[guest post by Dana]
First news item
NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby explains ‘what’s harsh‘:
TV Globo’s @RKrahenbuhl: “So, besides saying that he doesn’t have confidence in these numbers, the President went further to say that innocents will die and that this is the price of the war. You also said that.”
Kirby: “I have indeed.”
Krähenbühl: “Don’t you think this is insensitive? There’s being very harsh criticism in about it. For example, the Council of American-Islamic Relations said it was deeply disturbed and call on the President to apologize. Would the President apologize?”
Krähenbühl: “And does he regret saying something like that?”
Kirby: “What’s harsh — what’s harsh is the way Hamas is using people as human shields. What’s harsh is taking a couple of hundred hostages and leaving families and anxious, waiting and worrying to figure out where their loved ones are. What’s harsh, is dropping in on a music festival and slaughtering a bunch of young people just trying to enjoy an afternoon. I could go on and on. That’s what’s harsh. That is what’s harsh and being honest about the fact that there have been civilian casualties and that there likely will be more is being honest, because that’s what war is. It’s brutal. It’s ugly. It’s messy. I’ve said that before. President also said that yesterday. Doesn’t mean we have to like it. And it doesn’t mean that we’re dismissing anyone of those casualties each and every one is a tragedy in its own right…It would be helpful if Hamas would let [Gazans] leave….We know that there are thousands waiting to leave Gaza writ large and Hamas is preventing them from doing it. That is what is harsh.”
Second news item
Denmark’s plan for the integration of immigrants from mostly Muslim countries:
Now they are being forced to leave their home under a government program that effectively mandates integration in certain low-income neighborhoods where many “non-Western” immigrants live.
In practice, that means thousands of apartments will be demolished, sold to private investors or replaced with new housing catering to wealthier (and often nonimmigrant) residents, to increase the social mix.
The Danish news media has called the program “the biggest social experiment of this century.” Critics say it is “social policy with a bulldozer.”
The government says the plan is meant to dismantle “parallel societies” — which officials describe as segregated enclaves where immigrants do not participate in the wider society or learn Danish, even as they benefit from the country’s generous welfare system.
Third news item
Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota has decided to challenge President Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination and will launch his 2024 campaign on Friday in New Hampshire, where he will file to appear on the state’s primary ballot.
Phillips said he has studied polling data and is alarmed about the prospect of Trump beating Mr. Biden, should the 2024 election end up becoming rematch of the 2020 race.
“I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country,” Phillips said. “But it’s not about the past. This is an election about the future.”
Fourth news item
The United States allowed Iran’s foreign minister to visit New York City this week to address the United Nations, drawing the ire of critics who insist the Biden administration should never have allowed him into the country.
“Iran-backed terrorists have attacked our servicemembers and are currently holding Americans hostage, but the Biden administration has granted a top Iranian official a visa — welcoming this regime on U.S. soil with open arms,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, wrote on social media platform X.
“The appeasement must end,” she added.
Iranian activist and firebrand Masih Alinejad had an even stronger reaction to his presence in the U.S.:
It’s shocking that Amir Abdullahin, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, is on American soil discussing the Hamas attacks on Israel. This is the very regime that has openly championed and bankrolled terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah for years. By welcoming a representative stained with the blood of innocent Americans and Israelis, the U.S. sends a chilling message. History is clear: appeasing murderers doesn’t bring peace, it invites more violence. Every day, brave Iranians defy tyranny in pursuit of democracy. America must not extend hospitality to their oppressors. We should impose strict sanctions, stand resolutely against these tyrants, and align ourselves firmly with the true, freedom-loving people of Iran.
…the Biden administration is trying to tell you that the outbreak of attacks on Americans by Iranian-backed and -funded militia groups and proxies is simply a coincidence. It has nothing at all to do with Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas (an Iranian-backed and -funded proxy) and Hezbollah (an Iranian-backed and -funded proxy). Remember: According to Joe Biden’s administration, the attacks on Israel and the attacks on Americans in the Middle East are “separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.”
“Death to America,” Iran says.
“It’s negotiable,” the Biden administration responds.
