Weekend Open Thread
[guest post by Dana]
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First news items
Despite the low number of serious cases of Covid-19, Shanghai remains on lockdown. Residents are hungry, angry, and desperate enough to start protesting against the Draconian measures:
Video has emerged of clashes between police and people being forced out of their homes in Shanghai, as the city enters a third week of Covid lockdown.
Some residential compounds are being turned into quarantine centres.
Millions are confined to their homes as Shanghai battles a fresh outbreak of the virus. Anyone who tests positive is placed in quarantine.
But with more than 20,000 new cases a day, authorities are struggling to find enough space.
The city in recent weeks has converted exhibition halls and schools into quarantine centres, and set up makeshift hospitals…People have to order in food and water and wait for government drop-offs of vegetables, meat and eggs, and analysts say many are running low on supplies…The lockdown extension has overwhelmed delivery services, grocery shop websites and even the distribution of government supplies.
A few miles away, there was an organised protest, a bold stand as the lockdown takes hold in a country where you can be arrested for picking quarrels.
They’re angry about a local school being turned into another quarantine facility. Police with riot shields forced them off the streets in the end..
Second news item
Tragically, the number is higher than what was first reported:
The bodies of more than 900 civilians were discovered in the Kyiv region following the withdrawal of Russian forces, the regional police chief said in a briefing Friday.
Andriy Nebytov, the head of Kyiv’s regional police force, said the bodies had been abandoned in the streets or given temporary burials. He cited police data indicating that 95% of the casualties had died from sniper fire and gunshot wounds.
“Consequently, we understand that under the (Russian) occupation, people were simply executed in the streets,” Nebytov said. “The number of killed civilians has surpassed 900 — and I emphasize, these are civilians, whose bodies we have discovered and handed over for forensic examination.”
He added that more bodies were being found every day, under the rubble and in mass graves.
“The most victims were found in Bucha, where there are more than 350 corpses,” he said.
Ukrainian President Zelenksyy has asked the Biden administration to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism, two sources familiar with the discussions told NBC News.
Zelenskyy made the request in a recent phone conversation with President Joe Biden, the sources said.
A source familiar with the discussion about designating Russia a state sponsor of Terrorism says it was “a very brief part of the call.” Zelenskyy brought it up but there was not a long back and forth about the request.
The request did not carry the same priority as urgent appeals for more weapons and energy sanctions against Russia, the sources added.
Third news item
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN in an interview to air over the weekend that he believes the world should be prepared for Russia to possibly resort to the use of chemical or nuclear weapons, just a day after CIA Director William Burns made a similar statement about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “desperation” to win in Ukraine.
Zelensky reportedly told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Putin could and would use such weapons because he does not value the lives of the Ukrainian people.
Russian officials, including Putin, have threatened the use of nuclear weapons under certain circumstances, including if another country intervenes in the “special military operation,” the term Russia has used to refer to the invasion of Ukraine, which began in late February.
Fourth news item
Ohio’s J.D. Vance gets coveted Trump endorsement…after selling his soul:
Trump endorses JD VANCE in the Ohio GOP Senate primary. A big boost for the author who has struggled to break through to the top tier. Primary is in three weeks. pic.twitter.com/NdnqcBIS9Z
— Jacob Rubashkin (@JacobRubashkin) April 15, 2022
Maybe this is what Trump was referring to when he said that Vance had said some not so great things about him in the past:
Vance was a critic of Donald Trump at the time, agreeing he was a “total fraud” who didn’t care about people and used issues like “the great Mexican wall” to give voters something to latch onto instead of policy solutions. Vance also told a New York City public radio host that many White working-class voters who supported Trump did not attend church regularly, making them susceptible to the sense of community in a Trump rally. At the same time, Vance argued racism did play a role in support for Trump, but not the biggest.
Additionally, Vance also said this:
After the 2016 publication of his book “Hillbilly Elegy,” a memoir about the problems in the Appalachian area where he grew up, Vance described Trump as “cultural heroin” and a demagogue who was leading “the white working class to a very dark place.”
But how quickly sacrificing one’s integrity for power happens:
Vance later became a fan of Trump and said Friday he is “incredibly honored” to have the ex-president’s endorsement.
