Patterico's Pontifications

1/19/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:52 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Huh. I guess we missed the indictments of previous presidents at the end of their terms… And, at least in my lifetime, that would have been a number of presidents going down…

Look, we’ve already experienced the awful fallout from the former president’s illegal efforts to subvert a legitimate election, seen his complete disregard for the rule of law, and witnessed his clear disdain for the Constitution in his call for the “termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” As Ms. Cheney accurately observed at the time: No honest person can now deny that Trump is an enemy of the Constitution.

This latest demand for “full immunity,” while awaiting a ruling by Supreme Court, is the cheap rant of a guilty man trying desperately to stay out of prison. It most certainly has nothing to do with the furtherance of democracy. And it most certainly has nothing to do with any future presidents – except God save us – if Trump gets re-elected… Along with trying to save himself, this latest demand reveals his compelling urge to rule like his idols: Putin and Xi. The thuggish authoritarian bottled up inside Trump is beyond frustrated that he is remains constrained by pesky annoyances like the Constitution and rule of law. And make no mistake, without the necessary guardrails, his inner-thug would run wild. And no aide or advisor would be able to rein him in. They never have been (see: 2016-2020). He has shown us who he is, repeatedly. And for some, an authoritarian, even a “dictator” Trump is just who they want:

MICHAEL SHURE: The other day, Donald Trump said on his first day is going to be a dictator for a day.

TRUMP FAN: I like that! Yeah, I like that!

MICHAEL SHURE: Would you rather have Donald Trump as a dictator for four years or reelect Joe Biden for four years?

TRUMP FAN: I would rather have Donald Trump. I’d like to see the repeal the Roosevelt law so that he can be a president for a lot more than four years. But we this country, needs a dictator. I hate to say that, but it’s the truth.

Sad, indeed.

Second news item

Meanwhile, after the Trump’s Iowa win, I was gobsmacked by a suggested strategery to persuade suburban Republican women to vote for Trump: insult them. Here is the quote:

Do Republicans really believe that insulting half the population with a patronizingly outdated and inaccurate generalization of women is the way to get more women on board with a foul, dishonest narcissistic lunatic who has a bit of an ego problem? If this sort of dipshittery is what Republicans believe will be effective with suburban women, then they are nuttier than I thought…and they should definitely employ this tactic, at all costs!

But what do I know? I’m just a silly suburban woman who quit the Republican Party because I saw that the the Party sold its collective soul to a corrupt, narcissistic liar with authoritarian urges and a compelling interest in only himself. So much so, in fact, that he even fomented an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In other words, I looked at the evidence before me, studied the facts as they became known, and then made what I believed to be the logical decision. (Insert *wink* emoji here.)

For more reasons influencing my decision to leave the Republican Party, see Item #1.

Third news item

Band-Aid applied:

Congress narrowly averted a partial government shutdown, buying a few extra weeks to try to work out an agreement on a set of bills that will fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

After several days of nail biting over Friday’s looming deadline, which would have seen four of 12 government funding bills expiring, both chambers passed the short-term funding bill — allowing them to get out of town as another snowstorm barrels toward the East Coast.

There were 107 Republicans that backed the bill and 106 opposing it. 207 Democrats supported it, with two opposed.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had already threatened to oust him as speaker, à la Kevin McCarthy, if he allows a vote on a package being negotiated in the Senate. Her tipping point:

…Ms Greene said that her red line to oust Mr Johnson would be additional funding for Ukraine.

“For me, it’s the United States Congress, in the entire federal government would really be waging a war against Russia itself in Ukraine at this point, funding this war when it’s pretty much over,” she said.

She needs to go.

P.S. Speaker Johnson told Fox News that he speaks regularly with Donald Trump, specifically about the ongoing border negotiations. Additionally:

Trump allies on Capitol Hill have privately lobbied the former president to come out vocally against any Senate compromise as he rails on immigration on the campaign trail and has little appetite for giving President Joe Biden a victory on the hot-button issue.

And after Trump publicly lambasted a potential Senate deal, GOP critics and supporters of the former president were in unison: Trump’s position will make it perilous – if not impossible – for a wide-swath of Republicans to get behind any bipartisan deal. And that could have the effect of derailing the package altogether, which would include emergency aid package for Ukraine and Israel.

