Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2023

The pressure is on president biden

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:35 pm



[guest post by Dana]

A warning to the President from the National Muslim Democratic Council, wherein they demand President Biden commit to a ceasefire now:

The National Muslim Democratic Council (NMDC), Democratic Party activists, and voters from across the nation and pivotal battleground states write to express our deep concern regarding the ongoing massacre in Gaza. The massacre of over eight thousand Palestinians and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza are unacceptable. We call on the White House to urgently advocate for an immediate ceasefire. Your administration’s unconditional support, encompassing funding and armaments, has played a significant role in perpetuating the violence that is causing civilian casualties and has eroded trust in voters who previously put their faith in you.

The situation in Gaza has reached a critical juncture, nearing a complete humanitarian catastrophe, and we implore you to take immediate action to secure a ceasefire by Tuesday, October 31st at 5 p.m. EST.

We pledge to mobilize Muslim, Arab, and allied voters to withhold endorsement, support, or votes for any candidate who did not advocate for a ceasefire and endorse the Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people. We will mobilize increased voter turnout to make our voices heard. The State of Michigan, in the 2020 election, was decided by a mere 2.6 percent margin of victory and holds 16 crucial electoral votes. We emphasize the significance of Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, where many of our voters reside. We hereby demand an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the establishment of a humanitarian aid corridor to assist the people of Gaza, and the lifting of the siege that has deprived innocent men, women, and children of basic necessities like food and water. The inhumane weaponization of water and the dehydration of children as a military strategy must cease immediately, and all communication channels must be reinstated.

(Gosh, it’s as if the 200+ hostages held by Hamas in the tunnels under Gaza don’t even exist, let alone matter. And it’s as if the devastation of the terror attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 didn’t even happen either.)

Anyway, as with Ukraine, Israel cannot agree to a ceasefire. If they did, it would be a gift to the terrorists. Consider:

Why the Gaza ground invasion is necessary:

What people need to understand from Israel’s perspective is that this is a cost calculation.

Until October 7th, the calculation in Israel was that Israel was that the country was better off putting up with occasional attacks and rocket volleys. That they were better off trying to encourage a better situation in Gaza with work visas, providing electricity, providing water etc. Even if the actual government of Gaza was doing nothing to help the situation and often undermining it. Those were efforts to avoid war.

Having kids grow up running to bomb shelters or fearing a random shooting or knife attack isn’t a small price, but it was better than a full war.

That equation changed on October 7th. When thousands of your people are tortured, raped, taking hostage or murdered by the group you allowed to stock up on weapons and plan because you avoided taking action for years, that choice is no longer available. Hamas took it away. War is here.

At the time of the attack, Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza were still technically in a ceasefire from the last attack earlier in 2023. Those calling for Israel to just abandon their hostages and allow Hamas to continue to restock weapons and prepare another attack are vounteering for Israelis to pay the price without asking them.

No country would ever accept such an attack without taking out the group responsible and ensuring it can’t happen again. No other country would be expected to do so. There is no doubt that Israel’s actions in Gaza will have costs for years to come, but there is no choice now. Hamas cannot be allowed to continue to stock up weapons, plan attacks, and terrorize Israelis. So the only choice now is victory or surrender.

We should pray for a swift victory with as little collateral damage as is possible.

Just two days ago, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reiterated the White House position that a ceasefire would only serve to benefit Hamas:

“We do not believe that a ceasefire is the right answer right now. We believe that a ceasefire right now benefits Hamas.”

Kirby added that “temporary localized humanitarian pauses,” however, should be considered to get aid to Palestinian civilians.

“What we have said should be considered and explored are temporary localized humanitarian pauses to allow aid to get to specific populations and maybe even to help with the evacuation of people that want to get out,” he said.

And as for Benjamin Netanyahu, he is, of course, adamantly against a ceasefire:

“Just as the U.S. wouldn’t have agreed to a cease-fire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack on 9/11, Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of Oct. 7…Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.”

In the meantime, President Biden has to navigate the complicated waters of not losing the Jewish or Muslim vote. This especially as Democratic members of Congress are voicing their disapproval of the President’s views on a ceasefire.

—Dana

10/28/2023

Constitutional Vanguard: The Republican Party Will Eventually Be Wrong About Everything — Including Israel

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:53 am



Hi. It’s been a while. My latest newsletter is an 8,000-word rant on how the Republican Party is wrong about almost everything under the sun–mainly except for issues based on identity politics. We all know how the GOP sucks on Donald Trump, the 2020 election, vaccinations, contempt for law enforcement and for the importance of character in our leaders, and so forth. I go over all of this and more in detail. But where I think I add the most value is in discussing one of the issues the GOP sucks on that has received relatively little attention: renewal of section 702 of FISA. I explain that there are sound reasons and dumb reasons to oppose section 702 renewal:

The sound reason that section 702 is controversial is because it was designed to target foreign nationals and not U.S. citizens—but controversies have arisen about the extent to which that surveillance scoops up incidental communications with U.S. citizens, and how to handle those communications.

A recent report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) discusses how the FBI in particular (the NSA does a better job) tends to abuse its access to the incidental information thus collected. The members of the PCLOB all think section 702 information is critical. But in terms of dealing with the abuses, the board’s members split on their recommendations for addressing this issue. All of the board members agree that some reform needs to happen, but they disagree as to what, exactly, should happen.