Predicting Trump would reclaim the presidency in 2024, Vance said on Twitter that “he was an incredible fighter for hard working Americans in the White House, he will be again, and I’ll fight for the America First Agenda in the Senate.”
Fifth news item
Audio of Russian soldier admitting it was Russian troops that bombed a Russian border town:
A Russian soldier in an occupied part of Ukraine’s Donetsk region was caught telling his wife back home that Putin’s own troops were the ones who bombed a Russian town on the border this week, according to Ukrainian intelligence. In an audio clip of an intercepted call released Friday by Ukraine’s Security Service, a woman can be heard expressing concern about the attack on the town of Klimovo that Moscow blamed on Ukrainian forces, which reportedly left seven people wounded. “That was ours fucking stuff up,” the purported soldier quickly responds. “It’s necessary. They do that to provoke the [Ukrainians]. And that’s why they hit it,” he said. “We talked to the bosses and they said that’s how it is. The same shit was happening in the Chechen War, they blew up apartments in Moscow, as if it were terrorists. It was really the FSB,” he said, referring to the series of bombings in September 1999 that helped bring Vladimir Putin to power.
Sixth news item
When you look at the big picture, it’s still Trump’s GOP:
But just looking at the scorecard misses the bigger picture. These primary fights aren’t between the ‘pro-Trump’ wing versus the ‘anti-or Never-Trump’ wing of the GOP. Candidates are not debating whether the GOP should continue to associate with or make a clean break from Trumpism. GOP candidates are not debating the future identity or ideology in the post-Trump era. Instead, these primary contests have only helped to illuminate that in both style and substance, the current GOP remains Trump’s party.
The best way to see that the party remains fixed in the Trumpian mold is to, well, see it. In hundreds of TV ads, GOP candidates and outside groups that support them, are highlighting their commitment to Trump’s policies and persona. The advertising analysis firm AdImpact captures and categorizes political ads from around the country. Since the beginning of the year, the term “Trump” appears in 164 ads that collectively total $26M worth of spending. Almost all of those ads — 152 of them — and that spending ($24M) came from the Republican side.
Most of these GOP ads feature not just images of the former president, but also many of the terms associated with Trump, like “fighter,” “conservative outsider,” and “America First.” Many feature pledges to complete or finish “Donald Trump’s wall” at the southern border and to defeat “radical socialism.
Seventh news item
This from the WH press secretary who is exected to leave the White House for a job at MSNBC in the next few weeks:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the questions posed by Peter Doocy, the Fox News correspondent who serves as her regular briefing room foil, are fed to him by his network.
She suggested that those questions make Doocy come off as a “stupid son of a bitch,” a reference to President Joe Biden’s hot-mic remark from an exchange with the Fox News reporter earlier this year. Psaki offered no evidence to support her claim about the provenance of Doocy’s questions.
“Is he a stupid son of a bitch, or does he just play a stupid son of a bitch on TV?” Pfeiffer asked.
The live audience laughed, and Psaki paused before answering the question about the reporter who’s known for needling the president and his sparring with the press secretary in the briefing room.
“Well, he works for a network that provides people with questions that — nothing person to any individual, including Peter Doocy — but might make anyone sound like a stupid son of a bitch,” Psaki said.
Eighth news item
A Republican state senator in Tennessee invoked Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to support his argument in favor of a bill that would criminalize homeless encampments on public property.
Speaking during a Wednesday debate on the bill, which would classify camping on public property as a misdemeanor punishable by a $50 fine or community service work, Sen. Frank Niceley argued that homeless people can “come out of these homeless camps” and lead notable lives.
“I wanted to give you a little history on homelessness,” said Niceley. “1910, Hitler decided to live on the streets for a while. So for two years, Hitler lived on the streets and practiced his oratory, and his body language, and how to connect with citizens and then went on to lead a life that got him in the history books.”
“So, all these people — it’s not a dead end, they can come out of this, these homeless camps, and have a productive life or in Hitler’s case, a very unproductive life.”
Oh my god, where do they find these people! SMDH.
In honor of the great Jackie Robinson on the 75th anniversary of his momentous Opening Day, here's a story about what Jackie faced, his teammates' support, and the tradition of commemorating April 15th. pic.twitter.com/GFYaOTHCzv
— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) April 15, 2022
Have a great weekend.