremists have caused one in five election administrators to say they will leave their posts before 2024. The most common explanation is that too many politicians were attacking “a system that they know is fair and honest” and that the job was too stressful. A February survey of 596 local election officials found that they spanned the political spectrum pretty evenly—26 percent identified as Democrats, 30 percent as Republicans, and 44 percent as independents. A majority said they were worried about attempts to interfere with their work in future elections.

While MAGA types are beavering away, attempting to stack election boards and other posts with election-denying zealots, what are other Americans doing? The clock is ticking.

Charen points out some of the foolish efforts made by both parties to oust politicians who are obviously not going to be ousted:

If past is prologue, Democrats will probably pour money into unwinnable races over the next few months. Remember Amy McGrath? She was supposed to dethrone Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Democratic donors gave her $88 million. Remember Jamie Harrison? He was going to defeat Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Donors shoveled $130 million his way. Harrison lost by a 10-point margin. McGrath lost by nearly 20 points. The list goes on. Beto O’Rourke anyone? (Republicans do this too. Just look at the money wasted in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district.)

This year, donors are spending millions in an attempt to unseat the execrable Marjorie Taylor Greene. Sigh. Trump won Greene’s district with 75 percent of the vote. This. Won’t. Work.

Her point? Be smarter: think local elections. And I think she’s right:

Democrats, independents, and sane Republicans should focus instead on the critical local contests that will determine who counts the votes in 2024. Those unsexy races for local positions and administrative posts like secretaries of state could make the difference in 2024 between an election and a coup.

Tangentially, we know that Trump backed 26 primary candidates, and out of that list, 23 won, with one race still undetermined. And while a number of them were safe Republican incumbents, it’s eye-opening to see that of those 23 primary winners, 14 voted to overturn 2020 electoral votes and one voted to acquit in Trump’s second impeachment trial. Charen is right: The time to prevent the next coup attempt is now. Foolish is the individual who doesn’t believe it could happen again.

–Dana

5/17/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: Why Do the Supreme Court Leak and Protests Matter?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This 5000-word piece began with a question from Time123 asking why I was so upset over the Supreme Court leak. It turned into a rambling discussion about the leak, the protests, the legality of the latter and the dangers posed by the former — but mostly, a discussion about the way we criticize our institutions. Specifically, too often we do so carelessly, with too much cynicism and hyperbole.

Overly harsh criticism of our own country carries several dangers. One is that it gets thrown back in our face. If influential people in the U.S. compare the racial tensions in our country to genocide, China will use those statements to minimize or justify its own actual genocide. If people here call the president a dictator, actual dictators will point to those statements. If Tucker Carlson criticizes Joe Biden as a military aggressor, an actual aggressor like Russia will put Carlson’s comments on its own state TV.

Another danger of rhetorical hyperbole in criticism of our government is that it encourages a fatalistic cynicism within our country, that tears down our own respect for our institutions. And as Jonah Goldberg has argued throughout his career, these institutions are fragile. They are precious. They are what separate us from the reign of thuggishness that history teaches us is the default governmental system of humanity.

That’s not going to be a very popular opinion for a people whose habitual stance is to toss off a quick snarky comment that assumes the worst about everyone in government. Perhaps those who actually read the piece will come away with a different view.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

5/16/2022

Not Such a Smooth Start for New White House Press Secretary

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:53 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Hey, we’ve all probably had a rough first day on the job at some point, but this is not a promising start for Karine Jean-Pierre:

She’s going to either have to work harder to commit these canned answers to memory, or else she is going to have to read her prepared responses more slowly and carefully to avoid stumbling over so many words. And of course we won’t even bother to say much about how empty and fatuous her answer is: more economic ignorance from Team Biden.

But, hey: she was able to promote her intersectionality bona fides — this sort of thing being just about the only Biden Administration “accomplishment” to speak of thus far — so I guess she’ll have (most) of the White House Press Corps eating out of her hand.

– JVW

After The Buffalo Attack, It Takes A *Former* House GOP Leader To Demand Leaders Clean Their Own Foul House

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:08 pm



[guest post by Dana]

After the horrific attack in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo where a lone gunman opened fire in a grocery store and eleven of the 13 shot were Black, a manifesto alleged to be from the shooter revealed the mindset of hate behind the attack:

A 180-page manifesto allegedly made by Gendron and circulated widely online seemingly outlines the gunman’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic beliefs. Among them was a desire to drive all people not of European descent from the U.S., as well as a theory that minorities are replacing the U.S.’s white population. The document seemed to draw inspiration from the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

Another document circulating online that appeared to have been written by Gendron sketched out a to-do list for the attack, including cleaning the gun and testing the livestream.

