Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
First news item
MTG explains the co-opting of the Republican Party :
1. There are a lot of people that need to hear this.
We Conservatives in the @HouseGOP aren’t the fringe.
We actually represent the base of Republican voters, which is approximately 70%.
And when the party learns to represent Conservative Americans, we will never lose again.
2. All the so called political experts always push Republicans to the middle to get the “swing voters.”
All that has done is create the Uniparty, which has led us to this disaster.
Do you want to know why Trump is the most popular Republican in history?
3. Because he appeals to the common man and woman.
You can’t fool them, they see through the bull-shitters.
When Republicans learn how to truly represent the workers, traditional families, & restore rural America with #AmericaFirst policies then the party will earn their vote.
Second news item
“I just want to tell you Officer Brown, you’re taking money out of my kids’ mouths,” Stephen Lara said as Nevada Highway Patrol officers confiscated his life savings.
Police pulled over Lara near Reno on February 19. After he consented to a search, the officers discovered nearly $90,000 in bundled cash in Lara’s backpack. Although Lara was not arrested or charged with a crime, the officers claimed the money was drug trafficking proceeds and seized through a practice known as civil asset forfeiture.
It was only after Lara sued the DEA for blowing its deadline to either give him his cash back or file a forfeiture case against it in federal court, and only after The Washington Post post reported on his case, that the government agreed to return his money. Lara is still pursuing lawsuits against the DEA and the Nevada Highway Patrol.
“I find it even more concerning that if this could happen to me, as a combat veteran who served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, this could happen to anybody,” Lara says in the Institute for Justice video.
This, even though the report notes that the officers said there is nothing illegal about carrying large amounts of cash:
“So, as you know, right—I’m a vet, he’s a vet, you’re a vet—it’s not illegal to carry currency or have currency,” the officer says. “It does make us ask questions about why someone has $100,000. I can understand why someone doesn’t trust banks in this day and age.”
“I have nothing to hide from you,” Lara responded. In fact, he had years of bank receipts documenting cash withdrawals.
Video at the link.
Third news item
Discussing China, and the West’s increasing concern over tennis star Peng Shuai, sports commentator Bob Costas criticizes the IOC for being bed with China, and their affinity for the authorian regime. He also calls out Nike, the NBA, and others who have lucrative deals with China and remain silent in the face of CCP’s human rights abuses:
'The IOC is in bed with China.' Legendary sportscaster Bob Costas explains why the Olympic Committee is so soft with Beijing as fears grow over the safety of tennis star Peng Shuai pic.twitter.com/2MChIKWkQu
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) December 2, 2021
Interestingly, back in 1996, Costas found himself in hot water for making similar comments during the Olympic opening ceremonies:
“Every economic power including the United States wants to tap into that huge potential market, but of course there are problems with human rights, property rights disputes, the threat posed to Taiwan.″
NBC ended up apologizing to China for his comments.
Fourth news item
If Alec Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger, then how did the bullet from the gun that he was holding kill the cinematographer?:
When Stephanopoulos pointed out that it wasn’t in the script for the trigger to be pulled, Baldwin replied, “Well, the trigger wasn’t pulled. I didn’t pull the trigger.”
“So you never pulled the trigger?” Stephanopoulos responded.
“No, no, no, no, no,” Baldwin said. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them. Never.”
His claims don’t necessarily line up with those who were there when the incident happened:
…according to search warrant affidavits released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, after authorities arrived on the scene the day of the shooting, Oct. 21, they wrote that “the prop-gun was fired by the Actor Alec Baldwin.” From the hospital, Souza also told investigators that Baldwin had been sitting in a pew in the building and was practicing a cross draw when suddenly there was a “whip and then a loud pop.”
Mamie Mitchell, the script supervisor who was standing 4 feet away from Baldwin and called 911 to report the shooting, said in a lawsuit that the actor “intentionally, without just cause or excuse, cocked and fired the loaded gun even though the upcoming scene to be filmed did not call for the cocking and firing of a firearm.” According to her complaint, the script did not call for the gun to be discharged.
