Patterico's Pontifications

2/28/2023

Rupert Murdoch: Yes, I Knew That Some Fox Hosts Were Promoting Election Lies

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:14 am



[guest post by Dana]

Rupert Murdoch admitted in a deposition that he knew that some Fox News hosts were endorsing lies about the 2020 election, and yet he didn’t stop them:

Rupert Murdoch, chairman of the conservative media empire that owns Fox News, acknowledged in a deposition that several hosts for his networks promoted the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald J. Trump, and that he could have stopped them but didn’t, court documents released on Monday showed.

“They endorsed,” Mr. Murdoch said under oath in response to direct questions about the Fox hosts Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, according to a legal filing by Dominion Voting Systems. “I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight,” he added, while also disclosing that he was always dubious of Mr. Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

Asked whether he doubted Mr. Trump, Mr. Murdoch responded: “Yes. I mean, we thought everything was on the up-and-up.” At the same time, he rejected the accusation that Fox News as a whole had endorsed the stolen election narrative. “Not Fox,” he said. “No. Not Fox.”

We know that for Fox, it was about keeping their ratings up and not losing viewers to more conservative news outlets willing to push the Big Lie narrative. If you recall, Fox ratings nosedived after the network called Arizona for Joe Biden. So, if peddling lies was what it took to keep viewers happy and keep the ratings up, so be it. As Fox News executive Bill Sammon said: It’s remarkable how weak ratings make good journalists do bad things. The last thing the network was concerned with was journalistic integrity, not while they were hemorrhaging viewers to even more right-wing media outlets. Fox knew that viewers wanted stolen election red meat. Popular on-air hosts and executives were only too happy to meet that demand. Some of these hosts were true believers, yet others privately mocked the narrative. Internal communications revealed that Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity privately mocked election fraud claims, yet continued to have guests on their shows who promoted the false narrative. Ratings were everything. Full stop.

With that, you would think that viewers would be furious to know that during one of the most pivotal moments in our political history, they were being fed a steady diet of propaganda and lies. You’d think… But considering that in January, Fox News had its 23rd consecutive month as the most-watched in cable news, they clearly remain in the good graces of viewers. For any meaningful hit to the ratings, it would take a massive number of viewers angered enough at the betrayal by popular hosts to compel them to turn off the network’s programming. I don’t see that happening. And even if Dominion wins its suit and Fox is ordered to pay out the $1.6 billion, I just don’t see viewers abandoning the network. Unfortunately, out of all the network’s catchy slogans over the years (“Fair and Balanced,” “We Report, You Decide,” “Real News. Real Honest Opinion, “Standing Up For What’s Right”), I suspect that, despite everything, Fox viewers will continue to prove correct the “Most Watched, Most Trusted” slogan.

–Dana

2/27/2023

RNC Chair Wants Any 2024 GOP Presidential Contenders To Sign Loyalty Pledge

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:44 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel said on Sunday that she wants any Republicans running for office in 2024 to sign a loyalty pledge. A signed pledge to be able to participate in the 2024 debates and to agree to support the 2024 nominee:

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Sunday that she expects 2024 GOP presidential contenders will have to sign a pledge to back the party’s ultimate nominee in order to participate in primary debates.

“We haven’t put the criteria out, but I expect a pledge will be part of it. It was part of 2016. I think it’s kind of a no-brainer, right? If you’re going to be on the Republican National Committee debate stage asking voters to support you, you should say, ‘I’m going to support the voters and who they choose as the nominee,’” McDaniel told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” in her first interview since winning a contentious race for a fourth term as RNC chairwoman.

McDaniel seemed to display a complete lack of knowledge and understanding about the candidate who put the nation through hell as he tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election because he is the sorest loser ever:

McDaniel said she believed all the candidates, including Trump, would sign the pledge and it would be an important move toward healing divisions within the party and having a unified front.

“We’re saying you’re not going to get on the debate stage unless you make this pledge. And I think people in our party really want to see that. They want to see us come together. They don’t want the infighting,” McDaniel said.

Of course, one immediately laughs at this because does anyone believe that Donald Trump would sign the pledge in any good faith? Of course not. Consider his spokesperson’s response to the question:

A Trump campaign spokesperson told CNN later Sunday in response to McDaniel’s pledge expectation that “President Trump will support the Republican nominee because it will be him.”

And Trump himself told Hugh Hewitt earlier this month that his support would depend on the nominee:

“It would depend. I would give you the same answer I gave in 2016 during the debates. It would have to depend on who the nominee was.”

