Patterico's Pontifications

7/29/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:20 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s start the Weekend Open Thread with a funny first news item!

On manhood or some such jibber-jabber:

Related:

Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley is writing a book called “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues Americans Need,” building off a speech he gave at a conservative conference claiming the political left is waging a war on masculinity. “The American Founders believed that a republic depends on certain masculine virtues,” the book’s description on Amazon says. “Senator Josh Hawley thinks they were right. In a bold new book, he calls on American men to stand up and embrace their God-given responsibility as husbands, fathers, and citizens.” His office did not respond to a request for comment. The book’s announcement comes after Hawley was mocked by the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, which showed a video of him running out of the U.S. Senate chamber as lawmakers, reporters and staff were being evacuated.

Second news item

Yet another case of disappearing text messages:

Text messages for Donald Trump’s top homeland security officials in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol are missing, according to the Washington Post. Citing internal emails and four anonymous sources, the outlet claims that texts from Trump’s acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, and acting deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli, in a critical period before January 6, 2021, have vanished. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly informed the agency’s inspector general in February that the data was irretrievably lost in a government phone “reset” after they left their positions in January last year.

Third news item

China warns President Biden:

Beijing’s statement on the call warned in reference to Taiwan that “those who play with fire will perish by it.” A senior U.S. official briefing reporters on the call wouldn’t confirm whether Xi used that exact language, but confirmed the leaders discussed their “differences” over Taiwan.

…It’s no surprise that Taiwan was top of the agenda, with Beijing threatening “serious consequences” if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi follows through on a planned visit to the self-governing island.

The Chinese government has repeatedly vowed to take control of the island, by force if necessary, and it reacts furiously to any gesture that seems to treat Taiwan as an independent state. The senior administration official declined to say whether and how Pelosi’s potential visit was discussed on the call. But the official did say that Beijing and Washington had “managed” their differences over Taiwan for over 40 years.

The official confirmed that Biden told Xi the U.S. maintains its “One China Policy,” while stressing that “the United States strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”

Fourth news item

Oh:

The White House responded to second-quarter negative GDP growth with a full slate of events and a well-coordinated message: Despite what everyone is saying, the U.S. economy is not in a recession.

President Joe Biden appeared in public twice Thursday, and both times he delivered the same carefully crafted remarks, contending that current low unemployment rates, coupled with new investments in manufacturing, make it impossible for the economy to be in a recession.

“Let me just give you what the facts are in terms of the state of the economy,” Biden said in a speech that was billed as remarks on the latest budget bill in Congress. “Number one, we have a record job market, and record unemployment of 3.6%, and businesses are investing in America at record rates.” He then listed several companies planning to build factories in the U.S. before concluding, “that doesn’t sound like a recession to me.”

I guess it depends on who the current POTUS is:

For a more detailed look at what makes a recession, look here.

Fifth news item

Best of luck on the uphill climb:

Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials announced on Wednesday a new national political third party to appeal to millions of voters they say are dismayed with what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.

The new party, called Forward and whose creation…will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. They hope the party will become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate U.S. politics, founding members told Reuters.

[…]

The new party is being formed by a merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a reaction to America’s increasingly polarized and gridlocked political system. The leaders cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed.

Related:

Politics is always a balancing act between strategy and sacrifice, calculation and compromise. Voting for Jorgensen or some other third-party candidate may seem tempting, or may even seem to have a certain logic to it. Like the Conscience Whigs before them, some Never Trump Republicans may feel themselves to be in a bind. Do they refuse to join the Biden coalition in the hopes of winning the longer war for the soul of conservatism? Do they ease their consciences by writing in Mitt Romney while effectively casting aside their votes? Do libertarians and other voters tempted by third-party candidates hold on to their purist convictions while knowing victory is impossible? Or do they compromise their principles to stop a man whom they have denounced as a threat to the very foundations of the republic? As frustrating as it may be, successful American politicking has always been coalitional.

