Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
I’ll just go ahead and post this early since there isn’t a new post up this morning. These are a few news items from the past week or so that might be of interest to you. Remember, these are just appetizers. It would be beneficial to read the linked reports in full. Anyway, feel free to share any items you think might interest other readers. Please make sure to include links.
First news item
Russia’s military believes that limiting the war’s initial goals is a serious error. They now argue that Russia is not fighting Ukraine, but NATO. Senior officers have therefore concluded that the Western alliance is fighting all out (through the supply of increasingly sophisticated weaponry) while its own forces operate under peacetime constraints like a bar on airstrikes against some key areas of Ukraine’s infrastructure. In short, the military now demands all-out war, including mobilization.
The frustration is becoming so intense that it has spilled over into the public space. Alexander Arutyunov (aka, the blogger RAZVEDOS), a well-known veteran of Spetsnaz of the National Guard, made a video plea to Putin: “Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, please decide, are we fighting a war or are we masturbating?”
He demanded a massive escalation, with a choice of airstrikes on Ukrainian infrastructure or an end to the war. The video went viral, especially with pro-military groups on VK and those Telegram channels affiliated with the Russian army.
Ukrainians can’t afford for us to turn away from their plight:
Outside Ukraine, Zelensky told me, “People see this war on Instagram, on social media. When they get sick of it, they will scroll away.” It’s human nature. Horrors have a way of making us close our eyes. “It’s a lot of blood,” he explains. “It’s a lot of emotion.” Zelensky senses the world’s attention flagging, and it troubles him nearly as much as the Russian bombs. Most nights, when he scans his agenda, his list of tasks has less to do with the war itself than with the way it is perceived. His mission is to make the free world experience this war the way Ukraine does: as a matter of its own survival.
Second news item
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed that his department is in talks to divert Veterans Affairs (VA) resources, doctors and nurses to help care for illegal immigrants Wednesday.
…House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, pressed Mayorkas to answer whether the resources would be diverted as part of the DHS plan to address an expected spike in migration.
“We’ve heard that the administration is considering removing health care providers from the VA, for example, doctors and nurses whose taxpayer dollars and their intent is to help care for our veterans.
So my question to you today is yes or no: Is the Department of Homeland Security planning to reallocate resources, doctors and nurses from our VA system intended to care for our veterans to help care for illegal immigrants at our southern border?”
After trying to avoid a direct yes or no answer, Mayorkas gave an inch:
“Congresswoman, the resources that the medical personnel from the Veterans Administration would allocate to this effort is under the judgment of the secretary of Veterans Affairs, who prioritizes the interests of veterans above all others for very noble and correct.”
Hinson then pressed him once again on whether he was aware of any conversations he or others at the DHS have had about reallocating VA resources.
“I have not personally. But of course, our teams, our personnel have. And I’d be very pleased to follow up with you,” he responded.
Limited and vital resources for our veterans should not be reallocated:
VA health officials have predicted a significant rise in appointment requests in coming months, as pandemic conditions across the country improve and more veterans resume deferred care.
That in turn has raised concerns about pressure on the VA health care system, and whether veterans could see a significant increase in the time it takes to schedule appointments.
Health officials have touted new pandemic telehealth options within the department as a way to help ease the burden on facilities facing increased requests. But lawmakers this week noted that in rural areas — locations with some of the longest wait times already — a lack of reliable internet access may limit the availability of those services.
Third news item
An excellent and fearless schooling of a Trump sycophant:
In response to my recent piece on howling moonbat Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lou Dobbs sneers: “Who reads NR?”
Well, Lou, since you raised the question, I’ll answer it: You do.
We both know this.
You are so terrified of your audience that you are willing to tell them anything they want to hear, follow them down any ridiculous rabbit hole, pretend to be something that you aren’t. You’re a guy who went to Harvard and lives on an equestrian estate in New Jersey, Lou. Let’s not kid ourselves. You’re a bit of a nut, but you aren’t stupid — certainly not as stupid as the character you used to play on television and now play on Twitter.
The irony is that your cowardice and your pandering did not save your career — they wrecked your career. That conspiracy-kook stuff is what got you fired by Fox, which is why you no longer have a television show. Do you know how embarrassing you have to get before Fox News — Fox Business, Lou! — is too ashamed to put you on the air?
It’s bad, Lou. Think on that.
I figure you probably have some heavy legal bills to pay at the moment, what with the voting-machine-conspiracy-kookery defamation lawsuit that you are probably going to lose. But you’re pushing 80, Lou. You’ve already thrown away your job, your reputation, and your self-respect — and there’s a good chance you’re going to end up financially ruined, too — but there is still time to see to the things that should be foremost in the mind of a man your age.