One recommendation, supported by the majority of the PCLOB, is to have the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) authorize any query of the incidentally collected information for information about a U.S. person. But even among that majority, there is disagreement. Two members would require the FISC to conclude that the query would be “reasonably likely to retrieve” foreign intelligence information or evidence of a crime (for the FBI). The third member of the majority would require this decision to be made according to a higher “probable cause” standard.

The two members in the minority do not want to involve the FISC in these decisions, but instead want to institute reforms in the FBI—to fix its “structure and culture,” improve auditing and compliance, and codify privacy and civil liberties protections for making such queries.

All of these are serious and weighty issues being discussed by adults, and should form no obstacle to renewing section 702, which is critical to our national security. The only question is: renewal on what terms? But this is a sensible and indeed necessary conversation.

And then we have the dumb reasons to oppose section 702 renewal—which, of course, is the stuff that Republicans yammer about. Basically you can boil it down to this: THE FBI DONE OUR PRESIDENT TRUMP WRONG WITH THAT THERE FISA AND WE GOTTA REPEAL IT!

At the end, for paid subscribers, I explain my theory that the GOP could end up being wrong on Israel too. It seems unthinkable now, doesn’t it? After all, the left is the side that is fanatically pro-Palestinian, and pushes easily debunked narratives about matters like the Israeli (OK, Palestinian) bombing of a hospital (OK, its parking lot) causing 500 deaths (OK, a small fraction of that). How could the GOP end up going down a similar road. Couldn’t happen, right?

I’m not so sure.

Donald Trump. Tucker Carlson. Vivek Ramaswamy. Senator Mike Lee. Jack Posobiec. Charlie Kirk. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Lauren Chen. Sounds like the lineup at next year’s CPAC, doesn’t it?

And they’re all parroting a similar line.

. . . .

So no, I’m not saying “Democrats are better than the GOP on Israel.” They’re not. But again, remember how the Ukraine issue started out. Republicans were basically solid on funding Ukraine, with a fringe right paleoconservative minority objecting. Democrats were reasonably solid too, but had their own fringe to contend with. Now, you don’t hear much more about the fringe on the left that opposes Ukraine funding. But the fringe on the right has taken over a larger and larger part of the GOP conference in Congress, aided by Trump’s hostility to Ukraine over insane 2020 election conspiracy theories. Now, it’s not clear a package containing aid for Ukraine will get past the House. And President Biden’s unwavering support for Ukraine seems to spur a lot of grassroots GOP voters into thinking that anything Biden supports must be bad. So opposition to Ukraine funding is now far-right orthodoxy, and they get spitting mad about it.

Is it really that tough to imagine something similar happening with Israel?

I pepper this section of the newsletter with specific examples of the New Right criticizing Israel and making noises about how we should not go to far in supporting Israel, from Trump praising Hezbollah, to Vivek Ramasmarmy saying “no money” for Israel, to Mike Lee retweeting a video of an insane Douglas Macgregor rant about Israel’s “war crimes,” to Lauren Chen praising Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes’s Deep Thoughts on the conflict, to Jack Posobiec comparing Israel’s actions to the bombing of Dresden . . . and, well, if that were not enough, there’s more. And I document it all.

If it seems unthinkable that the GOP could end up turning its back on Israel, just think back to how strong GOP support for Ukraine was over a year ago.

The New Right and Trumpism are still ascendant, and they are still incandescently stupid. That has consequences for everyone–including, possibly, even for Israel.

Read it here. Subscribe here.

10/27/2023

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:57 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby explains ‘what’s harsh‘:

TV Globo’s @RKrahenbuhl: “So, besides saying that he doesn’t have confidence in these numbers, the President went further to say that innocents will die and that this is the price of the war. You also said that.”

Kirby: “I have indeed.”

Krähenbühl: “Don’t you think this is insensitive? There’s being very harsh criticism in about it. For example, the Council of American-Islamic Relations said it was deeply disturbed and call on the President to apologize. Would the President apologize?”

Kirby: “No.”

Krähenbühl: “And does he regret saying something like that?”

Kirby: “What’s harsh — what’s harsh is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. What’s harsh is taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families and anxious, waiting and worrying to figure out where their loved ones are. What’s harsh, is dropping in on a music festival and slaughtering a bunch of young people just trying to enjoy an afternoon. I could go on and on. That’s what’s harsh. That is what’s harsh and being honest about the fact that there have been civilian casualties and that there likely will be more is being honest, because that’s what war is. It’s brutal. It’s ugly. It’s messy. I’ve said that before. President also said that yesterday. Doesn’t mean we have to like it. And it doesn’t mean that we’re dismissing anyone of those casualties each and every one is a tragedy in its own right…It would be helpful if Hamas would let [Gazans] leave….We know that there are thousands waiting to leave Gaza writ large and Hamas is preventing them from doing it. That is what is harsh.”

Second news item

Denmark’s plan for the integration of immigrants from mostly Muslim countries:

Now they are being forced to leave their home under a government program that effectively mandates integration in certain low-income neighborhoods where many “non-Western” immigrants live.

In practice, that means thousands of apartments will be demolished, sold to private investors or replaced with new housing catering to wealthier (and often nonimmigrant) residents, to increase the social mix.

