Patterico's Pontifications

3/22/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:07 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Top priority of *Republicans Trump is to pay his legal bills:

AP) — Donald Trump’s new joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee directs donations to his campaign and a political action committee that pays the former president’s legal bills before the RNC gets a cut, according to a fundraising invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

The unorthodox diversion of funds to the Save America PAC makes it more likely that Republican donors could see their money go to Trump’s lawyers, who have received at least $76 million over the last two years to defend him against four felony indictments and multiple civil cases. Some Republicans are already troubled that Trump’s takeover of the RNC could shortchange the cash-strapped party.

Next month will see the big league donors at Mar a Lago:

Trump has invited high-dollar donors to Palm Beach, Florida, for an April 6 fundraiser that comes as his fundraising is well behind President Joe Biden and national Democrats. The invitation’s fine print says donations to the Trump 47 Committee will first be used to give the maximum amount allowed under federal law to Trump’s campaign. Anything left over from the donation next goes toward a maximum contribution to Save America, and then anything left from there goes to the RNC and then to state political parties.

*time will tell if paying Trump’s legal bills is a priority for donors.

President Biden took a jab at the cash strapped former president:

Speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Dallas, Texas, Biden joked that a man had come up to him to discuss his heavy debts.

He said: “Just the other day this defeated looking man came up to me and said: ‘Mr. President I need your help. I’m in crushing debt. I’m completely wiped out.'”

Biden said he then responded: “Donald, I’m sorry. I can’t help you.”

Heh.

Second news item

The kids are not alright:

A shocking number of American kids are sad, suicidal and stuck on small screens sucking away their zest for life…

The pandemic is often cited as a driver of the teen mental health crisis, but it was brewing long before then. A growing body of research links the acceleration of the crisis to one of this century’s biggest events: the arrival of the smartphone.

“Smartphones and social media fundamentally changed the way teens spend their time outside of school,” says Jean Twenge, a psychologist and author of the book “Generations.”

“You take a generation of young people, they’re spending a lot more times in their rooms, alone, not sleeping, not hanging out with their friends in person. That’s a pretty bad formula for mental health.”

Related: What we gained (and lost) when our daughter unplugged for a school year.

Third news item

Secty of State Antony Blinken on Israel:

“Our position, which is very clear, is that a major military operation in Rafah would be a mistake, something we don’t support,” Blinken reiterated at a press conference Thursday. “There is no place for the many civilians who are massed … in Rafah … to go to get out of harm’s way. And for those that would inevitably remain, it would be a humanitarian disaster.”

All of these diplomatic efforts are set against the backdrop of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where “100% of the population … is experiencing severe levels of acute food insecurity,” Blinken said.

The top US diplomat is again expected to press Israel on the urgent need for more humanitarian assistance to reach people in the war-torn strip.

“Israel needs to do more,” he said Thursday.

“We’ve seen some improvement over the last couple of weeks in getting humanitarian assistance to Palestinians, but it’s not enough,” Blinken noted.

In an interview Wednesday, Blinken called on Israel “to open up more access points to Gaza” as administration officials and international aid workers repeatedly stress the need for a “flood” of aid.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds after meeting with Blinken:

“I told him that I greatly appreciate the fact that for more than five months we have been standing together in the war against Hamas.

I also told him that we recognize the need to evacuate the civilian population from the combat zones and – of course – also see to the humanitarian needs, and we are working to this end.

I also said that we have no way to defeat Hamas without entering Rafah and eliminating the remnant of the battalions there.

I told him that I hope we would do this with US support but if necessary – we will do it alone.”

Fourth news item

Because he “surrendered in negotiations” to Chuck Schumer:

Marjorie Taylor Greene has officially filed a motion to vacate House Speaker Mike Johnson over her concerns about an omnibus spending bill that is expected to fund the federal government for the remainder of the year. Greene’s decision to file the motion will now force the full House of Representatives to vote whether to remove Mike Johnson from the Speakership within two business days.

Fifth news item

Added to list of terrorists:

Russia has added what it calls the “LGBT movement” to a list of extremist and terrorist organizations, state media said on Friday.

The move was in line with a ruling by Russia’s Supreme Court last November that LGBTQ activists should be designated as extremists, a move that representatives of gay and transgender people said they feared would lead to arrests and prosecutions. . .

The list is maintained by an agency called Rosfinmonitoring that has powers to freeze the bank accounts of the more than 14,000 people and entities designated as extremists and terrorists. They range from Al Qaeda to U.S. tech giant Meta and associates of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Sixth news item

Merger benefits?:

Former President Donald Trump could soon receive a windfall valued as much as $3.5 billion, with shareholders of a publicly traded funding partner on Friday approving a merger with his Trump Media & Technology Group.

The approval occurred Friday morning, according to a livestream of the shareholder vote. Shares of Digital World Acquisition Corp., a so-called “blank check” company that will now merge with Trump’s media group, jumped 5.5% in morning trading.

Have a great weekend.

—Dana


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