While Stephen Gutkowski says it’s possible Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger,
In Baldwin’s case, though, the claim is at least somewhat more believable. That’s because the gun involved is more prone to firing without the trigger being pulled. And, even though it’s a modern replica of an antique design, it’s possible it did not include modern safety devices.
However, a single-action revolver with the old-style firing mechanism can fire without either the hammer being cocked or the trigger being pulled. When the hammer is down on that kind of revolver, the firing pin protrudes and, if a live round is loaded in the chamber underneath, a sharp enough jolt can cause the pin to strike the round’s primer with enough force to set it off.
…it’s hard to square that with what he said later in the interview:
Baldwin claims he acted at the direction of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins when he accidentally shot and killed her.
“I cock the gun. I go, ‘Can you see that? Can you see that? Can you see that?’” Baldwin told ABC. “And then I let go of the hammer of the gun, and the gun goes off. I let go of the hammer of the gun, the gun goes off.”
This version of events is even more difficult to square with the idea that Baldwin never pulled the trigger.
When the hammer is pulled back on a single-action revolver a series of sears on engaged which prevent it from moving back towards the chamber without the trigger being depressed. There are scenarios where the gun might be able to fire after the hammer is pulled back but without the trigger being pulled. However, they’re even more unlikely than a misfire with the hammer all the way down.
Fifth news item
Saving a nine-year-old child bride in Afghanistan:
Driving through a snow-capped mountain pass, the young mother huddles together with her six children in the backseat of a car after leaving their makeshift camp in northwestern Afghanistan.
Carrying only a blanket for warmth, 9-year-old Parwana Malik balances on her mother’s lap beside her siblings, as the family is rescued by an aid group that saves girls from child marriage.
“I am really happy,” Parwana said during the journey. “The (charity) rid me from my husband and my husband is old.”
At the time, Parwana’s father Abdul Malik said she cried day and night before, begging him not to sell her, saying she wanted to go to school and study instead…
Even before the Taliban took over, hunger was rife in the impoverished country, and now young girls are paying the price with their bodies — and their lives.
“Afghan young girls (are) becoming the price of food,” leading Afghan women’s rights activist Mahbouba Seraj told CNN. “Because otherwise their family will starve.”
Heartbreaking and horrible:
Seraj said…that some girls forced into marriage die during childbirth because their bodies are too small to cope. “Some of them can’t take it. They mostly die pretty young.”
Sixth news item
A prosecutor filed involuntary manslaughter charges Friday against the parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan High School.
James and Jennifer Crumbley were charged with four counts each of involuntary manslaughter.
The semi-automatic gun used in the shooting was purchased legally by Crumbley’s father last week, according to investigators.
“The parents were the only individuals in the position to know the access to weapons,” Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said Thursday. The gun “seems to have been just freely available to that individual.”
She said then that the parents’ actions went “far beyond negligence.”
Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with two dozen crimes, including murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Seventh news item
NIKKI HALEY finally landed a one-on-one with DONALD TRUMP after he rejected her request for a sit-down in February, following her condemnation of his actions on Jan. 6. While Haley faced the prospect of being one of Trump’s sworn enemies ahead of a potential 2024 presidential campaign, she praised him during a recent speech in Iowa and said she won’t challenge him in a primary (something Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS hasn’t done).
So last week, nearly 10 months after the first snub, Trump finally granted her a visit to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring. “He doesn’t see the point in making enemies,” a source close to Trump said, adding that the former president is still skeptical of Haley because of her back-and-forth statements about him. “He likes teasing people,” another aide said.