The Danish news media has called the program “the biggest social experiment of this century.” Critics say it is “social policy with a bulldozer.”

The government says the plan is meant to dismantle “parallel societies” — which officials describe as segregated enclaves where immigrants do not participate in the wider society or learn Danish, even as they benefit from the country’s generous welfare system.

Third news item

President Biden has a long-shot challenger:

Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota has decided to challenge President Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination and will launch his 2024 campaign on Friday in New Hampshire, where he will file to appear on the state’s primary ballot.

Phillips said he has studied polling data and is alarmed about the prospect of Trump beating Mr. Biden, should the 2024 election end up becoming rematch of the 2020 race.

“I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country,” Phillips said. “But it’s not about the past. This is an election about the future.”

Fourth news item

Why, just why!:

The United States allowed Iran’s foreign minister to visit New York City this week to address the United Nations, drawing the ire of critics who insist the Biden administration should never have allowed him into the country.

“Iran-backed terrorists have attacked our servicemembers and are currently holding Americans hostage, but the Biden administration has granted a top Iranian official a visa — welcoming this regime on U.S. soil with open arms,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, wrote on social media platform X.

“The appeasement must end,” she added.

Iranian activist and firebrand Masih Alinejad had an even stronger reaction to his presence in the U.S.:

It’s shocking that Amir Abdullahin, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, is on American soil discussing the Hamas attacks on Israel. This is the very regime that has openly championed and bankrolled terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah for years. By welcoming a representative stained with the blood of innocent Americans and Israelis, the U.S. sends a chilling message. History is clear: appeasing murderers doesn’t bring peace, it invites more violence. Every day, brave Iranians defy tyranny in pursuit of democracy. America must not extend hospitality to their oppressors. We should impose strict sanctions, stand resolutely against these tyrants, and align ourselves firmly with the true, freedom-loving people of Iran.

Also concerning the U.S. and Iran:

…the Biden administration is trying to tell you that the outbreak of attacks on Americans by Iranian-backed and -funded militia groups and proxies is simply a coincidence. It has nothing at all to do with Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas (an Iranian-backed and -funded proxy) and Hezbollah (an Iranian-backed and -funded proxy). Remember: According to Joe Biden’s administration, the attacks on Israel and the attacks on Americans in the Middle East are “separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.”

“Death to America,” Iran says.

“It’s negotiable,” the Biden administration responds.

Why is this happening? Joe Biden’s national-security team is obsessed with renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal begun under the Obama administration. Whatever Iran’s actions to date — and whatever comes next — Biden’s team wants to leave the door open to its dream of a new nuclear deal with Iran. In its thinking, if Americans were fully aware of Iran’s actions, we’d demand a tougher response, and that would scuttle any chance of new negotiations. In short, Joe Biden’s administration doesn’t think you can handle the truth about Iran’s pattern of malign intent and its authorship of the region’s upheavals.

Fifth news item

Horrific news:

An intensive manhunt is still underway for a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting rampage at a bowling alley and a restaurant that left at least 18 dead and 13 injured in Lewiston, Maine, according to authorities…Robert Card, 40, is facing an arrest warrant for eight counts of murder and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said. He is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserves, according to law enforcement…The rampage in Maine is the deadliest US mass shooting since the Uvalde school massacre.

Additionally:

Card recently reported mental health issues, including “hearing voices and threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco” and was reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released, a police bulletin said.

A note was found in suspect’s home but does not provide a motive for the shooting.

Sadly, a children’s league was at the bowling alley time of the shooting.

Sixth news item

I guess this is Russia “winning”:

Russia has freed up to 100,000 prison inmates and sent them to fight in Ukraine, according to government statistics and rights advocates — a far greater number than was previously known…The Russian prison population, estimated at roughly 420,000 before the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, plummeted to a historic low of about 266,000, according to Deputy Justice Minister Vsevolod Vukolov, who disclosed the figure during a panel discussion earlier this month.

Russian forces are now heavily reliant on prisoners plucked from colonies with the promise of pardons…

Seventh news item

We’ll fly you anywhere to move out of NYC:

Mayor Eric Adams is ramping up efforts to fly migrants to the destination of their choice, figuring it’s cheaper than sheltering them for months on end. And he’s simultaneously warning that those opting to stay in New York may be in for a winter of sleeping outside with shelters full.

“When you are out of room, that means you’re out of room,” Adams told reporters Tuesday. “Every year, my relatives show up for Thanksgiving, and they want to all sleep at my house. There’s no more room. That’s where we are right now.”

The city has been at odds with the White House over the lack of a national remedy to the migrant surge, pitting Adams against President Joe Biden. One-way plane tickets, even international ones, are cheaper than the cumulative daily, per-migrant cost that has risen to $394 this month from $363 in the city.

Eighth news item

New hope for continued aid to Ukraine?:

There’s a renewed hope for approving additional aid to Ukraine after House Republicans resolved their speaker paralysis, and as some hard-right lawmakers critical of new funding hint at a viable path to vote on it.

One month ago, then-Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., voted with 93 Republicans to cut off Ukraine aid. Now, as speaker, Johnson said he’s asked White House staff “bifurcate” aid to Israel and Ukraine. But he emphasized that the U.S. must stop Russia’s advances.

“We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there,” Johnson said in an interview on Fox News the day after he was sworn-in. “And it would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan. We have these concerns. We’re not going to abandon them.”

