Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Administration “listening” in Venezuela

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:23 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

AP Exclusive: US talks secretly to Venezuela socialist boss

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The U.S. has opened up secret communications with Venezuela’s socialist party boss as members of President Nicolás Maduro’s inner circle seek guarantees they won’t face retribution if they cede to growing demands to remove him, a senior U.S. administration official has told The Associated Press.

Diosdado Cabello, who is considered the most-powerful man in Venezuela after Maduro, met last month in Caracas with someone who is in close contact with the Trump administration, said the official. A second meeting is in the works but has not yet taken place.


The administration official said that under no circumstances is the U.S. looking to prop up Cabello or pave the way for him to substitute Maduro. Instead, the goal of the outreach is to ratchet up pressure on the regime by contributing to the knife fight the U.S. believes is taking place behind the scenes among competing circles of power within the ruling party.

Similar contacts exist with other top Venezuelan insiders, the official said, and the U.S. is in a listening mode to hear what it would take for them to betray Maduro and support a transition plan.

I thought this is what the CIA or the local embassy does, while Administrations try to avoid inconvenient entanglements.


Groomer dyes Dog’s Ears and Eyebrows

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:56 pm

[Headline from DRJ]

Palm Beach Post:

You dyed my dog’s hair?’ Woman irate with Lake Worth Beach dog groomer

Woman takes dog in for a trim, it comes back with neon eyebrows, ears and tail.

The groomer said the client wanted a buzz cut but she “felt there was something missing.”


Hong Kong And Russia: Pro-Democracy Supporters Battle On

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

It’s incredible what is happening in Hong Kong and Russia.

From Hong Kong:

Water cannon trucks were kept on standby as pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong marched through the dense city centre after assembling at Victoria Park in Hong Kong on a rain-soaked Sunday afternoon, reported South China Morning Post.

The demonstrators filled the streets as there was not enough space at the park. The police approved the rally but objected to plans to march to the central district because of previous clashes that had occurred there. However, protestors defied the police instructions and marched anyway, reported The New York Times.

By mid-afternoon, the park was filled with tens of thousands of people. Protestors brought traffic on a multilane main road in the Causeway Bay shopping district to a halt. As the crowd inched toward the park, they shouted: “People of Hong Kong, keep fighting.”

China is none too happy with the support protesters are receiving from the US:

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for China’s legislature condemned statements from US legislators supporting the protestors. You Wenze called the statements by senators and Congress representatives “a gross violation of the spirit of the rule of law, a blatant double standard and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs”.

(Actually, neither China nor Russia are happy with the US support of the freedom-seeking protesters.)

From Russia:

Russian opposition activists staged a string of pickets in central Moscow on Saturday to call for free elections and for charges against protesters detained at recent rallies to be dropped.

Moscow has been rocked by weekly protests for more than a month since the authorities barred opposition candidates from running in an election for the city’s legislature in September.

Police have briefly detained more than 2,000 protesters in recent weeks, launched criminal cases against some dozen people for mass disorder and used force to disperse what they said were illegal protests.

The recent opposition demonstrations have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.

Russia is also dealing with fallout from the explosion of a small nuclear reactor last week that left five scientists dead:

The blast occurred Aug. 8 during a test of a missile that used “isotope power sources,” Russia’s state nuclear company Rosatom said over the weekend. The Defense Ministry initially reported two were killed in the accident, which it said involved testing of a liquid-fueled missile engine. The ministry didn’t mention the nuclear element.

It caused a brief spike in radiation in the nearby port city of Severodvinsk, according to a statement on the local administration’s website that was later removed. The Russian military said radiation levels were normal but disclosed few details about the incident.


The incident comes after a series of massive explosions earlier last week at a Siberian military depot killed one and injured 13, as well as forcing the evacuation of 16,500 people from their homes. Russia’s navy has suffered numerous high-profile accidents over the years. In July, 14 sailors died in a fire aboard a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea in an incident on which officials initially refused to comment. A top naval official later said the men gave their lives preventing a “planetary catastrophe.”

Horribly, hospital workers were not informed about the serious risks of treating the injured who had been exposed to radiation:

The three injured men arrived at the hospital around 4:30 pm, naked and wrapped in translucent plastic bags. The state of the patients made staff suspect they were dealing with something very serious. But the only information they had at the time was that there had been an explosion at a nearby military site around noon.

“No one — neither hospital directors, nor Health Ministry officials, nor regional officials or the governor — notified staff that the patients were radioactive,” one of the clinic’s surgeons told The Moscow Times by phone this week. “The hospital workers had their suspicions, but nobody told them to protect themselves.”

Reportedly, after the explosion, radiation spiked to as much as 20 times its normal level for about 30 minutes within the region. Medical professionals tasked with treating the patients were “encouraged” by state authorities to sign non-disclosure agreements. The general consensus among staff was, you don’t say no to such a request.

Hospital workers were angered by the lack of information given them about the danger they faced when treating the patients, but officials refused to address their concerns directly:

All of the accounts also ask why state personnel exposed to radiation would be sent to a civilian hospital, rather than a military one, in the first place. The doctors who spoke to The Moscow Times said they and their colleagues had prepared a thorough list of questions for Health Ministry representatives who visited on Aug. 12 to clarify the staff’s concerns, and not a single one was answered clearly.

Rather than answers, the doctors were offered a trip to Moscow for tests…one of the doctors flown to Moscow was found to have Caesium-137 — a radioactive isotope that is a byproduct of the nuclear fission of uranium-235 — in their muscle tissue.


According to three of the doctors, two of the three patients that were treated at the Arkhangelsk Regional Clinical Hospital didn’t even reach Moscow, dying en route to the airport.

They said that security services officers who visited the hospital on Aug. 9 recovered and deleted all of the information about the incident that was in the hospital’s records.

“It’s as if the event no longer exists,” one of the doctors said. “With no documentation the staff couldn’t try to take anyone to court, even if they wanted to.”

P.S. U.S. officials believe [the exploion] may have involved work on a new nuclear-powered cruise missile, and could have contaminated the region with radioactive waste.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 104

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am

It is the tenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Du Hirte Israel, höre” (You Shepherd of Israel, hear).

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 12:49-56:

Not Peace but Division

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Interpreting the Times

He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

You Shepherd of Israel, hear,
You who watch over Joseph like a sheep, appear,
You who sit above the Cherubim.

The Highest Shepherd watches over me,
what use are my worries?
Indeed every morning
is the Shepherd’s goodness renewed.
My heart, take hold of yourself,
God is faithful.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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