Clearly, there is no reason to trust him if he did sign the pledge. After the debates, he could easily come up with any number of excuses for not adhering to it.

But what about other Republicans who might throw their hat in the ring in 2024? Do you think every candidate would be willing to sign the pledge, especially as, at least at this point, Trump continues to maintain a significant lead over the announced and yet unannounced possible candidates?

Moreover, what if NeverTrump candidates run? If Liz Cheney, the most prominent NeverTrump politican, announced that she would be running for the presidency, do you think she would she be willing to sign the pledge? If she did, she would be rightfully lambasted as a hypocrite who was putting Party over principles and her reputation would be kaput. You just don’t risk your political career and subsequently lose it for an unwavering stand on Constitutional principles, only to do a 360 for the sake of a loyalty pledge. If you recall, Cheney blasted Trump as unfit for office at the last of the Jan. 6 public meeting, saying:

“In addition to being unlawful as described in our report, this was an utter moral failure and a clear dereliction of duty … No man who would behave that way, at that moment in time, can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.”

So how could she possibly sign such a pledge.

On the other hand, Nikki Haley is a question mark will sign anything that keeps her in the running. She already flip-flopped when she said that she wouldn’t run if Trump ran, and yet, here she is. She also said in 2021 that Trump had no future in the GOP and yet here they both are.

And then there’s former Gov. Larry Hogan, whose name has been bandied about as a possible candidate for 2024 but has already made it clear that he would not support Donald Trump if he were the nominee:

“I’m a lifelong Republican who wants to support the nominee of the party, whoever that is. However, you know, I’ve said before, I didn’t support Trump, I wouldn’t support Trump,” Hogan said during an exclusive interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Hogan also poo-pood the “loyalty pledge,” saying:

“I think it’s kind of silly because it’s not going to happen,” he said.

“I mean, if they say you’re not gonna be on the debate stage, if you won’t commit to support the nominee, then President Trump won’t be on the debate stage,” Hogan said. “And I don’t think anybody believes that that’s going to happen.”

McDaniel is putting some possible 2024 candidates in a no-win position. Republicans like Cheney or Kinzinger or Romney or Hogan, etc., would be loath to sacrifice their already-established positions on Trump by signing such a demand. But perhaps that’s part of the goal… However, other possible candidates for 2024 (DeSantis, Cruz, Rubio, Scott, Pompeo, Pence, and I would throw Haley into this group) who have carefully walked the tightrope in their criticism/comments about Trump or even defended his post-election lies, would no doubt fall in line and sign it.

–Dana

2/25/2023

Latvian Delegate to Russian Delegation at U.N.: Go Fuck Yourself

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:28 am



This is worth your time. It’s the Latvian delegate to the United Nations, Rihards Kols, standing up for what’s right. It’s wonderful to see.

I believe the context for his initial remarks about the so-called “Ukrainian crisis” was the phony peace plan put out by the Chinese government, in which — in deference to their “no limits” friendship with Putin — they refused to call the war a “war” but instead called it a “crisis.” Mr. Kols forthrightly calls it what it is: a war. He points out that members of the Russian delegation — present to hear this — are the elephant in the room. Some of them voted to annex sovereign lands. He says the U.N. is violating its principles of respecting national sovereignty by even allowing these people to be present. Then he has the Big Closer, which I’ll explain in a moment.

Start the video at about 34 seconds in.

I’ll translate that bit for you at the end. (“русский корабль, иди нахуй.”) Kols is quoting the Ukrainians at Snake Island, who, upon being asked by the Russians to surrender, replied: “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.”

This man is telling the Russian delegation to fuck themselves, to their faces. (No wonder they walked out.)

Watch the smiles of the other delegates as the translator catches up and they realize what he has just said. In fact, the reaction of the other people in the room is one of the most gratifying parts of the clip. A man on the left is nodding as he says the war started in 2014. When he labels the Russians in the room “war criminals” the men behind him start clapping. And the smiles on the faces of several delegates at the end of his expletive-capped rant is the cherry on top of this defiant sundae.

While the partisan shills in parts of the Republican party line up to fellate Putin, the sensible part of the world is together on this. How could you not be? That is, assuming your mind has not been turned to rancid oatmeal by rank partisan bullshit?

Glory to Ukraine.

As for all you Russian shills, иди нахуй.

