Open Thread | Beginning the Weekend With Good News 😊

I can’t wait for this to be completed.

Now that this is on the way, I can’t wait for the unveiling of the White House Portraits of 44 and Forever FLOTUS 😍

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8 Responses to Open Thread | Beginning the Weekend With Good News 😊

  1. rikyrah says:

    Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) Tweeted:
    The # of open vax appts in NYC right now is stunningly high.

    * Javits: 3k
    * Medgar Evers: 20k
    * York: 19k
    * Bay Eden: 1k+
    * City-run hubs: 1000s
    * Walgreens citywide: 1000s

    If you know anyone who’s been discouraged from booking, tell them NOW IS THE TIME (links to book below)

  2. eliihass says:

    “..Prince Hamzah, the former Crown Prince of Jordan, accused of plotting a coup against King Abdullah II, his half-brother, has issued a statement pledging his loyalty to the monarch, after being confronted by fellow royals.

    On 3 April, Prince Hamzah, 41, made a couple of incendiary recordings which were passed to the BBC by his lawyer. In the video he accused the country’s rulers of corruption, incompetence and harassment. In the video, Prince Hamzah claimed that he was being silenced and was under house arrest, just hours after the authorities arrested at least 16 members of the Royal Court over an alleged coup.

    A day earlier, on 2 April, the Jordanian government, long-considered a pillar of stability in the Middle East, accused Hamzah, the son of King Hussein and his fourth wife Queen Noor, of a ‘malicious plot’ involving ‘foreign powers’ and contacts in Jordan to ‘destabilise the kingdom’s security’.

    On 4 April, Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi told a news conference that the Prince had been liaising with foreign parties about destabilising the country and had been monitored for some time. He added that at least 16 people, including a former adviser to King Abdullah and another member of the Royal Family, had been arrested over the plot to ‘undermine the security’ of the country.

  3. eliihass says:

    “…The real message that Prince Hamzah, who claims he is wrongly accused of stoking discontent in the kingdom, wanted the world and his country to hear after he had been confined to house arrest was this one: “I am the son of Hussein!”

    Hamzah has ambitions, and the Saudis, the Emirates and Israel all have an agenda to weaken Jordan.

    In appearance, bearing and speech, the prince resembles his late father, King Hussein, whose life was cut short by illness. He wanted Hamzah to inherit the throne. Hamzah was too young at the time, and his half brother, Abdullah, the eldest son of Princess Muna, Hussein’s second wife, acceded to the throne.

    Abdullah named his half brother crown prince in line with their father’s wishes but soon afterwards stripped him of that title in favour of his own son, Hussein.

    But Hamzah has never forgotten his father’s bequest. He still behaves as if he is the rightful heir to the throne.

    But nor is there any concrete evidence – so far at least – of a specific plot to oust Abdullah or to what extent Hamzah is involved in it. Rather, there is an increasingly marginalised head of state, cut off from his main donors, in bad relations with Israel, in charge of a landlocked country being ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The issues on which Abdullah has refused to play ball are stacking up. To his credit, Abdullah did not accept former US president Donald Trump’s “deal of the century,” but he paid a price for that.

    In moving closer to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Abdullah has moved away from the two countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which were channelling funds to Jordan.

    At one point, Abdullah was fully signed up to the plan to anoint Mohammed Dahlan, the Palestinian exile living in Abu Dhabi, as Abbas’s successor. No more.

    Mohammed bin Salman, with Israel’s blessing, openly eyed a hostile takeover of the Hashemite’s historic role of guardianship of the holy places in Jerusalem.

    The king’s (Abdullah) relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have gone from bad to worse.

    In the real world, Jordan is suffering from Israel’s cold shoulder. Netanyahu is prevaricating on a request by Jordan for water. This is the water that Israel pumps out of the river Jordan, and the kingdom under a peace treaty often requests that Israel transfer this water back to Jordan during dry spells. In punishment for the airspace episode, Netanyahu is not doing that, despite being urged by his security chiefs to do so.

    The shortage of vaccines in Jordan is another source of tension with Israel. Jordan is being ravaged by the virus. Israel is conducting “vaccine diplomacy,” helping out countries as far afield as Guatemala, but not its nearest neighbour Jordan. Israel’s neglect of Jordan is all of a piece with its burgeoning relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    This is sheer folly from Israel’s own security interests, and if Netanyahu wants to know what will happen to his vulnerable eastern border if Jordan falls apart, his own security chiefs will be only too keen to tell him.

    But it is the fashion and follows the logic of everything Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law, and David Friedman, the former US ambassador, did in concocting Arab normalisation deals with Israel. Ignore the Palestinians, trash talk of their state, and go directly over their heads, and Jordan’s, and head straight for the Aladdin’s cave of cash from Saudi and Emirati sovereign wealth funds.

    While no evidence links Prince Hamzah to the alleged coup attempt, it is also significant that Jordan security sources picked out for the foreign media the role of two of the 20 or so who have been arrested. They did so because of their links with Saudi Arabia. They were directing the finger of blame to the Gulf when most of the action is taking place inside the kingdom. The two men are Hassan bin Zayed, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Awadallah.

    Arresting Awadallah is the biggest one-finger sign Abdullah could have made to both bin Salman and bin Zayed.

    Awadallah was once very close to King Abdullah. Awadallah served as economic secretary to the Jordanian premier from 1992 to 1996. He was appointed head of Jordan’s royal court in 2007, before being sacked from the position less than a year later. When he left Jordan, Awadallah moved to Dubai, setting up a company called Tomouh. Awadallah shuttled between the Emirates and Saudi, where he still acted as Jordan’s special envoy.

