Friday: Hili dialogue

September 23, 2022 • 6:30 am

Greetings at a chilly end to the work week (in Chicago): it’s September 23, 2022, and the first full day of autumn, which began last night at around 9 p.m. It’s also National Pancake Day. Here are some Polish pancakes that I had when I visited Poznań in 2016:

It’s also National Great American Pot Pie Day (an underappreciated dish), National Snack Stick Day, Native American Day, Love Note DayCelebrate Bisexuality Day ,and International Day of Sign Languages

Not much happened on September 23, but these things did:

  • 38 – DrusillaCaligula‘s sister who died in June, with whom the emperor is said to have an incestuous relationship, is deified.
  • 1642 – The first commencement exercises occur at Harvard College.
  • 1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The journey and back took them about 2½ years.  Here’s a map of the expedition; note that the eastern part of the journal is red outlined in green, implying that they retraced their steps:

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

The caption: “The Knickerbockers (left) posing with their rivals in 1858.” Is the guy in the top hat an umpire?

Here’s the last strikeout in the record, now shared with the Mets’ Jacob deGrom.  But the record number of consecutive strikeouts during any part of a game is ten, held by three pitchers. Now what is the record number of strikeouts in a single game by one pitcher? That’s also shared by three pitchers, one of whom accomplished the feat twice. Check the link.

  • 2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.

Da Nooz:

*As I reported recently, there’s a mass exodus of draft-age Russian men from their country, either avoiding being called up in the new mobilization of 300,000 reservists, or fear that they will be called up in a second and universal mobilization.

Turkey already was among the countries that received a large exodus of Russians at the beginning of the Ukraine invasion. Many were fleeing the crackdown at home, including the criminalization of dissent, with speaking out against the invasion or even calling it a war now carrying serious penalties. Others worried about the impact of international sanctions and Russia’s growing isolation on the economy and their jobs.

Now, a new wave may be beginning, and while the exact scope of it was not immediately clear, the rush for plane tickets and the long lines of cars at the borders were indications that the prospects of an expanded conscription have alarmed a swath of Russian society.

Apparently Russian men were getting called up for service within hours of Putin’s announcement, and it hasn’t been received well. Nobody wants to die in a useless and unpopular war:

By declaring for the first time that Russian civilians could be pressed into service in Ukraine, Mr. Putin risked a public backlash but said the move was “necessary and urgent” because the West had “crossed all lines” by providing sophisticated weapons to Ukraine.

Despite the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent, protests erupted on Wednesday night across Russia in response to Mr. Putin’s move, with at least 1,312 people arrested, according to the human rights watchdog OVD-Info. Many Russians sought to travel to other countries to escape being called up to fight as men across the country reported to draft offices.

Russian officials said the call-up would be limited to people with combat experience. But Yanina Nimayeva, a journalist from the Buryatia region of Siberia, wrote on Thursday that her husband — a father of five and an employee in the emergency department in the regional capital — had been called up despite never having served in the military. She said he had received a summons to an urgent meeting at 4 a.m. in which it was announced that a train had been organized to bring reservists to the city of Chita.

. . . In Ulan-Ude, the regional capital of Buryatia, draft papers “were distributed to houses and apartments all night,” according to a report from Arig-Us, a local independent television station. The local news media reported that new recruits had gathered at a military facility a short walk from a sports complex where funerals are held for soldiers who die in Ukraine.

Can you imagine the pandemonium that would ensue if Putin decides to mount a full mobilization—a full draft? You’d have to be crazy to want to go to Ukraine to fight, for even many Russian civilians know that this is an unjust war. There would be mass protests, and perhaps Putin would have to go.

*A federal appeals court overruled part of District Judge Aileen Cannon’s decisions about the disposition of papers seized from Trump at Mar-a-Lago. As you may recall, Cannon ruled that not only would all the papers be vetted by a “special master”—something the Justice Dept. did not appeal—but also that the government could not yet use about 100 files labeled “classified” in its criminal investigation of Trump. That would have impeded the government’s investigation—but that was the part overruled by the appeals court:

A federal appeals court on Wednesday freed the Justice Department to resume using documents marked as classified that were seized from former President Donald J. Trump, blocking for now a lower court’s order that had strictly limited the investigation into Mr. Trump’s handling of government materials.

In a strongly worded 29-page decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit set aside key parts of an order by a Florida federal judge that has kept the department from using about 100 files with classification markings in its inquiry into whether Mr. Trump illegally retained national defense documents and obstructed repeated efforts to recover them.