Sixth news item

Protections for migrants crossing Southern border into the U.S.:

The Biden administration on Thursday authorized completion of the Trump-funded U.S.-Mexico border wall in an open area of southern Arizona near Yuma, where four wide gaps make it among the busiest corridors for illegal crossings.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that the work to complete the project near the Morelos Dam will better protect migrants who can get hurt slipping down a slope or drown walking through a low section of the Colorado River.

The area is the third busiest crossing for migrants who can easily walk across the river to surrender to border officials.

Related:

Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser has asked that the D.C. National Guard be activated indefinitely to help the district respond to an influx of illegal immigrants arriving by bus, according to a report.

Bowser’s request to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and President Joe Biden comes as more than 150 buses from Arizona and Texas have brought more than 5,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. in the past three months.

Buses began bringing migrants from Texas border communities in mid-April under instruction from Governor Greg Abbott. Texas has sent more than 125 buses to D.C. One month later, Arizona began sending buses as well.

“With pledges from Texas and Arizona to continue these abhorrent operations indefinitely, the situation is dire, and we consider this a humanitarian crisis — one that could overwhelm our social support network without immediate and sustained federal intervention,” Bowser wrote.

[…]

“This mission would begin as soon as possible and continue indefinitely until the city relieves them,” she said. “To be clear, I recognize the magnitude of this request. But the Governors of Texas and Arizona are making a political statement to the federal government, and instead, their actions are having direct impacts on city and regional resources in ways that are unsustainable.”

Pretty sure the governors of Texas and Arizona would agree that such direct impacts on city and regional resources are absolutely unsustainable.

Seventh news item

Rep. Liz Cheney is out with a new political ad that is brief and to the point. (I’m unable to link to the video, so for now, here is the text of the ad which is a compilation of her competitors’ comments at last month’s candidate debate):

HARRIET HAGEMAN: “We have serious questions about the 2020 election.”

*BUZZER*

ROBYN BELINSKY: “And when I talked to Mike Lindell he did say there was a small, small portion of voter fraud in this state.”

*BUZZER*

ANTHONY BOUCHARD: “The system to steer people. We know for a fact that all the major Internets do that.”

*BUZZER*

LIZ CHENEY: “We’ve got to elect serious leaders. We have to elect leaders who will take their oath of office seriously. Leaders who won’t simply say what they think people want to hear.”

*CHIME*

Meanwhile, Cheney’s campaign continues to receive big donations from Californians:

Californians have contributed more to Republican Rep. Liz Cheney than donors from any other state, including her Wyoming home, as the outspoken Trump critic faces an increasingly perilous reelection bid.

Many California donors, including Hollywood and Silicon Valley moguls, vehemently disagree with most of Cheney’s policies but applaud her fight against former President Trump’s false claim that he won the 2020 election.

Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and her prominent role as vice chair in televised House committee hearings into the attack have boosted her status nationally, even as they have hurt her in Wyoming, where she trails her GOP primary opponent by double digits. In heavily Democratic California, that has translated into donations totaling about $1.2 million.

And while Cheney trails Hageman by by 22 percentage, she remains resolute in her decision to hold Trump accountable and honor her oath to the Constitution:

“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the constitutional republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” Cheney said recently on CNN.

[Pre-emptive strike: This is not the same as Democrats putting money behind Trump-backed-MAGA-loyalist-election-denier-conspiracy-theorist candidates in order to be positioned to win more easily in November. Cheney is not an election-denier, nor did she try to overturn election results. To the contrary.]

Eighth news item

President Biden picking and choosing according to his stripes:

President Joe Biden on Friday nominated Julie Rikelman, who argued the case for the Mississippi clinic before the Supreme Court in the case that led to the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, for a post on an US appeals court.

Rikelman’s nomination comes a month after the Supreme Court ruled there is no longer a nationwide right to obtain an abortion. Rikelman represented the Mississippi clinic — the last in the state — that challenged a state law barring abortion after 15 weeks.
As part of his 24th round of judicial nominees, Biden nominated Rikelman for the Boston-based 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals.

