[guest post by Dana]
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Hello and happy Friday! Here are a few news items to chew over. Please feel free to add your own in the comments section (but first read the note above regarding the still not fully functional comments section). Make sure you include links to your news items.
First news item
[D]despite everything we know about what took place on January 6, 2021—namely, a violent insurrection led by Trump supporters that left several people dead—Trump told Dawsey that he remains hugely regretful that he was unable to march with the rioters to the Capitol, where they laid siege to the building in the hopes of blocking the certification of Joe Biden’s win. “Secret Service said I couldn’t go. I would have gone there in a minute,” he said. He also said he had no regrets whatsoever about having invited his followers to come to Washington in the first place via a tweet telling them things would “be wild!” and falsely claimed that he urged only peace and patriotism. (In fact, he told the group assembled to “fight like hell,” filled their heads with lies about the election having been stolen, and repeatedly threatened Mike Pence—which, and we’re just theorizing here, may have led to the rioters’ “hang Mike Pence” chants at the Capitol.)
… Trump also complained to Dawsey that he didn’t get enough credit for the sheer number of people at the rally that preceded the insurrection…“The crowd was far bigger than I even thought. I believe it was the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to. I don’t know what that means, but you see very few pictures. They don’t want to show pictures, the fake news doesn’t want to show pictures,” Trump insisted. “But this was a tremendous crowd.”
And apparently forgetting that *he* was the President of the United States, Trump blamed Pelosi for the violence:
As for the violence that subsequently went down, which Trump still claims he didn‘t cause, he’d like people to know that it was actually Nancy Pelosi’s fault. “I thought it was a shame, and I kept asking why isn’t she doing something about it?” Trump said… “Why isn’t Nancy Pelosi doing something about it? And the mayor of D.C. also. The mayor of D.C. and Nancy Pelosi are in charge. I hated seeing it. I hated seeing it. And I said, ‘It’s got to be taken care of,’ and I assumed they were taking care of it.” As Dawsey notes, Pelosi shares control of the Capitol with the Senate majority leader, and “most decisions on securing the Capitol are made by a police board.“ In a statement, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi, told the Post: “The former president’s desperate lies aside, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the U.S. Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell.”
And yet more selective memory from another former president. First this:
Former President Obama shares his thoughts on Putin's invasion of Ukraine at a University of Chicago lecture:
"He was always ruthless. You witnessed what he did it Chechnya. He had no qualms about crushing those who he considered a threat." pic.twitter.com/Gc1UP2zPzu
— The Recount (@therecount) April 7, 2022
What he appears to have forgotten:
In 2012, President Obama mocked Mitt Romney for calling Russia a geopolitical foe. pic.twitter.com/Joyc6ubbGQ
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) December 30, 2016
And the media seems to have forgotten their pile-on of Romney as well. Here are a few examples:
CNN would even fact-check this claim after President Obama’s debate zinger. pic.twitter.com/y6Uuj9BRKe
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) February 23, 2022
But CNN was just the tip of the iceberg.@nytimes said that Romney’s “adversarial view” has stirred debate and drawn “raised eyebrows” from across the political spectrum from many who “suggested that Mr. Romney was misguidedly stuck in a Cold War mind-set.” pic.twitter.com/yt7OXeHkbV
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) February 23, 2022
Anyway, you get the picture.
Second news item
A suspect arrested in connection with last weekend’s mass shooting outside bars in Sacramento served less than half his 10-year sentence because of voter-approved changes to state law that lessened the punishment for his felony convictions and provided a chance for earlier release.
Smiley Allen Martin was freed in February after serving time for punching a girlfriend, dragging her from her home by her hair and whipping her with a belt, according to court and prison records.
Those count as nonviolent offenses under California law, which considers only about two dozen crimes to be violent felonies — such as murder, rape, arson and kidnapping.
Martin, 27, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and possession of a machine gun. He is among the 12 people wounded during Sunday’s shooting, which killed six others.
Third news item
Checking on the mental health of a Republicans Congresswoman (via Jimmy Kimmel):
“What a day—I have to tell you. What a night and what a day. I have the weirdest life. I really do. Once again, I find myself in the middle of a brouhaha, as I appear to have run afoul of probably the worst woman in American politics,” Kimmel said on Thursday night. “Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congressperson from the 14th District of Georgia, is unhappy. She’s specifically unhappy with me.”
The host then rehashed the joke that he told on Tuesday night, explaining that Greene called every Democrat and three Republican senators — Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) — who voted in favor of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson “pro-pedophile.”
“Any Senator voting to confirm #KJB is pro-pedophile just like she is,” Greene wrote in a tweet, later calling out the three Republicans by name.
“Murkowski, Collins, and Romney are pro-pedophile,” she added in another tweet. “They just voted for #KBJ.”
After sharing the tweet with his audience, Kimmel joked, “Wow, where is Will Smith when you really need him?”
Marge wasn’t having it:
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) April 6, 2022
So, in answer to the question of whether the Republican Party has come to its senses yet, the answer is a firm no.
Fourth news item
And speaking of former presidents and the current state of the GOP, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to believe in party before all else, no matter what that “all else” might be:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has again said he’d back Donald Trump if the former president were to win the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, citing an “obligation” to support the party’s nominee.
McConnell reiterated his stance on Trump’s candidacy — which he first disclosed early last year — in an interview with the Axios journalist Jonathan Swan this week.
