[guest post by Dana]
Let’s get started!
First news item
Missiles hit a car park of a nine-storey office block in Vinnytsia, to the south-west of Kyiv and a long way from the heart of the fighting in Donbas. at around 10:50 (07:50 GMT), Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said.
Residential buildings were also hit in the centre of Vinnytsia, which has a population of around 370,000. There was little chance of finding survivors, a senior regional emergency service official told local TV. At least three children were among more than 20 killed.
“Every day, Russia kills civilians, kills Ukrainian children, carries out missile attacks on the civilian facilities where there is no military target. What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?” Mr Zelensky said in a statement on social media.
Second news item
Sen. Joe Manchin on Thursday dealt a devastating blow to Democrats’ hopes for sweeping legislative action this year, telling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his staff “unequivocally” that he won’t support the climate or tax provisions of a Democratic economic package…
The two had been negotiating for months, and Schumer, a New York Democrat, had made a number of concessions to pare back the climate provisions to appease Manchin, whose support is critical in an evenly decided Senate.
…Manchin disputed the characterization that he had blown up the negotiations with Schumer but said that he asked that they wait until the July inflation numbers came out and pursue this after August recess.
“I said, ‘Chuck until we see the July inflation figures, until we see the July, basically Federal Reserve rates, interest rates, then let’s wait till that comes out so we know that we’re going down a path that won’t be inflammatory, to add more to inflation,’ ” Manchin told Hoppy Kercheval on Talkline. “He says, ‘Are you telling me you won’t do the other right now?’ I said, ‘Chuck, it’s wrong, it’s not prudent to do the other right now.’ “
Sheldon Whitehouse…The conspiracy-obsessed Rhode Island senator tweeted last night a list of laws he wants Biden to enact through the agencies, on the theory that, “with legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode”
There’s a lot the Biden administration could be doing on climate change:
1. A robust social cost of carbon rule with broad reach.
2. Require carbon capture from all major emitters.
3. Stricter limits on co-pollutants from coal- and gas-fired power plants
4. Stronger emissions controls on cars/light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.
5. Put lower emissions front and center in procurement (e.g. electrify USPS).
6. Hunt methane leaks with new satellite technology and enforce.
7. Tell DOJ to evaluate tobacco-style climate litigation (DOJ won big!).
8. Dozens of smaller regs across DOE, DOI, EPA, DOD, OMB (“thousand cuts”).
9. Call out corporations who block climate action in Congress (“good guys” too).
10. Use existing executive branch trade and tariff authority to establish a carbon border tariff for imports from countries with worse relative carbon emissions, based on industry carbon density.
Free at last. Let’s roll. Do it all and start it now.
With legislative climate options now closed, it’s now time for executive Beast Mode.
Third news item
After Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita threatened to go after the license of an Indiana physician who provided an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio, documents obtained by FOX59 through a public record request proved the physician not only filed a terminated pregnancy report but filed the report within the required timeframe.
The terminated pregnancy report, obtained by FOX59’s Angela Ganote, shows that Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana obstetrician-gynecologist, reported the abortion on July 2, two days after the abortion was performed and within the three days required for terminations to be reported to the Department of Child Service and the Indiana Department of Health.
In the report, Bernard also indicated that the child suffered abuse.
…according to the general counsel for the National Right to Life…Jim Bopp, an Indiana lawyer who authored the model legislation in advance of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, told POLITICO on Thursday that his law only provides exceptions when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.
“She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child”…
While Bopp’s model legislation, which was released in advance of the Supreme Court’s ruling late last month, encourages states to ban all abortions unless necessary to save the life of the pregnant person, it notes “it may be necessary in certain states to have additional exceptions, such as for a women pregnant as a result of rape or incest.”
“Unless her life was at danger, there is no exception for rape,” Bopp said. “The bill does propose exceptions for rape and incest, in my model, because that is a pro-life position, but it’s not our ideal position. We don’t think, as heartwrenching as those circumstances are, we don’t think we should devalue the life of the baby because of the sins of the father.”
God help us. Ten years old is just that. A child. What makes me sick is that lost in the hurly-burly political machinations, a little girl was the victim of a heinous life-altering violent crime that violated her to the very core of her being. On top of that, she has endured a procedure that, while I believe was necessary for her sake, no child should ever have to endure. In the aftermath, there will be every sort of emotion ebbing and flowing throughout the course of her life as she matures. As such, what a dreadful shame that she has being victimized all over again by assholes who have falsely claimed that the story was a lie and/or chose not to wait for corroboration or tracked down her family because their own political and/or journalistic aspirations were the priority. Not the heart and soul of a child.