[…]

Rikelman currently serves as senior litigation director for the Center for Reproductive Rights and is considered one of the best abortion rights attorneys in the country. Biden’s move suggests an effort to bolster the bench with an expert on the issue at a time when more than half the states are prepared to ban if not further restrict the procedure.

Ninth news item

Troglodyte: Before an audience of young Republicans, Rep. Matt Gaetz make use an opportunity to tout Republican women who have bravely come forward to testify under oath before the Jan. 6 Committee but instead chose to attack…womens’ physical appearances:

Because the subject of abortion is a joking matter to him, and I guess young Republicans too. Anyway, 1955 is calling and wants its sexist pig back.

Tenth news item

Hero:

The Lafayette police department in Louisiana shared a press release on their social media that recounted how a pizza delivery man saved five children from a house fire.

According to the press release issued Friday, Nick Bostic, 25, was driving past Union Street early Monday, when he noticed a house on fire.

He quickly parked near the house and entered it from the backdoor. He then called out to wake the house’s residents who he assumed might be unaware of the escalating fire. He found four children in the bedroom and woke them up. They all rushed outside, but then Bostic was told that a six-year-old was still inside.

Bostic stepped inside the house once again to look for the child. By the time he found the child, Bostic had inhaled much smoke. However, he managed to hold the child and jump out of a window. The child was unharmed and Bostic was flown to Indianapolis for treatment.

P.S. Josh Hawley and the Claremont Institute guy might want to take note here.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

7/28/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: Redefining Morality

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:23 am



What happened to you?

That is the question people who support Donald Trump like to ask of those of us who don’t.

But it’s the wrong question, as I explain in the latest newsletter:

The funny thing is: the very people who ask “what happened to you” seem not to realize that nothing happened to us . . . but that a very significant question remains:

What happened to them?

Because these people, who often (like the guy above) deny being Trump fans, are very obviously Trump fans. Or, if they are not, then they are the sort of non-Trump fans who never criticize Trump with vigor, always find a “whatabout” whenever Trump’s failings are discussed, and inevitably save their nastiest commentary for anyone who is a real Trump critic.

These people all voted for Trump, and will again. Nothing Trump has ever done really bothers them all that much. His immorality merits nothing more than a shrug. Were these people always this morally callous and disinterested?

What happened to them?

I suspect the answer is: nothing. This is how they always were. It just took Donald Trump to bring their true character into focus.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

P.S. I’m still working on the case law about the Independent State Legislature Doctrine. It’s interesting but kind of daunting.

7/27/2022

Hypocrisy Not A Winning Look For Democrats

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:07 pm



[guest post by Dana]

House Democrats are angry with the DCCC for putting money behind MAGA candidates in the GOP primaries to try and put in place what they see as a easier candidates to defeat in November:

A growing number of House Democrats are seething at their own campaign arm for meddling in a GOP primary to promote a pro-Trump election conspiracy theorist — after months of warning that such candidates were a threat to democracy.

In public statements, private chats and complaints taken directly to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Democratic members are aghast that the committee is spending nearly half a million dollars to air ads boosting Donald Trump-endorsed John Gibbs over Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), who voted to impeach Trump last year.

While Meijer is one of the few GOP lawmakers who voted to hold Trump accountable for his own false claims about the 2020 race, his blue-leaning seat is also a top Democratic target district this fall — and Gibbs is seen as an easier opponent to beat in November. The primary next Tuesday will kick off a three-month sprint to the general election.

Rep. Stephanie Murphy points to why this strategy is a problem:

“No race is worth compromising your values in that way”…

Democrats, like Murphy, fear the strategy could easily backfire, if a candidate like Gibbs were to win the general election amid a GOP wave — and the party also risks undercutting its own core message about the dangers of MAGA Republicans taking power. It could be harder for Democrats to claim that certain GOP candidates are an existential threat to the country if they are also using party money to push them closer to winning office.