Oh. I Guess This Blog Has Been Around Over Twenty Years

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:04 am



I started blogging on February 17, 2003. A lot of the early posts from the first year or two are lost, sort of . . . I think they’re still around on a Blogspot site and could theoretically be moved over again the way they were the first time, but I know that’s my date because I have commemorated it in the past.

I forgot to do so on my 20th anniversary, about a week ago. So this post will have to do.

It could be because I have been so neglectful of my own site that I no longer feel like I have been blogging continuously for x years. Dana and JVW have kept the site alive more than I have, and I think JVW would acknowledge that a good deal of the credit goes to Dana on that front. So let’s take this opportunity to thank her.

That said, I am basically back, after backing away from Twitter. In fact, I have another short post coming in a moment.

Thanks for reading.

2/24/2023

Ukraine Full-Scale Invasion, One Year In: Is the “Spirit of the Army” Flagging?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:28 pm



One year ago today, Russia launched the latest and most shockingly brutal part of its years-long attack on Ukraine. The war began in 2014, so it would not be correct to say that today is the one-year anniversary of “the war,” but it is the one-year anniversary of this phase: a large-scale, massive invasion conducted with the intent of wiping Ukraine off the map and ethnically cleansing its population.

In September, long after it had become evident that the invasion was not the cakewalk for Russia that most of us had expected, I quoted Tolstoy on the issue of the “spirit of the army”:

What explains this shift? It’s a complex problem, and Mencken reminded us that for every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. Still, don’t discount the “spirit of the army” — the fact that Ukraine has a strong reason to fight, and Russian troops have no reason at all to fight.

Leo Tolstoy wrote in War and Peace:

By long years of military experience he knew, and with the wisdom of age understood, that it is impossible for one man to direct hundreds of thousands of others struggling with death, and he knew that the result of a battle is decided not by the orders of a commander in chief, nor the place where the troops are stationed, nor by the number of cannon or of slaughtered men, but by that intangible force called the spirit of the army, and he watched this force and guided it in as far as that was in his power.

Tolstoy elsewhere proposed an equation similar to that describing the relationships between momentum, mass, and velocity:

In military affairs the strength of an army is the product of its mass and some unknown x.

Military science, seeing in history innumerable instances of the fact that the size of any army does not coincide with its strength and that small detachments defeat larger ones, obscurely admits the existence of this unknown factor and tries to discover it—now in a geometric formation, now in the equipment employed, now, and most usually, in the genius of the commanders. But the assignment of these various meanings to the factor does not yield results which accord with the historic facts.

Yet it is only necessary to abandon the false view (adopted to gratify the “heroes”) of the efficacy of the directions issued in wartime by commanders, in order to find this unknown quantity.

That unknown quantity is the spirit of the army, that is to say, the greater or lesser readiness to fight and face danger felt by all the men composing an army, quite independently of whether they are, or are not, fighting under the command of a genius, in two—or three-line formation, with cudgels or with rifles that repeat thirty times a minute. Men who want to fight will always put themselves in the most advantageous conditions for fighting.

The spirit of an army is the factor which multiplied by the mass gives the resulting force.

Having some nice High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems never hurts either.

I recently saw some Trumpist dunderhead trying to explain how Russia kills with cold. They defeated Napoleon and Hitler with the cold, this idiot said. What was lost in that explanation is that, yes, Russia did defeat Napoleon and Hitler . . . but then, they were fighting a defensive battle for their very country. The folks doing that nowadays are the Ukrainians. Today, most Russians fighting Ukraine have no idea why they are fighting. The spirit of the army, at least early on, was a factor that decisively favored the home team: Ukraine.

But today, NPR reports some dispiriting evidence that all-important spirit may be flagging:

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A year ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and stunned the world. Most thought Kyiv would fall. Well, that didn’t happen. Ukraine’s forces have upended expectations. And through it all, U.S. military aid has played a key role. Now, the invasion has become a grinding war, and some U.S. lawmakers are raising questions about that support. So how does the year ahead look? We’re going to put that question to three NPR correspondents – Frank Langfitt in Kyiv, Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman and White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez.

And, Frank, I’m going to let you kick us off since you are there. You’re on the ground, and I know you were recently out toward the front lines, in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, talking with soldiers. What are they saying? What’s the mood?

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Well, I got to say, Mary Louise, it was kind of pessimistic. They were saying that the Russians are building up huge numbers on the front lines. They’re using everything from convicts, which we’ve heard about, of course – the Wagner – the mercenary group – as well as new conscripts. They’re throwing them into the fight. And the Ukrainians that I talked to just didn’t feel like they had the numbers to match the Russians and also not getting the kind of quality of people into the army that they were getting if you go back to the first two months of the war. I was talking to a sergeant named Andriy. He oversees a company of more than 100 reconnaissance soldiers.

