Patterico's Pontifications

4/19/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:37 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Israel responds:

Two U.S. officials confirm to CBS News that an Israeli missile has hit Iran. The strike follows last weekend’s retaliatory drone and missile attack against Israel, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed to respond to.

Additionally:

Israel told the US that it is not targeting Iranian nuclear facilities, CNN reports, citing a senior US official.

There are several sites affiliated with Iran’s nuclear program in and around Isfahan.

CNN also quotes a US official saying the explosions in Iran are Israel’s response to Iranian attacks over the weekend. The official adds that the Israeli strikes are meant to be “limited” and would target Iranian military sites, while avoiding civilian and nuclear targets.

Earlier today, Iran’s Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian warned that if Israel were to take any sort of military action against Iran, their response would be “immediate and at a maximum level.”

Moreover, the U.S. was notified of Israel’s planned response but did not endorse it.

Second news item

Speaker Mike Johnson makes a decision; better late than never:

The U.S. House of Representatives will have its long-awaited vote on aid for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific as soon as Saturday, Republican Speaker Mike Johnson said on Wednesday, paving the way for its possible passage despite fierce objections from the right wing of his conference.

The House Appropriations Committee unveiled legislation providing more than $95 billion in security assistance, including $60.84 billion to address the conflict in Ukraine, of which $23.2 billion would be used to replenish U.S. weapons, stocks and facilities.

. . . Johnson said he would give House members 72 hours — until midday Saturday — to review the bill and offer amendments before a vote on final passage.

He also said he would release a separate border security bill, meeting a demand from conservatives.

Meanwhile, Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed frustration with Speaker Johnson’s decision to bring the aid package to a vote. Speaking to Steve Bannon on his War Room podcast, she said:

“We want an America-first economy and, from now on, Steve, we’re going to demand it from our Republican leaders”…

“I don’t care if the speaker’s office becomes a revolving door,” added Greene, who has filed a motion to ax Johnson from leadership just months after he was chosen by Republicans. “If that’s exactly what needs to happen, then let it be. But the days are over of the old Republican Party that wants to fund foreign wars and murder people in foreign lands, while they stab the American people in their face and refuse to protect Americans.”

Even if it means saving his job, Johnson said he would not move to change the current motion to vacate standard that the House had previously adopted. Shame on the Republicans for the lengthy delay on such a critical issue.

Update::

The House voted Friday in a bipartisan manner to advance a key foreign aid package, a significant step in sending aid to Ukraine and Israel and setting up a final vote as soon as Saturday.

In an extraordinary move, more Democrats (165) supported the measure than Republicans (151). The Democratic votes were necessary to overcome opposition from Speaker Mike Johnson’s right flank, who will likely only increase their calls to oust him.

Thank you, Democrats!

Reminder: Too many Republicans (and by that I mean any at all!) are parroting Russian propaganda, vilifying Ukraine, and failing to see the dire consequences for the West if Ukraine were to fall to Russia.

As it stands, three three Republicans are supporting a push to oust Johnson: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar and Thomas Massie.

And here is Marge being schooled by Timothy Snyder:

Third news item

USC Provost Andrew Guzman rescinded valedictorian Asna Tabassum’s invitation to speak at the university, citing safety concerns:

He said in an announcement Monday that “over the past several days, discussion relating to the selection of our valedictorian has taken on an alarming tenor.”

“The intensity of feelings, fueled by both social media and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, has grown to include many voices outside of USC and has escalated to the point of creating substantial risks relating to security and disruption at commencement,” the announcement read in part.

Jewish students explained their concerns about Tabassum’s selection:

After Tabassum was selected as valedictorian, at least two pro-Israel and Jewish groups complained to USC about the choice. They pointed to her social media activity, including her Instagram account, which links to a slideshow encouraging people to “learn about what’s happening in palestine, and how to help.”

It calls for “one palestinian state,” which it says “would mean palestinian liberation, and the complete abolishment of the state of israel.”

Brandon Tavakoli, president of Trojans for Israel, called Tabassum’s post “antisemitic.”

“The university has to make the decision about whether this valedictorian and her propagation of antisemitic vitriol online is worthy of being the representative of the class of 2024,” he told NBC News. “Commencement is supposed to be an inclusive and welcoming space for all students, including Jewish graduates and their families.”

Trojans for Israel said in a statement on Instagram that university officials failed to vet Tabassum’s social media posts and condemn what it described as antisemitic content.

Tabassum responded to the decision by USC:

“Although this should have been a time of celebration for my family, friends, professors, and classmates, anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian voices have subjected me to a campaign of racist hatred because of my uncompromising belief in human rights for all,”

From the university provost:

There is no free-speech entitlement to speak at a commencement. The issue here is how best to maintain campus security and safety, period.

Given how many top universities across the country have been mysteriously unable to protect Jewish students during this tumultuous season of protest and violence, I guess it stands to reason that USC would also be unable to protect its Muslim students as well, no???

Fourth news item

How it’s going during voir dire on Day 4 of Trump’s hush money trial:

One of the jurors being questioned, who earlier said her father is friends with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, broke down crying, saying, “I have to be honest, I feel so nervous and anxious right now. I’m sorry.”

She added, “I thought I could do this … I don’t want you to feel like I’ve wasted anyone’s time.”

Merchan called her over to the judge’s bench to speak before excusing her.

Yet another potential juror has been excused from the trial after saying that she is feeling “anxiety” and self-doubt. The potential juror’s voice cracked while answering questions.

The juror is now the third to be excused Friday, underscoring the difficulty the court faces for picking Trump’s jury.

One juror, when questioned about how he views Trump said, when he thinks of the former president, he thinks “usually awesome.”

“I don’t know him personally. He’s a family man. He’s a businessman,” the juror also said about Trump.

Fifth news item

Irony overload: An infamous former president who attempted to overturn legitimate election results plans to safeguard the integrity of the 2024 election in battleground states:

Former President Donald Trump’s political operation said Thursday that it plans to deploy more than 100,000 attorneys and volunteers across battleground states to monitor — and potentially challenge — vote counting in November.

The initiative — which the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee described as “the most extensive and monumental election integrity program in the nation’s history” — will include training poll watchers and workers as well as lawyers…

Trump has warned supporters, without evidence, that Democrats could try to rig the 2024 election.

Sixth news order

Foiled by Polish authorities:

A Polish man has been arrested and charged with planning to co-operate with Russian intelligence services to aid a possible assassination of Volodymyr Zelensky, authorities said.

Polish prosecutors said the man, named as Pawel K, was allegedly tasked with collecting information about an airport in Poland used by Ukraine’s president.

The arrest was made on the basis of Ukrainian intelligence, they added.

Authorities did not specify whether the man actually passed any information on.

Seventh news item

Taking action:

More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia University were arrested Thursday afternoon and an on-campus tent encampment was removed after the school’s president gave the New York Police Department the green light to clear the protesters, officials said.

The demonstrators had occupied Columbia’s south lawn for over 30 hours “in violation of the university’s rules” and did not leave despite “numerous warnings,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Columbia President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik announced in a letter to the Columbia community Thursday that she has authorized the New York Police Department to clear demonstrators from campus, writing, “This morning, I had to make a decision that I hoped would never be necessary.”

“I regret that all of these attempts to resolve the situation were rejected by the students involved. As a result, NYPD officers are now on campus and the process of clearing the encampment is underway,” Shafik said.

This:

Have a great weekend.

–Dana


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