News of the Week (February 18th, 2024)


News of the Week for February 18th, 2024

Election 2024


Republicans Lose House Seat in New York Special Election
The Republicans will have a 219-213 majority when Suozzi officially joins the House.

Ex–Detroit Police Chief Drops out of Michigan’s GOP Senate Primary
James Craig, a former police chief of Detroit, suspends his Republican bid for retiring U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow’s seat in Michigan, telling the Detroit News in an interview on Tuesday that he lacked the resources to obtain and verify the 15,000 petition signatures needed to qualify for the state’s August primary. He ended 2023 with just $28,000 on hand for his Senate campaign.

Businessman Scott Mayer ‘Seriously Considering’ Launching Republican Bid for Senate in Wisconsin
Wisconsin businessman Scott Mayer is still “seriously considering” running for the Republican nomination to take on two-term Democratic senator Tammy Baldwin in November, he told National Review in a brief interview Wednesday morning. He also walked back comments he made earlier this week to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which included on-record quotes from the likely Senate candidate suggesting he has already hired staff in a soon-to-launch Republican campaign against for Democratic senator Tammy Baldwin’s seat in 2024.

Which Republican Will Take on Tom Suozzi in November?
Former New York Democratic representative Tom Suozzi romped to victory in Tuesday’s special election for expelled representative George Santos’s Long Island–Queens seat, defeating GOP rival and Nassau County legislator Mazi Melesa Pilip by roughly eight points (with 93 percent of the votes counted) in a race that had been considered a toss-up.

And Yet, Democrats Keep Winning Elections
On paper, Republicans have a lot of advantages. The GOP owns what polling indicates are the most salient issues for voters heading into the 2024 general-election cycle. Inflation is moving in the wrong direction. The crisis at the southern border is only getting worse. The international threat environment is deteriorating at an alarming pace. As all this would suggest, the Democratic president who presides over these conditions is about as popular as head lice. And yet, Democrats keep winning elections.

MAGA Can’t Lose, It Can Only Be Betrayed
“Well, I think if they win, I should get all the credit,” Donald Trump told a reporter on the eve of the 2022 midterm elections. “If they lose, I should not be blamed at all.” The former president’s smirk betrayed his attempt at self-deprecating humor. But like all good jokes, Trump’s remark contained an element of truth. The likely GOP presidential nominee has become proficient at deflecting blame for his party’s electoral losses away from himself and his movement. In Trump’s preferred formulation, neither can fail on their merits. They can only be betrayed.

Nevada Senate candidate Jim Marchant repeatedly invoked antisemitic tropes in public statements
Marchant claimed that an evil ‘cabal’ founded by ‘Khazarians’ and ‘globalists have controlled the government to oppress the American people and the world for centuries

Yoinks! Nikki Haley’s Husband’s Slam-Meme Against Trump Went Viral
Michael Haley came to the defense of his wife on X (formerly Twitter) with the use of a meme. I was wondering how long it would take for him to respond to Donald Trump’s attack on him.

The GOP’s Pitch to the Suburbs Flops
Happy Valentine’s Day and a solemn Ash Wednesday to all.

Trump Found Liable for $350 Million, Barred From Operating Businesses in NY for 3 Years
And yet, there were no victims and the banks were on Trump’s side along with anyone who has dealt with real estate.



Dobbs Decision


Trump denies reports he ‘privately’ supports 16-week abortion limit
Former President Donald Trump denied a report on Friday that said he favors a 16-week abortion limit, with his campaign calling the outlet “fake news.”

Gun Rights


Gun rights in battleground state take center stage ahead of 2024: ‘shall not be infringed’
Trump vows to terminate Biden’s ‘attack on gun owners and manufacturers’ if reelected


Hide the Decline

Environment &“Green Energy”


Climate Activists Are Evil
We are far beyond the point where climate activists could be regarded as misguided but well-meaning. They are evil, pure and simple. Here, climate activists vandalize the United States Constitution at the National Archives, bleating stupid pronouncements about “rich white men.”

Climate Activists Pour Red Powder On Constitution Case At National Archives
In recent years, climate activists have taken to pouring stuff (like paint or soup) on famous works of art to draw attention to their message. Of course, these artworks are behind thick glass, so these acts do not actually destroy the item. But symbolically, they get attention. As we learn in First Amendment doctrine, one way to garner attention is to destroy things that other people find valuable–such as burning draft cards and American flags.