ANDRIY: (Non-English language spoken).

LANGFITT: So what he says here is the new people who are coming – the ones who are being mobilized – they’re not that motivated. And the core of our forces – the ones who have been with us since the beginning – they’re coming to an end. And, Mary Louise, what he means by that is they’ve been killed.

KELLY: Oh, it’s just awful to hear. Stay with those new people – with the new conscripts. I keep thinking of them. These are people who were civilians yesterday, and today they’re being sent to the front.

LANGFITT: Yeah, and I’ve met a number of them. And I watched them being trained, and it’s a tall order. Just like Andriy was saying, you know, in the beginning, there were all these highly, highly motivated people. Now, these are people who are sort of being conscripted. Some of them don’t get a lot of training – sometimes a few days, couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months if they’re lucky – before they’re sent to the front. And the ones that I saw seemed quite frightened. And Andriy says some of them – they won’t even shoot in battle because they don’t want to kill anybody.

This is not to say Russia has it in the bag. They are throwing men into the meat grinder by the thousands for, so far, very little gain. It’s not like the Russian army has developed greater skill or motivation. To the contrary.

But as the war drags on, the Ukrainian motivation is taking a hit.

Now, more than ever, sensible people — people whose values have not been warped by partisanship; people who understand the depth of Putin’s evil and the need to support Ukraine — need to do what little we can to shore up the spirit of the Ukrainian people. Call your Congressman and support sending aid to Ukraine. Donate to a charity that provides warmth to those in Ukraine left in the cold. Speak out against the selfish Republican fringe mentality that ignores principle, accepts and repeats Putinesque propaganda, and promotes a self-centered view of the world.

The long-promised weaponry these people need might give a lift to their spirits. Get it to them yesterday.

Glory to Ukraine!

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:48 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

With 141 countries voting in favor, 7 voting against (Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Russia and Syria), and 32 voting in abstention (including China, India, Iran and South Africa), the UN called for Russia’s immediate withdrawal from Ukraine. During the meeting, Chinese deputy envoy to the UN, Dai Bing blamed the West for exacerbating the situation in Ukraine by supplying arms to the country, saying that the West is adding fuel to the fire will only exacerbate tensions.

Provoked by his comments, Germany’s foreign minister Annalena Baerbock rejected the accusation and reminded the world of a simple truth that is just as relevant today as it was on Day 1 of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one year ago:

The truth is that if Russia stops fighting, the war will end, If Ukraine stops this fighting, Ukraine ends.

Knowing that Bejing’s claims of neutrality are laughable, Bill Browder warns:

China has disingenuously come up with a 12-point “peace plan” at the same time as they’ve begun to discuss providing arms to Russia. If they do provide arms, it will be catastrophic for Ukraine and could lead to WW3.

Meanwhile, Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling explains why he believes Ukraine will win the war (hint: Russia can’t adapt…):

Looks have always been deceiving when it comes to Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine. From the start, Russia’s capacities were overestimated. Both the size of its army and the modernization it had supposedly undergone indicated to many observers that Russia would triumph easily. But since the invasion began, the Russian military has failed to adapt its strategy and operational objectives to battle conditions and circumstances…Ukraine’s armed forces have admirably adapted in each phase of this fight, learning lessons from training they received over the past decade, and from the scars earned on the battlefield itself. And Russia has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to do the same…It will remain difficult for Russia to change — simply because it can’t. A nation’s army is drawn from its people, and a nation’s army reflects the character and values of the society. While equipment, doctrine, training and leadership are important qualities of any army, the essence of a fighting force comes from what the nation represents. Putin’s autocratic kleptocracy is thus far proving no match for Ukraine’s agile democracy.

Related: At the one-year mark, the U.S., in coordination with G7 members, announced new sanctions against Russia and other entities supporting Russia in the war against Ukraine:

The sanctions…target over 200 individuals and entities, including a dozen Russian financial institutions.

President Biden is also set to sign a proclamation on Friday to raise tariffs on certain Russian products imported to the U.S., including 100 Russian metals, minerals and chemical products worth approximately $2.8 billion…Treasury Department…target[s] at least 12 Russian banks and the country’s mining industry…Department of Defense announced a $2 billion security assistance package for Ukraine…includes additional artillery rounds, munitions for laser-guided rocket systems and unmanned aerial systems…Department of Energy announced its third infrastructure package for Ukraine, which will include critical transmission grid equipment that will be delivered in early March.