A number of other Democrats have voiced their frustration about this “strategy,” citing the obvious danger if it backfires:

“Many of us are facing death threats over our efforts to tell the truth about Jan. 6. To have people boosting candidates telling the very kinds of lies that caused Jan. 6 and continues to put our democracy in danger, is just mind-blowing,” said Murphy, who is not seeking reelection this fall.

[…]

“It’s very dangerous, I think, in this environment to be propping up candidates like that,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), who called it “a terrible idea” and said he has raised his concerns to the DCCC.

“Of course, it could backfire. And that’s part of the reason why I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said. “Not only do I think it sends the wrong message, but it’s substantively risky.”

[…]

“It’s dishonorable, and it’s dangerous, and it’s just damn wrong,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who said his party was at risk of accelerating the loss of the remaining “truly honorable and courageous Republicans” like Meijer, who was one of just 10 in his party to impeach Trump last year.

[…]

“Dirty games like this are part and parcel of political campaigns. But when you talk about putting money behind candidates who want to come to Washington and destroy our democracy… it’s not a political, dirty trick anymore,” Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) said. “It’s unconscionable.”

This just seems like an unbelievably stupid risk taken by Democrats. If the plan backfires, it would not only be very problematic for the party, but also for the nation if Trump-backed election conspiracy theorists got elected to office. But, even if it went the way Democrats hope it will, the optics would still be seen as craven. Democrats have now exposed themselves as the lip-service only party when it comes to what is a threat to our democracy. Because either Democrats believe that Trump-backed election conspiracy theorists are a threat to democracy and do not belong in government (like they’ve repeatedly claimed), or they do – so much so that they’re willing to spend money to help them get there. And the latter message, ultimately, is that they are the party of massive hypocrites. There really isn’t a middle ground in this. That hypocrisy is a point of attack that Republicans will be able to make over and over again.

Anyway, here’s how Rep. Peter Meijer summed it up, and rightfully so:

I’m sick and tired of hearing the sanctimonious bullshit about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party.

Also, as I was unable to locate video of just Meijer’s full reaction to the Democrats’ hypocrisy, in which he find himself a target, here is an interesting panel discussion about the issue, which includes Meijer blasting Democrats for their “strategy”:

–Dana

AG: Anyone Criminally Responsible For Attempting to Interfere In Lawful Transfer of Power Will Be Held Accountable. Anyone…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:45 am



[guest post by Dana]

The Department of Justice is looking into Donald Trump’s conduct and conversations concerning efforts to overturn the 2020 election results:

Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before a grand jury — including two top aides to Vice President Mike Pence — have asked in recent days about conversations with Trump, his lawyers, and others in his inner circle who sought to substitute Trump allies for certified electors from some states Joe Biden won, according to two people familiar with the matter. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said.

According to the report, there are two possible avenues of investigation concerning the former president’s role surrounding Jan. 6:

The first centers on seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct a government proceeding, the type of charges already filed against individuals who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and on two leaders of far-right groups, Stewart Rhodes and Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who did not breach the Capitol but were allegedly involved in planning the day’s events.

The second involves potential fraud associated with the false-electors scheme or with pressure Trump and his allies allegedly put on the Justice Department and others to falsely claim that the election was rigged and votes were fraudulently cast.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland said in an interview this week that prosecuting Donald Trump and others for involvement surrounding Jan. 6 has not been ruled out:

“We pursue justice without fear or favor. We intend to hold everyone — anyone — who is criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6 or any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable,” Garland told NBC News’ Lester Holt… “That is what we do. We don’t pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.”

[…]

Pressed by Holt on whether a 2024 White House bid from Trump would change that, Garland maintained: “I will say again that we will hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.”

Meanwhile, Trump responded to the report just as you would expect him to:

“Just more disinformation by the Democrats, like the Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, the long running Mueller Report, which ended in No Collusion, and so much more,” Trump began a series of posts on his Truth Social platform. “Now that we have found the answers to these crooked, election changing events, why is the Justice Department not prosecuting those responsible? Plenty of time left!”