Fourth news item
MITCHELL: Mr. Vice President, the CIA has concluded that the leader of Saudi Arabia directed the murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department also says the Saudi government is responsible for executing nonviolent offenders and for torture. President Trump has not punished senior Saudi leaders. Would you?
BIDEN: Yes, and I said it at the time. Khashoggi was, in fact, murdered and dismembered, and I believe on the order of the crown prince. And I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact, sell more weapons to them, we were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are. There’s very little social redeeming value of the — in the present government in Saudi Arabia.
And I would also, as pointed out, I would end — end subsidies that we have, end the sale of material to the Saudis where they’re going in and murdering children, and they’re murdering innocent people. And so they have to be held accountable.
So much for “pariah” as MBS gets the prestige of the world seeing a U.S. President visiting him in person:
Fist bump between President Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Al Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. pic.twitter.com/37Oz5EwwIB
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 15, 2022
And, as Jake Tapper reminds us:
Director of National Intelligence: “Assessing the Saudi Government’s Role in the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi” February 11, 2021
“We assess that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi…” The IS-member Saudi team that arrived in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 included officials who worked for, or were associated with, the Saudi Center for Studies and Media Affairs (CSMARC) at the Royal Court…At the time of the operation, CSMARC was led by Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser of Muhammad bin Salman, who claimed publicly in mid2018 that he did not make decisions without the Crown Prince’s approval…Also on the team: 7 members of MBS’s “elite personal protective detail” that “exists to defend the Crown Prince, answers only to him, and had directly participated in earlier dissident suppression operations in the Kingdom and abroad at the Crown Prince’s direction.”…The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the Kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him.”
Are President Biden’s abysmal poll numbers and party frustration any surprise:
Historic, global inflation and high gas prices have driven his popularity to lows that could threaten Democrats’ chances of retaining control of Congress this fall.
Amid calls from activists for Biden to show more urgency on issues such as abortion and gun reform, the White House has fired back, calling those who want more action on abortion “out of step.”
But a wide majority of Democrats in a New York Times/Siena College poll published this week – 64% – said that they want someone other than Biden to represent them in the 2024 presidential election.
Among those Democrats, the top reason they wanted another standard-bearer was because of Biden’s age (33%), followed by his job performance (32%). Further down the list, 4% cited his ability to win, and 3% pointed to his mental acuity.
UPDATE: President Biden brought up the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman:
“With respect to the murder of Khashoggi, I raised it at the top of the meeting, making it clear what I thought of it at the time and what I think of it now,” Biden told reporters. “I was straightforward and direct in discussing it. I made my view crystal clear.”
As you would expect, MBS hit back at Biden’s comments:
MBS, denied responsibility for the killing of Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate. Biden said he indicated that he disagreed with MBS, based on US intelligence assessments, according to the source.
In response to Biden bringing up Khashoggi, MBS cited the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison by US military personnel and the May killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank as incidents that reflected poorly on the US, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Saudi foreign minister, told reporters on Saturday.
“The Crown Prince responded to President Biden’s remarks on … Khashoggi after quite clearly — that this crime, while very unfortunate and abhorrent, is something that the kingdom took very seriously (and) acted upon in a way commiserate with its position as a responsible country,” bin Farhan said. “These are issues, mistakes that happen in any country, including the US. The Crown Prince pointed out that the US has made its own mistakes and has taken the necessary action to hold those responsible accountable and address these mistakes just as the kingdom has.”
Ultimately, Biden’s trip to the “pariah state” and fist bump with MBS doesn’t seem to have benefitted the US at all:
The Saudi Foreign Minister says oil production was not discussed at the Jeddah summit.
“We listen to our partners and friends from all over the world especially consumer countries. But at the end of the day, OPEC+ follows the market situation and will supply energy as needed.”
— annmarie hordern (@annmarie) July 16, 2022
Fifth news item
A federal judge is siding with the Sun Prairie School District in a lawsuit filed by two Black parents who objected to their children’s middle school assignment that asked students how they would punish a slave in ancient Mesopotamia.
Dazrrea Ervins and Priscilla Jones claimed the Black History Month assignment [Ed. how they would punish a slave was on a Black History Month assignment??? Are you kidding me??!!] in February 2021 violated their civil rights as well as those of their children, Zavion Ervins and George Brockman.
The question was not part of the school district’s curriculum on ancient Mesopotamia. Three teachers came up with the assignment on their own, according to an internal investigation. The teachers were placed on administrative leave and later resigned…
U.S. District Judge James Peterson… said the parents failed to show evidence that their civil rights or those of their children were violated by the assignment.