Why is this happening? Joe Biden’s national-security team is obsessed with renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal begun under the Obama administration. Whatever Iran’s actions to date — and whatever comes next — Biden’s team wants to leave the door open to its dream of a new nuclear deal with Iran. In its thinking, if Americans were fully aware of Iran’s actions, we’d demand a tougher response, and that would scuttle any chance of new negotiations. In short, Joe Biden’s administration doesn’t think you can handle the truth about Iran’s pattern of malign intent and its authorship of the region’s upheavals.
Fifth news item
An intensive manhunt is still underway for a suspect in Wednesday’s shooting rampage at a bowling alley and a restaurant that left at least 18 dead and 13 injured in Lewiston, Maine, according to authorities…Robert Card, 40, is facing an arrest warrant for eight counts of murder and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said. He is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserves, according to law enforcement…The rampage in Maine is the deadliest US mass shooting since the Uvalde school massacre.
Card recently reported mental health issues, including “hearing voices and threats to shoot up the National Guard Base in Saco” and was reported to have been committed to a mental health facility for two weeks during summer 2023 and subsequently released, a police bulletin said.
A note was found in suspect’s home but does not provide a motive for the shooting.
Sadly, a children’s league was at the bowling alley time of the shooting.
Sixth news item
Russia has freed up to 100,000 prison inmates and sent them to fight in Ukraine, according to government statistics and rights advocates — a far greater number than was previously known…The Russian prison population, estimated at roughly 420,000 before the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, plummeted to a historic low of about 266,000, according to Deputy Justice Minister Vsevolod Vukolov, who disclosed the figure during a panel discussion earlier this month.
Russian forces are now heavily reliant on prisoners plucked from colonies with the promise of pardons…
During a White House Press Conference today, John Kirby discussed the ways the Russian military had been treating their own soldiers including executing them.
This should come as no surprise as Russia State Media been quoting Stalin for a while
— Prune60 (@Prune602) October 27, 2023
Seventh news item
Mayor Eric Adams is ramping up efforts to fly migrants to the destination of their choice, figuring it’s cheaper than sheltering them for months on end. And he’s simultaneously warning that those opting to stay in New York may be in for a winter of sleeping outside with shelters full.
“When you are out of room, that means you’re out of room,” Adams told reporters Tuesday. “Every year, my relatives show up for Thanksgiving, and they want to all sleep at my house. There’s no more room. That’s where we are right now.”
The city has been at odds with the White House over the lack of a national remedy to the migrant surge, pitting Adams against President Joe Biden. One-way plane tickets, even international ones, are cheaper than the cumulative daily, per-migrant cost that has risen to $394 this month from $363 in the city.
Eighth news item
There’s a renewed hope for approving additional aid to Ukraine after House Republicans resolved their speaker paralysis, and as some hard-right lawmakers critical of new funding hint at a viable path to vote on it.
One month ago, then-Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., voted with 93 Republicans to cut off Ukraine aid. Now, as speaker, Johnson said he’s asked White House staff “bifurcate” aid to Israel and Ukraine. But he emphasized that the U.S. must stop Russia’s advances.
“We can’t allow Vladimir Putin to prevail in Ukraine because I don’t believe it would stop there,” Johnson said in an interview on Fox News the day after he was sworn-in. “And it would probably encourage and empower China to perhaps make a move on Taiwan. We have these concerns. We’re not going to abandon them.”
Johnson added that he wants “accountability” over how the money is spent as lawmakers “have a stewardship responsibility over the precious treasure of the American people.”
Ninth news item
Rep. Jared Golden, a Marine Corps veteran who lives in Lewiston, Maine, said Thursday that in light of the recent mass shooting in his hometown he was changing his view on banning assault-style weapons.
“Humility is called for as accountability is sought by victims of a tragedy such as this one,” Golden said at a news conference alongside other officials.
Arguably the most conservative Democrat in the House, Golden said that “I have opposed efforts to ban deadly weapons of war like the assault rifle used to carry out this crime.”
“The time has come for me to take responsibility for this failure,” he said. “Which is why I now call on the United States Congress to ban assault rifles like the one used by the sick perpetrator of this mass killing.”
Never drink anything near Putin pic.twitter.com/mQy8IjDbXS
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 26, 2023
Have a great weekend.