There’s an ‘Office of Climate Change and Health Equity’?
I had never heard of such a thing. It certainly is so juvenile a title that it had to come from this administration and, sure enough, it popped up this past summer.



Government in Healthcare


FDA and CDC Could Soon Employ ‘Indigenous Knowledge,’ Documents Show
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could soon employ “Indigenous Knowledge” in their research, a document obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows.

Fewer than half of people support assisted death exclusively for mental illness: poll
Fewer than half of Canadians feel medical assistance in dying should be available to people whose sole underlying condition is mental illness, the results of a new survey showed Wednesday.

War & Terror


Dutch court bans export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel
The Appeals Court in The Hague said Israel doesn’t take sufficient account of the consequences for civilians when conducting its attacks against Hamas militants. Israel has previously rejected accusations of war crimes.

Deterrence 101
Deterrence has worked very well for NATO. This is because it has been backed by enough military power to make its response something to fear. Second, potential aggressors believed that there was a high probability that NATO (as is — more or less — provided in Article 5 in its treaty) would react to an armed attack on any of its members with military force. The higher the probability of a military response from the alliance, the lower the likelihood that the potential aggressor would risk attacking any one of its members. Deterrence preserved the peace in Europe throughout the Cold War, something that benefited the U.S. politically and economically and saved countless American lives.

South Africa Appeals To UN-Run ‘World Court’ to Block Israel’s Military Operation Against Hamas Terrorists in Rafah
Capturing the terrorist stronghold of Rafah is central to Israel’s twin objective of freeing the hostages and eliminating Hamas’s Gaza-based terrorist leadership.

McConnell Twisting Speaker Johnson’s Arm to Vote and Pass Ukraine Bill
The arrogance oozes out of McConnell’s pores.

Joe Biden’s Third War?
There’s a lot of chatter rocketing around social media and on the cable news networks today about the House Intelligence Committee making Congress “aware” of an “imminent national security threat.” I won’t highlight any of the speculation, with this exception, which would be notable and newsworthy without today’s enigmatic announcement from Capitol Hill

‘I was pissed’: Florida student explains to cops why he threatened to shoot Jewish peers
Body camera video obtained by Campus Reform shows a University of Central Florida student telling police that he threatened members of a pro-Israel group on campus.

China’s Titanic Shipbuilding Capacity
The Wall Street Journal has a report detailing China’s advantages in shipbuilding and the scale of the country’s maritime-infrastructure operations. For those concerned about a CCP that is turning more bellicose by the year, the development of China as the world’s majority shipbuilder using foreign orders to build out its navy-support facilities is worrisome, to say the least.

Josh Hawley’s Defense-Production Incoherence
Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) wants President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to force an aluminum plant in Missouri to stay open, but he opposes a bill that would fund actual defense production, some of which would occur in Missouri.

How Reassuring
One defense of Trump’s remarks about letting Russia do whatever the hell it wants to NATO members that don’t pay up has been, in effect, to claim that he is bluffing. Senator Lindsey Graham: “Give me a break — I mean, it’s Trump. All I can say is that while Trump was president nobody invaded anybody. I think the point is to, in his way, to get people to pay.” Senator Marco Rubio: “He told the story about how he used leverage to get people to step up to the plate and become more active in NATO. I have zero concern, because he’s been president before. I know exactly what he has done and will do with the NATO alliance.”

Russia puts the leader of NATO member Estonia on a wanted list over the removal of Soviet-era monuments
Estonia’s prime minister has been put on a wanted list in Russia because of her efforts to remove Soviet-era World War II monuments in the Baltic nation, officials said Tuesday as tensions between Russia and the West soar amid the war in Ukraine.

Putin puttin’ us on
I don’t take anything Vladimir Putin says at face value. Politico now reports that, in a Rossiya 1 television interview yesterday, that Putin expressed his preference for Biden over Trump in the 2024 presidential election. For whatever it’s worth, here is the quote served up by Politico: “[Biden] is a more experienced, predictable person. He is a politician of the old school. But we will work with any leader of the United States, who is trusted by the American people.”

