Patterico's Pontifications

8/12/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:01 am



[guest post by Dana]

Reminder:

Personal attacks on commenters (or me) are out. Criticizing the arguments is fine. Criticizing the person is not. [UPDATE: Criticizing public figures is just fine. What would a blog comment section be without that?]

Violations will be handled according to my judgment and the judgment of moderators I trust. There will indeed be a sliding scale, depending on your track record.

[…]

That leads me to the key principle: DO NOT MISCHARACTERIZE OTHER PEOPLE’S POSITIONS. Also, do not mischaracterize other people’s positions. One more thing: do not mischaracterize other people’s positions.

There are a few commenters who like to mischaracterize other people’s positions. Stop it.

And if it has been clearly demonstrated that you’ve made a false statement, own it and apologize.

Now, let’s go!

First news item

These two old white rich guys duking it out is the best America can do? No thank you:

President Joe Biden is preparing to launch his re-election bid in the months after November’s midterm congressional elections, according to multiple aides and allies…

[A]llies say Biden’s determination has grown amid revelations about Trump and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, as well as the former president’s continued embrace by Republicans. This week, FBI agents searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as part of a probe into whether he removed classified documents from the White House, and Trump was deposed by New York’s attorney general over claims his businesses misled lenders.

Biden frequently notes polls that show him defeating Trump head-to-head in a 2024 matchup, and believes he won the Democratic nomination in 2020 because he represented the best chance to remove the former president from power.

But in a potential rematch, Biden would be the incumbent, defending his record both on the economy and overseas while fending off Trump and his still formidable and energized base of supporters.

Second news item

Flat-out denies it:

Former President Donald Trump on Friday denied a report from The Washington Post that said FBI agents were looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons, among other items…

On his Truth Social platform, Trump said that “Nuclear weapons is a hoax, just like Russia, Russia, Russia was a hoax,” referring to then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Trump attacked the officials involved with the search of his home, calling them “sleazy.”

Third news item

New abortion poll taken after Kansas vote:

According to a new poll released on Wednesday by Ipsos/USA Today, 70 percent of Americans, regardless of party affiliation, would favor voting on an abortion ballot measure at the state level. A total of 1,018 adults were interviewed for the poll, 70 more Democrats than Republicans.

The poll asked, “If there was a ballot measure in your state to decide abortion rights, would you vote in favor or against making abortion legal?” Fifty-four percent of Americans would vote to keep abortion legal while only 28 percent would vote against abortion legality, according to the poll.

Seventy-six percent of Democrats said they support abortion legality as did 52 percent of independents and 34 percent of Republicans. Only 10 percent of Democrats are against abortion legality, 27 percent of independents, and 54 percent of Republicans.

The poll also asked, “When you think about abortion, which of the following is closest to your personal opinion?” Twenty-eight percent said they believe abortion should be legal in all cases while 32 percent believe it should be legal in most cases. Meanwhile, 9 percent believe abortion should be illegal in all cases while 28 percent believe it should be illegal in most cases.

Fourth news item

Polio, yes polio, found in wastewater:

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) today updated New Yorkers on the detection of poliovirus (the virus that causes paralytic polio) in sewage, suggesting likely local circulation of the virus. Polio can lead to permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and even death in some cases.

“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing spread. The best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunization – New Yorkers’ greatest protection against the worst outcomes of polio, including permanent paralysis and even death.”

“The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “With polio circulating in our communities there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you’re an unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine. Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”

Fifth news item

Russia-annexed Crimea looks to be in play:

At least two explosions on Tuesday destroyed at least seven Russian aircrafts at an air base in Russian-annexed Crimea, a new satellite image from Planet Labs shows.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown. The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says it could not determine the cause, while the Russian Ministry of Defense said the blasts were caused by detonated aviation ammunition but did not reveal how it had been detonated. [Ed. “Ukraine hasn’t officially claimed or denied responsibility for the blasts, but an unnamed Ukrainian official told the Washington Post the attack was carried out by special forces operating behind the Russian lines.”]

[…]

The amount of destroyed planes on Tuesday may wind up making it one of the most destructive days for Russian Air Force aircraft since World War II, including the Soviet-era. The little available data on military aircraft losses during the Soviet era and modern Russia era do not indicate such substantial losses from a single incident, on a single day.

Zelensky says Crimea must be freed:

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday that Ukraine must retake Crimea for the war with Russia to end.

“This Russian war against Ukraine and against the entire free Europe began with Crimea and must end with Crimea — with its liberation,” Zelensky said.

“Crimea is Ukrainian, and we will never give it up,” he added.

