[guest post by Dana]
First news item
Trump’s shortlist for VP, confirmed by the man-child himself: Byron Donalds, Tulsi Gabbard, Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, and Vivek Ramaswamy.
DeSantis said he is not interested in the position.
Second news item
Florida bill banning social media use for under age 16 headed to governor’s desk:
The text of the bill creates a new section in the Florida Statutes that requires social media platforms to prohibit minors who are younger than 16 years old from creating accounts, to “use reasonable age verification methods to verify the age of each account holder,” and to provide a disclaimer warning about social media being “harmful to mental health” and using “design features that have addictive qualities.” Violations of the law, if passed, would be deemed “an unfair and deceptive trade practice” and the state government can collect a civil penalty of up to $50,000 per violation. If a minor account holder asks for their account to be deleted, or a parent or legal guardian asks for a minor’s account to be deleted, and the platform does not comply with the request within the statutory deadline (5 or 10 days, respectively), it would be liable for $10,000 per violation, plus court costs and attorney fees.
Concerns about First Amendment violations include: parents, not government should be making these decisions for their kids, parents are having the choice to decide taken away from them, the bill deplatforms young people.
The specific mechanism of HB-1 of requiring users to upload personal IDs, documents, and other information “would cause manifest cybersecurity vulnerabilities, it would violate the First Amendment many times over according to established precedent, and it would just waste taxpayer money,” she argued. “Preventing minors from accessing social media and requiring age verification means that all users in Florida will have to upload government IDs, face scans, social security numbers or other invasive means to endless platforms including TikTok, which many believe is a cybersecurity risk. Age verification is identity verification particularly when a parent needs to approve a child’s use. The parent has to prove they are not only an adult, but the parent to the specific child.”
Gov. DeSantis also thinks it has problems:
“I’m sympathetic to, as a parent, what’s going on with our youth,” DeSantis said at a press conference last month, according to WFLA. “But I also understand that to just say that someone that’s 15 just cannot have it no matter what, even if the parent consents, that may create some legal issues.”
Third news item
President Zelensky was interviewed by reporter Bret Baier, who asked the Ukrainian leader if he had heard Tucker Carlson’s interview with President Putin:
“I heard some messages in the media, and also my guys who are advisers told me. . .I don’t have time to hear more than two hours of bullshit about us. About the world, about the United States, about our relations.”
And on a serious note:
BAIER: So as you look at 2024 and those goals, what do you see? You know, one, if you get the funding from the U.S., what does it look like? And the other way, if you don’t, what does it look like?
ZELENSKY: Some journalist shouted, “Will Ukrainians survive without Congress support?” And this often the last months, as I often hear such question Will we survive? Of course, but not all of us. And if we understand this surprise, if the world is ready for this, okay, you will see it. But it’s tragedy. It will be tragedy for all of us, not only for Ukraine, not only for Ukrainians, for all Europe.
Meanwhile, frustrated by the GOP’s lack of vote to aid Ukraine, other avenues are being considered by Democrats:
House Democrats and some Republicans are preparing fallback plans to force a vote on Ukraine aid, with Democratic leaders drafting a special rule that could enable a narrow bipartisan majority to bypass Speaker Mike Johnson (R., La.) in the coming weeks.
The plans to use rare parliamentary procedures are in the early stages and might never come into play – Democrats preference is for Speaker Johnson to allow a vote on the Senate’s $95 billion bill. . .
According to Pascrell (D-N.J.), Democrats will indeed “bring Ukraine funding to the House floor”.
Fourth news item
No exceptions for girls under 13:
A bill that would have allowed physicians to give children under 13 years old abortion care, as long as the physicians are licensed and check the child’s age, failed in a House subcommittee on Tuesday.
The bill, HB 2603, was introduced by Rep. Gloria Johnson (D – Knoxville). The bill would have ensured physicians could not face prosecution if they gave abortion care to a pregnant child who was under 13 years old. They would have been required to verify the child’s age before giving abortion care.
“This bill, HB 2603, if passed would codify the right to potentially life-saving abortions for anyone under the age of 13. In current Tennessee law, no child under the age of 13 can legally consent to sex, so this bill simply protects these children, all of whom were impregnated by rape,” said Johnson.
Republican objections to the bill were summed up as follows:
Rep. Michele Carringer (R – Knoxville) said according to the language of the bill, children could get abortion care at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason, without the need for a medical emergency or necessity.
“The thing I truly have problem with is, this is any time during the pregnancy. This could be right up to the day before they would deliver the child, without any medical problems or anything,” said Carringer.
