Patterico's Pontifications


Two Weeks in the Life of Yulia Navalnaya

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Alexie Navalny’s widow, Yulia, warned the European Parliament that Vladimir Putin is capable of anything and offered insight into how the West can confront and defeat the monster:

If you really want to defeat Putin, you have to become an innovator. And you have to stop being boring. You can’t hurt Putin with another resolution or another set of sanctions that is no different from the previous ones. You can’t defeat him by thinking he’s a man of principle who has morals and rules. And Alexei realized that a long time ago. You are not dealing with a politician, but with a bloody monster. Putin is a leader of an organized criminal gang. This includes poisoners and assassins but they’re just puppets. The most important thing is the people close to Putin — his friends, associates and keepers of mafia money.

To combat Putin, the same methods used to combat organized crime must be employed, she said.

“No diplomatic notes, but investigations into the financial machinations. Not statements of concern, but a search for mafia associates in your countries, for the discreet lawyers and financiers who are helping Putin and his friends to hide money.”

Meanwhile, knowing the threat that Yulia poses, the Kremlin is working overtime in a disinformation campaign to undermine her as she becomes the face of the opposition. Trying to make her appear disloyal to her husband, doctored videos and claims about affairs and abortions, etc. are being widely circulated on social media:

Lies about Navalnaya having affairs and abortions and not caring about her husband’s death are being shared widely on Telegram channels, Russian state-run media, and social media accounts controlled by groups with close ties to the Kremlin. The campaign, which features fake videos and doctored images, continues to gain momentum as Navalnaya speaks out about Navalny’s death and criticizes Russian president Vladimir Putin…

“The Kremlin is using gendered disinformation campaigns to crush dissent at home and to undermine democracy world over,” Kristina Wilfore, director of innovation and global projects at Reset, tells WIRED. “Rather than stand up to Vladimir Putin, social media platforms continue to provide the means for massive amplification of deeply harmful and defamatory rhetoric that puts women at risk and weaponizes gender.”

In the midst of all of this, Yulia has been planning a funeral for her husband. A big worry is how the authorities will respond to the crowds:

Alexei Navalny’s funeral will be held in Moscow on Friday, his wife Yulia announced, but she said she was unsure if it would pass off peacefully and that plans for a civil memorial service had been blocked.
Kira Yarmysh, Navalny’s spokesperson, posted on X that a service for Navalny would be held on Friday afternoon in the Church of the Icon of the Mother of God in the Moscow district of Maryino where Navalny used to live…

It was not immediately clear how the authorities would ensure crowd control.
But judging from previous gatherings of Navalny supporters – whom Russian authorities have designated as U.S.-backed extremists – a heavy police presence is likely and the authorities will break up anything they deem to resemble a political demonstration under protest laws.

Yulia on X:

Two people are to blame for the fact that we do not have a place for a civil memorial service and farewell to Alexei – Vladimir Putin and Sergei Sobyanin. People in the Kremlin killed him, then they mocked Alexei’s body, then they mocked his mother, and now they mock his memory.

We don’t want any special treatment – just to give people the opportunity to say goodbye to Alexey normally. Just don’t bother me please.

I hope that Yulia continues to be surrounded by a solid team of strong people who are equally committed to the cause. She is on a difficult journey and she’ll need the strength. Surely the journey will only get more difficult as time goes on. She has my deep admiration and respect.


Supreme Court Will Decide Trump’s Immunity Claim

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:10 pm

[guest post by Dana]

The Supreme Court will hear Trump’s immunity claims, it was announced today:

The Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether Donald Trump may claim immunity in special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion case, adding another explosive appeal from the former president to its docket and further delaying his federal trial.

The court agreed to expedite the case and hear arguments the week of April 22…

The decision is a significant victory for Trump for at least two reasons: He will now be able to argue for sweeping presidential immunity that, if granted, could undermine the bevy of legal challenges he faces, and he will also be able to push off a trial, likely for several weeks at least.

According to the order, the legal question the Court will decide is “Whether and if so to what extent does a former president enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.”

If you recall, Trump lost his immunity appeal in early February when a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit found that he had no immunity from federal charges as former president. They wrote: “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant.”

Donald Trump posted this bullshit after the Supreme Court announcement:

Legal Scholars are extremely thankful for the Supreme Court’s Decision today to take up Presidential Immunity. Without Presidential Immunity, a President will not be able to properly function, or make decisions, in the best interest of the United States of America. Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralyzed, by the prospect of wrongful prosecution and retaliation after they leave office. This could actually lead to the extortion and blackmail of a President. The other side would say, “If you don’t do something, just the way we want it, we are going to go after you when you leave office, or perhaps even sooner.”

Just incredible.

Judge Luttig was asked for his reaction to the news while making an appearance on CNN:

This is a momentous decision just to hear this case. There was no reason in the world for the Supreme Court to take this case. The three-judge panel…had written a masterful opinion denying the president’s claims of absolute immunity. Under the Constitutional laws of the U.S., there has never been an argument that a former president is immune from prosecution for crimes he committed while in office.

Compare and contrast said reactions…


Mitch McConnell to Step Down After Election

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:30 pm

[guest post by JVW]

From National Review Online:

Mitch McConnell announced on Wednesday that he will step down as the Senate Republican leader in November, ending his tenure as the longest-serving Senate leader in history.

“This will be my last term as Republican Leader of the Senate,” the 82-year-old veteran of the chamber said to his colleagues on the Senate floor. “I’m not going anywhere… It’s time for the next generation of leadership.”

McConnell leaves behind a formidable and expansive legacy as the steward of the Senate GOP. In 2016, he rallied the Republican caucus and the then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley to prevent Barack Obama from installing abortion-advocate Merrick Garland on the Supreme Court. Such an effort made possible the appointment of Justice Gorsuch and the eventual reversal of Roe v. Wade. Amid the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation circus, McConnell unified his party, and Republicans again retained their majority for two more critical years.

Besides health issues, one reason that Sen. McConnell might be stepping down is the difficulty of uniting a fractious party, especially in the Age of Donald Trump, as shown by the recent failure of what I saw as a decent immigration compromise:

“I’m unconflicted about the good within our country and the irreplaceable role we play as the leader of the free world,” he said. “It’s why I worked so hard to get the national security package passed earlier this month. Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular moment in time.”

Those of you who have read my posts over the past decade know that I am a fan of Cocaine Mitch, though I do believe that the time has come, especially after we all witnessed the rapid deterioration of the late Dianne Feinstein. He’s up for reelection in 2026, and it’s pretty clear at this point that he should leave the Senate then, if not sooner. Kentucky currently has a Democrat governor, so perhaps Senator McConnell needs to hold on to his seat until the next midterm elections to prevent the governor from replacing him with a Democrat.

Nevertheless, here’s saluting Addison Mitchell McConnell III (gotta love those Southern gentry families) for his faithful service and stalwart leadership. I fear the GOP will find him hard to replace.


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