Johnson added that he wants “accountability” over how the money is spent as lawmakers “have a stewardship responsibility over the precious treasure of the American people.”

Ninth news item

Maine Dem rep changes mind on weapons ban after mass shooting:

Rep. Jared Golden, a Marine Corps veteran who lives in Lewiston, Maine, said Thursday that in light of the recent mass shooting in his hometown he was changing his view on banning assault-style weapons.

“Humility is called for as accountability is sought by victims of a tragedy such as this one,” Golden said at a news conference alongside other officials.

Arguably the most conservative Democrat in the House, Golden said that “I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime.”

“The time has come for me to take responsibility for this failure,” he said. “Which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing.”

MISCELLANEOUS

Have a great weekend.

—Dana

10/26/2023

Jewish Students Across the Country Face Fury of Pro-Palestinian (and Pro-Hamas) Students

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:52 pm



[guest post by Dana]

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates didn’t hold back in his comments concerning the vile anti-Semitism that Jewish students are facing on American campuses:

“Amidst the rise in poisonous, antisemitic rhetoric and hate crimes that President Biden has fought against for years, there is an extremely disturbing pattern of antisemitic messages being conveyed on college campuses.

Just over the past week, we’ve seen protests and statements on college campuses that call for the annihilation of the State of Israel; for genocide against the Jewish people. Jewish students have even had to barricade themselves inside buildings,” he says.

As you may recall, last week when asked about Biden’s thoughts about the dramatic rise in anti-Semitism, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed she didn’t hear the part about anti-Semitism, and instead discussed on Muslim concerns. (It didn’t really make sense because if she wanted to address general hate toward select groups, why would she just *choose* to stick with anti-Muslim hate and ignore anti-Semitism?)

Anyway, I personally feel that President Biden should make a public statement similar to that of Andrews’, given the level of vitriol that Jewish students are currently facing on campuses across the country. It should come from the leader of our nation, not his spokesperson. Perhaps while he’s at it, he should also address those Congressmembers who spew their own brand of hate and continue to blame Israel for, well, everything.

So, what exactly are Jewish students facing on campuses across the country? Let’s take a little peek into their now-even-more fearful existence. Let’s start with Brandeis University, founded in 1948 by the American-Jewish community. Shockingly, their student government voted down a resolution condemning the terrorist group Hamas for their massacre on Oct. 7, as well as a resolution to release their hostages:

For pro-Israel students at Brandeis University, the two weeks since Hamas attacked Israel had been, at least in part, a period of relief: Their campus hadn’t been convulsed by the kind of anti-Israel sentiment that was roiling so many others.

That changed on Sunday, when Brandeis’ student government voted down a resolution condemning Hamas and calling on the terror group to release all of its hostages.

Only six members of the university’s Student Union Senate voted in favor of the resolution, while 10 voted against and five abstained, according to a representative who was present at the vote.

In addition to condemning Hamas, the resolution also said the student government “calls on Hamas to immediately release all hostages back to their families unharmed” and urged campus groups to engage with the conflict and promote “empathy, tolerance, and informed discussion.”

Imagine being unable to agree that, YES, OF COURSE WE CONDEMN a well-known terrorist group that launched a surprise attack on Israeli civilians, which led to any number of rapes, torture, and ultimately, the deaths of 1,400 individuals, as well as the kidnapping of the 210 Israelis who remain captives of Hamas. Babies, children, women, and the elderly — slaughtered without discrimination. And these privileged yoyos are unable to sign onto a resolution of condemnation. From the report, other Jewish students said that they were “outraged” by the decision.

Now let’s look at Cooper Union in New York, where Jewish students locked themselves in the library while angry protestors banged on the doors:

Jewish students at Cooper Union who say they were locked in the campus library during a pro-Palestinian protest were expected to demand the arrests of those who allegedly threatened them as criticism of the university’s response mounted Thursday.

The group told reporters at news outlets it took 40 minutes for police to respond to the protesters. A rally was scheduled for Thursday afternoon outside the East Village college to demand the arrests.

Videos widely shared on social media show student protesters banging on a reportedly locked door, as at least four students — some wearing traditional Jewish yarmulkes — sheltered inside.

While the school claims that the doors were not locked, given the video below, one must ask: if the doors were unlocked, why did protesters continue to bang on the doors and not simply enter the library?

This is from NYC Councilwoman Inna Vernikov:

Last night, I spoke to four Jewish students from @cooperunion. Three of them were barricaded inside the library while the pro-Hamas protestors were violently banging on doors. A few take-aways according to student accounts of the incident:

1. Even though this rally/walk-out was supposed to be outside the school on public property, protestors STORMED the school building. There were no consequences and NOBODY WAS ARRESTED.

2. Faculty members CANCELLED CLASS for the walk out, ENCOURAGED students to participate and even offered EXTRA CREDIT to do so.

3. FACULTY members themselves PARTICIPATED in the walk out/protest.

4. There was NOT nearly ENOUGH CAMPUS SECURITY. According to the students, there are only about 12 campus security guards on site at any given time and the protestors made up over approximately 100 individuals.