As WW3 fears grow now Armenia and Azerbaijan are ‘on brink of full-scale war’
Azerbaijan waged a lightning military campaign last year to reclaim the Karabakh region, which Armenian separatists had ruled for three decades.

Report: Russia Is Developing Space-Based Nuke to Threaten U.S. Satellite Network
New U.S. intelligence that Washington has shared with our allies and Congress points to a dramatic potential escalation by Russia in its space-based weaponry.

The South Africa-Hamas-Iran Axis
Sometime after October 2015, Hamas, following a high-level meeting between South Africa’s governing party ANC and Hamas leaders, opened an office in South Africa.

Russia has obtained a ‘troubling’ emerging anti-satellite weapon, the White House says
The White House publicly confirmed on Thursday that Russia has obtained a “troubling” emerging anti-satellite weapon but said it cannot directly cause “physical destruction” on Earth.

‘Neutral’ Swiss plan to boost defense spending in a world destabilized by Ukraine, Mideast wars
Switzerland’s government plans to boost its defense spending by up to 19% over the next four years, citing a rise in global instability, including wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, and gaps created when Swiss authorities cashed in on a peace dividend from the fall of the Berlin Wall decades ago.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison
Navalny, 47, a prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin, spent his final years behind bars as the Russian leader reshaped the country to rally behind his war in Ukraine.

Iran declares Antarctica their ‘property rights’ in direct challenge to Biden, global treaty
Iran’s Navy commander announced in a televised broadcast last fall that the regime owns Antarctica and will build a military operation in the South Pole.

‘Moral Equivalence,’ Again

Putin and the West’s Putinistas
An important person in my life was — is — Armando Valladares. A poet, he was a prisoner in the Cuban gulag for 22 years. Afterward, in America, he wrote a memoir about the experience: Against All Hope. It had an impact on me. Later, Valladares came to Harvard to speak. That had an impact on me too. It was moving to see him, and hear him, and shake his hand. Harvard would not let him have a platform alone. There was a professor along with him, whose job was basically to give the Castro point of view. To “balance” Valladares. In 1987, President Reagan appointed Valladares to be the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. human-rights commission in Geneva.

At least four police hurt in Hague riots after rival Eritrean mobs torched cars, trashed buildings and hurled bricks at cops – turning Dutch city into a war zone
At least four police officers were hurt during a violent riot that erupted on the streets outside The Hague last night, after two rival groups of Eritreans clashed following a a political disagreement.

Vacation in North Korea? Reclusive State Reopens to Tourism—But Only for Russians
The travelers were the first international tourists allowed inside by Kim Jong Un’s regime since the pandemic

Information and Disinformation
In January 2023, I wrote a piece called “With the Ukraine War, an Information War.” In October 2020, I had written a related piece: “Dezinformatsiya.”

The ‘Other’ Russia
Meduza, as you know, is the Russian news organization based in Riga. (Russian journalists cannot practice honest journalism in their home country. Putin has banned independent media.)




Man dies from mysterious ‘Alaskapox’ disease – first-ever victim of rare illness
The first victim of Alaskapox lived in the woods on the Kenai peninsula by himself, and it is unclear how he contracted the virus.

Of Course UNCG Faculty Oppose Academic Cuts
Professorial self-preservation is a bad reason to put off right-sizing the university.

House Impeaches DHS Sec. Mayorkas by One Vote
214-213. Three Republicans voted no.

Oregon Reports First Human Bubonic Plague Case in Nearly 10 Years
Oregon man was infected by pet cat.

Conservatives Roast Tucker Carlson for ‘Recreating Actual Soviet Propaganda’ During Wide-Eyed Russia Tour: ‘Has He Never Been to Publix?’
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has spent the days since his recent trip to Russia waxing poetic about his experience in Russia, even raving that Moscow is “so much nicer” as well as “prettier,” “cleaner,” and “safer” than any city in the United States.

Lara Trump As RNC Co-Chair? Who Benefits?
While Republicans can probably collectively agree that the tenure of Ronna McDaniel has been a failure pretty much on every metric (also, we told you so), is there any compelling reason to think that Lara Trump would be any better at the job of Republican National Committee co-chair?