“This bill provides no exceptions of two 13-year-olds having sex and becoming pregnant,” he said. “It makes the assumption that every 13-year-old becomes pregnant from other means other than, I mean you could have two 13-year-olds having sex, or 13 and 14-year-olds having sex, or 13 and 15-year-olds having sex and becoming pregnant. Your bill provides no, I mean it’s just, I’m just taken back at how this bill reads.”
The concerns were addressed:
Johnson said the bill does not include 13-year-olds because she said 13-year-olds can legally consent to sex, but 12-year-olds cannot consent to sex in any way. In Tennessee law, age can mitigate statutory rape charges. It’s known as a Romeo and Juliet law, and several other states have similar laws.
“This just deals with a pregnant 12-year-old, 11-year-old, 10-year-old, 9-year-old,” she said. “This is just to allow a child and their family to protect that child from losing their childhood, and losing their life.”
As it stands, young girls – children -who have been raped will be compelled to go through with the resulting pregnancy, no matter how much it threatens their physical health, or emotional and mental well-being.
Fifth news item
Taking his colleagues to the woodshed:
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) on Wednesday criticized his Republican colleagues for using a former FBI informant’s claims in their impeachment inquiry even though the statements hadn’t been verified.
“We were warned at the time that we received the document outlining this witness’s testimony. … We were warned that the credibility of this statement was not known,” Buck said on CNN’s “The Source.”
“And yet, people, my colleagues went out and talk to the public about how this was credible and how it was damning and how it proved President Biden’s — at the time Vice President Biden’s — complicity in receiving bribes,” he added.
Sixth news item
Prime Minister Netanyahu said no:
Israeli lawmakers voted on Wednesday to back Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rejection of any “unilateral” recognition of a Palestinian state as international calls have grown for the revival of Palestinian statehood negotiations.
Issued amid the war in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, the symbolic declaration also received backing from members of the opposition, with 99 of 120 lawmakers voting in support, the Knesset spokesperson said.
The vote drew condemnation from the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, which accused Israel of holding the rights of the Palestinian people hostage by forceful occupation of territories where Palestinians seek to establish a state.
“The ministry reaffirms that the State of Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations and its recognition by other nations does not require permission from Netanyahu,” it said in a statement.
Seventh news item
It is not possible to take the Republican Party seriously:
MAGA supporter Jack Prosobiec addresses audience at this year’s CPAC. I believe he is saying the quiet part out loud – and what he is proclaiming is worrisome, at the very least:
And then there is this, which mocks the insurrection of Jan. 6:
The game can be played over several modes, including “Stop the Steal,” “Fake News,” “Peaceful Protest,” “It’s a Setup,” “Babbitt Murder” — a reference to the Jan. 6 rioter who was shot and killed by police after trying to climb barriers at the Capitol — “Have Faith” and “Political Prisoners.” As you play each mode, videos from the insurrection play on a screen above.
Eighth news item
Even in death, Putin fears the power and draw of Alexei Navalny:
A spokeswoman for the late Alexei Navalny said on Friday that Russian authorities had told his mother he would be buried in the penal colony where he died unless she agreed within three hours to lay him to rest without a public funeral…
His mother Lyudmila, 69, has been demanding for days that authorities hand over his body to be buried in a way that will allow his friends, family and supporters to pay their respects. Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh posted on X: “An hour ago, an investigator called Alexei’s mother and gave her an ultimatum. Either she agrees within three hours to a secret funeral without a public farewell, or Alexei will be buried in the penal colony.”
Yarmysh said Navalny’s mother was refusing and continuing to demand that his body be handed to her. There was no immediate comment from the authorities.
Keep bullying and intimidating an older woman who is grieving the loss of her son. It’s a great look before an election. You can almost hear Putin seething and smarting behind closed doors, “Will no one rid me of this hero to the people.” Keep on pushing Navalny’s mother like this and you just keep reinforcing to the Russian people what a hero and now martyr Alexei Navalny is.
Ninth news item
State Dept. overturns Pompeo doctrine in the middle of the war:
Secretary of State Tony Blinken said on Friday that Israeli settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank is “inconsistent with international law,” reversing a Trump-era decision that had overturned decades of U.S. policy on the issue.
…Blinken’s decision to reverse what has been known as the “Pompeo doctrine” comes as a response to the Israeli government’s announcement on Thursday that it plans to expand the settlements in the West Bank, a U.S. official told Axios. The move has been considered by the State Department for the last three years.
“We are disappointed with the announcement [of new settlements]. It has been a long-standing policy of both Democratic and Republican administrations that new settlements are counterproductive to achieving enduring peace. They are also inconsistent with international law,” Blinken said.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman criticized the decision:
Curious that President Biden has allowed the Pompeo doctrine to remain in place for three years until now. Also, how wise is it to antagonize one of our closest allies while they are in the…middle of a war??