[guest post by Dana]
First news item
It’s still jarring to see Americans who boast about their patriotism, claim to love democracy, and exhibit an America-first thinking, complain bitterly about Ukraine and yet don’t complain or condemn Putin and the unlawful invasion of Ukraine and subsequent war. As if Ukraine is responsible for all the misery taking place now. I’m not going to post any of the tweets, you can search them out yourself, but suffice it to say that Russia is now praising useful idiots in America, like Tucker Carlson:
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is being showered with praise on Russian state TV today after he criticised of Zelensky's visit to Washington
So far I've heard him called "wonderful" and "delightful", and I'm only halfway through the show I'm watching pic.twitter.com/FA63d9b4dW
— Francis Scarr (@francis_scarr) December 22, 2022
Because it’s so outrageous, I’m going to start at the bottom of the barrel with Tucker for this thread on Zelensky’s visit to DC, the Biden admin’s success and failure, and the future of American support for Ukraine and global security. 1/10
Carlson has moved from advocating for Putin to endorsing Russia’s genocide in Ukraine. I don’t know why Murdoch is allowing this on his network, or why advertisers support it, but I will not appear on Fox News again while Carlson is there. A bloody line has been crossed. 2/10
Carlson’s attacks on Ukraine and Zelensky personally are designed to dehumanize and to justify Russian atrocities, which are already ongoing, documented, and publicly known. It’s like still backing the Nazis after Auschwitz was uncovered. 3/10
Slandering Ukraine & Zelensky as anti-Christian, undemocratic, etc. sends the message it’s fine for Putin to slaughter as many as he likes. The truth is that Ukrainians are fighting and dying for the American values Carlson sold out for Trump and Putin. Go to hell. 4/10
Zelensky’s visit to DC was overwhelmingly cheered, so wasting time on a few GOP America First buffoons isn’t needed. Just don’t call them conservatives. They are undermining global & US security for.. what, exactly? Why is weakening Ukraine so important to them? I wonder. 5/10
Don’t squawk about budgets and resources. Helping Ukraine devastate the invading Russian military for 5% of the US defense budget is a bargain, mostly using warehoused arms. Even Kissinger admits eliminating the Russian threat long hanging over Europe is a boon. 6/10
Helping Ukraine isn’t charity. It’s paying a debt after decades of enriching and empowering Russian aggression. It’s a wise & essential security move, because if Putin attacks Lithuania American soldiers would go and die. Ukrainians are dying to prevent that risk. 7/10
More at the link.
Second news item
The Senate passed a $1.7 trillion government funding bill on Thursday in a 68-29 vote, sending the package to the House for approval on Friday…Before the bill cleared the upper chamber, senators voted to add more than a half-dozen amendments to the bill, including major policy provisions that would expand federal protections for pregnant workers and nursing mothers, in addition to helping 9/11 families…Congress now appears to be on a glide path to pass the spending package, which gives the Pentagon a 10 percent budget boost, includes about $45 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine and provides nearly $40 billion for disaster aid…Among the amendments added to the omnibus is one from Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that would add workplace protections for nursing mothers, known as the PUMP Act, which was approved in a 92-5 vote…Senators also added a proposal from Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) in a 73-24 vote that attaches the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to the year-end spending bill. That measure, which requires employers to provide pregnant workers with accommodations like bathroom breaks, has been stalled in the upper chamber over GOP concerns about religious liberty exemptions…In a voice vote, the upper chamber easily adopted a provision from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that allows the seizure of Russian assets to be used as Ukraine aid. Senators also unanimously approved a tweak allowing states to use leftover federal pandemic aid for infrastructure, in addition to a proposal that extends pay and benefits to a Navy lieutenant currently jailed in Japan…Defeated amendments include one from conservative Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that would strip funding for earmarks, or federal cash for lawmakers’ home-state projects, in the bill.
The main hang-up centered on an amendment from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), which aimed to tie Department of Homeland Security funding to the preservation of Title 42…Lee had demanded a lower majority-vote threshold on his amendment, hoping to sway some Democrats who support the Title 42 policy. If even one Democratic senator had joined with all 50 Republicans to add the proposal to the bill, it would have tanked the broader spending agreement, generating pushback from House progressives…Instead, Democrats who support Title 42 were able to avoid that politically difficult vote, thanks to a competing proposal from Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) that would have maintained Title 42 while increasing funding for immigration courts and other border-related issues.
Third news item
Eighteen Senate Republicans rebuked former President Trump this week by voting to clarify that the vice president does not have the power to overturn a presidential election as Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to do on Jan. 6, 2021…Republican senators across the political spectrum said they want to slam the door on the notation that Pence had the authority to throw out a state’s slate of electors, which could open the door for future vice presidents to attempt to interfere with the Electoral College’s vote…
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who voted twice to convict Trump on impeachment charges and helped lead the negotiations to reform the Electoral Count Act, said Trump “certainly wouldn’t want [Vice President] Kamala Harris to pick the next president, right?”