Sixth news item

Horrible:

Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, was attacked Friday as he was about to give a lecture in western New York…An Associated Press reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced. The 75-year-old author was pushed or fell to the floor, and the man was restrained…Rushdie was quickly surrounded by a small group of people who held up his legs, presumably to send more blood to his chest.

Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses” has been banned in Iran since 1988, as many Muslims consider it to be blasphemous. A year later, Iran’s late leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or edict, calling for Rushdie’s death…A bounty of over $3 million has also been offered for anyone who kills Rushdie.

Seventh news item

CDC loosens school guidelines regarding Covid-19:

Schools can end quarantines and regular screening tests for COVID, but students and staff should keep masks on in areas with high levels of COVID spread, according to guidelines released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…Almost no districts are starting the year with a mask mandate, and in-school quarantine rules are on the retreat.

[…]

Schools aren’t required to follow these recommendations — states and cities can still set their own rules — and updates to CDC guidance no longer prompt the kind of sweeping policy changes that they did earlier in the pandemic. Still, many districts look to the recommendations.

Eighth news item

Episcopal Church says nose, nose, anything goes:

Resolved, that the 80th General Convention calls for the Episcopal Church to advocate for access to gender affirming care in all forms (social, medical, or any other) and at all ages as part of our Baptismal call to “respect the dignity of every human being”; and be it further

Resolved, that the 80th General Convention affirms that all Episcopalians should be able to partake in gender affirming care with no restriction on movement, autonomy, or timing; and be it further

Resolved, that the 80th General Convention understands that the protection of religious liberty extends to all Episcopalians who may need or desire to access, to utilize, to aid others in the procurement of, or to offer gender affirming care; and be it further

Resolved, that this 80th General Convention supports public policies at the local, state, and national levels in all our countries to support gender affirming care.

What this includes: “Puberty blockers that can impede proper bone growth and hormones that can have deleterious side effects that have not been fully studied. Castration of boys who believe they are girls. Destroying the vaginas of girls who believe they are boys.”

Ninth news item

I’ve been scolded repeatedly that today’s Trump GOP is what Republicans want, so here you go:

Have a greate weekend.

–Dana

8/11/2022

Unsubstantiated Claims of Evidence Planting at Mar-a-Lago Abound

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:07 pm



[guest post by Dana]

After the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s lawyer suggested that the FBI may have planted evidence during the search at the residence:

[O]ne of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, told Fox News she was “concerned” that FBI agents “may have planted something” during their search.

“You know, at this point, who knows? I don’t trust the government, and that’s a very frightening thing as an American,” Habba said.

Donald Trump also suggested that evidence planting may have taken place:

“The FBI and others from the Federal Government would not let anyone, including my lawyers, be anywhere near the areas that were rummaged and otherwise looked at during the raid on Mar-a-Lago,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be left alone, without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.'”

Trump-supporting media then told viewers that it was likely the FBI had planted evidence during the search:

…Fox News’ Jesse Watters said in his Tuesday opening monologue: “What the FBI is probably doing is planting evidence, which is what they did during the Russia hoax.

“We also have a hunch they doctored evidence to get the warrant—again, what they did during the Russia hoax.”

[…]

Steve Bannon, a former Trump White House adviser, said Tuesday he “wouldn’t put it past” the federal government to try to frame the former president.

“The FBI and the DOJ are essentially lawless criminal organizations,” Bannon told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on the latter’s InfoWars show on Tuesday.

MAGA lawmakers jumped on the evidence planting bandwagon as well, and attacked the FBI:

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul also echoed the claim while speaking to Fox and Friends on Wednesday.

“Do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-Lago, that they won’t put things into those boxes to entrap him?” Paul said. “How do we know? The lawyers weren’t allowed to see the boxes.

“How do we know they’re going to be honest with us about what’s actually in the boxes? How do we know that was in the box before it left the residence if the lawyers weren’t allowed to see everything?”

Meanwhile, FBI director Christopher Wray denounced the increasing threats being made by Trump’s followers on social media:

Christopher Wray, who was appointed as the agency’s director in 2017 by Trump, called threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department “deplorable and dangerous.”

“I’m always concerned about threats to law enforcement,” Wray said. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.”

The report published a few examples of what Wray is concerned with:

It has been easy to find the threats and a call to arms in those corners of the internet favored by right-wing extremists since Trump himself announced the search of his Florida home. Reactions included the ubiquitous “Lock and load” and calls for federal agents and even U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to be assassinated.

On Gab — a social media site popular with white supremacists and antisemites — one poster going by the name of Stephen said he was awaiting “the call” to mount an armed revolution.

“All it takes is one call. And millions will arm up and take back this country. It will be over in less than 2 weeks,” the post said.

