[guest post by Dana]
[Out of necessity, this is being written on Tuesday. So feel free to bring up anything that happened later in the week.]
First news item
A Republican-aligned group is making a new push to turn the tide of GOP opinion on US aid for Ukraine as Congress gears up for what could be a major spending fight when it returns from recess next month.
“Republicans for Ukraine,” a project of the conservative non-profit Defending Democracy Together, is launching a $2 million campaign that will include an ad airing nationally on Fox News during next week’s Republican presidential primary debate in Milwaukee…The group behind the campaign, led by conservatives and so-called never-Trump Republicans Bill Kristol and Sarah Longwell, warns that former President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies have eroded what it says are traditional Republican values.
Why are Republicans against continuing aid to a sovereign and modern democratic state that was viciously invaded by a brutal leader determined to wipe Ukraine off the map? Why does the political party long known for supporting the spread of freedom and democracy throughout the world, now say “no” to a country which has been heroically fighting for its very existence for over a year? Consider:
Before Donald Trump, Republicans were not the type to abandon a fight for a strategic partner’s democracy, handing a potential victory to Russian President Vladimir Putin. We were the warriors of the Cold War who brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
With Trump, who has embraced Putin, some Republicans are learning to let go of America’s role as the bulwark of democracy and freedom. These Republicans are choosing, instead, the tragic isolationism of those who opposed joining the fight against Hitler. Back then, radio priest Charles Coughlin had a powerful voice among do-nothings. Today, they find comfort on Fox News.
Second news item
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, wants to be tried in federal court:
In a 14-page petition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Meadows’ attorneys argued that he had the right to be tried in a different court because his alleged criminal activity “all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff.” Going further, his lawyers went on to insist, “Nothing Mr. Meadows is alleged in the indictment to have done is criminal per se: arranging Oval Office meetings, contacting state officials on the President’s behalf, visiting a state government building, and setting up a phone call for the President. One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, given that Fani Willis said she plans to try all 19 defendants together.
Third news item
While it’s true that language is always in flux, I’m just going to say that I’m glad I’m old. It’s all gotten to be too much :
People may use neopronouns for the same reason someone else uses “she” and/or “they” — neopronouns may better align with one’s identity. Some people may use a common pronoun, like “she” or “they,” in addition to a neopronoun.
Neopronouns are ultimately a “reflection of (someone’s) personal identity,” according to the Human Rights Campaign, and thus the “number and types of neopronouns a person may use (are) limitless.”
Examples and how to use them:
xe/xyr (commonly pronounced zee/zeer)
I asked xyr to come to the movies. Xe said yes!
ze/zir or ze/hir (commonly pronounced zee/zeer or zee/heer)
The teacher graded zir paper today, and ze got an A!
Ze said hirself that I’m hir favorite neighbor.
fae/faer (commonly pronounced fay/fair)
Fae told me that faer best friend is in town this week.
ey/em/eir (commonly pronounced aye/em/air)
I’m taking em to the park today. Ey wants to bring eir camera to capture the garden for emself!
ae/aer (commonly pronounced aye/air)
Ae is my best friend — most of aer’s weekday evenings are spent at my house.
Fourth news item
Trump’s delusional take on the latest “witch hunt” against him:
“A Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT on the Presidential Election Fraud which took place in Georgia is almost complete & will be presented by me … on Monday of next week in Bedminster, New Jersey,” the post said. “Based on the results of this CONCLUSIVE Report, all charges should be dropped against me & others. … They never went after those that Rigged the Election. They only went after those that fought to find the RIGGERS!”
How is it possible that the Republican Party continues to back a candidate who is facing 91 criminal charges against him under five indictments? What does it say that GOP leadership continues to come to his defense? I’ll tell you what it says: absolutely nothing good – about the individuals and about the Party as a whole:
Republicans rallied to Donald Trump’s defense after the former president was indicted on 13 criminal charges in Georgia over his attempt to overturn his defeat there by Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the US House, said: “Justice should be blind, but Biden has weaponized government against his leading political opponent to interfere in the 2024 election.”
…[H]e dominates Republican primary polling, leading his closest challengers nationally and in early voting states by about 40 points.
Referring to Fani Willis of Fulton county, McCarthy continued: “Now a radical [district attorney] in Georgia is following Biden’s lead by attacking President Trump and using it to fundraise her political career. Americans see through this desperate sham.”
You know what’s also a real shame? The Trump will milk this indictment for every last penny they can get. And unfortunately, sycophants and true believers will obediently cough up what they can to help their savior defeat the uh, mysterious and undefinable Deep State:
On Monday night, after charges were filed in Georgia, an email soliciting donations bemoaned a “FOURTH ACT of Election Interference on behalf of the Democrats in an attempt to keep the White House under Crooked Joe’s control and JAIL his single greatest opponent of the 2024 election”.
Friday morning update from JVW: Guess what? Team Trump has cancelled the press conference where they were to lay out the “Large, Complex, Detailed but Irrefutable REPORT.” What a surprise. I just feel bad for all of the suckers who continue to believe the nonsense that comes out of Mar-a-Lago.
Fifth news item – from JVW
We wrap up the Women’s World Cup this weekend with a third-place match of Sweden taking on the host nation Australia followed by a championship final of reigning European champ England being challenged by a rising young squad from Spain. This is a as good a time as any to address the longstanding claim — first popularized as far as I can tell during my boyhood when the late, great Pelé chose to spend the golden years of his career playing in the nascent North American Soccer League — that soccer will soon overtake the Big Three sports in the United States and become our nation’s favorite sport. A new study pours a great deal of cold water on that conventional wisdom:
The numbers are startling. According to annual reports by the Aspen Institute’s Project Play, in the last decade, the proportion of boys and girls aged six to 12 involved in team sports slumped to 36.8 percent, down from 41.4 percent. Among the five top team sports tracked by Aspen, that represents a loss of about 2.8 million participants—or nearly one-fifth of all players. Among high-school-age kids engaged in team sports, the share of those participating similarly dropped to 41.7 percent, from 45.4 percent.