Second news item

After causing a firestorm by announcing hundreds of edits to Roald Dahl’s classic stories and claiming that they had a “significant responsibility” to protect young readers, Puffin Books clearly felt the heat:

Puffin announces today the release of The Roald Dahl Classic Collection, to keep the author’s classic texts in print. These seventeen titles will be published under the Penguin logo, as individual titles in paperback, and will be available later this year…The Roald Dahl Classic Collection will sit alongside the newly released Puffin Roald Dahl books for young readers, which are designed for children who may be navigating written content independently for the first time.

Per Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House Children:

We’ve listened to the debate over the past week which has reaffirmed the extraordinary power of Roald Dahl’s books and the very real questions around how stories from another era can be kept relevant for each new generation…We also recognise the importance of keeping Dahl’s classic texts in print. By making both Puffin and Penguin versions available, we are offering readers the choice to decide how they experience Roald Dahl’s magical, marvellous stories.”

Third news item

Some MAGA Republicans split from Fox over the war in Ukraine:

The war in Ukraine has moved from city to city: Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kherson, Bakhmut. But its outcome, oddly, might be decided by a political contest thousands of miles away. The contest isn’t between Ukrainians and Russians. It’s between Republican hawks and Fox News.

Vladimir Putin is betting that the international alliance in defense of Ukraine will unravel. His best shot to win that bet is in the United States, where polls show that public support for arming Ukraine has declined, particularly among Republicans. War fatigue and unease in the Republican base are being channeled and fueled by Fox News, whose primetime anchors have worked to undermine America’s support for Ukraine.

The question now is whether congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates—the people who could cut off further aid to Kyiv—will withstand this pressure. The struggle is playing out on live TV, as Fox anchors press these politicians to disown or curtail our commitment to Ukraine.

Fourth news item

NTSB releases initial report on the East Palestine train derailment:

The report found that one of the train’s cars carrying plastic pellets was heated by a hot axle that sparked the initial fire, according to Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the safety board. As the temperature of the bearing got hotter, the train passed by two wayside defect detectors that did not trigger an audible alarm message because the heat threshold was not met at that point, Homendy explained. A third detector eventually picked up the high temperature, but it was already too late by then.

“This was 100% preventable. … There is no accident. Every single event that we investigate is preventable,” Homendy said during a news conference Thursday. “The NTSB has one goal, and that is safety and ensuring that this never happens again.”

Fifth news item

Uh-oh:

A bill aimed at forcing Arizona’s public school students to recite the Pledge of Alliance each day passed the state House this week. Despite opponents citing that the measure is clearly unconstitutional, the House’s Republican majority is pressing forward…As much as Arizona Republicans want to enforce this “citizenship” exercise, the Supreme Court decisively ruled in 1943 that schoolchildren cannot be forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, the Court ruled that the state cannot compel anyone—even schoolchildren—to profess or vow a belief they do not hold.

“Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard,” wrote Justice Robert H. Jackson in the Court’s opinion, famously adding, “if there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in matters of politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

Sixth news item

Five months into the massive protests after the death of Mahsa Amini, this is an absolute slap in the face and betrayal of the courageous women in Iran who have removed their hijabs in protest:

Switzerland’s ambassador to Iran on Thursday faced accusations of betraying the women-led protest movement after she wore all-enveloping black Islamic dress on a visit to a holy shrine alongside clerics.

The Swiss foreign ministry has batted away the criticism, saying ambassador Nadine Olivieri Lozano was appropriately dressed in line with protocol for a visit to a holy site.

Iranian media had published images of Lozano dressed head-to-toe in black with a full headscarf and long black garment alongside turbaned clerics during a visit to the holy shrine city of Qom.

The ambassador’s act was not an act of neutrality.

Related: The barbaric inhumanity of Iran’s authorities (Note: the report is very graphic and disturbing.):

CNN has been able to pinpoint the location of more than three dozen black sites. Many are undeclared jails inside government facilities such as military and Revolutionary Guards bases, known to rights groups and lawyers for years. Others are makeshift, clandestine jails – sometimes warehouses, empty rooms in buildings or even the basements of mosques – that cropped up near protest sites during the Mahsa Amini uprising…According to dozens of testimonies from survivors of torture as well as legal experts, the torture used on protesters in these off-grid sites was “unprecedented” in its severity. These clandestine jails exist outside of whatever due process the Islamic Republic affords, seemingly enabling unfettered cruelty…Off-the-books detention centers are not a new phenomenon in Iran. Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Kurdistan Human Rights Center have documented the abuse perpetrated in these places for years. Yet lawyers and activists say the proliferation of the sites during the Mahsa Amini protests was unprecedented.