Another Gab poster implored others: “Lets get this started! This unelected, illegitimate regime crossed the line with their GESTAPO raid! It is long past time the lib socialist filth were cleansed from American society!”

This morning, an armed individual tried to breach an FBI office in Cincinnati:

On August 11, 2022, at approximately 9:15 EST, the FBI Cincinnati Field Office had an armed subject attempt to breach the Visitor Screening Facility (VSF). Upon the activation of an alarm and a response by armed FBI special agents, the subject fled northbound onto Interstate 71. The FBI, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and local law enforcement partners are on scene near Wilmington, Ohio, trying to resolve this critical incident.

This is the latest update I could find:

While the events of this morning in Cincinnatti may or may not end up related to the search at Mar-a-Lago and we likely won’t know for some time yet, it wouldn’t be surprising if that (or possibly some other Trump-related event, like Jan. 6) was what motivated the suspect. We have already seen that there are any number of MAGA reactionaries throughout the country that are willing to demonstrate their loyalty to Trump, no matter the cost. In the meantime, an unsubstaniated suggestion was made by Trump’s lawyer, which he also pushed, and in doing so, he stoked the outrage machine. He positioned himself as the victim of a powerful entity that was conspiring against him and signaling the play to his followers. And like clockwork, his people (private citizens and MAGA media and MAGA lawmakers) followed his lead. They are more than willing to spread an unsubstantiated rumor and use it as a rallying cry to unify before the midterms and before a possible campaign announcement for 2024. Now everyone that lives in MAGA World knows who today’s enemy is.

This all feels familiar. And not in a good way. And I doubt that Merrick Garland’s statement will slow down the Trump train one bit:

The Justice Department on Thursday moved to unseal portions of the search warrant executed at the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald Trump.

“The public’s clear and powerful interest in understanding what occurred under these circumstances weighs heavily in favor of unsealing,” prosecutors revealed in a court filing connected to the search warrant.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the news moments after the department filed the motion in federal court in Florida.

“I personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant in the latter,” he said. Addressing criticisms of the department and FBI agents lodged by Trump and his allies, he added: “I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked.”

[…]

“All Americans are entitled to the evenhanded application of the law, the due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence,” said Garland. “Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye. We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations.”

Note:

“Former President Trump, through counsel, was provided copies of each of these documents on August 8, 2022, as part of the execution of the search,” the filing adds.

–Dana

8/10/2022

Advisors To Trump: Don’t Let This Crisis Go To Waste, Announce Your Presidential Campaign For 2024!

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:28 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Well, this didn’t take long:

Top Republicans who have spent months trying to dissuade Donald Trump from announcing another presidential campaign before the midterms are coming around to the idea, after an unprecedented search of the former President’s Mar-a-Lago property by federal investigators on Monday lit up the GOP base.

Trump has received a fresh wave of encouragement to jump start his next presidential campaign in the 24 hours since his primary residence became the target of an FBI search warrant, several sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The former President, who is widely expected to run again, had previously eyed Labor Day as his target launch date, but is now being advised to accelerate his timeline to capitalize on what Republicans have described as extraordinary overreach and political persecution by Justice Department officials, including by advisers who previously counseled him to take his time with a 2024 announcement.

“My advice that we should wait until after the midterms was based upon a rather standard landscape. [The Justice Department] set off a nuclear bomb on that landscape yesterday. This is no longer a business-as-usual campaign. Not even close,” said Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump confidant, who previously urged the former President to wait for the 2022 election outcome before diving into a presidential primary.

It’s bizarre exactly what you would expect from Trump and his advisors: Parlay a lawful FBI search of his residence for potential mishandling of classified documents into a “witch hunt,” rally the troops, watch them circle the wagons and then announce a run for 2024. It’s really amazing that a former president who was twice impeached and is currently the subject of any number of investigations appears to be the Republicans’ go-to guy. But since he is in full victim mode and his supporters are amped and ready as they issue warnings about upcoming wars, Gestapo tactics, defunding federal agencies, Banana republics, and cleaning out D.C., it makes perfect sense for him to announce sooner rather than later. Strike while the iron is hot! After all, there’s no telling if when the next crisis will happen.

Interestingly, this puts Trump’s biggest threat (if Gov. Ron DeSantis decides to run) in a tricky position. Yesterday’s events forced his hand because, while he has not said much about Trump lately and knows that he may end up running against the former president, he also knows that Trump continues to control the Republican Party. Thus, he was compelled to come to Trump’s defense after the search at Mar-a-Lago:

However, it appears that both men may benefit from the FBI search yesterday:

A Florida GOP operative also highlighted that the FBI’s action could politically benefit both DeSantis and Trump, though for differing reasons.