[…]

“People forget, this is all about a Rigged and Stolen Election,” Trump wrote Wednesday. “But rather than go after the people that Rigged and Stole it, they go after the people that are seeking Honesty and Truth, and have Freedom of Speech, and many other defenses, on their side! Justice Department should look at The Crime of the Century. Evidence is massive and irrefutable!!!”

Trump also went after Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his request that the official find him 11,000 votes:

“The Georgia phone calls were PERFECT,” Trump insisted.

“Many people and lawyers, on both sides, were knowingly on the one call, I assumed the call was taped, there were Zero complaints or angry ‘how dare you’ charges made during the call, and no ‘hang ups’ by anyone aggrieved or insulted at what was said. THEY WERE PERFECT CALLS.

“I was just doing my job as President, and seeking Fairness and the Truth,” he continued. “The Election was Rigged and Stolen!”

Sure you were.

–Dana

7/26/2022

The Best Evidence that the Dobbs Leaker Is Worried

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:47 am



I say “evidence” but what I actually have is speculation — hey, if you wanted truth in headlines you wouldn’t be on the Internet! But it’s educated speculation, by which I mean I think it’s right.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about how no progress is happening on the Supreme Court leak. The AP can’t even get the Court to confirm that the investigation is ongoing. But now we have this:

Well of course Roberts lobbied for his position. But the main thrust of this report — that the leak may have solidified the votes of the newer conservative justices — is totally unevidenced. It comes down to “Brett Kavanaugh is a nice guy and always says he will hear you out.” Here’s what I think: the effort to portray the leak as a strategic leak by a conservative, which I believe it is not, may indicate an effort at misdirecton from the lefty leaker.

I have as much evidence for my view as Biskupic has for hers. But I have the advantage of believing that I am right.

7/25/2022

GOP Representative Says Republicans Should Be Making the Party One of Christian Nationalism

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:39 pm



[guest post by Dana]

[Pressed for time so I’m going to do this quick post for you to chew on.]

Checking in with today’s Republican Party this weekend:

The Republican Party’s primary focus this year should be on making the political party one of Christian nationalism, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said Saturday.

“We need to be the party of nationalism and I’m a Christian, and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists,” [Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene] said in an interview with the conservative Next News Network while attending the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida.

…Greene said the Republican Party should conform to Christianity to make it easier to identify with and sway Christian voters.

“When Republicans learn to represent most of the people that vote for them, then we will be the party that continues to grow without having to chase down certain identities or chase down certain segments of people,” she said. “We just need to represent Americans and most Americans, no matter how they vote, really care about the same things and I want to see Republicans actually do their job.”

Also zeroing in on the theme of Christian nationalism at the Turning Point event was none other than Donald Trump:

Former President Donald Trump said during a speech on Saturday that “Americans kneel to God” alone, as the concept of Christian nationalism continues to gain traction among conservatives.

[…]

“We will not break, we will not yield, we will never give in, we will never give up, we will never, ever, ever back down. As long as we are confident and united, the tyrants we are fighting do not stand a chance,” Trump said. “Because we are Americans and Americans kneel to God, and God alone.”

Last year David French presented a compare and contrast of Christian nationalism vs. Christian patriotism:

I love this country, but I love it with eyes wide open. The aspirations of our founding have long been tempered by the brutal realities of our fallen nature. The same nation that stormed Normandy’s beaches to destroy a fascist empire simultaneously sustained a segregationist regime within its own borders. Our virtues do not negate our vices, and our vices do not negate our virtues. America isn’t 1619 or 1776. It’s 1619 and 1776.

What is Christian nationalism? It’s a deep emotional attachment to a particular and exclusive culture, a skewed version of history, and a false sense of “marked superiority” that must and will fade away.

What is Christian patriotism? To echo C.S. Lewis and George Washington, it’s a love of home and place and neighbor that does its best to fulfill the vision of peace and justice articulated by the prophet Micah so many long years ago—“Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.”