The appeals court also agreed with the Justice Department that Mr. Trump’s lawyers — and an independent arbiter recently appointed to review the seized materials — need not look at the classified documents that the F.B.I. carted away from Mr. Trump’s estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Aug. 8.

The Justice Department “argues that the district court likely erred in exercising its jurisdiction to enjoin the United States’ use of the classified records in its criminal investigation and to require the United States to submit the marked classified documents to a special master for review,” a three-judge panel of the appeals court wrote. “We agree.”

The decision by the Atlanta-based court was a repudiation of the decision by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, whom Mr. Trump appointed to the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, to broadly intervene in the Justice Department’s investigation. The appellate ruling will permit the arbiter, known as a special master, to review most of the more than 11,000 files seized from Mar-a-Lago, but allow prosecutors unfettered access to the smaller batch of classified records.

The appellate panel consisted of two other Trump appointees, Judges Britt Grant and Andrew L. Brasher, and Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum, an Obama appointee.

And this is the sad but hilarious part (see tweet below showing the exchange):

But in an interview that aired late Wednesday, Mr. Trump made the extraordinary claim — not advanced by his own lawyers or supported by prior practice or legal precedent — that he had the right as president to declassify documents by wordlessly willing it to be so.

“You can declassify just by saying ‘it’s declassified,’ even by thinking about it,” Mr. Trump told Sean Hannity on Fox News.

The deranged ex-President says he has magical powers; he doesn’t even need a formal procedure to declassify documents! He just thinks away their classified nature!

*I didn’t realize that the Republicans were contemplating legislation that would impose a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks, but that’s what Senator Lindsey Graham just proposed. Now given the composition of the House and Senate, this has no chance of passing right now, and if the Senate stays Democratic or 50/50, it still won’t pass in the next two years even if the House flips to a Republican majority. But it shows you where the Republicans are going.

Upending the political debate, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide abortion ban Tuesday, sending shockwaves through both parties and igniting fresh debate on a fraught issue weeks before the midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.

Graham’s own Republican Party leaders did not immediately embrace his abortion ban bill, which would prohibit the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy with rare exceptions, and has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democratic-held Congress. Democrats torched it as an alarming signal of where “MAGA” Republicans are headed if they win control of the House and Senate in November.

“America’s got to make some decisions,” Graham said at a news conference at the Capitol.

The South Carolina Republican said that rather than shying away from the Supreme Court’s ruling this summer overturning Roe v. Wade’s nearly 50-year right to abortion access, Republicans are preparing to fight to make a nationwide abortion ban federal law.

“Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, we’re going nowhere,” the senator said while flanked by female advocates from the anti-abortion movement. “We welcome the debate. We welcome the vote in the United States Senate as to what America should look like in 2022.”

. . .Reaction was swift, fierce and unwavering from Democrats who viewed Graham’s legislation as an extreme example of the far-right’s hold on the GOP, and as a political gift of self-inflicted pain for Republican candidates now having to answer questions about an abortion ban heading toward the midterm elections.

“A nationwide abortion ban — that’s the contrast between the two parties, plain and simple,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

I’m not surprised that Graham’s proposal wasn’t enthusiastically embraced by Republicans! A recent Pew poll showed that 61% of all adult Americans think that “abortion should be legal in all or most cases“—a standard even more permissive than that of the now-overturned Roe v. Wade, which ruled that states could restrict but not absolutely prohibit abortion during the second trimester.

Only 37% said that abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Given that Republicans in many states have managed to restrict abortion nearly completely, surely a nationally unpopular stand, the Republicans are choosing a strange hill to die on. It’s no surprise, then, that savvy Democrats are campaigning on a pro-choice plank, as they are here in Illinois.  Ad after Democratic ad on t.v. show clips of the Republican nominee for governor, Darren Bailey, saying that he doesn’t think abortion should be allowed even in cases of rape or incest. What a goon! I wonder if James Carville has anything to say about this. “It’s the fetus, stupid!”

And, lo and behold, I just found Carville discussing this (he agrees with me) and other ways the Democrats need to approach the impending midterms.

*If you don’t know by now that the “squad” in Congress is anti-Semitic, favoring the elimination of Israel by uniting it with Palestine, or allowing the “right of return” of millions of Arabs descended from those who left Israel in 1948 largely at the behest of Arab states, then you aren’t paying attention. As in this clip, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib calls Israel an “apartheid state” when, in reality, it is Palestine that is the apartheid state, banning Jews, gays, oppressing women, and so on. (This reversal of the truth is a diagnostic sign of an anti-Semite).

Now Tlaib tells us that Democrats cannot be “progressive” if they support the “apartheid state of Israel.  (h/t Malgorzata)

Several House Democrats on Wednesday slammed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) over her claim that supporting “Israel’s apartheid government” is incompatible with “progressive values.”

