Patterico's Pontifications

4/5/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:56 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

IDF investigation into deaths of seven WCK workers:

The IDF fired two senior officers and reprimanded a top commander as it admitted a catalog of failures in a drone strike on an aid convoy in Gaza, including that it killed aid workers who had survived an initial attack.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Friday that “those who approved the strike were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives,” calling the attack “a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification.”

It said the strike was carried out in “serious violation of the commands and IDF Standard Operating Procedures,” and dismissed a major and a colonel in reserve. Three other IDF officials were formally reprimanded: the commanders of the brigade and division involved, and the commander of the Southern Command, who bore “overall responsibility.”

Meanwhile, the World Central Kitchen is calling for an independent investigation into the tragedy.

Related

A warning to Israel:

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warns that Israel risks becoming indistinguishable from Hamas if it continues to fail to protect civilians amid the Gaza war.

“What happened after October 7 could have ended immediately if Hamas had stopped hiding behind civilians, released the hostages and put down its weapons, but Israel is not Hamas. Israel is a democracy; Hamas, a terrorist organization. Democracies place the highest value on human life, every human life. As it has been said, whoever saves a life, saves the entire world,” Blinken says during a press conference in Brussels, quoting a Jewish proverb.

“That’s our strength. It’s what distinguishes us from terrorists like Hamas. If we lose that reverence for human life, we risk becoming indistinguishable from those we confront.”

Second news item

Ukraine on the move:

Ukrainian officials claimed Friday they used a barrage of drones to destroy at least six military aircraft and badly damage eight others at an airfield in Russia’s Rostov region. Russian defense officials, however, claimed they intercepted 44 Ukrainian drones and that only a power substation was damaged in the attack.

The Associated Press could not independently verify either side’s claims.

The assault appeared to be one of Kyiv’s biggest air attacks in the war, coming as its forces stepped up their assaults on Russian soil. Russia has also escalated attacks on civilian infrastructure, including Ukraine’s power plants, in recent weeks, signaling a new and potentially dangerous phase in the conflict as both sides struggle to achieve significant advances on the ground.

The overnight attack targeted a military airfield near Morozovsk in Russia and was conducted by Ukraine’s Security Service in cooperation with the army, Ukrainian intelligence officials told the AP.

Related

About the House Speaker and that long-awaited aid package for Ukraine:

House Speaker Mike Johnson is pledging to act on Ukraine aid when lawmakers return to Washington next week, but behind the scenes the Louisiana Republican is still undecided on the best path forward and keenly aware of his narrow majority and the threat to his speakership that looms.

It’s a confluence of issues that sources say has left Johnson entertaining a series of options as the speaker has continued his outreach to members about how to proceed during the two-week recess.

“He’s got a gun to his head right now,” Rep. Don Bacon, a swing-district Republican, said of the speaker. “But we need to have a Churchill, not a Chamberlain right now. He could be on the right side of history.”

Third news item

Donald Trump’s conditions for a debate with President Biden:

Asked by Hewitt whether he thinks Biden will agree to a debate before their expected rematch in November, Trump replied: “I don’t think so, but I hope he does … You know that white stuff that they happened to find, which happened to be cocaine in the White House? I don’t know, I think something’s going on there, because I watched his State of the Union, and he was all jacked up at the beginning. By the end, he was fading fast. There’s something going on there.”

“I want to debate,” Trump continued. “And I think debates, with him at least, should be drug-tested. I want a drug test.”

Hewitt asked the presumptive GOP nominee if he was suggesting that Biden is using cocaine.

“I don’t know what he’s using, but that was not ― hey, he was higher than a kite,” Trump replied.

“He’s obviously, he’s being helped some way, because most of the time he looks like he’s falling asleep,” Trump added. “All of a sudden, he walked up there ― and did a poor job ― but he was all jacked up.”

Fourth news item

Israel on high alert:

Israel’s military was on high alert Thursday as the country braced for Iran’s promised revenge after an Israeli strike in Damascus this week killed senior Iranian commanders and stirred fears of widening war across a region on edge.

The strike — in broad daylight, on a diplomatic building adjacent to Iran’s embassy in Syria — was an escalation in Israel’s multi-front battles against Iranian-backed groups, which have intensified during its war in Gaza. The Israeli strike drew threats of retaliation from Tehran’s leaders and condemnation from their Arab neighbors. The European Union, which also condemned the strike, said in a statement that “further escalation in the region is in no one’s interest.”

“We will make them regret this crime and other similar ones with the help of God,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a statement Tuesday, the day after the attack.

Fifth news item

Scotland authorities clarify nutty new law:

Social media comments made by JK Rowling challenging Scotland’s new hate crime law are not being treated as criminal, Police Scotland has said.

The Harry Potter author described several transgender women as men, including convicted prisoners, trans activists and other public figures.

The new law creates a new crime of “stirring up hatred” relating to protected characteristics.
The force said complaints had been received but no action would be taken.

Reacting to the news, Ms Rowling posted on X: “I hope every woman in Scotland who wishes to speak up for the reality and importance of biological sex will be reassured by this announcement, and I trust that all women – irrespective of profile or financial means – will be treated equally under the law.

“If they go after any woman for simply calling a man a man, I’ll repeat that woman’s words and they can charge us both at once.”

Good on Ms. Rowling.

More speech, not less.

Have a good weekend.

–Dana

Bonus item from JVW

This is absolutely heartbreaking video from a stroll around Oakland’s Lake Merritt. If you’ve ever been to that city, Lake Merritt is slightly east of downtown and is bordered by nice townhomes and condominiums in a mostly upscale neighborhood. I have taken this very walk a few times, fortunately before it apparently went all to hell. So very sad, and a complete indictment on a very left-wing city in an increasingly left-wing state. This is from the Twitter feed of Seneca Scott, who proclaims himself “the Mayor of Gotham Oakland.”


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