Thursday's HOT MIC
Vladimir Putin says that the bombing that occurred in a St. Petersburg supermarket was a terrorist attack. While there is no credible reason to disbelieve him, there is also no reason to believe him.
Putin, who is running for re-election in March, was speaking on Thursday at an awards ceremony in the Kremlin for Russian personnel who served in Russia’s Syria campaign, which Moscow has framed as an anti-terrorism operation.
“You know that yesterday in St. Petersburg a terrorist act was carried out,” Putin told the audience, referring to the explosion that injured 13 shoppers in a branch of the Perekrestok supermarket chain.
Investigators have opened a criminal case into Wednesday evening’s blast, which they say was caused by a homemade bomb packed with pieces of metal.
Russian media reports said the bomb was hidden inside a rucksack in a locker where shoppers leave their belongings and said the person who left the bomb, described as being of “non-Slavic appearance”, had been caught on CCTV.
No group has claimed responsibility.
Since the 1999 bombings of apartment complexes in several major Russian cities - determined by many to have been carried out by Russian security services - Putin's credibility on domestic terrorism has been weak. But Russia has a genuine Islamist problem and several attacks in recent years are almost certainly the responsibility of al-Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists.
Putin isn't pussyfooting around about what to do with the terrorists if they're caught:
Putin said security forces should take no chances with their own lives if confronted by terrorist suspects.
“I yesterday ordered the FSB director to act within the framework of the law when detaining these bandits of course, but if there is a threat to the life and well-being of our employees ... to act decisively, not take any prisoners, and liquidate the bandits on the spot.”
Since the terrorists are, by definition, a "threat" to security service personnel, Putin has just given permission to "liquidate" them. You would hope that the FSB would have an absolute certainty of guilt before executing the suspects, but if they're wrong and kill innocent people, do you think we'd ever hear about it?
Leon makes an important point here. In the same way that words like "racism" and "misogyny" are overused to the point that they've been rendered practically meaningless, so it is with the "fake news" label. It should be reserved for actual instances of fake news —that is, made up, fabricated stories — rather than being brandished as a way to silence opinions we don't like.
TRUMP 2017: The Wrap.
(Part the First)
Any President, love him or hate him, ought to be judged without bias on their performance in office.
For example, I was bitterly opposed to Barack Obama, but always gave him credit where it was due. You might remember a little North Korean cargo ship conundrum from Obama's first year in office, and I argued back then that he handled the situation with the perfect patience and timing of a sharp operations officer.
ASIDE: Had Obama not been raised a Red Diaper Baby, and instead had served in the military as a patriotic American, he probably had the brains and temperament to make a fine J-3. Instead we got a Iran-loving social justice warrior of the worst sort. Sigh.
On damn near every single other thing Obama did or said in office, he was just as bad as I could have possibly imagined -- except for when he was worse. See: Syrian Red Line, the Iran Deal. What a disgrace that Americans elected him twice.
So as I said, I like to judge our presidents as fairly as I'm able -- which is what I've come to do for Trump's 2017 performance.
The good stuff I'll cover tomorrow, so in this first of my two-part lookback at POTUS '17, let's cover the disappointments. And really there was only one of any real consequence: The failure to repeal ObamaCare.
Yes, ObamaCare repeal died in the Senate, but when the President wants controversial legislation, it's his job to help push it through -- and that's where Trump let us down.
There are two ways for a President to work his magic on Capitol Hill. He can use the bully pulpit to provide political cover for uncertain Congresscritters, which Obama did expertly during the run-up to passing ObamaCare. The whole effort was amazingly unpopular in the polls, but Obama put forth the effort to make vulnerable Democrats believe they had to pass it, and that they had a President who had their backs. That was pure evil, but it worked for him.
On the other extreme, Trump tweeted that the House bill didn't have enough money... and that was about it.
The other thing a President can do is use the party levers of power to hold recalcitrant Congresscritters "in front of an open grave," in James Baker's (IIRC) memorable phrase from his days in the Reagan White House. We watched Harry Reid do just that in 2009-10, and again, it was pure evil but it worked.
On the other extreme, Trump tweeted that the Senate bill was "mean"... and that was about it.
Now, maybe ObamaCare repeal was never going to get past certain faux-conservative Senators -- and I accept that argument. But I'm here to discuss the effort POTUS put out, and there's no arguing that Trump didn't disappoint.
There's another argument to be made: That Trump figured that full repeal was a political mistake, and that it was better to kill ObamaCare piecemeal. The new tax law effectively chopped off one of ObamaCare's legs, by repealing the individual mandate. So maybe -- and this is all just conjecture -- piecemeal repeal has been Trump's plan all along, or his fallback position once he saw the GOP's lack of legislative backbone. And I'm certainly willing to stipulate all that, and wait for the fullness of time to see how things completely unfold.
But Trump promised full repeal, repeatedly, and then did very little to deliver.
Tomorrow: The good stuff -- and it's a trifecta of awesomeness.
Please explain to me why pit bulls have not been outlawed, put down, and eradicated as a breed.
The pit bull dogs who mauled their Virginia owner to death went through “drastic lifestyle” changes that could have caused the indoor canines to turn on the 22-year-old woman who cared for them, a certified dog trainer told a Virginia television station.
Bethany Stephens, 22, whose body was found in the woods in Goochland, was mauled to death last week by her dogs, named Tonka and Pac-Man, during a walk, police said. Goochland County Sheriff James Agnew said at a news conference on Monday deputies witnessed the dogs “eating [her] rib cage” last week and found Stephens’ body completely naked except for one boot. The dogs were later euthanized.
The Bell County Sheriff's department confirmed to WYMT a woman was killed following a dog attack. Bell County Coroner Jay Steele said two Pit Bulls attacked Johnny and his wife Lorraine Saylor in their yard. Steele said Lorraine, 66, died during the attack after receiving massive injuries about her neck, face and shoulder, while Johnny was bitten on his head, arm and hand and taken to the hospital for treatment.
James Saylor, who is Johnny's brother, who lives next door heard barking and quickly took action. He said he threw a door stop and yelled at the dogs, which allowed his brother to get away by going into the house. "They had my brother halfway out the door, chewing on his arm," said James Saylor who is Johnny Saylor's brother.
Steele said Johnny was able to shoot both dogs, which killed one, while the other dog ran off near Country Lane. Officials said the dogs did not belong to the couple. "I'd seen them, but I didn't think they'd be mean like that," James said.
In the Stephens case, soft-headed animal lovers immediately leaped to the defense of... the dogs:
[Valerie Paul, a certified master dog trainer] said, “The breed in and of itself is a high-energy breed, they like to have a lot of structure and a lot of exercise, so by keeping them in a pen, alone, undersocialized, away from people, that energy is just building up and building up and building up and that’s when you start to see dogs fighting more regularly, that’s when you start to see more negative scenarios.”
She added that she believes there was “a good chance” that the mauling “was energy gone wrong.”
“There is a lot of speculation … but you can’t blame the breed,” Paul said.
And who can forget this?
Surprising exactly no one, not even the publicity hound himself.
And with that, Moore's current round of charlatanry is hopefully complete.