Patterico's Pontifications

5/17/2024

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:10 am



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

As Russia’s military attacks Ukraine’s second largest city, Khariv, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an additional $2 billion military aid package, there are grim consequences when that aid is delayed by politics, as it was for 7 months:

“Every delay of supply results in setbacks on the front line. This is the general rule,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters Wednesday, speaking alongside Blinken after the two met each other. “When a Ukrainian infantryman or artilleryman has everything that he or she needs, we are winning,” he said. “Every time there are delays in supplies and insufficient supplies, we are not winning. The law of war is cruel but very clear.”

Additionally, Secretary Blinken reiterated that the U.S. has “not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine… But ultimately, Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war, a war it is conducting in defense of its freedom, of its sovereignty, of its territorial integrity.”

Second news item

Trump camp laying groundwork to contest presidential election results. (dovetails with RNC co-chair’s lead):

In recent interviews, Trump has refused to commit to accepting the election results. At his rallies, he has portrayed Democrats as cheaters, called mail-in ballots corrupt and urged supporters to vote in such large numbers to render the election “too big to rig.”

He also backed a new Republican-sponsored bill aimed at keeping foreigners from voting, seeking to link his false election fraud claims with the issue of illegal immigration….Rather than being cowed by looming criminal trials over his conduct in the wake of the 2020 election, Trump is repeating the falsehoods that polls show resonate with his supporters while readying the legal firepower needed to launch a similar challenge to the validity of the vote this year…Trump has instructed the Republican National Committee, now led by his daughter-in-law and a close ally, to prioritize building out a team of poll watchers and lawyers to monitor the vote and litigate potential post-election challenges, according to a person familiar with the matter. As part of that effort, the RNC announced in April that it will recruit 100,000 volunteers and attorneys – double the figure promised during the 2020 cycle. It called the effort “the most extensive and monumental election integrity program in the nation’s history.”

Third news item

Much needed aid to Gaza delivered via newly built pier:

The first trucks carrying critical deliveries of humanitarian aid began flowing into Gaza Friday via a newly finished temporary pier, the U.S. military announced Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S.-built pier provides a desperately needed aid route into the enclave, where the Israel-Hamas war has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation.

Fourth news item

It was bound to happen, given the increased spike in crime:

Mayor Karen Bass ordered a “surge” of law enforcement inside the region’s hundreds of buses and miles of subway system, saying Metro riders don’t feel safe after a spate of violent attacks that have roiled an agency already struggling to improve safety and increase ridership.

The move by Bass, who heads the board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, marks a significant departure for the agency, which opted not to beef up law enforcement’s presence to reduce drug use, crime and disruptive behavior. Critics are coming from all sides. Some say the move is too little too late; others call the tactic doomed to fail and say it will only criminalize people who have drug addictions, serious mental illness and no housing.

Fifth news item

Is the West being forced to plan for worst case scenario?:

The signs coming out of Moscow are far from encouraging, with Putin sacking his combat generals to replace them with “bean counters”. Presumably to ensure the economy is on a total war footing and capable of taking on Nato and outlasting it on the battlefields and in the parliaments of Europe. If Trump comes to power, he may only need to hold tight until January 2025; not long.

At the same moment, Russia appears to be making significant gains towards the second city Kharkiv, possibly catching the defenders on the hop and no doubt trying to unbalance the Ukraine army before the US heavy weaponry and the F16s arrive in numbers. The Ukraine Security Service believes that Russian forces are also massing in the northeast for another strike into Ukraine. In the worst case scenario, Russia could make significant gains this summer and terminally unsettle Ukraine’s defence. The fact that Volodymyr Zelensky has just cancelled visits to Spain and Portugal underwrites the seriousness of the current situation for those Western leaders not paying attention.

The US and Nato’s indecision and procrastination have helped strengthen Putin and given him the confidence to go on the offensive. Putin appears undeterred by Western leadership, believing many of our politicians are not up to the fight. Yet few who study this conflict believe Putin will stop at Ukraine: in order to prevent a major escalation between Russia and Nato, therefore, Ukraine must prevail. That will only happen with Nato’s indirect and direct support now.

Sixth news item

The perfect metaphor for our dysfunctional Congress as a whole. I have watched the video of the House catfight several times and find myself in agreement with Sen. John Fetterman:

Here is what happened:

God help us.

Have a good weekend.

–Dana


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