CNN also notes that in their review of the document, the author “attributes the internet for most of his beliefs and describes himself as a fascist, a White supremacist and an anti-Semite”.

Attorney General Merrick Garland later announced that the attack was being investigated by the Justice Dept. “as a hate crime and an act of racially-motivated violent extremism”.

The New York Times links “replacement theory” to recent mass shootings involving victim minority groups:

Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.

The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.

[I]n Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

Three shootings, three different targets — but all linked by one sprawling, ever-mutating belief now commonly known as replacement theory. At the extremes of American life, replacement theory — the notion that Western elites, sometimes manipulated by Jews, want to “replace” and disempower white Americans — has become an engine of racist terror, helping inspire a wave of mass shootings in recent years and fueling the 2017 right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Va., that erupted in violence.

The report further points out how the replacement theory has gone mainstream:

But replacement theory, once confined to the digital fever swamps of Reddit message boards and semi-obscure white nationalist sites, has gone mainstream. In sometimes more muted forms, the fear it crystallizes — of a future America in which white people are no longer the numerical majority — has become a potent force in conservative media and politics, where the theory has been borrowed and remixed to attract audiences, retweets and small-dollar donations.

I don’t know the exact number of Republicans who embrace the replacement theory or some form of it, but there is a record of those who have espoused the same or very similar views. Anyway, in what has become standard practice, it takes a former GOP House leader to take her party to task and demand the House clean house:

Rep. Adam Kinzinger also pointed out the ongoing problem within the Republican Party:

The replacement theory in the MAGA faction of the Republican Party is not just confined to elected officials, but it is also being pushed by popular pundits with enormous audiences, such as Tucker Carlson. The New York Times documented 400 times that Carlson “has amplified the notion that Democratic politicians and other assorted elites want to force demographic change through immigration”. Here is a short compilation of his comments:

Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term replacement – if you suggest the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the third world. But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with Mitt Romney’s spot-on observation following the attack in Buffalo:

The GOP needs to clean out the rot and needs to do better. However, given that it remains (at least for the time being) Trump’s party, I’m not holding my breath.

–Dana

Another Check on Comments

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Is everything fine, or are there still issues? Please let me know. Thanks.

5/13/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:36 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Behind the baby formula shortage:

The current situation with infant formula, on the other hand, really does seem quite serious. In particular, a February/March 2022 FDA recall of Abbott Nutrition formula products made at a problematic Michigan facility has pushed an already-stressed U.S. market into full-on panic mode. Not only are supplies desperately short in numerous states, but prices have (as they do when supplies are low) spiked, leaving families—especially ones with low incomes or babies that need special products—in desperate shape.

Unfortunately, the infant formula crisis isn’t simply another case of a one-off event causing pandemic-related supply chain pressures to boil over. Instead, U.S. policy has exacerbated the nation’s infant formula problem by depressing potential supply. First, as my Cato colleague Gabby Beaumont-Smith just documented, the United States maintains high tariff barriers to imports of formula from other nations—all part of our government’s longstanding subsidization and protection of the politically powerful U.S. dairy industry. Imports of formula from most places, such as the European Union, are subject to a complex system of “tariff rate quotas,” under which already-high tariffs (usually 17.5 percent, but it depends on the product) increase even further once a certain quantity threshold is hit.

We even restrict imports of formula from most “free trade” (scare quotes intended!) agreement partners, including major dairy producing nations like Canada. In fact, a key provision of the renegotiated NAFTA—the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)—actually tightened restrictions on Canadian baby formula to ensure that new investments in Ontario production capacity by Chinese company Feihe would never threaten the U.S. market:

Also, this by Elizabeth Nolan Brown is an eye-opening must-read too.

Second news item

Russia now threatens to retaliate if Finland joins NATO:

Russia has said it will be forced to take “retaliatory steps” over its neighbour Finland’s move to join Nato.

A foreign ministry statement said the move would seriously damage bilateral relations, as well as security and stability in northern Europe.

