Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:53 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Ah, he “fell”…:

A Russian energy oligarch whose oil company criticized the war in Ukraine has died falling out of a hospital window in Moscow on Thursday, state-controlled media reported.

Ravil Maganov, 67, was the chair of the board of directors of Lukoil, one of the largest energy companies in Russia.

Maganov was in Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital when he “fell out of the window” and died from his injuries, an unnamed “informed source” told Russian news agency Interfax.

The state news agency RIA Novosti followed up with confirmation from a representative of the presidential administration, which manages the hospital campus. A law enforcement source told the outlet that the death was likely a suicide.

Maganov’s death comes almost six months to the day after Lukoil released a statement expressing “deepest concerns” about President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Second news item

Mississippi madness:

Brett Favre earned nearly $140 million as a star NFL quarterback over two decades and millions more in product endorsements.

But that didn’t stop the state of Mississippi from paying Favre $1.1 million in 2017 and 2018 to make motivational speeches — out of federal welfare funds intended for needy families. The Mississippi state auditor said Favre never gave the speeches and demanded the money back, with interest.

Favre has repaid the fees, although not the $228,000 in interest the auditor also demanded. But the revelation by the auditor that $70 million in TANF welfare funds was doled out to a multimillionaire athlete, a professional wrestler, a horse farm and a volleyball complex are at the heart of a scandal that has rocked the nation’s poorest state, sparking parallel state and federal criminal investigations that have led to charges and guilty pleas involving some of the key players.

Third news item

Working the votes even before he announces:

“I mean full pardons with an apology to many,” he told conservative radio host Wendy Bell on Thursday morning. Such a move would be contingent on Trump running and winning the 2024 presidential election…

Trump, during his conversation with Bell on Thursday morning, also said that he met with some Jan. 6 defendants in his office this week and that he is helping some financially.

“I am financially supporting people that are incredible and they were in my office actually two days ago, so they’re very much in my mind,” Trump said. “It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to them. What they’ve done to these people is disgraceful.”

Fourth news item

California’s energy disaster in the making:

A massive heatwave has come to California, so citizens of the Golden State may be enduring triple-digit temperatures for a week. The pressure the heat will throw onto the state’s power grid has prompted an emergency call for citizens to reduce electricity use during peak early evening hours. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency that temporarily eases some state regulations limiting operations of thermal power plants and portable generators.

Part of this call for citizens to reduce electricity consumption from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. also includes a request that citizens “avoid charging electric vehicles while the Flex Alert is in effect.” This request comes only a week after California leaders moved forward with a plan to ban most gasoline-powered vehicle sales in the state (with an exception for hybrid vehicles) by 2035.

Though it is true that such a ban will reduce emissions, switching to electric vehicles will over time dramatically increase the strain on California’s power grid. If everybody in California went out and bought electric vehicles tomorrow, it would probably be an energy disaster.

Fifth news item

New Covid booster shots coming soon:

New booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine should be available soon to anyone 12 and older who wants one… An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the boosters Thursday. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on their recommendation shortly after. The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency authorization Wednesday to a “bivalent” vaccine that targets both the original virus and the BA.4 and BA.5 variants that now dominate the world.

Sixth news item

On not meeting Republicans halfway:

Republicans need to be plain, honest, and energetic in rejecting what Trump and January 6 stand for, but, with a few honorable and excruciatingly rare exceptions, they aren’t. Instead, they make excuses, try to change the subject, and, if pressed, shriek, “But Chuck Schumer!”

You’re willing to go all the way when it comes to Trump, rightly labeling him a “lunatic,” but, in my view, you are cutting excessive slack for his enablers and supporters. I understand your practical concerns, but you are operating on the wrong timeline. In spite of what the Sean Hannitys of the world insist every 24 months, this country is not going to rise or fall based on a single election — it might, however, be irreparably damaged by a nihilistic and authoritarian personality cult that embraces political violence and that has, in spite of its constant protestations to the contrary, utter contempt for our constitutional order. It was never one single man who ruined a republic.

Republicans had a chance to break with Trump and Trumpism after January 6, and, for about a week, it looked like they were going to avail themselves of the opportunity. But they have chosen another course. I believe in a politics of compromise, but I am not going to meet the Republicans halfway in what they are becoming.

Read the whole thing.

Seventh news item

Then why didn’t you strenuously object to the DNCC and Democratic PACs backing MAGA candidates over the non-MAGA reasonable Republicans during the primaries?:

President Biden on Thursday warned that former President Trump and Republicans aligned with him pose “a threat to this country,” in a political primetime speech that frequently referred to his predecessor and some of his GOP supporters as a danger to democracy.

“Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology,” he said. “But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”

Eighth news item

Not a genocide? Are you kidding??:

On her very last day in the job, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released her long-delayed report on the Chinese government’s mass atrocities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the western region of Xinjiang. The damning findings are shocking — but they should come as no surprise, considering the world has known about these abuses for years. So why isn’t the U.S. government doing more to stop them?

The U.N. report stops short of designating China’s abuses in Xinjiang as an ongoing genocide — contrary to the Biden administration, which has described the situation in exactly those terms. But the authors paint a gruesome picture of abject suffering for millions of innocent people in Xinjiang at the hands of the Chinese authorities. U.N. investigators determined that Beijing’s policies — including the unjust detention of more than a million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in prisonlike camps — “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.”

Ninth news item

I’m adding Allahpundit’s lovely farewell to today’s news items because it is an absolute must-read:

That’s one reason why, when I’ve been forced to choose, I preferred to be a traitor than a propagandist. Here’s another: What is the right’s “cause” at this point? What cause does the Republican Party presently serve? It has no meaningful policy agenda. It literally has no platform. The closest thing it has to a cause is justifying abuses of state power to own the libs and defending whatever Trump’s latest boorish or corrupt thought-fart happens to be. Imagine being a propagandist for a cause as impoverished as that. Many don’t need to imagine.

The GOP does have a cause. The cause is consolidating power. Overturn the rigged elections, purge the disloyal bureaucrats, smash the corrupt institutions that stand in the way. Give the leader a free hand. It’s plain as day to those who are willing to see where this is going, what the highest ambitions of this personality cult are. Those who support it without insisting on reform should at least stop pretending that they’re voting for anything else.I agree with others who say that, fundamentally, the last six years have been a character test.

Some conservatives became earnest converts to Trumpism, whatever that is. But too many who ditched their civic convictions did so for the most banal reasons, because there was something in it for them — profit, influence, proximity to power, the brainless tribalism required by audience capture. “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket,” Eric Hoffer wrote. We’ve all gotten to see who the racketeers are.

Allahpundit is joining The Dispatch, and I can’t wait.



Have a great weekend!


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