“This is a unique opportunity for DeSantis because he can highlight the ongoing battle with the radical left and at the same time further distance himself from Trump,” said a veteran Florida Republican operative…“DeSantis continues to be the perfect combination of political skill and good fortune.”

The operative, however, sees the FBI search as something that could give Trump heightened momentum with a Republican base that in recent months has started to line up behind DeSantis.

“What makes things interesting is that Trump has almost no choice but to get in and spend the next several months doing everything he possibly can to secure the base,” the person added. “The only thing that helps push back against potential criminal liability is a high level political candidacy.”

I’m already exhausted at the prospect of it all.

–Dana

Palate Cleanser: Kindness and Compassion Win The Day

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:55 am



[guest post by Dana]

I don’t know which team actually won this game at the Little League World Series, but I think this young ball player’s actions demonstrate that he’s a real winner, regardless of the score:

More, please.

–Dana

8/9/2022

Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste: Cashing In On Yesterday’s Events At Mar-a-Lago

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:19 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Because never letting a crisis goes to waste is the mantra of politicians grifters on both sides of the political aisle. But certainly, the MAGA crew steals the spotlight here.

First, though, I want to share how a few prominent MAGA self-proclaimed law enforcement supporters responded to the FBI lawfully searching Donald Trump’s Florida residence yesterday:

Republican members of Congress said Tuesday they want to dismantle the FBI or “clean house” at the Department of Justice after agents raided the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump.

“This is Gestapo crap and it will not stand. The Department of Injustice needs to be cleaned out if they are going to start pretending we are some kind of banana republic,” Rep. Lauren Boebert, Colorado Republican, said in a Twitter video.

Rep. Paul Gosar, Arizona Republican, also invoked the Nazi era, tweeting: “I will support a complete dismantling and elimination of the democrat brown shirts known as the FBI. This is too much for our republic to withstand.”

[…]

“DEFUND THE FBI!” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican, posted.

And from Rep. Matt Gaetz:

The FBI raid of Mar-A-Lago is the most defining moment of the Joe Biden presidency. It was a political performance against Trump. The antidote has to be NOT ONE MORE damn penny for this administrative state that has been weaponized against our people in a very fascist way.

Here’s how MAGA politicians, pacs and fundraising committees are cashing in on that, uh, FBI “Gestapo crap” at Mar-a-Lago:

A volley of emails on Monday night and Tuesday morning denounced the FBI’s search warrant — reportedly connected to classified materials that Trump allegedly brought to his Florida resort after leaving the White House — and slammed both the agency and the Biden administration.

“Biden’s FBI raided President Trump’s beautiful Florida home,” the Republican National Committee wrote in a fundraising email, adding that “it’s hard to believe it but it’s true.”

“These are dark times for our Nation,” read an email from Trump’s fundraising team. “The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt, must be exposed and stopped.”

An email from the National Republican Senatorial Committee called the raid “unprecedented,” while Trump’s political action committee Save America and the Tea Party Patriots Action group both railed against Democrats and the Biden administration in their fundraising emails.

The National Republican Congressional Committee asked for money and said donations will matched by anonymous donors, calling the effort a “last chance” to “save” Trump.

[…]

Rep. Jim Jordan attacked Democrats and asked for money so Republicans can secure House majority during the upcoming elections. Emails from GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley and Marsha Blackburn also slammed the “Democrat-controlled” FBI, asking for donations and support.

Marjorie Taylor Greene is also hawking tee shirts and caps:

Obviously, the king of grifters himself is fundraising off this latest “witch hunt”:

MAGA Republicans don’t seem the least bit interested in whether Trump violated the law. They are concerned with making bank off a crisis and promoting the goodness of Donald Trump while condemning the evil Merrick Garland, the FBI, the judge who signed off on the search warrant, the Justice Department, and all other “enemies” of Trump. Sad!

And just so you won’t scream, yes, Democrats took advantage of the moment too. As I’ve long maintained: Trump is the gift that keeps on giving:

Democratic political action committees — like American Bridge and Never Again — linked the raid to fundraising, praising the Justice Department and the FBI.

Anyway, I’ll just leave this here:

If we really believe, as we say we believe, that this is a republic, that nobody is above the law, that the presidency is just a temporary executive-branch office rather than a quasi-royal entitlement, then there is nothing all that remarkable about the FBI serving a warrant on a house in Florida. I myself do not find it especially difficult to believe that there exists reasonable cause for such a warrant. And if the feds have got it wrong, that wouldn’t be the first time. Those so-called conservatives who are publicly fantasizing about an FBI purge under the next Republican administration are engaged in a particularly stupid form of irresponsibility.