“Not only has the use of secret detention centers increased significantly, but the torture used in them became more severe and the conditions of detention more restrictive,” said Ghassem Boedi, a lawyer from Tabriz, northwestern Iran.

The regime’s fear of being overthrown led to increasingly brutal tactics, observers say. “The major difference between these protests and the previous ones is the scale of the protests. They have been so widespread,” said Boedi, who sought refuge outside Iran. “The regime felt that it would be overthrown this time. They needed to stop the protests at any cost.”

This makes the Swiss ambassador’s actions all the more despicable.

MISCELLANEOUS

Oops!

A council meeting in Romania descended into hysterics on Friday after one councilor—supposedly “working” from home—turned his camera on while in the shower. The chairperson of the meeting was calling for attendance when Social Democratic (PSD) councilor Alberto-Iosif Caraian appeared on screen undressed in his shower. The soggy official was asked to turn his video feed off as colleagues could be heard cracking up. “But I can’t hang up,” Caraian said as he scrambled to turn the camera off. “I can’t hang up, I apologize profusely. I have a bad cold, but I don’t know how to hang up.” He later rejoined the meeting with his clothes on.

He messed with the wrong Grandma, and she messed him up:

“Next thing I know, he walked up talking about, ‘give me your keys, I got a gun.’ I said, ‘baby, you better shoot me, because you’re not taking my car.’”

She declined to go on camera, but she’s known in her 22nd Street Southeast neighborhood as “Grandma.” She was on her way to chemotherapy Friday when a 15-year-old boy tried to carjack her, MPD said.

“He pushed me to the door and I got up and I grabbed him and was hitting his ass, and hitting him and fighting him and I said, ‘you not going to take my car, youngin.””

Grandma said when she called for help, neighbors responded.

“They all came out to help me,” she said.

He ran across the street and that’s when they caught him.

“They caught him and I said, ‘oh, you going to jail today. You definitely going to jail, yes you are,” she said.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

2/22/2023

George Washington Goes to Church

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:48 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Today of course marks the 291 anniversary of the Indispensable American, George Washington. It is also Ash Wednesday in Western Christendom, the beginning of the 40-day Lenten season. In keeping with my tradition (abandoned but one year of the last eight) I am combining the annual Washington post with a topic befitting of the confluence of holidays. As a reminder, here are my past Washington’s Birthday posts:

2015 – George Washington’s Birthday
2016 – George Washington Quiets the Rebellion
2017 – George Washington Fears for His Country’s Future
2018 – George Washington Agrees to Serve Another Term
2019 – George Washington Goes Back to His Farm
2020 – George Washington Rallies the Troops
2021 – damn you, COVID
2022 – George Washington Takes Stock of the Senate

There is some degree of debate over George Washington’s religious affiliation. During his time, as the Founding Father of the new nation, it was popular to depict him as a pious Christian, a servant of the Only True King to whom he would ever bend the knee. One thinks of the popular painting of Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow at Valley Forge, painted for America’s Bicentennial based upon the supposed remembrances of a Quaker Loyalist who happened to see the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army make this humble supplication to the Lord at some point during that harrowing winter of 1777-78, and was so moved by the General’s piety that he immediately took up the American cause. This story, however, is quite likely yet another fable spun by Parson Mason Locke Weems, the man who gave us the tale of young George refusing to lie to his father about chopping down a cherry tree. Because of the prevalence of these sorts of saccharine myths, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the latter half of the 20th Century saw a revisionist history in which the first President was recast as a Deist who was indifferent towards, or perhaps even somewhat hostile to, the practice of organized religion — “a spiritual person but not a religious one” as seems to be today’s popular self-description among those who wouldn’t deign to darken a church, temple, or mosque door yet don’t want to be accused of outright atheism.

What we do know, however, is that the Washingtons were regular attendants at services, first at Anglican churches in pre-Revolution days and then after Independence as members of the reconstituted Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Indeed, upon taking the oath of office as the first President of the United States of America in 1789, George and Martha Washington led a delegation to St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway in New York City for services, and other Episcopalian churches in Philadelphia and Boston claim visits by one or both Washingtons. On the other hand, unlike his wife Mr. Washington was not known to take communion.