These represent big declines for some of our biggest sports. Soccer, the country’s third-most-popular team sport among kids, has sustained the largest losses. Participation has slumped by more than a quarter of all players, or about 800,000 kids aged six to 12, from a peak of 3 million players in 2010. The number of children aged six to 12 playing basketball has declined to about 4.2 million in 2021, down from a peak of 4.5 million in the same period. Baseball now suits up slightly under 3.7 million participants between the ages of six and 12, a sharp fall from almost 4.5 million in 2008.
Some of this can probably be attributed to the Baby Bust, a poor decision regarding age classification made by the youth soccer federation, and our nation’s predilection for taking youth sports far too seriously. Certainly the pandemic wrought havoc on sports, including soccer, by delaying team formations for kids born in 2014-15, giving more casual players an easy out for quitting the sport, and in general turning kids into couch potatoes.
Inside of three years from now our continent will host the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup, so we’ll see if that can be the shot in the arm that the sport needs in this country. But they have their work cut out for them.
Sixth news item – from JVW
Hunter Biden’s cozy plea arrangement with his dad’s Department of Justice appears to be dead, though the attorneys for the scuzzy son are insisting that the very favorable gun deal still needs to be honored. The original defense attorney, Christopher Clark, has resigned from the case, claiming that he may end up being called as a witness with respect to the aforementioned sweetheart deal offered to the irksome Biden whelp. This likely buys more time for Team Biden to push any court proceedings beyond November 2024, though it does raise the possibility that Hunter could be going to trial as soon as next summer, right as the campaign season heats up.
How we ended up with these two jamokes leading our two biggest parties is beyond mortal comprehension.
Seventh news item – from JVW
For all of the media caterwauling about “the return of fascism” every time a party slightly more conservative than Rockefeller Republicans is on the verge of winning office in Europe, it’s important to be reminded that some of the worst actors on the international stage come from the hard left. Meet the nasty Julius Malema of South Africa:
“Shoot to kill! Kill the Boer, the farmer! Kill the Boer, the farmer! Brrrr! Pah! Pah!” These were the words chanted in fine voice by Julius Malema to a rapturous crowd of 100,000 at South Africa’s biggest stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday July 29. Malema was celebrating the tenth birthday of the EFF, the political party he founded and leads.
EFF stands for Economic Freedom Fighters. It is dedicated to fighting economic slavery. It declares itself Leninist-Marxist, wants to seize private property (as Malema’s hero Robert Mugabe did in Zimbabwe), plans to nationalize the banks and the mines and enforce total state control. The EFF is the fastest-growing political party in South Africa and Malema the most forceful political leader. After the general election next year, he could become the deputy president of South Africa. Anybody thinking of investing in the country should know this.
Mr. Malma and EFF’s policy proscription is a mix of Mugabe-style seizure of land from white farmers, ostensibly to be reappropriated to poor black South Africans but in practice given over to political allies who then become feudal lords, along with the usual hodgepodge of Marxism, Maoism, Putinism, and extreme brutality, with a predilection for torture and cruelty when dispatching their perceived enemies. Mr. Malma himself preaches solidarity with the working classes and poor but outfits himself in Italian suits and luxury watches, then drives his children to expensive private schools in his Mercedes-Benz or Range Rover.
Mr. Malma’s political rise has been accelerated by the utter incompetence and corruption of the African National Congress, the party which made Nelson Mandela the first post-apartheid President of South Africa. Since that memorable moment, it has all gone downhill:
The ANC has been a disaster for South Africa, and especially for ordinary black people, whom it has impoverished while making a tiny ANC elite fabulously rich. In 1994, for all the cruelty and stupidity of apartheid, South Africa had excellent infrastructure and reasonably advanced industry. Eskom, the state electricity utility, provided the cheapest electricity in the world, very reliably; there were good passenger trains for workers; the freight trains carried ores to the port. The ANC has wrecked it all with looting, corruption, incompetence and a plethora of racist policies, appointing people on the basis of skin color and political connections rather than merit.
Goods and services are procured not on competitive pricing and quality but on Black Economic Empowerment, which means awarding contracts for shoddy services at high prices to ANC cronies. Eskom has been wrecked, and as a result we have hours of blackouts almost every day. Meanwhile the passenger trains hardly run at all; the freight trains cannot deliver our export minerals to ports. The economy is stagnant, industry is shrinking and unemployment is catastrophic, now at 42 percent (including those who have given up looking for work).
Into this breach steps parties like the EFF, whose politics of resentment and brutish operations have been appealing to a country that remains stubbornly poor, corrupt, and backwards. The academic/media/bureaucratic left doesn’t care to acknowledge when tranquility (such as it is in Africa) is threatened by a leftist totalitarian, especially one from a “historically marginalized” community. This may not end well at all.
[It’s JVW here, gang. I so badly wanted to end this update with some sort of light-hearted or whimsical item, especially given how the items I have contributed to this thread are so overwhelmingly negative. But I can’t seem to come up with anything particularly interesting in these ridiculous times. So if you are willing, any nice stories or humorous anecdotes would be quite welcome.]
Have a great weekend.