[guest post by Dana]
Here we go!
First news item
The real question: How is the massacre of 19 children and two adults in a public school not a legitimate concern to every American, but especially to those whose loved ones were mowed down and now find themselves struggling in a living hell of emotional and mental distress as a result?:
Despite having in-house counsel, the city of Uvalde and its police department are working with a private firm to seal records of the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School, records obtained by VICE show. Cynthia Trevino, a private attorney for Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech, wrote to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, inquiring about what records the city is required to release. The records the city are trying to seal include body camera footage, photos, 911 calls, emails, text messages, criminal records, and more. The letter says the city doesn’t want to release records due to ongoing litigation, investigations into misconduct by the FBI and others, and the fact that some records could be seen as “highly embarrassing,” “not of legitimate concern to the public,” and potentially could cause “emotional/mental distress.”
Second news item
President Donald J. Trump continued pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to go along with a plan to unilaterally overturn his election defeat even after he was told it was illegal, according to testimony laid out in extensive detail on Thursday by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
The committee showed how Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign — aided by a little-known conservative lawyer, John Eastman — led his supporters to storm the Capitol, sending Mr. Pence fleeing for his life as rioters demanded his execution.
In the third public hearing this month to lay out its findings, the panel recounted how Mr. Trump’s actions brought the nation to the brink of a constitutional crisis, and raised fresh questions about whether they were also criminal. It played videotaped testimony in which Mr. Pence’s top White House lawyer, Greg Jacob, said Mr. Eastman had admitted in front of Mr. Trump two days before the riot that his plan to have Mr. Pence obstruct the electoral certification violated the law.
Third news item
U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that the trajectory of the war in Ukraine is untenable and are quietly discussing whether President Volodymyr Zelenskyy should temper his hard-line public position that no territory will ever be ceded to Russia as part of an agreement to end the war, according to seven current U.S. officials, former U.S. officials and European officials.
Some officials want Zelenskyy to “dial it back a little bit,” as one of them put it, when it comes to telegraphing his red lines on ending the war. But the issue is fraught given that Biden is adamant about the U.S. not pressuring the Ukrainians to take steps one way or another. His administration’s position has been that any decision about how and on what terms to end the war is for Ukraine to decide.
“We are not pressuring them to make concessions, as some Europeans are. We would never ask them to cede territory,” one U.S. official said. “We are planning for a long war. We intend to prepare the American people for that, and we are prepared to ask Congress for more money.”
Putin believes if he kills enough Ukrainian children and destroys enough towns, the West will abandon Ukraine in the name of another false peace, the way they did in 2014. The only way to any real peace is arming Ukraine, not talking to a war criminal.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) June 17, 2022
Fourth news item
The Taliban are officially taking part in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. Who else can a terrorist state invite to its economic forum, if not representatives of a terrorist organization? pic.twitter.com/qhiVu64VK7
— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) June 16, 2022
Fifth news item
Alexander Navalny’s lawyer confirms that Navalny has indeed been moved to the high-security colony #3 “Melekhovo”.
Space travel continues – I moved from ship to ship.
Well, that is, hello to everyone from the strict regime zone.
Yesterday I was transferred to IK-6 “Melekhovo”.
I’m in quarantine so I don’t have much to say. Well, here are just two recent impressions. About cultural life and lawlessness.
About cultural life: I almost moved while I was dragging books into / out of the paddy wagon that I have in my warehouse. And the jailers almost moved while they were copying them. And this despite the fact that, fearing such a situation, a month ago I hardly persuaded the administration to accept 50 books from me in the prison library. Honestly, yesterday for the first time in my life I dragged these bags and thought that a fire made of books is not necessarily something bad.
About lawlessness: an announcement hangs in quarantine with a list of professions that can be obtained here, and the duration of training. So, you can become, like me, a seamstress – this elite of the working class, instantly distinguishing a linen seam from a sewing seam, in 3 months. And imagine, those who have chosen the profession of “bird carcass deboner” also study for 3 months! That is, in this sense, they are equated with us, seamstresses. Well, what, what do you need to study there for 3 months ?! Do they roll these carcasses in rhinestones, or something?
Well, everything else is ok.
Hello everyone, I hug everyone, eat the bird without breading 😉
The Washington Editorial Board rightfully observes that Putin wants to break and silence Navalny, and that we shouldn’t let them:
During Joseph Stalin’s “Great Terror” of the 1930s, an unexpected knock on the door invoked dread. The arbitrariness of arrests and executions in the middle of the night was frightening. This is why the latest news from Russia about opposition leader Alexei Navalny is so disturbing. He was moved from his prison cell, and no one else was told.