But where the first President distinguished himself as an ideal godly man was in his acceptance and tolerance of other faiths. While his own speeches and writings rarely mentioned Jesus Christ and instead invoked “the Almighty” or more often “Providence,” the Founding Father was decidedly not hostile to the organized practice of faith, as he made clear in his Farewell Address of 1796:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

George Washington famously put this trust in religion as a stabilizing effect on men in his response to a letter presented to him by the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island in August 1790, in which the local Jewish citizens celebrated the outcome of the Revolution and subtly implored the new chief executive to make good on the promise of religious freedom, which then as now has eluded Jews throughout the Old World. Replying in writing the very next day, the first President laid out his belief that the new nation should welcome men and women of all (Abrahamic) faiths:

[. . .] The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy. [. . .]

The American Cincinnatus was equally solicitous towards America’s burgeoning Catholic community, and as Richard Brookhiser relates, for years many ardent Catholic magazines repaid the favor by rehashing a story of General Washington’s prayers leading to an apparition of the Virgin Mary at Valley Forge, a tale even less believable than Parson Weems’ story of the Quaker Loyalist turned Patriot.

The great man honored and welcomed all faiths, and as such he became the representative figure of the new republic which many Founding Fathers considered to be the New Jerusalem, and two hundred years later would be memorably evoked as “the shining city on a hill.”

Here’s wishing everyone a happy George Washington’s Birthday and a peaceful Lenten season, even if you don’t observe either.

– JVW

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls For “National Divorce”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:03 am



[guest post by Dana]

On Monday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a “national divorce,” as in a red and blue state divide:

We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states and shrink the federal government. Everyone I talk to says this. From the sick and disgusting woke culture issues shoved down our throats to the Democrat’s traitorous America Last policies, we are done.

Liz Cheney reminded Marge of her duty:

Let’s review some of the governing principles of America, @mtgreenee:

Our country is governed by the Constitution. You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Secession is unconstitutional. No member of Congress should advocate secession, Marjorie.

Sen. Mitt Romney also denounced Marge’s call for a “national divorce”:

“You know, I think Abraham Lincoln dealt with that kind of insanity,” the Utah Republican told reporters during a brief press availability during his visit with lawmakers at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.

“We’re not going to divide the country. It’s united we stand, divided we fall,” Romney said.

In a tweetstorm yesterday, Marge described in detail the national divorce she envisions. She broke it down into various issues like: education, energy, elections, law enforcement, bearing arms, etc. You can read it in its entirety here. I’ll just leave you with her closing remarks:

Imagine if America decided to just go ahead and have a national divorce.

Hollywood elites and celebrities and all the brainwashed leftists women who watch the nasty women on the View, men who identify as women, and Democrat voters who suffer from the lifelong debilitating disease Trump Derangement Syndrome they caught from CNN wouldn’t have to see much less tolerate deplorables anymore. They could live in their safe space blue states, own nothing, let their government decide and control everything, and most importantly protect their fragile minds from being shocked and insulted by those of us on the right who believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Then Americans could choose which way, left or right, provides them with the best quality of life, and we don’t have to argue with one another anymore. I am starting to feel like it’s the right thing to do for everyone.

–Dana

2/21/2023

Supreme Court Today: Gonzalez v. Google

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:46 am



[guest post by Dana]

Takeaways from today:

Supreme Court justices appeared broadly concerned Tuesday about the potential unintended consequences of allowing websites to be sued for their automatic recommendations of user content, highlighting the challenges facing attorneys who want to hold Google accountable for suggesting YouTube videos created by terrorist groups…The attorney for the Gonzalez family argued that narrowing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – the federal law protecting websites’ right to moderate their platforms as they see fit – would not lead to sweeping consequences for the internet. But both the Court’s liberals and conservatives worried about the impact of such a decision on everything from “pilaf [recipes] from Uzbekistan” to individual users of YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms….A big concern of the justices seems to be the waves of lawsuits that could happen if the court rules against Google.

“Lawsuits will be nonstop,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said at one point.

But Eric Schnapper, representing the plaintiffs, argued that a ruling for Gonzalez would not have far-reaching effects because even if websites could face new liability as a result of the ruling, most suits would likely be thrown out anyway.

“The implications are limited,” Schnapper said, “because the kinds of circumstance in which a recommendation would be actionable are limited.”

Later, Justice Elena Kagan warned that narrowing Section 230 could lead to a wave of lawsuits, even if many of them would eventually be thrown out, in a line of questioning with US Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart.