Amen.

–Dana

8/8/2022

Trump: Mara-a-Lago “Under Siege” As FBI Executes Search Warrant

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:17 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Big::

Former President Donald Trump said in a statement Monday that his home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, was “raided” by “a large group of FBI agents.”

Trump also claimed the presence of law enforcement was unannounced and the reason was politically motivated, though he did not provide specifics.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents,” Trump said in a lengthy email statement issued by his Save America political committee.

“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said before bemoaning: “They even broke into my safe!”

The Justice Dept. is keeping mum about the raid.

A big deal, indeed:

Meanwhile, this is quite the take:

Donald Trump was reportedly not at Mar-a-Lago when the search took place.

It’s amusing that Trump claimed his residence “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents” who were lawfully doing their jobs, and yet on Jan. 6 when the Capitol was under siege, raided and occupied by a large group of rioters and lawbreakers, he told them that he loved them, and that they were very special.

Here is Trump’s full statement:

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before. After I working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don’t want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before. They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee? Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.

“The political persecution of President Donald J. Trump has been going on for years, with the now fully debunked Russia, Russia, Russia Scam, Impeachment Hoax 11, Impeachment Hoax #2, and so much more, it just never ends, it is political targeting at the highest level!

“Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 E-mails AFTER they were subpoenaed by Congress. Absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. She even took antique furniture, and other items from the White House.

“I stood up to America’s bureaucratic corruption, I restored power to the people, and truly delivered for our Country, like we have never seen before. The establishment hated it. Now, as they watch my endorsed candidates win big victories, and see my dominance in all polls, they are trying to stop me, and the Republican Party, once more. The lawlessness, political persecution, and Witch Hunt must be exposed and stopped.

“I will continue to fight for the Great American People!”

–Dana

8/5/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:17 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

If she’s going down, she’s going down fighting:

As with Cheney, who has said she will be at peace if she loses her primary, Rep. Peter Meijer and Rusty Bowers, both of whom met with defeat this week, have no regrets about their decisions regarding Trump and Jan. 6.

From Meijer:

“Not one,” Meijer said when asked if he has any regrets from his vote to impeach Trump. “I would rather lose office with my character intact than stay reelected having made sacrifices of the soul.”

And from Bowers:

Rusty Bowers, the Arizona Republican who defied Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in the state then testified to the House January 6 committee, has no regrets despite losing his bid for a state senate seat.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” he told the Associated Press. “I’d do it 50 times in a row.”

Also related: According to Wyoming locals and insiders, it’s anybody’s guess how the Aug. 16 primary in Wyoming turn out.

Second news item

Oh. Should Ukraine have just surrendered to Putin then??:

Ukraine condemned a report from Amnesty International that accused Kyiv’s forces of endangering civilians by operating in residential areas as they fight to repel Russia’s invasion.

Ukraine’s military has taken some positions and operated weapons in areas inhabited by civilians, including hospitals and schools, Amnesty said in a statement, citing witness interviews. Such tactics turn civilians into targets of Russian strikes, even if it doesn’t justify indiscriminate Russian attacks, Amnesty said.

Ukrainian officials said the report undermined Amnesty’s credibility, with Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov saying it was indirectly equating Russian aggression with Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the report distorted reality.

The report “unfortunately tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late Thursday in a statement.

US and UK ambassadors to Ukraine know what’s happening, even if Amnesty Intl. doesn’t:

I don’t know. Perhaps Amnesty Int’l. has been reading Tom Friedman lately…

Third news item

Gov. Abbott says first bus of migrants from Texas to NYC has arrived:

The migrants are being dropped off this morning on a green bus at Port Authority Bus Terminal at Gate 14. In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City will now be a drop-off location for the busing strategy as part of the Governor’s response to the Biden Administration’s open border policies overwhelming Texas communities.

“Because of President Biden’s continued refusal to acknowledge the crisis caused by his open border policies, the State of Texas has had to take unprecedented action to keep our communities safe,” said Governor Abbott. “In addition to Washington, D.C., New York City is the ideal destination for these migrants, who can receive the abundance of city services and housing that Mayor Eric Adams has boasted about within the sanctuary city. I hope he follows through on his promise of welcoming all migrants with open arms so that our overrun and overwhelmed border towns can find relief.”

Mayor Adams is playing dumb about the point Abbott (and AZ governor) are making by sending migrants to their cities:

“This is despicable what we’re witnessing in Texas,” Adams said later at Gracie Mansion. “The Texas governor — using human beings as a political play — he finally admitted what we were saying. We’re going to continue to be open arms. This is who we are as a city.”