The point of such shadowy maneuvers is to induce fear — of the unknown and of losing touch. As another political prisoner, Post contributing columnist Vladimir Kara-Murza, noted recently, the greatest anxiety in prison is to be forgotten. This was certainly what Russian authorities intended when they transferred Mr. Navalny from a penal colony in Pokrov, 74 miles east of Moscow, to a notorious maximum-security facility in Melekhovo, more than twice as far from the capital.
When a lawyer went to see Mr. Navalny at Pokrov on Tuesday, he was told “there is no such convict there.” Mr. Navalny’s lawyers said they did not know his whereabouts. Later, a prison monitoring official said he had been taken to Melekhovo. The Post’s Mary Ilyushina reports media investigations have found systematic abuse of prisoners by guards and other convicts at the facility. Mr. Navalny’s spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, has called it “a monstrous place.”
The treatment of Mr. Navalny shows yet again that Mr. Putin has shifted from soft authoritarianism to totalitarianism. Russia has not been a state governed by the rule of law for a long while, but Mr. Putin is taking it back to dictatorial times.
As for Mr. Navalny, it is clear Mr. Putin would like the world to never hear from him again. The Russian president wants to break his most troublesome critic. That makes it even more vital that everyone else speak up for Mr. Navalny, so his voice continues to be heard until the day he walks free.
The Post reminds readers that Brittney Griner, Mr. Kara-Murza, and Paul Whelan all still remain imprisoned in Russia.
Also, one last thought: if you have not yet watched the documentary, Navalny, you absolutely must. It’s gutting as it presents an unvarnished look at the endless dangers the man and his family face in their vocal opposition to Putin. This especially as the diabolical plan by Putin to poison and kill Nalvany with a lethal nerve gas is exposed in incredible detail.
Sixth news item
Only 39% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president. A stunning 47% “strongly” disapprove; just 16% “strongly” approve. Academic studies have shown that presidential approval is one of the most reliable predictors of what happens in midterm elections, and a rating this low would traditionally signal significant losses for the president’s party.
More than seven in 10, 71%, say the United States is “on the wrong track;” 16% say it’s headed in the right direction. Even most Democrats say the country is on the wrong track, 46%-34%. Three of four independents and nearly every Republican agree.
Seventh news item
Fuck around Find out pic.twitter.com/VQ902cnJu1
— Noam Blum (@neontaster) June 17, 2022
Eighth news item
It’s understandable that Democrats would want to constantly revisit January 6 — to invoke it, investigate it, and sacralize it even.
It’s a mystery, at least from a certain level of abstraction, why Republicans would want to have anything to do with that day, or want to fixate on the 2020 election.
The party is on the cusp of a midterm triumph, has enormous openings on the economy and education thanks to Biden administration stumbles and left-wing overreach, is making inroads among Hispanic voters, and has a well-stocked political bench that Democrats worried about 2024 should envy.
Yet the GOP is stuck litigating the past almost entirely because its putative leader in Mar-a-Lago is incapable of admitting error or defeat, and will never stop trying to excuse and explain away his infamous conduct after November 2020.
Donald Trump is still the uncontested leader of the Republican party. His base still clings to the idea the 2020 election was stolen and is nominating election-denying candidates to powerful positions in key swing states. Members of extremist groups that led the charge to the Capitol now have footholds in state and local GOP organizations all over the country. And all the affiliated members of Trump’s elite political, advocacy, and media class remain willing to assist Trump in carrying out his desires.
So don’t settle into the hearings thinking about them as a history lesson. They’re an active threat assessment.
Ninth news item
The Senate voted Thursday to pass legislation to deliver comprehensive health care and increased benefits to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan exposed to toxic burn pits.
The PACT Act, also known as the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act, will largely expand eligibility for free medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs, for thousands of veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals.
Over the last two decades, it is reported that around 3.5 million post-9/11 combat veterans may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals while in the line of duty, according to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
The military routinely used open burn pits set ablaze with jet fuel to dispose of tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would expand military veterans’ eligibility for medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs by extending coverage for 10 years after discharge instead of the current five years.
The legislation would also presume that certain respiratory illnesses and cancers were related to burn pit exposure, allowing the veterans to obtain disability payments to compensate for their injury without having to prove the illness was a result of their service. Currently, more than 70% of disability claims related to burn pit exposure are denied by the VA due to lack of evidence, scientific data and information from the Defense Department.
The legislation would also benefit many Vietnam War-era veterans by including high blood pressure in the list of conditions presumed to have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange. And, it would extend Agent Orange presumptions to veterans who served in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam and American Samoa.
Have a great weekend.