“A reasonable jury certainly could find that its content and timing were offensive, insensitive and justifiably upset students and their families,” Peterson wrote. “But a hostile environment claim requires much more than a single upsetting episode.”
Sixth news item
“My perspective is, the single most important thing to focus on in the social system is the economic system,” he tells me. “It’s class.”…“I’m just a social democrat, man. Trying to make the world a better place.”
To hear [Rudy] Teixeira tell it, CAP, and the rest of Washington’s institution-based left, stopped being a place where he could do the work he wanted. The reason, he says, is that the relentless focus on race, gender, and identity in historically liberal foundations and think tanks has made it hard to do work that looks at society through other prisms. It also makes people nervous about projects that could be accused of giving short shrift to anti-racism efforts.
“I would say that anybody who has a fundamentally class-oriented perspective, who thinks that’s a more important lens and doesn’t assume that any disparity is automatically a lens of racism or sexism or what have you … I think that perspective is not congenial in most left institutions,” he says.
Seventh news item
Britain’s weather forecaster issued its first-ever red “Extreme Heat” warning for parts of England on Monday and Tuesday when temperatures are forecast to reach record highs, triggering a “national emergency” alert level.
The highest ever recorded temperature in Britain was 38.7C (102 Fahrenheit) recorded in Cambridge University Botanic Garden on July 25, 2019. The Met Office said it was now forecasting temperatures of 40C for the first time in Britain.
“Exceptional, perhaps record-breaking temperatures are likely early next week,” Met Office Chief Meteorologist Paul Gundersen said, predicting a 50% chance temperatures top 40C and 80% chance a new maximum temperature is reached.
Melting roads could cause congestion and leave people stranded in cars. Railways could buckle. Extreme heat on the London Underground could require bottled water to be supplied. Rising demand for electricity as people use air conditioning and fans at the same time as the heat reduces the power-carrying capacity of the system because it is harder to cool conductors.
Water shortages are a fear but if the mains supply is lost water companies are required to provide no less than 10 litres per person per day, with special attention given to the needs of vulnerable people, hospitals and schools.
Eighth news item
Side-by-side maps of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region—the frontline of the war—dated July 8 and July 12, show the number of active bombings by Russians before and after Ukraine ramped up attacks using the HIMARS precision rocket weapon system provided by Washington.
The maps illustrate a sharp decrease in the number of fires detected by NASA satellites—an indicator that long-range strikes on Russian ammunition warehouses appear to be playing in Ukraine’s favor.
On July 9, Ukrainian presidential adviser and peace talks negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak named HIMARS as one of three weapons Ukraine needs to turn the tide of Putin’s war in Ukraine, as clashes intensified in the battle for the country’s eastern Donbas region
“Do we want a turning point in the war? 3 components… HIMARS for high-precision targeting rear bases, logistics,” he tweeted. “Heavy artillery on the frontline allows matching number parity. APC [armored personnel carriers] for “breakthrough fists”… More tools faster we’ll clean our land of the Russians.”
Ninth news item
The American-Statesman is publishing a video account of the delayed police response at Uvalde’s Robb Elementary School after a gunman walked into two classrooms and killed 19 children and their two teachers.
The video that we obtained is one hour and 22 minutes long. It is tragic to listen to and watch. Our decision to publish, along with our news partner, KVUE, comes after long and thoughtful discussions.
The Statesman is publishing two versions of the video, one that we edited to just over four minutes and highlights critical moments: the ease of gunman entering the school, how he shot his way into the classroom, the repeated sound of gunfire, and then the delay by police to stop the killer for 77 minutes as dozens of heavily armed officers stage in the school hallway before a group finally storms the classroom and kill the gunman.
We are also publishing the entire video for those who want to see what we obtained. In both videos we blurred the identity of a child who exits a restroom as the shooter approaches the classroom. The child runs back to the restroom to hide and was later rescued. We also have removed the sound of children screaming as the gunman enters the classroom. We consider this too graphic.
We also have chosen to show the face of the gunman as he enters this school. Our news organization guidelines state that we should not glorify these individuals and give them the notoriety that they seek. We chose, in this instance, to show his face to chisel away at any conspiracy that we are hiding something…
We have to bear witness to history, and transparency with unrelenting reporting is a way to bring change.
Tenth news item
Beauty cuts like a knife:
Members of the Kharkiv orchestra defying air raid sirens, playing the theme for “Schindler’s List” to a crowd on a Friday night.
Kharkiv, Ukraine. Day 142 pic.twitter.com/YBVloIUGyk
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) July 15, 2022
Have a great weekend!