Trump in a post on Truth Social Tuesday argued it is “probably better to leave” the Electoral Count Act “the way it is so that it can be adjusted in case of fraud.”
“What I don’t like are the lies and ‘disinformation’ put out by the Democrats and RINOs. They said the vice president has ‘absolutely no choice,’ it was carved in ‘steel,’ but if he has no choice, why are they changing the law saying he has no choice?” Trump posted.
Romney countered Trump by pointing out that argument would give Democrats, who now control the White House, the right to block a Republican from becoming president.
“Let’s do something which he’s not fond of doing, which is taking that to the next logical conclusion. On that basis, that means that Kamala Harris would be able to choose the next president. Does he really think that’s the right way to go?” he said.
Fourth news item
The House Jan. 6 committee’s final report asserts that Donald Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol, concluding an extraordinary 18-month investigation into the former president and the violent insurrection two years ago.
In a series of recommendations, the seven Democrats and two Republicans on the committee suggest that Congress consider barring Trump from holding future office. The findings should be a “clarion call to all Americans: to vigilantly guard our Democracy and to give our vote only to those dutiful in their defense of our Constitution,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a foreword to the report.
Fifth news item
As the Iranian protests continue, popular Iranian footballer accused of involvement with the deaths of three security officers, reportedly set to be executed:
Shahid Alikhani square is a nondescript part of the historic Iranian city of Isfahan. Its sole claim to prominence is the grand entrance to one of the city’s main metro stations.
But now it has become a place of pilgrimage for supporters of the high-profile Iranian footballer Amir Nasr-Azadani who fear the young man could be executed in the square, where an execution platform has been installed, a witness close to Nasr-Azadani in Iran told CNN.
Terrified Iranian families believe that while the Western world is preoccupied with Christmas celebrations, a wave of executions in the country is imminent…
CNN has verified documents, video, witness testimony and statements from inside the country which suggest that at least 43 people, including Nasr-Azadani, could face imminent execution.
The court last week said it obtained “video and sufficient documentation that prove he [Nasr-Azadani] is part of an armed group” and that the footballer had confessed to his crimes, state media IRNA reported.
Previous CNN investigations have found prisoners have been subjected to torture and sexual assault. Human rights groups say torture-tainted “confessions” have been used against the defendants in sham trials.
Iranian officials have defended the trials nevertheless. In recent days, one Iranian MP said he believes that those involved in the current unrest must be executed within 5 to 10 days after their arrest.
Sixth news item
The Taliban has always been this, nothing new. There will never be a kinder, gentler Taliban:
The minister of higher education in the Taliban government on Thursday defended his decision to ban women from universities — a decree that had triggered a global backlash.
Discussing the matter for the first time in public, Nida Mohammad Nadim said the ban issued earlier this week was necessary to prevent the mixing of genders in universities and because he believes some subjects being taught violated the principles of Islam. He said the ban was in place until further notice.
Other reasons he gave for the university ban were women’s failure to observe a dress code and the study of certain subjects and courses.
“We told girls to have proper hijab but they didn’t and they wore dresses like they are going to a wedding ceremony,” he said. “Girls were studying agriculture and engineering, but this didn’t match Afghan culture. Girls should learn, but not in areas that go against Islam and Afghan honor.”
What a vile and feeble-minded pathetic pustule on the ass of humanity.
Sixth news item
Storms on either side of the country this week are threatening to leave thousands in the dark and bitter cold…
With the eastern storm, winds are forecast to howl at nearly 50 mph as the storm system bombs out while moving toward the Northeast. Gusts as high as 70 mph are not out of the question. All of this happens as temperatures plummet.
At that speed, winds will most likely take down some trees and power lines and create power outages from the Great Lakes into the Northeast. Widespread power outages are possible in western New York and a large swath of interior New England. The coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut also face the threat of widespread power outages.
In the West, both Ice Storm and Winter Storm warnings, as well as Winter Weather Advisories, are up across Washington state and Oregon. As much as a half-inch of ice could accrete from Portland north to near Seattle along the Interstate 5 corridor. An icy glaze that thick will certainly weigh down trees and power lines, which could lead to numerous power outages. Snow elsewhere in the region could also bring down trees and power lines.
I hope you are safe and warm during this Christmas season. Out of state loved ones messaged me yesterday and said the temperature was -7 degrees there.
Wherever you might be, I hope you have a warm and wonderful weekend.
Merry Christmas to you all!