Florida: Communism Was Bad, Actually
Controversy has once again consumed the Florida legislature, this time over a proposed addition to state-mandated school curricula that would require students to learn the history of Communism. The proposal mandates an “age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate” lesson plan centered on the “events of the Cultural Revolution in the People’s Republic of China and other mass killings from Communist regimes,” as well as the “threat of Communism in the United States and our allies through the 20th Century.”

Houston Police Department Does Deep Dive to Find Out Lakewood Church Shooter’s Pronouns
The Houston Police Department did an extensive investigation into the woman who allegedly entered a church in the city with a rifle Sunday so its officers could refer to her by her preferred gender pronouns.

Prominent Trans Surgeon Admits In Unearthed Video That Complications Of Genital Surgery ‘Can Be Pretty Bad’
A prominent surgeon stated that the complications from vaginoplastic surgery that aims at removing male genitals and creating a vagina “can be pretty bad” and noted that there was “a growing number of programs throughout the world of gender affirmation, probably with a lack of training and not proper training,” according to the video of a presentation that the Daily Caller News Foundation obtained through a public records request.

Hawaii Investigating Five Cases of Whooping Cough in One Visiting Family
“There have been nearly 90 confirmed cases of pertussis in Hawaii in the past five years, including 28 linked to three outbreaks.”

Report: National MS Society Dumps Elderly, Lifelong Volunteer Because She Asked What Pronouns Were
“Recently, a volunteer, Fran Itkoff, was asked to step away from her role because of statements that were viewed as not aligning with our policy of inclusion.”

Portland Public Schools under fire for making race ‘main criteria’ in discipline policy
The largest school district in Oregon is being accused of discriminating against students based on their race through its new discipline policy.

Funeral for atheist trans sex worker activist in NYC Catholic church features prayers for sex changes, celebration of whoredom
The Biden admin awarded the activist $540,000 for “trans outreach” on HIV while Gentili was alive.

St. Patrick’s holds rare Mass of Reparation after ‘scandalous behavior’ at service for NYC trans icon Cecilia Gentili
St. Patrick’s Cathedral held a rare Mass of Reparation Saturday after the Archdiocese of New York claimed mourners at a funeral service for trans icon Cecilia Gentili last week engaged in “scandalous behavior.”

“The black soldier fly protein market is projected to reach $3.96 billion by 2033”
Israeli Firm Raises $14 Million to Develop Black Soldier Fly’ Food Supply.

John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, And Mary Robinette Kowal Caused The Hugo Awards Decline, And Now They’re Whining About Worldcon Unfairness
The fallout from the Chinese censorship of Chengdu Worldcon’s 2023 Hugo Awards keeps spreading. After it was revealed that the Hugo Awards Committee team colluded with the Chi-coms to spy on and censor science fiction writers, many of the genre’s political activist rabble-rousers posted their outrage about the Hugo Awards being rigged. John Scalzi, Neil Gaiman, and Mary Robinette Kowal each had their part in censoring conservatives from being able to get awards, cheering it on when it occurred. Still, now they are singing a different tune when it happened to their friends at Chengdu Worldcon.


Economy & Taxes


Office Property: Gray Rhino Sighting
Just under a year ago, in a commentary on the problems facing the office-property market and the difficulties that those distressed properties would in turn cause the banking sector and elsewhere, I referred to the idea of the gray rhino, a concept developed by Michele Wucker

Over 2 Billion Metric Tons of Rare Earth Minerals Discovered in Wyoming
If the bureaucrats and politicians get out of the way, America is poised to become the world’s leading producer of rare earth minerals.

Prices rose more than expected in January as inflation won’t go away
The consumer price index increased 0.3% in January, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. On a 12-month basis, that came out to 3.1%, down from 3.4% in December. Shelter prices accounted for much of the rise, climbing 0.6% on the month, contributing more than two-thirds of the headline increase. On a 12-month basis, shelter rose 6%. Stocks slid sharply following the release and Treasury yields surged higher.

Ignore Consumers at Your Own Risk
Part of the new right’s schtick is to insist that we market fundamentalists — that is, those of us with a principled commitment to free markets — give too much attention to consumers while discounting the interests of workers and producers. Workers and producers, they believe, should be the center of policy attention, hence the call for subsidies, industrial policy, protectionism, and such.