“I want you all to know that among progressives, it’s become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government, and we will continue to push back and not accept that you are progressive except for Palestine,” Tlaib said in an online forum hosted by “American Muslims for Palestine” and “Americans for Justice in Palestine Action.”

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) accused Tlaib of antisemitism.

“The outrageous progressive litmus test on Israel by [Tlaib] is nothing short of antisemitic,” Wasserman Schultz wrote on Twitter. “Proud progressives do support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state. Suggesting otherwise is shameful and dangerous.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, tweeted, “In one sentence, Rep. Rashida simultaneously tells American Jews that they need to pass an anti-Zionist litmus test to participate in progressive spaces even as she doubles down on her antisemitism by slandering Israel as an apartheid state.”

To wit:

Do people not know who these “progressives” really are? Is it really “progressive” to support terrorists, the killing of gays, apostates, and atheists, to teach little children to hate Jews, and to oppress women?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili disses Szaron (they’re still not fast friends):

Szaron: Do you have a moment?
Hili: No, I’m very busy.
Szaron: Czy masz chwilę czasu?
Hili: Nie, jestem bardzo zajęta.


From Divy. Will we be seeing this soon as a court exhibit?

From Nicole; life the way it should be:

Remember, though, NEVER FEED BREAD TO DUCKS! But I do the same thing when the bread comes. . .

Two Tweets of God.  And He’s plenty pissed off at the recent murder in Iran (a woman who didn’t wear her hijab properly!), and at the country’s theocracy. And yes, the government has shut down the Internet.


From Malcolm: a cool painting:

From Ken, who says this: “Makes sense, doesn’t it? This guy is going to get even more crazy, and more dangerous, now that he’s cornered.” Apparently when Trump thinks about declassifying a document, it becomes declassified. It’s magic!

From Simon: A response to “thought declassification”:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. The first video, from Iran, is horrifying. Only now is the media beginning to apprehend the horrors this country inflicts on its people—especially its women.

Poor kitty!

This is very sweet:

34 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. I have to wonder if conscripts will do Russia any good. Is Russian going to send them into battle with NKVD [KGB] machine gunners behind them if they try to retire? And there’s probably a high likelihood of desertion. Perhaps Russia is targeting men with families who can serve as hostages against performance. That’s not going to endear Putin to his subjects.

    1. Germany has already said that it will accept defecting Russian soldiers (after some security checks).

      I see that men arrested during the protests against the draft are being given their call-up papers whilst in custody.

    2. In fact it is not a ‘partial’ mobilisation, leaked sources from the Kremlin apparently said it was meant to conscript one million, not just 300 000. I’m not sure how true that statement is.
      It is clear Putin’s drive to get more cannon fodder is stronger in minority and ‘far away’ areas, and tries to avoid conscription in the capital or Leningrad St Petersburg, the larger urban centres. Although it is nigh impossible to hide the ploy, I’d think.
      Conscripts may not be deployed outside Russian territory, the reason for those flimsy ‘referenda’ annexing the Donbas and Kherson oblasts. Then they become Russian territory and hence allowing for conscripts to die in Ukraine. Sick IMMO. Poorly trained & equipped, and overwhelmingly reluctant, conscripts will not change the outcome. It will be just more bloodshed.

    3. They cannot support the logistic chain for the current Russian strategy. It seems doubtful that they are going to try to just throw more combat troops at Ukraine, since they cannot supply the ones there now. I bet this is for some new horror Putin is planning.

  2. I’ve never been able to get a read on Lindsay Graham. I don’t think the Federal government has the authority to impose an abortion ban under the Constitution. A fifteen-week ban is in line with European abortion restrictions, though. He might be trying to smoke out the Dems who believe in abortion until birth, which, based on the polling, seems to be as unpopular an idea as no abortion whatsoever. It certainly appears that Stacey Abrams is falling foul of abortion with her kooky “fetal heart beat is a trick” statement.

    1. Stacey Abrams appears to have a point:

      From ABC News:

      ““While the heart does begin to develop at around six weeks, at this point the heart as we know it does not yet exist,” said Dr. Ian Fraser Golding, a pediatric and fetal cardiologist at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego.

      Instead, at six weeks, the embryo will develop a tube that generates sporadic electrical impulses that eventually coordinate into rhythmic pulses, he said. (Six weeks of pregnancy is closer to four weeks of actual development, because pregnancy is measured from the first day of a woman’s last period, before she is actually pregnant.)

      That’s far from a fully formed heart, with four chambers and valves that pump blood throughout the body.