Anyway, this is where things currently stand in at least one wing of the GOP. Hopefully, this dangerous rhetoric will be shut down by party leadership and the party at large, but if Trump is still the de facto leader of the party, then we know there will be no cleanup on the right side of the aisle.

–Dana

7/22/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

First news item

Criminal probe opens after Secret Service deletes text messages:

The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog has opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of Secret Service phone text messages related to the days around the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The Secret Service was informed of the investigation Wednesday night by the office of the Inspector General of DHS, which said the probe is now criminal and that the agency had been ordered to stop internal investigations into the deleted text messages, NBC reported.

Second news item

House passes contraception bill with eight Republicans voting yes:

The House on Thursday passed legislation that would protect access to birth control, the latest move in a broader effort by Democrats to enshrine into federal law rights they fear could come under threat by the Supreme Court following its decision to wipe away the constitutional right to an abortion.

The vote was 228-195, with eight Republicans joining every Democrat in voting in favor. All 195 “no” votes came from Republicans.

Ultimately, if Democrats had been smart about it, the bill would have been deftly worded with a goal of securing Republican votes rather than alienating them with what is typically seen as inflammatory rhetoric:

Third news item

They knew what Chappelle was about when they booked him. To cancel him and his sold-out show at the last minute because the internet pitched a fit is just stupid. But hey, if they want to bump his popularity, have at it:

Hours before Dave Chappelle was set to hit the stage in Minneapolis, the venue canceled the sold-out show.

First Avenue, well known as the venue featured in Prince’s 1984 film “Purple Rain,” declined to host Chappelle’s comedy show after backlash over comments in some of his previous Netflix specials that have been criticized as transphobic.

“The Dave Chappelle show tonight at First Avenue has been canceled and is moving to the Varsity Theater,” First Avenue writes in a post on its verified Instagram account.

“To staff, artists, and our community, we hear you and we are sorry,” the statement reads. “We know we must hold ourselves to the highest standards, and we know we let you down. We are not just a black box with people in it, and we understand that First Ave is not just a room, but meaningful beyond our walls.”

“The First Avenue team and you have worked hard to make our venues the safest spaces in the country, and we will continue with that mission. *We believe in diverse voices and the freedom of artistic expression, but in honoring that, we lost sight of the impact this would have. We know there are some who will not agree with this decision; you are welcome to send feedback.”

*Except when we don’t.

Fourth news item

For 187 minutes, then-President Trump chose to do nothing to stop the siege at the Capitol because he wanted it to happen:

Despite desperate pleas from aides, allies, a Republican congressional leader and even his family, Donald Trump refused to call off the Jan. 6 mob attack on the Capitol, instead “pouring gasoline on the fire” by aggressively tweeting his false claims of a stolen election and celebrating his crowd of supporters as “very special,” the House investigating committee showed Thursday night.

The next day, he declared anew, “I don’t want to say the election is over.” That was in a previously unaired outtake of an address to the nation he was to give, shown at the prime-time hearing of the committee.

The panel documented how for some 187 minutes, from the time Trump left a rally stage sending his supporters to the Capitol to the time he ultimately appeared in the Rose Garden video that day, nothing could compel the defeated president to act. Instead, he watched the violence unfold on TV.

“President Trump didn’t fail to act,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a fellow Republican but frequent Trump critic who flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. “He chose not to act.”

We should have known by his reaction the next day that he was never going to say the election is over:

Fifth news item

Well, this could be very problematic:

Former President Trump’s top allies are preparing to radically reshape the federal government if he is re-elected, purging potentially thousands of civil servants and filling career posts with loyalists to him and his “America First” ideology, people involved in the discussions tell Axios.

The impact could go well beyond typical conservative targets such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. Trump allies are working on plans that would potentially strip layers at the Justice Department — including the FBI, and reaching into national security, intelligence, the State Department and the Pentagon, sources close to the former president say.
[…]

The heart of the plan is derived from an executive order known as “Schedule F,” developed and refined in secret over most of the second half of Trump’s term and launched 13 days before the 2020 election.