Meta, Twitter, Microsoft and others urge Supreme Court not to allow lawsuits against tech algorithms
“You are creating a world of lawsuits,” Kagan said. “Really, anytime you have content, you also have these presentational and prioritization choices that can be subject to suit.”

Chief Justice John Roberts mused that under a narrowed version of Section 230, terrorism-related cases might only be a small share of a much wider range of future lawsuits against websites alleging antitrust violations, discrimination, defamation and infliction of emotional distress, just to name a few.

“I wouldn’t necessarily agree with ‘there would be lots of lawsuits’ simply because there are a lot of things to sue about,” Stewart said, “but they would not be suits that have much likelihood of prevailing, especially if the court makes clear that even after there’s a recommendation, the website still can’t be treated as the publisher or speaker of the underlying third party.”

This:

Constricting Section 230’s liability protections is also likely to backfire. Section 230 does not protect only large platforms; it protects all platforms. Upstart social-media sites like Gab, Parler, and Rumble enjoy the same protections as Facebook and Twitter.

If Section 230 no longer protects automated recommendation systems, upstarts will likely suffer the most. Even setting aside the plain text of Section 230, then, its protections for automated recommendation systems should be preserved as a matter of sound policy. Such protections nurture today’s startups, benefit our economy, and help generate jobs.

–Dana

2/20/2023

Unsurprising: Kevin McCarthy Gives Tucker Carlson Exclusive Access To Substantial Number of Jan. 6 Security Tapes

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:51 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Remember this:

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021…demanding that it preserve all records and transcripts and vowing to hold hearings next year on the security failures that led to the US Capitol breach.

After winning the House majority earlier this month, Republicans made it clear they will prioritize investigating President Joe Biden and his administration on a variety of fronts. The latest warning from McCarthy, who is vying to be House speaker, signals that Republicans may also use some of their time in the next Congress attempting to rewrite the narrative of the insurrection.

“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” wrote McCarthy, who did not comply with a subpoena to appear before the committee. “The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts.”

Interestingly, when the opportunity arose for McCarthy to give access to a trove of Jan. 6 security tapes, rather than Congress or investigators being the recipients, the Speaker opted to give that access to none other than…Tucker Two-Faced Carlson. Axios has the exclusive:

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Fox News’ Tucker Carlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot, McCarthy sources tell me.

Carlson TV producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove, which includes multiple camera angles from all over Capitol grounds. Excerpts will begin airing in the coming weeks…Carlson has repeatedly questioned official accounts of 1/6, downplaying the insurrection as “vandalism.”

Now his shows — “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Fox News, and “Tucker Carlson Today” and “Tucker Carlson Originals” on the streaming service Fox Nation — have a massive trove of raw material. Carlson told me: “[T]here was never any legitimate reason for this footage to remain secret.”

“If there was ever a question that’s in the public’s interest to know, it’s what actually happened on January 6. By definition, this video will reveal it. It’s impossible for me to understand why any honest person would be bothered by that.”

While Carlson’s involvement with the tapes began in early February, we learned only last week that the Fox News host, along with his colleagues and Fox executives, had accepted that Trump lost the 2020 election. However, they were nonetheless happy to go on air and hypocritically peddle Trump’s election lies and privately disparage their election conspiracy guests. Integrity meant (and means) nothing to Carlson, et al. What mattered (and matters) to these grifters is making bank via happy viewers and high ratings. That’s it. Everything else is superfluous.

The hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, as well as others at the company, repeatedly insulted and mocked Trump advisers, including Sidney Powell and Rudolph W. Giuliani, in text messages with each other in the weeks after the election, according to a legal filing on Thursday by Dominion Voting Systems…

“Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Mr. Carlson wrote to Ms. Ingraham on Nov. 18, 2020.

Ms. Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”

Mr. Carlson continued, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he added, making clear that he did not.

On Nov. 12, in a text chain with Ms. Ingraham and Mr. Hannity, Mr. Carlson pointed to a tweet in which a Fox reporter, Jacqui Heinrich, fact-checked a tweet from Mr. Trump referring to Fox broadcasts and said there was no evidence of voter fraud from Dominion.

“Please get her fired,” Mr. Carlson said. He added: “It needs to stop immediately, like tonight. It’s measurably hurting the company. The stock price is down. Not a joke.” Ms. Heinrich had deleted her tweet by the next morning.

So this is who has exclusive access to 41,000 Jan. 6 security tapes. And this is the greatest irony of all:

–Dana

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