      The correct medical term for what’s observed at this point is “cardiac activity,” said Dr. Sarah Prager, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Washington Medicine.

      “It’s not until about 10 weeks that there is an actual structure that has four tubes and connects to the lungs and major vascular system like we would think of as a heart,” she said.

      It’s around 10 weeks of pregnancy that the embryo becomes a fetus.

    2. “A fifteen-week ban is in line with European abortion restrictions, though.”

      I’ve been hearing this conservative talking point a lot lately, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. (Why don’t conservatives google stuff?) There are many articles discussing this false equivalency, I’ll just list three major differences.

      First, after 15 weeks in Europe the vast majority of countries (not Poland, Monaco and a few other god-poisoned countries) have many exceptions which would allow a pregnancy to be terminated after 15 weeks. If they find the fetus has problems, or the mother is in danger, or has mental health issues, they will abort at any time after the 15 weeks. Many countries will also abort after 15 weeks based on socioeconomic grounds.

      Second, if an abortion is requested or needed, it is easy to find a provider, and in most countries, won’t cost a dime. You won’t have to leave your country for abortion access, either, whereas in America, millions have to travel hundreds of miles and out-of-state to obtain an abortion. This adds extreme economic hardship to millions of American women.

      Third, most European countries continue to expand abortion access; that’s only happening here in blue states, mostly to accommodate the draconian laws of red states.

      And Stacy Abrams is spot on; the only thing kooky is that so many people (apparently you’re one of them) have no idea what the “fetal heartbeat” scam really is. I’m glad another reader already explained this. It’s tiring and usually a waste of time countering false claims.

  3. I got pulled into the “rabbit hole” at the strikeouts section – it’d be interesting to know the handedness of the _batters_ as matched with the pitchers…

  4. … Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a nationwide abortion ban Tuesday …

    Who better to take the lead in setting policy regarding women’s reproductive freedom than a 67-year-old never-married virgin? (I’m speculating on that last part — I mean, it’s possible some young Palmetto-state strumpet took Lindsey’s virginity after he escorted her to a South Carolina cotillion ball — but I’m pretty sure Graham has never had the experience of sitting up all night with an arm around a wife or girlfriend comforting her while the two of you sweated out a late period.)

      1. Those rumors have long dogged Graham, but he’s always denied it.

        Then again, there’s never been a congressional Republican who’s ever first won election as a gay man or who’s come out of the closet willingly while in office. (The one’s who’ve eventually admitted to being gay have all been forced out of the closet, usually by things like getting caught sending drunken salacious text messages to underage male pages or getting busted on a morals rap in a public men’s room.)

  5. Bill Grueskin:”If you saw someone on a sidewalk talking this way, you’d put your phone to your ear, stare at the ground and cross the street as fast as possible.” He’s been talking this way for years. Tens of millions of my fellow Americans have encountered him, and, rather than cross the street, they have embraced him and installed him as their God-King. 🤦‍♂️

  6. I’m glad you brought up Rashida Tlaib’s remark. Does she really think that progressives must embrace antisemitism in order to be truly progressive? For those who still harbor doubts of Tlaib’s antisemitism, we now have one of her clearest statements yet. And, for those who doubt the rise of antisemitism on the progressive left, Tlaib’s (apparent) belief that progressives are ready to follow her lead should give you pause. I think she miscalculated in this case and I hold considerable doubt that progressives as a whole embrace antisemitism, but “intersectionality” grades into antisemitism without a clear boundary. Consequently, I am wary of both the right and the left on this matter.

    1. I don’t hold much doubt about her antisemitism. In her office was a map of the ME with a sticker labelled “Palestine” where Israel should be:

      There are photos of her on the internet wearing a t-shirt that shows Israel’s outline filled with Arabic:

      1. I was aware of the map in her office but not of the t-shirt. In the picture wearing the t-shirt, she is shilling for Linda Sarsour’s book.

  7. “Celebrate Bisexuality Day”

    Hooray – animals reproduce via two sexes – “bi” meaning “consisting of two” and “sex” meaning “size and motility of gametes”.

    I’m bisex, if you can read this you’re bisex, we’re all bisex.

  8. I will forever remember (Washington Senators) Tom Cheney’s 21K/Os of Balto Orioles in 16 innings in 1962. Yesm he pitched SIXTEEN innings!! Sadly, his arm was apparently never the same after that, but what a feat!

  9. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, and a UN investigation headed by Michael Lynk have all issued reports in the past few years arguing that Israel’s policies in Palestine, particularly the West Bank, meet the criteria for the crime of apartheid as defined in international law. Even if one disagrees with this view, to say that it actually amounts to support for “terrorists, the killing of gays, apostates, and atheists” and the teaching of “little children to hate Jews and to oppress women” is ridiculous.