    Awadallah’s role was terminated in 2018, when the king was persuaded that his envoy was closer to Riyadh than he was to Jordan. Awadallah holds both Saudi and Jordan citizenship.

    Awadallah had meanwhile set up a network of prominent businessmen and was working as a consultant for the Saudi crown prince. He became Mohammed bin Salman’s economic adviser and is helping the planning of his futuristic city Neom.

    Some news media outlets called Awadallah one of the masterminds of the privatisation of Aramco. Mastermind is a curious epithet as this has largely failed. But Awadallah appeared alongside his new master bin Salman at the annual Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, the so-called Davos in the Desert, in January.

    But Jordan cannot confront Saudi Arabia openly. If they did, and accused Saudi of sending messages to Hamzah through Awadallah to mount a coup d’etat, it would mean the expulsion of Jordanian workers and businessmen from Saudi, which would spell economic ruin for the kingdom.

    Within hours of the news of Awadallah’s arrest, a Saudi delegation headed by the foreign minister requested permission to visit Amman. According to an intelligence source of an unnamed Middle Eastern country monitoring these events, which was quoted by the Washington Post, the Saudis requested the release of Awadallah. “The Saudis were saying that they won’t leave the country without him,” the official said. “It would appear that they are worried about what he would say,” the Post reported.

    Nor can Jordan confront Israel directly. It was the Israeli media that delved into the past of Roy Shaposhnik, the Israeli living in Europe who offered a private jet to Hamzah so that his wife and children could leave the country.

    Shaposhnik denied he was a member of Mossad, but he worked for Erik Prince, established his own company RS Logistical Solutions which provided services to Prince’s company for training Iraqi soldiers in Jordan. He met Hamzah through mutual contacts, and their families became close friends.

    These connections explain why Abdullah is suspicious. Hamzah has ambitions, and the Saudis, the Emiratis and Israel all have an agenda to weaken Jordan.

  4. eliihass says:

    “…A data breach at a Christian crowdfunding website has revealed that serving police officers and public officials have donated money to fundraisers for accused vigilante murderers, far-right activists, and fellow officers accused of shooting black Americans.

    In many of these cases, the donations were attached to their official email addresses, raising questions about the use of public resources in supporting such campaigns.

    Proud Boys and other far-right groups raise millions via Christian funding site.

    The breach, shared with journalists by transparency group Distributed Denial of Secrets, revealed the details of some donors who had previously attempted to conceal their identities using GiveSendGo’s anonymity feature, but whose identifying details the website preserved.

    The beneficiaries of donations from public officials include Kyle Rittenhouse, who stands accused of murdering two leftwing protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last August. Rittenhouse traveled from neighboring Illinois to, by his own account, offer armed protection to businesses during protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

    Rittenhouse, who became a cause célèbre across conservative media throughout late 2020, and was even supported by then president Donald Trump, held a fundraiser on GiveSendGo billed as a contribution to his legal defense. According to data from the site, he raised $586,940 between 27 August last year and 7 January .

    Among the donors were several associated with email addresses traceable to police and other public officials.

    One donation for $25, made on 3 September last year, was made anonymously, but associated with the official email address for Sgt William Kelly, who currently serves as the executive officer of internal affairs in the Norfolk police department in Virginia.

    That donation also carried a comment, reading: “God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.”

    The comment continued: “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

    Donations also came to Rittenhouse associated with official email addresses for Keith Silvers, an employee of the city of Huntsville, Alabama, and another $100 was associated with the official address of Michael Crosley, an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a body which is charged with maintaining the US’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

    Meanwhile, several Wisconsin police officers donated to a fundraiser, “Support Rusten Sheskey”, held for the Kenosha police department officer whose shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, led to the protests that drew Rittenhouse to the city.

    One, given under the name, “GBPD Officer”, was tied to an address associated with Chad Ramos, a training lieutenant in the department; another anonymous donation was associated with Keith A Gehring, who is listed as a school resources officer lieutenant.

    Another donation to Sheskey was associated with the official email address of officer Pat Gainer of the Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin police department. Given under the screen name “PPPD Motor.

    More anonymous donations on the site came from city employees of Houston, Texas, who were objecting to the actions of the then police chief, Art Acevedo, who fired four Houston police officers after they shot and killed a man, Nicolas Chavez, who was on his knees, and in an apparent mental health crisis.

    One anonymous donation of $100 was associated with the official address of that city’s fire chief, Samuel Peña …Another anonymous donation of $400 was attributed in site data to an email linked to Chris Andersen …Andersen describes himself as a “39-year veteran of the Houston police department”, and as having worked in roles including homicide detective, supervising a Swat team and internal affairs.

    Lynda Seaver, director of public affairs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, wrote in an email that Michael Crosley had made “an honest mistake”, and had “never intended to use his Lab email on this matter..”

  5. rikyrah says:

    Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) Tweeted:
    I wrote about why D’s are unlikely to go for a moderate R offer on infrastructure.

    Short answer: They’re not only offering less money, but likely a much less popular way to pay for it that their own colleagues can’t wait to run against in 2022.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) Tweeted:
    MANCHIN isn’t buying the $800 billion infrastructure price tag Sen. Capito floated y’day: “There’s no number that should be set on at all.”

    “We’re going to do whatever it takes. If it takes $4 trillion, I’d do $4 trillion but we have to pay for it,” he tells @alexanderbolton.

  7. rikyrah says:


    Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) Tweeted:
    Asked Capito why $600B-$800B is a “sweet spot” for an infrastructure bill, as she said yesterday.

    “It’s just a ballpark figure. It doesn’t — it may not even be that much. I don’t know. I just kind of threw that out as a talking point.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone 😊😊😊

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