Eighth news item
A Hawaii man has tested positive for the super-mutated Omicron variant of the coronavirus despite having no history of traveling outside the state. It brings the number of cases detected in the U.S. to at least eight. The man in Oahu is aged under 65, previously had COVID, and is only experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. However, the fact he hadn’t left the state indicated that Omicron has been widely circulating in the community for a while.
Norwegian officials said at least 50 people have been infected with the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported
Officials said on Thursday the new cases were connected to a company’s holiday party at a restaurant in the capital of Oslo.
Via the New York Times, you can see which state/country have current cases of the Omicron variant:
Ninth news item
Playing politics during a genocide:
This week, a private U.K.-based investigative panel released what it says are classified Chinese government documents that appear to show how Chinese President Xi Jinping personally laid the groundwork for the systematic forced assimilation of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. It’s the most damning proof to date of the ongoing Uyghur genocide. So why can’t Congress pass a simple bill to stop the products connected to that genocide from ending up in U.S. homes and businesses?
Yet the Democrat-led Congress can’t seem to get the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which passed the Senate unanimously in July, to President Biden’s desk. Pointing to procedural issues and promises of future action, Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate can’t seem to agree on a strategy to pass the bill through both chambers, despite publicly claiming they support it.
On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the co-sponsor of the Senate’s version of the bill, pushed to add it as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation. Senate Democrats objected under a procedural rule that bars amendments that affect appropriations. Rubio called that a dodge.
“This is about the fact that they don’t want this bill to pass over at the House,” Rubio said on the Senate floor, referring directly to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Rubio also said U.S. corporations that profit from forced labor in China, such as Apple and Nike, have been lobbying against the bill, which is true.
Meanwhile, Biden administration officials have been quietly telling lawmakers to slow down. Administration sources confirmed that in an October call between Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the other co-sponsor, Sherman made it clear that the administration prefers a more targeted and deliberative approach to determining which goods are the products of forced labor. She also told Merkley that getting allied buy-in was critical and more effective than unilateral action.
“To be clear, the Department of State is not opposing this amendment,” a State Department spokesman told me. “We share the Congress’ concerns about forced labor in Xinjiang.”
In other words, while the administration supports the legislation in public, they are asking Democrats to essentially water it down in private. Sherman’s specific criticism relates to a part of the bill that would require a presumption that all products coming from Xinjiang are tainted by forced labor unless the importer can prove otherwise. This happens to be the exact provision corporations are also objecting to. Maybe it’s a coincidence.
Tenth news item
Whatever the rules are, they should be applied equally across the board, and it should not matter who is behind the wheel, or who the victims are. No matter what anyone’s race, religion, sex, or favorite ice cream flavor is, reporters just need to report the known facts, clean and simple. But, as a point of fact, SUVs are unable to make a decision to plow into a crowd:
CNN was the center of intense backlash on Sunday over a tweet suggesting that the SUV involved in the Waukesha parade attack was responsible for the massacre that resulted in six deaths.
Darrell Brooks was charged with intentional homicide after driving his red SUV through a crowded street commemorating the holiday season, claiming six lives of those ages 8 to 81 and injuring dozens more.
On Sunday however, CNN appeared to place the responsibility on Brooks’ vehicle, making no mention of the career criminal behind the wheel.
A rising star among the UK’s passionate “detectorist” community has found a buried hoard of 65 objects, many of which are bronze axes.
It’s being called a once-in-a-lifetime find, one which had to be handled by archeologists, and which is now undergoing the British government’s Treasure Review to determine if the nation will purchase the artifacts.
Milly Hardwick from Suffolk was out detecting in a field with her dad Colin, when the 13-year-old made the find.
“It was my third time out and I didn’t quite know what I was doing,” Milly told the BBC. “I got a signal and yelled at my dad and when he started digging he went ‘this could be an axe’, and he was joking around about it.”
It’s thought the axes and other objects, 65 in total, date from around 1,300 BCE. After finding the first 20, the father-daughter team had to cover the site back up until archeologists could come the next day.
Have a great weekend.