    Also, there is no need for quotation marks around the right of return, a right recognized unambiguously in international law. Whether it can – or even should – be vindicated in the case of Israel and Palestine is a different matter. It almost certainly never will be. Nonetheless, all refugees have the right to return to their homes.

    The related assertion that the Arabs left “largely at the behest” of Arab states, so by implication weren’t real refugees, is a view held by almost no serious historian of the wars between 1947 and 1949. Even historians as favorably disposed to the past and current policies of Israel’s government, such as Benny Morris, don’t entertain it for a moment.

    1. My only comment is that the crime of apartheid was invented to justify sanctions against South Africa. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time but it needed some justification in international law. The argument was that white Dutch people could be safe anywhere, back where they came from.. The fact they would be exterminated in South Africa was not sufficient justification for allowing them to hold sway. Of course they did hold sway for decades despite sanctions but that is water under the bridge.

      Israel is a different case. Jews are not safe just anywhere. Almost everywhere has persecuted Jews at some time or other and many still do. So Israel will assert the right to exist, and organize its society in ways that make some Leftists queasy because on paper it looks vaguely like South Africa. Tough. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and the UN can wipe their butts with their reports.

      International law is a body of conventions that nation-states observe in order to get along with other countries. Countries who really really need to, and who can get away with it set aside the conventions when their national interests demand it. This is the card that Israel needs to play and I don’t criticize them for it.

      You don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist. I’m one who isn’t.

      1. It isn’t a “fact” that White South Africans would have been “exterminated” unless they held power in South Africa. That was a highly dubious argument made by some powerful white people during the apartheid era in South Africa to justify holding power.

        The question of apartheid in relation to Israel is not about how Israel organizes its own society. The reports mentioned are about its policies in the West Bank (part of Palestine). These policies are the basis for the view that it is guilty of apartheid.

        And even if – for the sake of argument – one granted everything you wrote (Israel is a special case, countries are right to ignore international laws if they can get away with it), it’s still quite something to say that people who disagree and think, for example, that international laws enshrine important norms and that the work of human rights organizations should be taken seriously are actually in favor of killing gays, apostates, atheists etc.

      2. It isn’t a “fact” that White South Africans would have been “exterminated” unless they held power in South Africa. That was a very dubious argument made by powerful white people in South Africa to justify holding power.

        The question of apartheid is not about how Israel organizes its own society. The reports I mentioned are about its policies in the West Bank (part of Palestine), which are the basis for the view that it is guilty of apartheid.

        And even if – for the sake of argument – one granted everything you wrote (Israel is a special case, countries are right to ignore international laws if they can get away with it, etc), it’s still quite a leap to say that people who disagree and think, for example, that international laws enshrine important norms and that the work of human rights organizations should be taken seriously, are actually in favor of killing gays, apostates, atheists etc.

    2. Michael Link is a Canadian, but Canada did not nominate him as UN special rapporteur. In fact, the Canadian government was skeptical of the selection of such a long-time anti-Israel activist to the post.
      To Link, Israel is a “covetous alien power” that must “abandon the fever-dream of settler colonialism and recognize the freedom of the indigenous people”.

      Most people seem to judge Israel by exaggerated versions of the actions they take, without knowing or much caring about what those actions are in response to.

      I used to be pretty skeptical of Israel, right up until I had to live there a while for work. My conclusion was that Israel has been showing remarkable restraint, considering the nonstop homicidal aggression they receive.
      Israelis want to create and sustain a thriving and safe country. The Palestinians want to hunt down and kill Jews. Killing Jews is more important to them than the health or safety of their own children. That really seems like a crazy exaggeration, and certainly does not apply to every single Palestinian Arab. It is very difficult for people with western sensibilities to make sense of such an attitude, which accounts for at least some of the support they receive.

  10. The guy in the hat with the Knickerbockers has to be an umpire. It is only natural. Many times, when people are in doubt or in need of guidance, they turn to a man in a big hat and say “Illuminate the way”.

    1. Your comment is not only rude but wrong. Arabs not in Israel urged Arabs in Israel to leave so they could have a free hand to slaughter everyone who remained (they failed, of course). And yes, some Arabs fled in fear, but that fear was instigated by Arabs who lived elsewhere and deliberately exaggerated the risk to Arab civilians.

      But you can start by looking at this reference:

      You are only one of several people who told me that this urging of Arabs to leave by other Arabs didn’t occur. These people are wrong, as are you.

      I’m not impressed by your Latin, either.

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