I am very sympathetic to decent people desperately fleeing unimaginable life circumstances from countries south of the border. Yet at the same time, Adams and those of the same mindset refuse to acknowledge the frustration of border states trying to handle the influx of migrants on a daily basis.
They know all too well that it isn’t just good people crossing. There are any number of dangerous criminals also making their way across the border. One only has to scroll through Bill Melugin’s Twitter feed to know this. Rather than using human beings as a political play, President Biden must take action to help with the crisis. That he isn’t is indefensible.

Fourth news item

Kari Lake, Trump devotee, wins Arizona GOP primary:

Like Trump, Lake courts controversy and confrontation. She berates journalists and dodges questions. She burned masks during the COVID-19 surge in the summer of 2021 and attacked Republicans like Ducey who allowed restrictions on businesses, though as a news anchor she encouraged people to follow public health guidance.

Lake spent the days leading up to her own election claiming there were signs of fraud, but she refused to provide any evidence. Once her victory was assured, she said voters should trust her win is legitimate.

“We outvoted the fraud,” Lake said. She pointed to problems in Pinal County, which ran out of ballots in some precincts and had to print more, but she and her attorney, Tim La Sota, refused to provide evidence backing up her claims of fraud.

She said she has no plans to stop talking about election fraud even as she needs to broaden her appeal beyond the loyalists her powered her primary victory.

Fifth news item

Privilege pays off:

A woman avoided a ticket when she showed the cops who pulled her over a “white privilege card” instead of her driver’s license. Two cops in Anchorage, Alaska, reportedly violated department policy in the incident, though it’s unclear what the policy was or what disciplinary action they will face as the department is treating the matter as confidential… Mimi Israelah wrote in a Facebook post that she was pulled over for weaving in the early hours of July 9 as she was driving to an Anchorage pizzeria after arriving from California for a Trump rally. She couldn’t locate her license when prompted, she wrote in the now-deleted post. “When I saw my White Privilege card, I gave to him if it’s ok,” Israelah wrote. “He laughed and called his partner. It’s their first time [they’d seen] a White Privileged card,” she said. The novelty card Israelah handed to them read “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything” at the top. Israelah was not cited during the incident and was allowed to go. Deputy Chief Sean Case said some people who saw Israelah’s post about the incident and a video she recorded of the exchange were critical of the officers’ actions. “We recognize that,” he said.

But not always, as Nancy Pelosi’s husband discovered:

Paul Pelosi, the multimillionaire husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, allegedly had a drug in his system, addressed officers with slurred speech, and tried to hand them a police courtesy card during his May arrest on DUI charges, according to court documents.

[…]

Pelosi allegedly handed officers his driver’s license and an “11-99 Foundation” card when they asked for his ID, according to the documents. The 11-99 Foundation is a California Highway Patrol charity that supports officers and provides scholarships for their children.

Sixth news item

Sinema says yes:

Senate Democrats have agreed to eleventh-hour changes to their marquee economic legislation, they announced late Thursday, clearing the major impediment to pushing one of President Joe Biden’s paramount election-year priorities through the chamber in coming days.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a centrist seen as the pivotal vote in the 50-50 chamber, said in a statement that she had agreed to revamping some of the measure’s tax and energy provisions and was ready to “move forward” on the bill.

Seventh news item

Do Democrats want President Biden to run for re-election? Well…

A startling number of lawmakers in President Biden’s own party have been unwilling in recent days to say he should seek re-election in 2024, amid gnawing fears he’ll be too old or unpopular to win.

[…]

Some Democrats privately don’t want Biden to run again, for three reasons:

He’s deeply unpopular. Many Americans associate him with inflation, high gas prices, entrenched COVID-19 and an inglorious end to the war in Afghanistan.

Progressives want a move away from centrism and convention.

Many Democratic voters want generational change. Biden was older when he took office than Ronald Reagan was when he left office. If re-elected, Biden would be 86 at the end of his second term.

[…]

Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney were asked, during a Democratic primary debate for the 12th congressional district, whether Biden should run again in 2024. Neither would answer in the affirmative.

Eighth news item

Signing on to this:

I found myself unshocked by the abortion vote in Kansas, and I don’t understand the shock of others. America has come to poll consistently in favor of abortion in the first trimester with support declining in the second and cratering in the third. The people of Kansas were asked if they’d like to remove any right to abortion from their state constitution and allow their legislators to fashion new laws and limits. They said no by 59% to 41%…In Kansas, pro-lifers asked for too much. People don’t like big swerves and lurches, there’s enough anxiety in life. They want to absorb, find a way to trust. Dobbs was decided only six weeks ago…But everything we know about abortion tells us that when you turn it into a question of all or nothing, you’ll likely get nothing. Thoughtful, humane legislation has to be crafted in the states, put forward, argued for…The pro-life advocates who filled the rhetorical void competed over who could be most hard-line: There should be no exceptions for rape, if it even was rape. There should be no exceptions for the life of the mother, that gives dishonest doctors room to make false claims. Maybe we can jail women for getting abortions…It was gross, ignorant and extreme.