Fourth news item

The Department of Justice released its report on the horrific mass shooting at Uvalde:

It described insufficient planning and major departures from established active-shooter protocols. After the shooting had ended, investigators described a chaotic scene in which dead bodies were transported in ambulances and injured students were loaded onto buses. One teacher died on a sidewalk outside the school, where she was being treated…

“The extent of misinformation, misguided and misleading narratives, leaks, and lack of communication about what happened on May 24 is unprecedented and has had an extensive, negative impact on the mental health and recovery of the family members and other victims, as well as the entire community of Uvalde,” the Department of Justice report said.

The law enforcement response to the shooting was “a failure that should not have happened,” an emotional Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news conference Thursday, announcing the findings of the Justice Department’s year-long review into the massacre.

And then there is this:

“Other than the attacker, the Committee did not find any ‘villains’ in the course of its investigation,” the report said. “There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregiously poor decision making.”

Investigators said it was not their job to determine whether officers should be held accountable, saying that decisions rests with each law enforcement agency.

Fifth news item

Former dean of Harvard hits nail on head:

Why antisemitism seems to be a problem at Harvard and other universities is one of the still-unanswered questions that precipitated the University’s downward spiral.

But, it surely is not Claudine Gay’s fault. It is not because Harvard admits antisemitic students or hires antisemitic faculty. No one is suggesting there are comparable antisemitism problems in other kinds of institutions — such as hospitals or libraries — so there must be something that uniquely happens in universities.

That something must be the source of our woes.

***

Unapologetic antisemitism — whether the incidents are few or numerous — is a college phenomenon because of what we teach, and how our teachings are exploited by malign actors.

The Harvard online course catalog has a search box. Type in “decolonize.” That word — though surely not the only lens through which to view the current relationship between Europe and the rest of the world — is in the titles of seven courses and the descriptions of 18 more.

Try “oppression” and “liberation.” Each is in the descriptions of more than 80 courses. “Social justice” is in over 100. “White supremacy” and “Enlightenment” are neck and neck, both ahead of “scientific revolution” but behind “intersectionality.”

Though word frequency is an imperfect measure and the precise counts are muddied by duplicate numberings and courses at MIT, this experiment supports the suspicion that the Harvard curriculum has become heavily slanted toward recent fashions of the progressive left.

Proposed remedies:

The political bias in our faculty is now widely accepted. One solution is to use a kind of affirmative action program for conservative thinkers to change the faculty, but that idea is noxious and misses a crucial point.

Professors should not be carrying their ideologies into the classroom. Our job as teachers of “citizens and citizen-leaders” is not to indoctrinate students, but to prepare them to grapple with all of the ideas they will encounter in the societies they will serve.

Instead, individual faculty might diversify what they teach. Committees and departments could enforce a standard that curricula exhibit intellectual diversity and a variety of agreed-upon topics and techniques.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.

Sixth news item

Word:

I’m not going to go on a rant about why the U.S. should continue to provide aid to Ukraine. I’ve explained it repeatedly. Suffice it to say, we absolutely can, and should. And shame on Republicans.

Seventh news item

President Biden responds to questions about the effectiveness of U.S. airstrikes on the Houthis:

“When you say working, are they stopping the Houthis, no. Are they going to continue, yes,” Biden said in an exchange with reporters before departing the White House for a domestic policy speech in North Carolina.

Um, I’m going to need more information…

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Let Ted Lieu Tell Us What Is Really Important

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:27 am



[guest post by JVW]

Well, let’s see: Israel continues trying to bring Hamas under heel, Ukraine is still battling for its very existence against Russia, Pakistan and Iran are trading missile attacks, China remains a malevolent force in the world, fentanyl and other synthetic drugs are killing Americans at an increasing rate, the leading Presidential candidates from both parties are foolish, doddering, corrupt old coots, and we’re now $34 trillion in debt and have no way of turning that back around. So what is on the agenda of my (and our host’s) United States Representative, Ted Lieu (D – Publicity)? Behold:

What a waste of a Congressional seat. Rep. Lieu has now represented me for over eighteen years, first in the California Assembly, then in the California Senate, and now in the United States House of Representatives. He is a showhorse, not a workhorse, and his entire political career has been about small-bore initiatives designed to win over some important Democrat interest group so he can continue his climb up the political ladder. He’s absolutely the sort of clown who gives ingratiatingly ambitious politicians such a bad name.

– JVW


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