Friday, October 27, 2023

Last Call For The Return Of Syria's Business

U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes early Friday on two locations in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Pentagon said, in retaliation for a slew of drone and missile attacks against U.S. bases and personnel in the region that began early last week.

The U.S. strikes reflect the Biden administration’s determination to maintain a delicate balance. The U.S. wants to hit Iranian-backed groups suspected of targeting the U.S. as strongly as possible to deter future aggression, possibly fueled by Israel’s war against Hamas, while also working to avoid inflaming the region and provoking a wider conflict.

According to a senior U.S. military official, the precision strikes were carried out near Boukamal by two F-16 fighter jets, and they struck weapons and ammunition storage areas that were connected to the IRGC. The official said there had been Iranian-aligned militia and IRGC personnel on the base and no civilians, but the U.S. does not have any information yet on casualties or an assessment of damage. The official would not say how many munitions were launched by the F-16s.

A senior defense official said the sites were chosen because the IRGC stores the types of munitions there that were used in the strikes against U.S. bases and troops. The two officials briefed reporters after the strikes on condition of anonymity to provide details on the mission that had not yet been made public.

According to the Pentagon, there have now been at least 19 attacks on U.S. bases and personnel in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17, including three new ones Thursday. Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said 21 U.S. personnel were injured in two of those assaults that used drones to target al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and al-Tanf Garrison in Syria.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the “precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17.”

He said President Joe Biden directed the narrowly tailored strikes “to make clear that the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.” And he added that the operation was separate and distinct from Israel’s war against Hamas.
Of course the fear is that strikes on Iranian positions won't be distinct and separate from the current Israel-Hamas conflict for much longer. More attacks on US bases and troops will continue if the last two decades are indicative, no matter how many F-16 sorties we run.

Of course, if Trump were in charge instead of Biden right now, there wouldn't be fear of a global war, we'd be neck deep in one, so I'll take the hope that Biden and company know what they are doing when it comes to deterring a wider war any and every day over that.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

The judge in Donald Trump's NY civil fraud case has ordered Ivanka Trump to testify.

The judge overseeing the $250 million civil trial against Donald Trump and his company ordered the former president's daughter Ivanka Trump to testify in the case.

Judge Arthur Engoron said Friday she could not be called as a witness before Nov. 1, giving her time to appeal the ruling if she chooses.

Trump's attorneys had challenged New York Attorney General Letitia James' subpoena to Ivanka Trump, noting an appeals court had ruled earlier this year that she should be dropped as a defendant in the case over statute of limitations issues.

They contended the AG's office was trying "to continue to harass and burden President Trump’s daughter long after" the appeals court "mandated she be dismissed from the case."

They also argued that the AG waited too long to subpoena her, and argued the office doesn't have jurisdiction over her because she no longer lives in the state.

The AG's office countered that Ivanka Trump, a former White House official, still has information important to their case.

"While no longer a Defendant in this action, she indisputably has personal knowledge of facts relevant to the claims against the remaining individual and entity Defendants. But even beyond that, Ms. Trump remains financially and professionally intertwined with the Trump Organization and other Defendants and can be called as a person still under their control," the AG contended in a court filing.
The office said it wanted to ask her questions about Trump's former Washington, D.C. hotel, and noted she profited from the sale.

"Ms. Trump remains under the control of the Trump Organization, including through her ongoing and substantial business ties to the organization," the AG argued, adding that she "does not seem to be averse to her involvement in the family business when it comes to owning and collecting proceeds from the OPO (hotel) sale, the Trump Organization purchasing insurance for her and her companies, managing her household staff and credit card bills, renting her apartment or even paying her legal fees in this action. It is only when she is tasked with answering for that involvement that she disclaims any connection."

Ivanka Trump's siblings Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and their father are all expected to testify in the case and have been listed as witnesses by both the AG and the defense.
Again, it's not like Donald Trump was able to consistently commit corporate fraud without the knowledge of the other officers of the Trump Corporation, i.e. Ivanka and her two chucklehead brothers.  We'll see what comes of this, but I expect the ruling against Trump is going to be enough to really hurt.

We'll see




Immigration Nation, Con't

In a battle 100% certain to be headed to the Supreme Court, Texas lawmakers have voted to allow state and local law enforcement to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants in contravention of, you know, federal law and the Constitution.
In a direct challenge to federal power over immigration, the Texas House on Thursday approved the creation of a state-level crime for entering the country from Mexico between ports of entry, allowing local police agencies to arrest and jail unauthorized migrants or order them back to Mexico.

The legislation had been called for by Gov. Greg Abbott in what would be a sharp escalation of his multibillion-dollar border security program, known as Operation Lone Star. The Texas House also approved an additional $1.5 billion for the state to use to construct its own barriers near the international boundary.

The arrest measure now returns to the Senate, which has already approved its own version, and then head to Mr. Abbott’s desk for his signature.

“It is a humane, logical and efficient approach,” Representative David Spiller, a Republican from west of Fort Worth, said in introducing his arrest bill before the vote. “There is nothing unfair about ordering someone back from where they came if they arrived here illegally.”

Emotions ran high during hours of arguments and motions on the House floor that stretched through the night and into Thursday morning, with Democrats objecting to what they said would be a new criminal enforcement regime that could end up inadvertently targeting Hispanic Texans. At one point, tempers flared as Republicans moved to halt amendments to the bill.

“My community is being attacked,” one Latino representative, Armando Walle, a Houston Democrat, told his Republican colleagues. “Y’all don’t understand,” he said. “It hurts us personally.”

For more than two years, Mr. Abbott and Republican lawmakers have been testing the boundaries of the state’s power to enact its own aggressive law enforcement policies in response to the surging number of migrants crossing into the state from Mexico.

But the creation of a criminal offense under state law — empowering Texas officers to arrest migrants, including those seeking asylum — went a step further into a realm of immigration enforcement that is typically reserved to the federal government.

The legislative move is likely to set up a consequential court fight over immigration and, for opponents of President Biden’s immigration policies, create a chance to revisit a 2012 Supreme Court case, originating in Arizona, that was decided 5 to 4 in favor of the federal government’s primary role in setting immigration policy.
Needless to say, GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP are picking this fight on purpose. They want the ruling against Arizona's 2021 "Papers, please" law overturned so they can start arresting Latinos left and right in the state.
You'd also better believe that Arizona, Florida, Georgia, NC and other big red states will follow suit should the Roberts Court allow them to, with the goal of filling as many detention centers as possible.

This is going to get bad, folks. It may not end up in front of SCOTUS before the 2024 election, but it's still potentially a horrific situation, and the GOP does not care one bit.

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