5. The NYPD did not show up right away, and when they did show up, they never entered the building, at least to the students’ knowledge. NYPD told the students later on that @cooperunion DID NOT ALLOW THE NYPD @NYPDnews onto school grounds. (Cooper is a private institution)

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 6. The DEAN of the school was ESCORTED out of the building through a SAFE back door exit by campus security. Then later allegedly claimed everything and everyone was safe.

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 7. Some of the protestors were acting violent, held antisemitic posters, as well as what looked like sticks. (See video) Instead of removing the protestors from school grounds, the school barricaded the Jewish students in the school library.

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 8. The Jewish students barricaded in the library were TERRIFIED, some of them SHAKEN. They believed they could’ve been physically assaulted and injured, and feared for their well-being. One of the slogans heard was “Globalize the intifada from New York to Gaza”

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 9. The school until this hour, HAS NOT ISSUED ANY STATEMENT ensuring its students that they would be safe coming to school today, nor have they reached out to their families. These students are AFRAID to come to school today and many of them will STAY HOME.

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 10. Jewish students have dropped classes at @cooperunion because they feel bullied, and the students who were barricaded in the library are traumatized, and said they “will never walk in there feeling alright again.”

@cooperunion @NYPDnews 11. This is a terrible DERELICTION OF DUTY on behalf of @cooperunion to protect its Jewish students from physical harm, a failure to provide them with a safe space, and the university must be held accountable for creating a HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT. HEADS NEED TO ROLL.

And this is from George Washington University, where ugly anti-Semitic slogans were projected on campus buildings:

…a student group projected pro-Palestine messages onto Gelman Library at George Washington University for about two hours on Tuesday.

Campus police eventually forced Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to take the messages down.

Sabrina Soffer, a junior at the university, said she is among many Jewish students who feel unsafe on campus after the display.

“Definitely, I think security it needs to increase in all areas of campus,” Soffer said. “I think they are already doing that, but it really needs to be emphasized.”

She said the projected messages, including one that read, “Glory to our martyrs,” glorify terrorism.

“’Free Palestine from the river to the sea,’ that’s very anti-Semitic,” Soffer said. “That phrase literally means eradicate Israel and all of its Jewry. Throw them into the sea because it’s all of Palestine.”

Here are a few of the projected images. Images that were projected on the Estelle and Melvin Gelman library:

Lastly (although there are many more examples), this is from UCLA:

“We don’t want no two state. We want all of it,” they cry. Israel should not exist and neither should its people. This is advocating for genocide.

Not mentioned in this post are the campus officials and administrators. That’s because most of them are mealy-mouthed at best and just regurgitate silly pleas and assurances that do nothing to stop the vile hate that is taking place outside their office windows. In some cases, I’ve read (and seen the photos) of the institution’s president at the protests, watching and saying nothing.

Anyway, this all shows me that, when push comes to shove, campus demands for diversity, inclusivity and the safe space movement itself were just the empty rants of children and cowed adults. Diverse thought (pro-Israel) is very unwelcome, being inclusive and welcoming those who think differently and believe differently is no longer a goal – at least not if you’re Jewish. Day after day, we are seeing that the safe spaces for Jewish and pro-Israel students is becoming harder to find. And the need to hide one’s identity is becoming a priority for many. Or even just hiding out, altogether. Sadly, this applies to adults as well:

P.S. I’ll be updating the post with video of new incidents taking place on college campuses:

—Dana

10/25/2023

Trump fined $10,000 after violating gag order for second time in civil fraud case

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:14 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This morning :

Donald Trump was fined $10,000 by a New York judge for again violating a gag order barring the former president from making statements about a law clerk involved in the state’s $250 million civil fraud trial.

The fine issued Wednesday by Justice Arthur Engoron comes after Trump referred to the person sitting beside the judge as “partisan.” The Oct. 3 gag order had barred Trump from publicly discussing his law clerk after he posted her photograph on social media and spread a false rumor about her.

If you recall, Justice Engoron fined Trump $5,000 after learning that he had not taken down a post disparaging the judge’s law clerk.

Details:

On Wednesday, during a break in the trial over a lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James over Trump’s business practices, Trump told reporters, “this judge is a very partisan judge, with a person who’s very partisan sitting alongside of him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.”

Engoron, surmising that Trump was referring to his clerk, called the comments a “blatant” violation of the gag order. The judge imposed the fine after Trump briefly took the witness stand to take questions.

After a short conversation with Trump’s attorneys about the ruling, Justice Engoron cautioned:

“I’ve reconsidered, the ruling stands. Don’t do it again or it’ll be worse. “

–Dana

10/24/2023

A clear sign of the ongoing disarray in the House, and in the Republican Party (2x update added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:52 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Is there a better representation of the mess in which the House Republicans, and GOP in general, currently find themselves:

Imagine thinking Donald Trump is the answer to the current speaker problem. Admittedly, that’s a dumb thing to say, considering that a whole lot of voters want to see him become the next president. Go figure.

I guess it boils down to this:

Hey, look, if the best you can do is to get a quadruply-indicted, national-security-endangering thief, conman, and rapist on a part-time and temporary basis, then so be it. Gotta make do with what you’ve got.

Reminder: The more that the hard-right Republicans turn to Trump for their salvation, the longer the Party will continue to be in disarray.

UPDATE: How it’s going now:

…McCarthy is floating a plan that would reinstall him as speaker and make Jordan, a conservative Trump ally, the assistant speaker, according to three sources familiar with McCarthy’s pitch.