Democrats have been just as extreme by demanding abortion through the ninth month. (Also, if abortion in the ninth month is as rare as pro-aborts constantly claim it is, then why fight so hard to make sure they have access to it?)

Both sides would have been wise to find a middle ground that corresponds with what Americans are comfortable can live with.

Ninth news item

Closing in:

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team is in direct communication with Justice Department officials, the first sign of talks between the two sides as the criminal probe into January 6, 2021, accelerates, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.

The talks revolve around whether Trump would be able to shield conversations he had while he was president from federal investigators.

[…]

Trump has grilled his attorneys on whether they actually believe he will face formal charges, sources said. Yet the former President has expressed a heavy dose of skepticism that he will be indicted, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.
Another source close to the former President told CNN that Trump also has posed questions about a potential indictment to members of his inner circle, some of whom believe the President is concerned about the possibility of federal charges.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

8/3/2022

Vin Scully, 1927-2022

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:08 pm



[guest post by JVW]

It should never come as a surprise when a man dies in the ninety-fifth year of his life. By that point he has already gone well into extra innings. Nor is it a tragedy in the same way that the death of one in youth or in middle-aged — cheated out of the honor of combing grey hair as the old Irish saying goes — affects us, as we tend to fall back on the cliche that the deceased elder “lived a full life,” whatever we mean by that.

But yesterday’s passing of Vincent Edward Scully somehow carries with it a special pang of regret that one might not ordinarily feel for a man who had enjoyed such a long life. Perhaps because up until six years ago he still worked as the broadcaster on Los Angeles Dodgers home games, we had forgotten how few were the sands which remained in the hourglass of his life. To many of us who love baseball, it seemed that we would always have Vin Scully behind the microphone explaining to us the intricacies of a well-executed squeeze play or relating an anecdote about Duke Snider or Maury Wills or Davey Lopes or Shawn Green or any of the thousands of other players he covered in his 67-year career. We remember and cherish the great calls he made during a lifetime of indelible baseball moments (and, let’s not forget, he has his share of memorable football moments too). We recall his wit, whether it was the way he provided the play-by-play of a baseball fight (in which he read a player’s lips and sanitized the audio translation as, “That’s bull fertilizer!”) and placed it into the context of the game, or when he related the story of how getting bombed by a pigeon convinced Mike Matheny to remain in college and led him to meet his eventual wife, or when he displayed his deep erudition on the topic of beards, all woven within the regular play-by-play of the game. His knowledge of the history of baseball was vast, befitting one who in his boyhood met Babe Ruth, and he was a credit to the Jesuit education he received first at Fordham Prep and then at Fordham University, in an era when the Jesuits could still be taken seriously. He’s likely the last man from bygone days in which broadcasters worked in radio and thus understood that they had to hold the listener’s attention during the game since there were no visual images to see. I doubt that any play-by-play man will ever again be so consistently interesting.

Like so many other people who are almost universally admired and widely loved, Vin Scully’s personal life inevitably contained elements of tragedy. His first wife died young from an accidental overdose of medicine fifteen years into their marriage, leaving him to raise their three children. One of those children, his son Michael, would die in a work-related helicopter accident while inspecting damage in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. And Vin’s second wife, Sandra, suffered from ALS which eventually took her life in January 2021. Through it all, he remained a cheerful and indefatigable on-air presence, buoyed by his strong Catholic faith and his devotion to his children and grandchildren. And this being a conservative blog, it’s only fair that I add that Vin Scully held no truck for fashionable political nonsense, nor did he care for showy grandstanding by overpaid gladiators.

When he decided it was time to retire he announced it in advance of his final season, no doubt knowing that it would help his employer sell tickets by staging various tributes to his remarkable career. In his final game, he summed up what his career had meant to him:

So long, Vin. And thanks for making baseball the best sport to follow from afar.

