Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:16 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Ah, so you’re telling me it wasn’t Israel that was responsible for the deaths of 84 people and an additional 284 injured in Iran:

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Thursday for two suicide bombings targeting a commemoration for an Iranian general slain in a 2020 U.S. drone strike…Experts who follow the group confirmed that the statement, circulated online among jihadists, came from the extremists, who likely hope to take advantage of the chaos gripping the region amid Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Second news item

Still running for second, Nikki Haley explained why she believes Trump should be pardoned:

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley argued that pardoning and “moving on” from former President Donald Trump “is in the best interest of our country.”

“I don’t think our country will move forward with an 80-year-old president sitting in jail that allows our country to continue to be divided. We have to move on past that.” she said when asked by voter Kathryn Duffy to explain her rationale.
Haley explained that pardons are generally not for innocent people — so people are assuming Trump is guilty — but noted that “it’s not about guilt or innocence” for her.

“It’s about what’s in the best interest for the country,” she said.

Haley has said that she would vote for Trump, if he is the nominee.

Meanwhile, Chris Christie, who trails behind Trump, Haley, and DeSantis, continues to face pressure to end his campaign. It doesn’t appear he has any interest in doing that:

Also, Christie most assuredly would not vote for Trump, if the former president is the nominee.

You can read Christie discussing his Trump ‘mistake’ with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer here.

Third news item

Former Harvard president Claudine Gay writes in a farewell statement:

It is a singular honor to be a member of this university, which has been my home and my inspiration for most of my professional career. My deep sense of connection to Harvard and its people has made it all the more painful to witness the tensions and divisions that have riven our community in recent months, weakening the bonds of trust and reciprocity that should be our sources of strength and support in times of crisis. Amidst all of this, it has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor—two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am—and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.

Earlier this week, Gay wrote an op-Ed published in the New York Times. In part:

Yes, I made mistakes. In my initial response to the atrocities of Oct. 7, I should have stated more forcefully what all people of good conscience know: Hamas is a terrorist organization that seeks to eradicate the Jewish state. And at a congressional hearing last month, I fell into a well-laid trap. I neglected to clearly articulate that calls for the genocide of Jewish people are abhorrent and unacceptable and that I would use every tool at my disposal to protect students from that kind of hate.

First of all, Ms. Gay is most assuredly smart and savvy enough to not fall into a “well-laid trap” by, um, Elise Stefanik. Please. I’m also pretty sure that Harvard’s Jewish students, who have been the target of hateful anti-Semitic attacks, are wondering exactly when was Ms. Gay going to actually use those tools at her disposal to protect them. Because clearly, it didn’t happen when she was the president of the institution.

Fourth news item

Prisoner exchange:

The largest exchange of prisoners of war since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war took place on Wednesday, prompting hopes that POW swaps will continue after they stalled last summer.

Confirming the exchange, Russia said it received 248 prisoners of war from Ukraine, while Ukraine said it got 230 of its military personnel and captured civilians back. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the prisoner exchange came about with mediation from the United Arab Emirates.

. . .

Commenting on the latest exchange, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “our people are home.”

“More than 200 of our soldiers and civilians were returned from Russian captivity. Soldiers, sergeants, officers. Soldiers of the Armed Forces, National Guard, Navy, border guards. Part of the defenders defended Mariupol and Azovstal,” he said on Telegram Wednesday.

Timothy Snyder has an excellent essay at his Substack, entitled The Meighbor’s House is On Fire. In part:

Everything that the Ukrainians are doing for us can be undone this year.  Russia can win, and be encouraged to start other wars, where our participation is likely to be much more direct.  China can be encouraged, and we can find ourselves in a cataclysm over Taiwan.  International order can break down, and we can confront confusing, difficult, and painful conflicts all over the world.  Russia can halt food deliveries to Asia and Africa, leading to starvation and further war.  Everyone can be demoralized by the realization that those who risked their lives for democracy were sold out, just because Americans lacked the wherewithal to what is obviously the right thing.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  It’s easy to help a good neighbor.  This is a conflagration that we can stop with a flick of the wrist.  A bit of legislation to support Ukraine, and we all have a safer year, and safer lives.

Read the whole thing.

Fifth news item

Another official swatted after push to remove Trump from the ballot:

California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis was the victim of a “swatting” call last weekend at her San Francisco home. . .following a series of elected officials being targeted with phony calls to police after they pushed to remove former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot.

The incident at Kounalakis’ Pacific Heights condominium came days after California’s No. 2 official wrote to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber urging her to exclude Trump from California’s 2024 primary. Weber did not acquiesce to Kounalakis’ request, siding with Gov. Gavin Newsom who telegraphed to fellow Democrats not to get ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court and dismissed the moves as “ political distraction.”

San Francisco Police responded to Kounalakis’ home about 11:20 a.m. on Dec. 30 after receiving reports of a possible shooting. The officers arrived on the scene and determined there was no merit to the call, public information officer Eve Laokwansathitaya said Thursday.

Sixth news item

Color me shocked!:

Former President Donald Trump received at least $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments during two of his four years in the White House, according to a report released Thursday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.

Twenty foreign governments made the payments to Trump’s businesses during the two-year period that the committee was able to review. . . Rep. Jamie Raskin said in the report that the information demonstrates that Trump violated the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which he said prohibits the president from accepting money payments or gifts “‘of any kind whatever’ from foreign governments and monarchs unless he obtains ‘the Consent of the Congress’ to do so.”

This: . . .national security is at stake if a president puts his or her wallet before the public interest.

This made me chuckle:

Seventh news item

Remember the noted Paul Harvey video “God Made a Farmer”? Well, Trump has made a similar video, except that instead of God being the main subject, it is Trump himself who is the messiah figure. The text:

And on June 14th, 1946, God looked down on his plan Paradise, and said, I need a caretaker. So God gave us Trump.

God said, I need somebody willing to get up before dawn. Fix this country. Work all day. Fight the Marxists. Eat supper. Then go to the Oval Office and stay past midnight. And a meeting of the heads of state. So God made Trump.

I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle the deep state, and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to ruffle the feathers. Tame the cantankerous World Economic Forum. Come home hungry. Have to wait until the First Lady is done with lunch with friends. Then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon and mean it. So God gave us Trump.

I need somebody who can shape an ax but wield a sword. Who had the courage to step foot in North Korea? Who can make money from the tar of the sand turned liquid to gold? Who understands the difference between tariffs and inflation? We’ll finish this 40 hour week by Tuesday noon, but then put in another 72 hours. So God made Trump.

God had to have somebody willing to go into the den of vipers. Call out the fake news for their tongues as sharp as serpents. The poison of vipers is on their lips. And yet. Stop. So God made Trump.

God said, I need somebody who will be strong and courageous, who will not be afraid or terrified of the wolves when they attack a man who cares for the flock. A shepherd to mankind who will never leave nor forsake them. I need the most diligent worker to follow the path and remain strong in faith and know the belief of God and country. Somebody who is willing to drill, bring back manufacturing and American jobs. Farm the lands. Secure our borders. Build our military. Fight the system all day and finish a hard weeks. Work by attending church on Sunday. And then his oldest son turns and says, God, let’s make America great again, dad. Let’s build back a country to be the envy of the world again. So God made Trump.

I thought this had to be a joke. I was wrong.

Also, Trump isn’t the first candidate to present himself as a messiah-type figure. Here is a Ron DeSantis ad from 2022:

Have a great weekend.


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