The reporting for this series draws on extensive interviews over a period of more than three months with more than two dozen people close to the former president, and others who have firsthand knowledge of the work underway to prepare for a potential second term…

Sixth news item

Gov. Newsom shifts his attention from Florida to Texas, or as it’s commonly known – campaigning for 2024:

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is running full-page ads in Texas newspapers Friday trolling Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to highlight a new California gun law modeled on the Lone Star State’s restrictive abortion law.

The ads, first shared with NBC News, will run in the Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle and El Paso Times. They modify an Abbott quote about the state’s abortion ban and promote “California’s answer to Texas’ perverse bill.”

“If Texas can ban abortion and endanger lives, California can ban deadly weapons of war and save lives. If Governor Abbott truly wants to protect the right to life, we urge him to follow California’s lead,” the ad reads.

Sventh news item

Wonderful news:

The increase in the quality of Ukrainian weapons is also coinciding with the decrease in the quality of the Russian weapons. The Ukrainian military has operationalized its new HIMARS—and the trajectory (pun intended) of the conversation in the United States suggests that more will arrive soon. The Pentagon’s announced the shipment of four more earlier this week. Congress is about to approve a program to train Ukrainian pilots on F-15 and F-16 jets. Though the appropriation of this money will likely not come until next year, it will give the administration Congressional purchase—and push—for the transfer of military aircraft to Ukraine, which the administration could do at any time.

On the other side of the front lines, the American and allied export controls on the transfer of military and dual-use goods prevent Russia from producing more advanced weapons, and the Ukrainian are proving adept at blowing up the ones the Russians are currently operating. As a consequence of the Ukrainian’s facility at blowing up high-tech Russian weapons, the Russian military is recycling old weapons like T-62 tanks, which were introduced before the Cuban Missile Crisis and deployed with embarrassing results by Iraq during the Persian Gulf War and Russia during the Russo-Georgian War.

Eighth news item

President Biden willing to tick off progressive wing to help fight violent crime. Very low polling numbers will do that:

President Joe Biden plans to propose a steep funding increase for police, hoping to show that Democrats are serious about combating violent crime, despite the move potentially causing backlash from top members of his party’s left flank.

But a scheduled trip to Pennsylvania to ask Congress to spend roughly $37 billion for fighting and preventing crime was canceled Thursday when Biden tested positive for COVID-19.

His proposal is set to include $13 billion to help communities hire and train 100,000 police officers over five years…

As part of Biden’s plans, $3 billion would be geared toward clearing court backlogs and resolving cases involving murders and guns. The president also wants to use $15 billion to create a grant program that would fund ideas for preventing violent crime or creating a public health response to nonviolence incidents, aimed at reducing the burden on law enforcement.

Another $5 billion would support programs intended to stop violence before it occurs.

Ninth news item

Are Democrats making a strategic mistake?:

Democrats . . . have developed a party-wide strategy aimed at tagging Republican candidates in close elections as “MAGA Republicans,” a phrase they have poll-tested as off-putting for swing voters. In recent weeks, they have argued that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the nationwide right to abortion, the continued GOP resistance to some gun regulations despite mass shootings and the ongoing investigation into the Capitol riot all show a broader extremism across the Republican Party.

Here’s the problem: to the extent that you want to isolate “MAGA” and make the identification with Donald Trump as politically toxic now as it was in 2018, you really should focus on the things that are uniquely Trumpy: January 6, “Stop the Steal,” support for Trump 2024, Trump’s general personal outrageousness and transgressiveness, the worst flavors of Trumpism.

Democrats being Democrats, however, they cannot resist instead defining “MAGA” (or, in Joe Biden’s beloved phrase, “ultra MAGA”) as people who stand for the stuff Republicans always promised on policy, such as firm opposition to abortion and strong protection for gun rights. Identifying those things with MAGA only strengthens Trump and his MAGA brand within the Republican Party while diluting the Trump-specific turnoffs that helped Democrats take the House and several governorships in the last midterm cycle. Is that what Democratic strategists want?