Asked why the idea — which lacks key details, like how it would be enacted and whether it could even gain enough traction to happen — was being floated now, a GOP lawmaker replied: “We’re desperate.”

“Kevin speaker, Jordan assistant speaker,” the source said.

UPDATE 2: Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana has won the gavel, despite have in less than 7 years service in the House:

House Republicans elected Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., to serve as the next speaker of the House, breaking weeks of GOP infighting that left the lower chamber frozen.

NOTE: True to form of the modern GOP, the House has voted in an election denier:

Johnson, who currently serves as the GOP caucus vice chair and is an ally of Trump, led the amicus brief signed by more than 100 House Republicans in support of a Texas lawsuit seeking to invalidate the 2020 election results in four swing states won by Biden: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Heh:

When asked by NBC News what he thought of Johnson, Sen. Mitt Romney said that he new “very little about him” but thought his past election denialism was “unfortunate.”

Romney continued that it would “be interesting to see how the House runs if they choose a speaker that has no experience in leadership or as a committee chair.”

He added: “Inexperience seems to be a qualification.”

—Dana

10/23/2023

White House Spokesperson Ignores Rise in Anti-Semitism (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:37 pm



[guest post by Dana]

It’s interesting telling that White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre seemingly ignored a reporter’s question regarding President Biden’s concern about rising anti-Semitism, and focused instead on “hate-fueled” attacks on Muslims:

[Ed. I don’t know about you, but a surprise attack by a vicious terrorist group that left 1,400 Israelis dead seems in itself to be a hate-filed attack of any proportion…]

If I’m being charitable, perhaps Jean-Pierre didn’t hear the reporter’s specific mention of anti-Semitism. But that would be a b-i-g stretch, given her nodding acknowledgment of the question. Or perhaps she simply isn’t up on recent information, which points to an uptick in anti-Semitism since the Hamas terror attack on Israel:

A shocking new report suggests the number of antisemitic posts online increased 1,200% since Hamas began its terror attack in Israel on October 7 — with New York City emerging as an epicenter for this hate.

The Antisemitism Cyber Security Monitoring System found that between October 7 and October 10, at least 157,000 posts calling for violence against Israel, Zionists and Jews were made online, according to a survey obtained by the Jerusalem Post.

That represents a 450% increase from the four days before. It also represents a 360% increase when compared to the same period last month.

Separately, a report from the Anti-Defamation League found 347 messages on Telegram from extremists calling for violence against Jews, Israelis and Zionists in just the first 18 hours after Hamas’ surprise attack — up approximately 488% from the day before, according to USA Today.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said this about the rise of anti-Semitism:

“The threat is very much ongoing and in fact, the threat picture continues to evolve.”

Anyway, I scrolled through social media and easily found this post from today among others depicting ugly anti-Semitic rants and protests:

P.S. After Yashar Ali pointed out that Jean-Pierre gave an “odd” response, she jumped into action:

You go girl! With a little more practice, you’ll get there. In the meantime, Jews will just have to patiently suffer while you – and thousands of others – get up to speed.

UPDATE: after receiving backlash, including from Democrats, Jean-Pierre claimed today that she misheard the question:

“I did mishear the question,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement. “As I have footstomped many times from the podium and on the air, antisemitism is an abomination that this President has fought against his entire life; and I feel strongly about that work. That’s why, in the briefing room, I have blasted the repulsive increase in antisemitic rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and hate crimes in our nation, calling out that, tragically, this is a rising threat.”

—Dana

10/20/2023

Weekend open thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:36 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Last night, President Biden made his case for support and funding to Ukraine and Israel. Here are a few excerpts from his speech tonight. I’m posting a generous portion:

The terrorist group Hamas unleashed pure unadulterated evil in the world, but sadly, the Jewish people know, perhaps better than anyone, that there is no limit to the depravity of people when they want to inflict pain on others.

The President also recognized the Palestinian people’s right to live free of Hamas:

I also spoke with President Abbas, the Palestinian Authority, and reiterated that the United States remains committed to the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and to self-determination. The actions of Hamas terrorists don’t take that right away.

Like so many others, I’m heartbroken by the tragic loss of Palestinian life, including the explosion at the hospital in Gaza, which was not done by the Israelis. We mourn every innocent life lost. We can’t ignore the humanity of innocent Palestinians who only want to live in peace and have an opportunity.

The President also tied Israel and Ukraine together. Effectively so, I think:

Hamas and Putin represent different threats, but they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it. Hamas’ stated purpose for existing is the destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of Jewish people. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, and innocent Palestinian families are suffering greatly because of them.

Meanwhile, Putin denies Ukraine has, or ever had, real statehood. He claims the Soviet Union created Ukraine. And just two weeks ago, he told the world that if the United States and our allies withdraw — and if the United States withdraws, our allies will as well — military support for Ukraine would have, quote, a week left to live.

But we’re not withdrawing.

On why it’s vital that Putin not succeed in his quest to destroy Ukraine:

Why does this matter to America? So let me share with you why making sure Israel and Ukraine succeed is vital for America’s national security.

You know, history has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction. They keep going. And the cost and the threats to America and the world keep rising.

So if we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine. He’s — Putin’s already threatened to remind, quote, remind Poland that their western land was a gift from Russia. One of his top advisers, a former president of Russia, has called Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania Russia’s Baltic provinces.