Those Cost-of-Living Adjustments to Social Security Add Up Quickly
The cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security that kicked in January 2024 is 3.2 percent for Social Security benefits and SSI payments. That comes out to about $59 per month on average per beneficiary, according to AARP.




Ancient Romans used hallucinogenic drugs, new study shows
The plant in question is Black henbane, whose seeds were found in a hollowed sheep or goat bone and was located in archeological sites throughout the Netherlands, according to the researchers.

When the State Engineers Families, Family Structure Eventually Breaks Apart
I’m pretty sure you think, “Oh, here comes a lecture about Democrats and the War on Poverty.” You’re safe – I’ll be sparing you that. Instead, it’s a look at what China’s done to themselves.

Pedophile show at a Carnival in Spain
A troupe from the Alicante town of Torrevieja parades with children dressed in garter belts, nipple shields and LGBT flags.

Authors ‘excluded from Hugo awards over China concerns’
Leaked emails reveal organisers of leading science fiction and fantasy awards flagged works of a ‘sensitive political nature’

Brown Droppings
California’s Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act requires voter approval for all new taxes passed by the legislature and two-thirds voter approval for all new special tax increases. The Act also demands clear definitions of what is a tax or a fee, along with truthful descriptions of new tax proposals. Before any tax or fee is enacted, politicians must clearly outline how the revenues would be spent, and so on. The measure has qualified for the November 5 ballot but Gov. Gavin Newsom and former governor Jerry Brown want the state supreme court to take the Act off the ballot.

Imam recites Quran at Belgian parliament, calling for killing, kidnapping of Jews
Since the war in Gaza began, between October 7 and December 7, Belgium’s anti-discrimination agency registered 91 reported incidents related to the conflict, exceeding the 57 recorded in 2022.

WTF, ‘Eritrean Migrant Factions’?
It is claimed that the president of Eritrea is a brutal dictator, but seeing how these people behave, who can blame him for being brutal?




J. D. Vance Thinks You’ll Believe Anything
The Senate’s package of aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan is not a plot against Donald Trump, no matter how hard Vance tries to convince you otherwise.

Putin and Love of Country
For the past ten years, I’ve heard a great deal of praise for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin — a lot of praise in the Free West, particularly in the United States. Donald Trump has always defended and praised Putin. I chronicled some of this in an October 2020 piece: “Trump and Dictators.”

The Right as Left, Cont.
In a famous speech, Jeane Kirkpatrick talked about Democrats who “blame America first.” (She was still a Democrat at the time — a Truman Democrat.)

Give Me Any American City over Moscow Any Day
Tucker Carlson’s fulsome praise of Russia’s capital city is so far off the mark, it’s embarrassing.

Countries with Low Birth Rates Are Allowed to Have Foreign Policies
J. D. Vance’s latest argument against Ukraine aid does not make sense.

Hardly Reassuring
Speaker Mike Johnson is in a bind. His party’s sacrifice of former representative George Santos’s seat in last night’s special election not only truncates the GOP’s already paper-thin House majority, it further confirms that Democrats can rely on a dedicated base of high-propensity voters — a contingent that used to favor Republicans. That’s depressing, and Johnson has to buck up his deflated conference.

The Full Duranty
Vladimir Putin’s U.S. admirers are full of it.

Tucker Carlson’s Lowest Moment
Tucker Carlson seems unaware of how badly he is damaging himself.

Tucker Carlson Discovers American Tourists Are Rich
His video from a Russian grocery store doesn’t show that Russia is doing anything great.

A World Order, If You Can Keep It
With the exception of Pearl Harbor, the Western Hemisphere escaped World War II mostly unscathed. It also led, to paraphrase Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s alleged quote, a sleeping giant to wake up in the form of the United States. With Europe and Asia in rubble, the threat of the Soviets replacing the Nazis, and China falling to the communists, men like Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and George Marshall forged a new world order, placing the West in the hands of the United States.

From glib to stupid
As part of his celebration of life in Putin’s Russia, Tucker Carlson took a side trip to the grocery store during his visit to Moscow. Like the political pilgrims of old, he was impressed. It somehow “radicalized” him — “against American leaders.” Drawing on NRO, Ed Driscoll has more here. What’s wrong with this picture?

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