Tenth news item

Summing it up:

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

7/21/2022

Biden Tests Positive for COVID

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Fortunately the new strain seems less deadly than the ones that were around when the last guy got it.

I have nothing to say except here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

7/20/2022

Unsurprising: Arizona GOP Censures Jan. 6 Committee Star Witness Rusty Bowers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:01 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Wear it like a badge of honor:

The Arizona Republican Party has censured state House Speaker Rusty Bowers after his gripping public testimony to the Jan. 6 panel about Donald Trump’s relentless pressure to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The censure Tuesday night by the state GOP’s executive committee came hours after Trump reiterated his support for Bowers’ opponent in his upcoming Republican primary for state Senate. The former president is scheduled to campaign with his favored candidates on Friday in northern Arizona.

While these censures typically don’t have teeth to them, the censure of Bowers evidences that the litmus test for Republicans continues to be a demonstrated loyalty to Trump.

“(Bowers) is no longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to replace him at the ballot box in the August primary,” Arizona Republican Party chair Kelli Ward tweeted Tuesday.

But take note:

The censure does not specifically mention Bowers’ testimony to the House Jan. 6 committee but characterizes him as hostile to the GOP platform and activists. It cites his efforts to block election bills advanced by Trump allies and his support for a bill banning most employers from discriminating against LGBTQ people, among other measures.

If you recall, after Bowers testified before the Jan. 6 Committee, he said that if Trump was up against Biden in 2024, he would vote for him. However, he later walked that back:

“I don’t want the choice of having to look at (Trump) again. And if it comes, I’ll be hard pressed,” he told the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-owned news outlet. “I don’t know what I’ll do. But I’m not inclined to support him.”

[…]

“He doesn’t represent the morals and the platform of my party. And I just see it more and more all the time. That guy is just — he’s his own party,” he said. “It’s a party of intimidation and I don’t like it.”

[…]

He took heat for telling The Associated Press before his testimony that he would support Trump if he won the GOP nomination. He has since walked that back, saying he’s even more opposed to Trump after testifying publicly before the Jan. 6 committee…

I will be supporting somebody in the primary other than Mr. Trump. But it will be a Republican.”

For his part, Trump went after Bowers, calling him “a weak and pathetic RINO who has blocked Election Integrity”. Bower’s opponent for the Arizona Senate is David Farnsworth, a former senator. That Farnsworth has been endorsed by Trump is all the assurance you need to know that he has passed the GOP litmus test by parroting Trump’s 2020 election lies.

–Dana

Arizona and Texas to NYC: Welcome to Our World

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:30 am



[guest post by Dana]

Arizona and Texas laughing out loud:

New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday demanded the federal government help pay for what he said was a wave of asylum seekers pouring into the city, claiming its safety net was being strained by busloads of people coming from border states and elsewhere.

Adams’ comments echo those of Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who took to national TV Sunday morning to say her city’s homeless shelters were filling up because of buses being sent en masse to the city from Texas and Arizona.

Further complicating matters, New York City has a “right to shelter” mandate stating that any homeless asylum seeker who comes to town, by any means, has to be put in a bed somewhere.

Mayor Adams claims that the buses are being sent from Texas and Arizona to New York City, however, the governors of the two states deny that New York City was the chosen destination for the buses:

“Currently, New York City is experiencing a marked increase in the number of asylum seekers who are arriving from Latin America and other regions. In some instances, families are arriving on buses sent by the Texas and Arizona governments, while in other cases, it appears that individuals are being sent by the federal government,” Adams said in a statement, adding that more than 2,800 asylum seekers had entered the shelter system in recent weeks.

But the offices of both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey denied Adams’ claim, saying in separate statements that they were in fact sending asylum seekers to Washington – but not to New York City.

–Dana

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