Earlier, Finland’s president and PM called for the country to apply for Nato membership “without delay”.

Russia had previously warned both Sweden and Finland if they joined NATO. Both countries are expected to announce their decisions regarding Nato this weekend. Turkey’s Erdogan doesn’t support either country joining NATO.

Third news item

Pence continues to cut the cord with Trump:

Former Vice President Mike Pence will headline a get-out-the-vote rally with Gov. Brian Kemp on the eve of Georgia’s May 24 primary, marking a new split with Donald Trump as each maneuver for a possible 2024 White House run.

Pence called Kemp “one of the most successful conservative governors in America” in a statement announcing the May 23 rally to help the incumbent stave off a Trump-backed challenge from former U.S. Sen. David Perdue…

The former vice president’s visit is part of Kemp’s take-no-prisoners approach to the primary. The governor’s advisers don’t want to simply defeat Perdue and avoid an unpredictable June runoff; they want to rout him.

Fourth news item

Yeah, we all knew “safe, legal, and rare” was meaningless manipulation:

Fifth news item

Yet more blood on Putin’s hands:

More than 1,000 bodies of civilians have been recovered in areas around Kyiv that were previously occupied by Russian forces, United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

What they’re saying: “Some of these people were killed in hostilities, others appear to have been summarily executed,” Bachelet added while speaking before a session of the UN Human Rights Council. “Others still have died because of stress to their health caused by hostilities and the lack of medical aid.”

The scale of unlawful killings, including summary executions, has been “shocking,” she said.

Additionally:

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations said Thursday that there were “credible” claims Russian forces have committed sexual violence against children in Ukraine, as U.N. agencies said Vladimir Putin’s invasion had driven more than 6 million people to flee the country. The U.N. refugee agency reported the grim statistic, which, combined with the roughly 8 million Ukrainians who have been displaced within their country, means a third of Ukraine’s people have been forced from their homes.

British Ambassador Barbara Woodward, citing the U.N. humanitarian agency, said at least 238 children were believed to be among the thousands of civilians killed since Russia launched its war, with 347 more injured.

Sixth news item

But of course they can’t agree:

Lawmakers in both parties agree on the need to boost security protections for Supreme Court justices…But there’s an intensifying debate between the House and Senate over just how to get there.

…Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is blasting the House for pursuing legislation that would extend protections to the families of both justices and judicial clerks. He prefers his Senate’s bipartisan version, which passed unanimously on Monday, that only focuses on expanding security to the immediate families of justices…

Side note: A 2019 law had already authorized protections for judicial clerks, according to [Rep. Greg] Stanton’s office.

…House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer voiced support for the Stanton bill, arguing “we believe that it is critical to safeguard the families of those who choose to serve their country and their communities as judicial clerks and staff as well.” He said House Democrats would continue negotiating with Republicans on the legislation.

Seventh news item

Lousiana:

A Republican lawmaker in Louisiana on Thursday pulled a bill that would have allowed prosecutors to charge a person with homicide if they get an abortion — effectively ending the chance it would become law this legislative session.

Eighth news item

Toad venom, you say? Well, okay then:

Alexander Subbotin is at least the seventh Russian oligarch to die under strange circumstances this year.

Subbotin, the billionaire former top manager of Russian oil producer Lukoil, was found dead on Sunday in a shaman’s home in Mytishchi, a city just northeast of Moscow, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The billionaire’s death is the latest in a grim trend of Russian businessmen being found dead in unusual circumstances amid Russia’s ongoing assault on neighboring Ukraine.

Bill Browder, a financier who was once the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia, previously told Newsweek that people should assume the worst “any time you see a wealthy Russian dying in suspicious circumstances.”

He added: “There has been enough empirical evidence of assassinations organized by the Kremlin or business rivals in Russia, to make it likely that these were murders and not suicides and other explanations that have been bandied about by the Russian authorities.”

Good and necessary:

In an unprecedented move, the House select committee on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has issued subpoenas for five House Republicans, including GOP leader Kevin McCarthy.

All five had previously been asked to appear voluntarily and quickly refused. Now, their testimony is being compelled by month’s end, a move most of them quickly slammed on Thursday.

In addition to McCarthy, the panel also subpoenaed GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama.

None have said yet if they’ll comply with the subpoenas.