These are all NATO allies. For 75 years, NATO has kept peace in Europe. And has been the cornerstone of American security. And if Putin attacks a NATO ally, we will defend every inch of NATO, which a treaty requires and calls for.

We’ll have something that we do not seek. Make it clear — we do not seek — we do not seek to have American troops fighting in Russia or fighting against Russia.

Beyond Europe, we know that our allies, and maybe most importantly our adversaries and competitors, are watching. They’re watching our response in Ukraine as well. And if we walk away and let Putin erase Ukraine’s independence, would-be aggressors around the world would be emboldened to try the same.

About Israel:

In Israel, we must make sure that they have what they need to protect their people today and always. The security package I’m sending to Congress and asking Congress to do is an unprecedented commitment to Israel’s security that will sharpen Israel’s qualitative military edge, which we’ve committed to: the qualitative military edge. We’re going make sure Iron Dome continues to guard the skies over Israel. We’re going to make sure other hostile actors in the region know that Israel’s stronger than ever and prevent this conflict from spreading.

About Ukraine:

On Ukraine, I’m asking Congress to make sure we can continue to send Ukraine the weapons they need to defend themselves and their country without interruption, so Ukraine can stop Putin’s brutality in Ukraine.

Second news item

Always courageous, feminist Phyllis Chessler pulls no punches:

I have pioneered women’s rights for more than 50 years.

Sadly, I must conclude that what was once a diverse and independent-minded movement has become hijacked by a “woke” death cult.

Those American feminists left standing, including the icons among us, primarily favor gender over sex identity; are pro-trans rather than pro-biological-womankind; and are more obsessed with the alleged occupation of a country that has never existed (Palestine, Gaza) than they are with the occupation of female bodies in Gaza — where girls and women are forced into child and polygamous marriages, made to veil and, together with male homosexuals, “honor” killed by their families.

At this horrifying moment in history, when Hamas, an ISIS-like, Taliban-like terrorist group, has savagely and sadistically murdered, tortured, mutilated, raped and burned Israeli civilians alive, including babies, young women and grandmothers, I note a terrible silence, a moral failure, among those women, including women activists, who live in freedom in America.

The bottom line:

We cannot believe feminists’ almost absolute silence after Hamas launched its terrorist attack against Jews this month — which included raping young women next to their dead friends and then parading them, bloodied between their legs, through Gaza streets.

Rape in a war zone is considered a crime — as long as the victims are not Jews.

Third news item

Just heartbreaking:

Tearful mourners on Monday gathered in prayer at a mosque and placed white and yellow roses at the gravesite of a 6-year-old Muslim boy stabbed to death by a man who police say targeted him and his mother because they were Palestinian Americans.

Police said the 6-year-old and his mother Hanaan Shahin, 32, were attacked by their landlord on Saturday in Plainfield Township, about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Chicago. The boy was stabbed 26 times while his mother suffered multiple wounds. She was expected to survive.

The assailant attempted to choke the mother and said “You Muslims must die,” CAIR said, citing text messages that Shahin sent to the boy’s father from the hospital. The man then stabbed the woman and child repeatedly with what police described as long, military-style knife with a serrated edge.

From one of the mourners:

“It’s heartbreaking. This child did not deserve to die from what happened overseas,” Juhie Faheem, one of the mourners and neighbor of the family in Plainfield Township.

“What happened in Plainfield is going to make people understand that this hits closer to home and this child was murdered for being Muslim, but he easily could have been any race, any ethnicity.”

The brutal killing of the little boy took place a week after the Hamas terror attack on Israel.

Fourth news item

Sidney ‘Release the Kraken’ Powell pleads guilty:

Sidney Powell, who advised Trump during the final frantic weeks of his bid to remain in power despite losing the election, pleaded guilty Thursday to six misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties…Powell’s guilty plea, which she entered in a court hearing in Atlanta, makes her the first member of Trump’s close advisers to admit to crimes related to the 2020 electio…Powell was sentenced to six years probation and will be left without a criminal record if she complies with all aspects of the agreement, Judge Scott McAfee indicated. She also must write an apology letter to Georgia citizens.

Powell also agreed to “testify truthfully” against her co-defendants, which could be very bad news for Trump.

Fifth news item

Term limits on Supreme Court?. Playing politics:

A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday that would radically change the makeup of the Supreme Court, amid ongoing concerns over court ethics and its increasingly conservative makeup.
The legislation would appoint a new Supreme Court justice every two years, with that justice hearing every case for 18 years before stepping back from the bench and only hearing a “small number of constitutionally required cases.”

Only the nine most recently appointed justices would hear appellate cases, which make up a bulk of the court’s work. All living justices would participate in a smaller subset of cases under the court’s “original jurisdiction,” such as disputes between states or with foreign officials.

Sixth news item

A solid analysis of the massive media failure this past week and a half:

Other media outlets didn’t exercise the same patience. Instead of waiting for more information, nearly all of them ran with the accusations from the terrorist group as if they were facts. That’s how eager they were to create a moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas.

