[guest post by Dana]
Let’s start the Weekend Open Thread with a funny first news item!
Tom Klingenstein, Chair of Claremont Institute, on he wants Trump in 2024: “In war, you must make a stand. For that, we need strong men .. Trump is a manly man. When manhood is being stripped of its masculinity, traditional manhood, even when flawed, is absolutely essential.” pic.twitter.com/SjkO0cfIR0
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) July 28, 2022
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
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
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
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.”
FLASHBACK to Nancy Pelosi in 2008: A recession "is two quarters of negative growth in a row." pic.twitter.com/6UAUPAYu4F
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 28, 2022
For a more detailed look at what makes a recession, look here.
Fifth news item
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.
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
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.
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.”
ROBYN BELINSKY: “And when I talked to Mike Lindell he did say there was a small, small portion of voter fraud in this state.”
ANTHONY BOUCHARD: “The system to steer people. We know for a fact that all the major Internets do that.”
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.”
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 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:
Gaetz: "Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb." pic.twitter.com/0qqvun3Pf8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 23, 2022
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
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.
Here’s the video to go along with the story. pic.twitter.com/TvZ5wzCg1f
— LafayetteINPolice (@LafayetteINPD) July 15, 2022
P.S. Josh Hawley and the Claremont Institute guy might want to take note here.
Have a great weekend!