Ninth news item

Oof:

President Biden’s approval rating remains underwater and more than 80% of registered voters say the U.S. is on the wrong track, according to a Thursday poll from Monmouth University.

The Thursday poll found that Biden’s approval rating is sitting at 38%, with 57% disapproval. Those numbers are down from March when Biden had a 39% approval and 54% disapproval. Monmouth also found that just 18% of Americans say the country is on the right track.

Biden’s White House making false claims like this doesn’t help the situation:

After all, the guy in charge already told us he had taken the vaccine before he took office:

MISCELLANEOUS

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

As Alito Addresses the Home Protests (But Not Really), Governors Ask DoJ to Do Something About Them

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 am



Justice Alito spoke to an audience remotely from the Supreme Court and was asked, basically, so how y’all doin’?

“I think it would just be really helpful for all of us to hear, personally, are you all doing okay in these very challenging times?” the questioner asked.

. . . .

“This is a subject I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about today regarding, you know — given all the circumstances,” Alito replied.

After a pause, he added: “The court right now, we had our conference this morning, we’re doing our work. We’re taking new cases, we’re headed toward the end of the term, which is always a frenetic time as we get our opinions out.”

The court gathered Thursday for the first time since the draft opinion was disclosed to Politico and the court’s chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., opened a leak investigation.

After detailing the schedule for getting the court’s work done by the end of June or early July, Alito skipped the usual boilerplate that justices tend to employ about disagreeing about the law but remaining respectful and friendly.

Instead, he concluded: “So that’s where we are.”

The assumption in the Court has always been, I assume, that Dobbs will be the last opinion issued on the last day of the Court’s operations this year, likely at the end of June (possibly at the beginning of July). I doubt they’re going to rush it out, giving the dissent a chance to say that its arguments weren’t even considered.

This creates a fraught time in the interim. Glenn Youngkin and Larry Hogan have both asked the Justice Department to enforce a law that prevents people from picketing outside the justices’ homes:

Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin revealed on “Your World” Wednesday that he and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to prosecute those demonstrating outside the homes of Supreme Court justices over an anticipated ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to a copy of the letter obtained by Fox News, Youngkin and Hogan called on Garland to “provide appropriate resources to safeguard the justices and enforce the law as it is written.” Both Republican governors offered their respective states’ assistance to secure the justices’ homes, but said they need Garland and the Department of Justice to “to take the lead.”

“There is simply too much at stake,” the last line of the two-page letter reads.

There sure is. I remain very worried about the volatile situation these home protests are causing, and the potential for deadly violence. The Justice Department needs to act.

5/12/2022

Biden’s Disinformation Director: Hey, Verified Twitter Users Should Edit Other People’s Tweets!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:13 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Because that blue check indiciates trustworthiness, knowledge, and expertise or something:

Nina Jankowicz — whose appointment as director of the new Disinformation Governance Board in the Department of Homeland Security has stoked concerns about government censorship — told participants in a recent Zoom chat that she is “verified” by Twitter before adding that “there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be verified, who aren’t legit” because “they’re not trustworthy.”

She then adds: “Verified people can essentially start to ‘edit’ Twitter [in] the same sort of way that Wikipedia is so they can add context to certain tweets.”

Jankowicz then offered up a hypothetical.

“If President [Donald] Trump were still on Twitter and tweeted a claim about voter fraud, someone could add context from one of the 60 lawsuits that went through the court or something that an election official said…so that people have a fuller picture rather than just an individual claim on a tweet,” she said.

Doesn’t the Director of Disinformation know that the Twitter comment section already exists where any user can respond to a specific tweet with their own thoughts? This just sounds like a government official is suggesting that a private company’s levers of power be in control of the government and a select group of pre-approved, trustworthy blue-checked individuals. How is this not absolutely ridiculous? And what happens when the other side of the aisle takes the White House and installs their own “trustworthy” editors? Would Jankowicz be okay with, oh, I don’t know…Trump Jr. editing one of her tweets??

I’ll leave you with a tiny list of some notable, random blue-checks on Twitter. How’d you like them to edit your tweets, or anyone else’s?

Leonardo DiCaprio
RudyGiuliani
Mike Cernovich
Britney Spears
Hillary Clinton
Marjorie Taylor Green
Brian Stelter
Whoopi Goldberg
Donald Trump Jr.

–Dana

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