Read the whole thing.
Fourth news item
Now elderly and frail, Ukraine’s Holocaust survivors are escaping war once again, on an extraordinary journey that turns the world they knew upside down, looking for safety in Germany.
For Galina Ploschenko, 90, it was not a decision made without fear.
“They told me that Germany was my best option.
I told them, ‘I hope you’re right,’” he said.
Ploschenko is the beneficiary of a rescue mission organized by Jewish groups, which are trying to get Holocaust survivors out of the war sparked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Why Germany? According to the report, its easily reached by ambulance via Poland, has a good medical system, and there is a sizable population of Russian speakers and Jews who have emigrated from the former Soviet Union.
Fifth news item
Asking the necessary question, giving the necessary directive:
So why is hatred of Jews treated so gently—and in The New Yorker of all places? Something is rising, and it’s happening right in front of us, and somehow we are all sleeping through the part when there is still time to step in. Last year, David Baddiel, a Jewish comedian from Britain, wrote a book, Jews Don’t Count, arguing that “a sacred circle is drawn around those whom the progressive modern left are prepared to go into battle for, and it seems as if the Jews aren’t in it.” Why? “There are lots of answers. But the basic one, underpinning all others, is that Jews are the only objects of racism who are imagined—by the racists—as both low and high status … somehow both sub-human and humanity’s secret masters.”
Never let anyone—not David Icke, not Alice Walker, not the editors of The New Yorker, not anyone, ever—try to convince you that this hateful ideology is less serious than any other.
Sixth news item
Russian missles hit while UN Secty. General meets with Ukrainian officials:
Russia struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Thursday with at least two missiles while United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres was in the city meeting Ukrainian officials.
Why it matters: The strikes killed at least one person and injured several others, according to the UN. They came just days after Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who claimed Russia is still seeking a “diplomatic outcome” in Ukraine and denied that his military has deliberately killed Ukrainian civilians.
Russia launched the attack on Kyiv shortly after Guterres held a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, during which the UN chief promised to increase aid to Ukraine.
At least one of the missiles struck a residential building in the Shevchenkivskyi District of Kyiv, according to photographs of the aftermath.
Zelensky, who claimed Russia launched five missiles at Kyiv during the attack, said in an address Thursday night that it “says a lot about Russia’s true attitude to global institutions” and “the efforts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the UN and everything that the organization represents.”
Reportedly, Russia has confirmed the “high-precision” missile strike in Kyiv during the UN Secretary’s visit, leaving one person dead and five or more wounded.
Seventh news item
Elon Musk told banks that agreed to help fund his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) that he could crack down on executive and board pay at the social media company in a push to slash costs, and would develop new ways to monetize tweets, three people familiar with the matter said.
Musk has tweeted about eliminating the salaries of Twitter’s board directors, which he said could result in about $3 million in cost savings. Twitter’s stock-based compensation for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2021 was $630 million, a 33% increase from 2020, corporate filings show.
Eighth news item
The 8 lawmakers who voted against a bill urging the U.S. to seize the frozen assets of Russian oligarchs and use the proceeds to help Ukraine:
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 27, 2022
Ninth news item
Still asking questions and seeking answers about Covid-19:
Yet more than two years after SARS-CoV-2 appeared, as documented deaths in the U.S. near 1 million and estimated global deaths reach as high as 18 million, there are still many mysteries about the virus and the pandemic it caused. They range from the technical — what role do autoantibodies play in long Covid? Can a pan-coronavirus vaccine actually be developed? — to the philosophical, such as how can we rebuild trust in our institutions and each other? Debate still festers, too, over the virus’s origins, despite recent studies adding evidence that it spilled over from wildlife.
Read the whole thing.
Who let the wolf pack out? Who, who, who, who, who?
[A]uthorities in Colorado have defanged rumors of a possible wolf pack sighting, captured on a phone camera from a distance earlier this week, saying that the so-called wild animals turned out to be five St. Bernards who had escaped from their home. The April 25 video captured “large, four-legged animals… running near an elk herd,” according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, which had opened an investigation into the sighting alongside Colorado Parks and Wildlife. But the distance from which the footage was shot, along “the lighting and shadows,” the sheriff’s office said, had made it difficult to determine exactly what kind of creatures were being filmed. The escaped canines have “a documented history of escaping their enclosure” on their owner’s property, according to a department news release.
Have a great weekend!