“Help me understand this. I watched your speech last year in February on the Senate floor after the second impeachment vote for Donald Trump. And it was an extraordinary speech,” Swan said, referring to a February 13, 2021, speech from McConnell.
“You spoke very powerfully against the most powerful figure in the party, the president. And you said Donald Trump’s actions preceding the January 6 insurrection were a — quote — disgraceful dereliction of duty and that he was practically morally responsible, your words, for provoking the events of that day,” Swan added. “How do you go from saying that to two weeks later saying you’d absolutely support Donald Trump if he’s the Republican nominee in 2024?”
McConnell responded that it should not be “a front-page headline” that he as the Senate GOP leader would support the Republican nominee.
“I think I have an obligation to support the nominee of my party,” McConnell said. “That will mean that whoever the nominee is has gone out and earned the nomination.”
“It’s not at all inconsistent,” he added. “I stand by everything I said about January 6 and everything on February 13.”
He continued: “I don’t get to pick the Republican nominee for president. They’re elected by the Republican voters all over the country.”
Apparently, there is no line too far for McConnell:
“I’m actually trying to understand. Is there any threshold for you?” Swan pressed.
“You know, I say many things I’m sure people don’t understand,” McConnell said.
Fifth news item
While testifying before the House Budget Committee yesterday, Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary Xavier Becerra affirmed that yes, his department was in favor of taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgeries for minors. “So for the record, you favor HHS funding . . . for sex-reassignment surgeries for minors?” Lauren Boebert, (R, Colo.) asked. Becerra answered:
I will do everything I can to defend any American, including children, whether or not they fit the categories you have mentioned or not. And if they talk about gender-affirming care, I am there to protect the rights of any American.
"For the record, you favor HHS' funding being [used for] sex reassignment surgeries on minors?"
BIDEN'S HHS SECRETARY: Yes pic.twitter.com/dN1E2652s2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) April 6, 2022
Gender-affirming care is a supportive form of healthcare. It consists of an array of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services for transgender and nonbinary people.
For transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, early gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being as it allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence while navigating the healthcare system.
What might “gender-affirming care” include? Consider these:
Social Affirmation: Adopting gender-affirming hairstyles, clothing, name, gender pronouns, and restrooms and other facilities
When: At any age or stage. Reversible
Puberty Blockers: Using certain types of hormones to pause pubertal development
When: During puberty. Reversible.
Hormone Therapy: Testosterone hormones for those who were assigned female at birth Estrogen hormones for those who were assigned male at birth
When: Early adolescence onward. Partially reversible
“Top” surgery – to create male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts
“Bottom” surgery – surgery on genitals or reproductive organs
Facial feminization or other procedures
When: Typically used in adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence. Not reversible.
This is awful. Children and adolescents with gender dysphoria certainly need proper care and support. But puberty blocking is not benign and can lead to adverse medical issues such as reduced bone density — which is why it is no longer recommended in the U.K. and Finland, for example.
Mutilating surgeries on genitals and breasts of minors should be off the table altogether. They are irreversible, result in sterilization when of the genitals, and remove healthy organs.
Sixth news item
The Kremlin doesn’t want the bodies of their dead soldiers because why confirm the devastating extent of their losses?:
Ukraine has about 7,000 unclaimed Russian corpses in morgues and refrigerated rail cars, according to Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the head of Ukraine’s presidential administration. He said his government’s figure of 18,600 Russian dead was based on Ukrainian reports from the battlefield and intercepted Russian military communications.
Ukraine tried to return the bodies of 3,000 Russian service members on the third day of the war, he said. “They said, ‘We don’t believe in such quantities. We don’t have this number. We’re not ready to accept them.’ ” Ukraine proposed an exchange several times, he said, but “they won’t discuss this at all yet.”…
Keir Giles of the London-based think tank Chatham House said the difference between Western and Russian military attitudes about their war dead was “night and day … in exactly the same way as their attitude to civilian casualties and collateral damage is utterly unrecognizable from how Western militaries operate.”
Seventh news item
When the Biden Administration announced on Friday that it will end Title 42, a controversial pandemic-era measure that has been used to conduct nearly two million expulsions of migrants since March 2020, both Republicans and centrist Democrats in Washington have been quick to sound the alarm, blaming the President for what they predict will be an influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A group of five Democratic and six Republican senators are expected to introduce a new bill Thursday calling on President Biden to come up with a plan to prevent a wave of migration before ending Title 42—the latest in a series of announcements this week criticizing the Administration’s decision.
Eighth news item
In his nightly address on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in the town of Borodyanka is “much worse” than in Bucha.
Ukrainian authorities said on Thursday they pulled 26 bodies out of the rubble in Borodyanka, where residents say Russian forces would not allow rescue attempts and many people were buried alive.
“The work on dismantling the debris in Borodyanka began. … It’s much worse there,” Zelensky said in his Thursday address. “Even more victims of the Russian occupiers.”
Borodyanka. A woman waits for her family to be unearthed from under the rubble. Occupiers did not allow local residents to dismantle houses they destroyed during the assault. According to local residents, judging by the groans, many of those buried alive were dying for a week. pic.twitter.com/TsG41G0MWr
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 7, 2022
"This definitely had us tearing up. So proud of our miracle boy." 💙
📹: themillerfam on Instagram pic.twitter.com/t4Ng9yXRst
— Some Good News (@somegoodnews) April 7, 2022
Have a great weekend!