UPDATE: NRO’s Dan McLaughlin turns out to be Vin Scully’s nephew, and he writes an incredibly moving and beautiful obituary about his uncle. A small taste from the second paragraph:

Vin’s story was the story of my family, and the story of so many American families: up from nowhere, and East to West. All four of my grandparents, including Vin’s mother and stepfather, immigrated to America in the 1920s. Some came with little, some with nothing. My grandmother was born Bridget Freehill in Ireland in 1900, a subject of Queen Victoria. She was shot at during the Easter Rising in 1916. She was a strong, tough, opinionated redheaded lady, a survivor, and the kind of traditional Irishwoman who always wore a nice hat to church. She lived to be 97. She came to America with a letter of reference from the clothing store in Dublin where she worked after coming south from County Cavan. Those were troublesome times in that troubled place, and New York was a fresh start.

Do yourselves a favor and read the whole thing.

– JVW

Allahpundit to Leave Hot Air September 2

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:20 pm



Patterico to end his subscription to Hot Air September 3.

I don’t mean to denigrate my friends Ed Morrissey and John Sexton by saying this. But they know (because I tell everyone) that Allahpundit is and always has been my favorite writer on the Web. I’ll still check in at Hot Air, but I don’t spend much on Internet subscriptions and I have to save my money for wherever Allahpundit is going next.

This world does not always reward stand-up people with external benefits like fame or money. More often than not, it rewards bad people with such things, while repaying goodness with challenges and difficulties. Stand-up people don’t really care about such external prizes. If they did value such things highly, they could probably obtain them; they know how to sell out, because they have watched people do that their entire lives. The fact that they don’t sell out shows they value what really matters in life: trying to walk the path that we all know, in our hearts, we should walk.

There are precious few stand-up people like that. We need to value the ones we have, and Allahpundit is one of them. I wish external success for him — but more important, my wish for him is that he will continue to be the strong, funny, principled man of character he has always been. That’s the finest blessing I can imagine bestowing on him.

Josh Hawley: One Is A Lonely Number, Indeed

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:03 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Of course he ran away from a yes vote:

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) was the only senator to vote against a resolution on Wednesday backing Finland’s and Sweden’s entry to NATO. The Senate approved the resolution in a 95-1 vote…

[…]

He said he does not believe the U.S. should expand its security commitments in Europe, because America’s “greatest foreign adversary” is China.

Hawley argued that growing the country’s security commitments in Europe would make Americans less safe.

“Finland and Sweden want to join the Atlantic Alliance to head off further Russian aggression in Europe. That is entirely understandable given their location and security needs. But America’s greatest foreign adversary doesn’t loom over Europe. It looms in Asia,” Hawley wrote.

“I am talking of course about the People’s Republic of China. And when it comes to Chinese imperialism, the American people should know the truth: the United States is not ready to resist it. Expanding American security commitments in Europe now would only make that problem worse—and America, less safe,” he added.

[…]

“Finland and Sweden want to expand NATO because it is in their national security interest to do so, and fair enough. The question that should properly be before us, however, is, is it in the United States’s interests to do so? Because that’s what American foreign policy is supposed to be about, I thought,” Hawley said.

“Expanding NATO will require more United States forces in Europe, more manpower, more firepower, more resources, more spending. And not just now but over the long haul. But our greatest foreign adversary is not in Europe. Our greatest foreign adversary is in Asia. And when it comes to countering that adversary, we are behind the game. I’m talking, of course, about China. The communist government of Beijing has adopted a policy of imperialism,” he added.

I like how the St. Louis Dispatch editorial board summed it up:

His rationale is a retread of the case he once made against U.S. assistance to Ukraine: that containing Russian aggression somehow diminishes America’s readiness to confront future Chinese aggression. It’s a strained argument. Since when can’t America walk and chew gum at the same time, geopolitically speaking?

Reminder to Hawley: This is America, dude.

More:

Hawley’s condemnation of China for “dominating its neighbors and bullying free nations into doing its bidding” is valid but could just as accurately describe Russia today. And unlike China, the Russian threat against freedom isn’t speculative, but is unfolding right now in Ukraine.

The senator who sprinted through the Capitol ahead of a mob that was partly of his own making doesn’t exactly have a great track record when it comes to sound judgment. Putting more guardrails around Vladimir Putin in the form of NATO-member neighbors is a sign of strength and solidarity by the free world — and a far more useful message to China regarding that solidarity than the one Hawley is hawking.

Anyway, Mitch McConnell called a yes vote for Sweden and Finland a slam-dunk:

“If any senator is looking for a defensible excuse to vote no, I wish them good luck,” McConnell said Wednesday. “This is a slam dunk for national security that deserves unanimous bipartisan support.”

Interestingly, while there are rumblings that the Trumpian Hawley may run in 2024, three other possible contenders (Cruz, Cotton, and Rubio) criticized their colleague for his no vote.

Note: Even Sen. Rand Paul, who opposed the last two additions to NATO, voted “present” on Finland and Sweden.

–Dana

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