The result of their careless journalism was actively misinforming millions about a serious situation and triggering a chain of deadly consequences. Even as the story developed and more information came out, the outlets were slow to react, much less issue corrections. By Wednesday there was overwhelming evidence that Israel was right and almost everything these outlets had originally reported was straight-up wrong. There is even clear evidence the casualty count was not remotely accurate, as confirmed by multiple intelligence agencies from other countries.

Seventh news item

Over at The Bulwark, Jonathan V. Last points to the reasons why he believes President Biden has done a stellar job with Israel:

Given Israel moral, rhetorical, and concrete support.

Rallied Europe to Israel’s cause.

Pulled the main body of the Democratic party even further away from its radical, anti-Israel fringe.

And pushed Israel to be more attentive to humanitarian concerns in its campaign against Hamas.

Eighth news item

Ninth news item

If you haven’t yet heard NYC Mayor Adams’ speech on Israel, do so:

Have a good weekend.

—Dana

10/19/2023

Republican chaos in the house continues

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:16 am



[guest post by Dana]

I honestly don’t have lot to say about the chaos in the House as Republicans try to secure a new speaker. With the ongoing war in Ukraine, an Hamas terrorist attack in Israel, and the next funding bill due in November, GOP members are not covering themselves in glory with their inability to elect a new speaker. The country needs a working House, laser-focused on doing the hard work they were elected to do. Sadly, that isn’t happening.

This morning, we are learning that it’s very likely that Rep. Jim Jordan will not be calling for a third vote:

Rep. Jim Jordan won’t hold a third speaker vote today, sources tell CNN, as he struggles to flip GOP holdouts. The Ohio Republican failed Wednesday to win the gavel for a second time.

Jordan fared worse in the second round, with 22 Republicans voting against him, compared with 20 who did not support him on the first ballot.

Jordan is now leaning toward backing a resolution to expand interim Speaker Patrick McHenry’s powers, sources said, but he wants to see how today’s House GOP conference meeting goes.

With the speakership undecided, I wanted to point out that several Republicans who voted against Trump-backed Jordan received death threats and that another representative who voted for Rep. Lee Zeldin both times was also threatened.

Exit question: If no one can reach 217 (which no one can), it seems that the only play left is to go with an interim Speaker McHenry. Is there another option??

—Dana

10/17/2023

Members of Congress Repeat Hamas-Run Health Ministry Claim That Israel Bombed Hospital (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:57 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I know it’s foolish, and I know that we are way beyond such naïveté, but it would be much healthier for the country if members of Congress waited for evidence before repeating unproven claims as if ironclad and indisputable. Of course I am referring to this report, Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says 500 killed in Israeli airstrike on hospital. Despite the assertion resting solely on the Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry, that didn’t stop some members of Congress from, unsurprisingly, repeating it as of it were the God-honest truth:

File under: Exactly what we expect.

Meanwhile, Israel says not so fast:

Israeli President Isaac Herzog decried the deadly blast in Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City that he said was caused by an Islamic Jihad rocket and criticized the media’s reporting on the tragedy.

“An Islamic Jihad missile has killed many Palestinians at a Gazan hospital, a place where lives should be saved,” Herzog said on social media.

The explosion was caused by a “failed rocket launch” from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, according to The Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Herzog denied accusations from Gaza officials blaming the IDF for the blast, which likely killed hundreds.

“Shame on the media who swallow the lies of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, broadcasting a 21st century blood libel around the globe,” Herzog said. “Shame on the vile terrorists in Gaza who willfully spill the blood of the innocent.”

“Never before has the choice been clearer. Israel is standing against an enemy made of pure evil. If you stand for humanity — for the value of all human life — you stand with Israel,” Herzog said.

Peas in a pod: The people taking the word of the Gaza ministry of health that Israel bombed the hospital are the same ones who demanded evidence that Israeli babies were killed and beheaded, otherwise it never happened.

UPDATE ADDED: This morning we are learning that Israel was not responsible for the bomb at the Baptist Hospital in Gaza:

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council reaffirmed President Biden’s comments from early Wednesday that the U.S. government does not assess that Israel is responsible for Tuesday’s deadly blast at a hospital in Gaza City.

“While we continue to collect information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open-source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” said the spokeswoman, Adrienne Watson.

Hamas immediately blamed Israelis for the blast, while Israel’s military said that part of a “barrage of rockets” fired by the Islamic Jihad militant group erroneously hit the area.
After arriving in Israel on Wednesday, Biden said he’d seen material that suggested the strike was “done by the other team, not you.”

This is a clip of President Biden in Israel:

Anyway, it’s unsurprising that Israel was immediately and falsely accused of being responsible for the hospital bombing. It’s even more unsurprising that certain members of Congress, Big Media, and any number of institutions of higher learning immediately blamed Israel. It’s the go-to move for anti-Semites and/or those who view Jews as responsible for the ills of the world. It’s become easier to understand the sheer hate motivating the collective persecution of a people 80+ years ago, and continues to motivate today.

Exit question: What are the odds that Tlaib and Omar, media, and universities across the nation issue public apologies for their misplaced accusations? Meh, that would require a backbone and integrity. It’s easier to delete tweets, pretend they never blamed Israel, and stay their particular course of blame and denial…

UPDATE 2: This happened today:

Running away seems her best option at this point. Anything but admit she is wrong in her assertion that Israel bombed the hospital. She subsequently mislead thousands of her social media followers with her false claim. And she further put Jewish men, women, and children at risk with accusations.

—Dana

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