March 2022 News, Views

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative news and view in March, 2022

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

 

 

 

March 2

Top Headlines

 

ukraine russian convoy north kyiv maxar technologies

 

U.S. State of the Union Address

joe biden kamala harris nancy pelosi state 3 1 2022

 

More On Ukraine, Russia

 

U.S. Elections, Politics, Governance

Virus Victims, Responses

 

U.S. Law, Courts, Crime, Race

 

World News, Climate Change

 

Media, Education, Sports, Religion

 

Top Stories

 

ukraine russian convoy north kyiv maxar technologies

A huge convoy of Russian armour, about 40 miles long, is advancing on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, satellite images show. Satellite imagery company Maxar Technology says that earlier reports indicating the column of Russian armour advancing on Kyiv is 17 miles (27km) long are inaccurate.

The Telegraph, A mass slaughter of civilians? Mariupol surrounded and under heavy shelling as electricity cut off, Poppie Platt Marcus Parekh Grace Millimaci Josh White, March 2, 2022. Russian forces have surrounded the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, cut off its electricity supply and bombarded residents with heavy shelling.

Hundreds of people may have been killed after hours of shelling in the southeastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, according to officials.

The deputy mayor, Sergiy Orlov, told BBC News that one of Mariupol’s districts had been “nearly totally destroyed” by relentless bombing.

“We cannot count the number of victims there, but we believe at least hundreds of people are dead. We cannot go in to retrieve the bodies,” he said. “The Russian army is working through all their weapons here—artillery, multiple rocket launch systems, airplanes, tactical rockets. They are trying to destroy the city.”

Earlier Wednesday, it was reported that Russian forces had completely surrounded Mariupol and cut off its power. One Ukrainian solider in Mariupol told The Telegraph: “If anything happens, don’t let us be forgotten. We are surrounded in Mariupol and no way out

The Kremlin’s defence ministry said its troops had joined pro-Moscow rebels from eastern Ukraine in a region along the coast of the Azov Sea.

The assault came as Russian forces inflicted heavy rocket barrages on the cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv.

Unconfirmed footage showed a gigantic explosion that threw up a mushroom cloud across Kharkiv on Tuesday in what observers said may have been a Russian strike on an ammunition base.

In Kyiv, five people were killed in a missile strike on a TV tower, which sits opposite the Holocaust memorial of Babyn Yar, a ravine where Nazi German forces killed 33,000 people. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the attacks were aimed as an act of “undisguised terror.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Assassination plot against Zelensky foiled and unit sent to kill him ‘destroyed,’ Ukraine says, Timothy Bella, March 2, 2022. A recent alleged assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was foiled over the weekend and the Chechen servicemen sent from Russia were “destroyed,” a Ukrainian security leader said Tuesday.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said during a broadcast marathon airing on Ukrainian TV channels that officials were recently tipped off that a unit of Kadyrovites, elite Chechen special forces, was on its way to kill Zelensky. After Ukrainian officials were informed by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the Chechen special forces were killed Saturday on the outskirts of Kyiv, Danilov said.

“We are well aware of the special operation that was to take place directly by the Kadyrovites to eliminate our president. And I can say that we have received information from the FSB, who today do not want to take part in this bloody war,” Danilov said. “And thanks to this, the Kadyrov elite group was destroyed, which came here to eliminate our president.”

The latest on the war in Ukraine

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov confirmed on his Telegram channel Monday that two servicemen had died and six others were injured, but neither the Chechens nor the Kremlin has publicly responded to Ukraine’s claim that Kadyrovites were sent to kill Zelensky and were eliminated.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. prepares to expand financial attack, aiming to seize billions held by Putin allies, Jeff Stein, Yeganeh Torbati and Ellen Nakashima, March 2, 2022. Western allies plan to confiscate yachts, jets and luxury apartments from Russian elites in hopes of undercutting Moscow.

ap logoAssociated Press, As Russia batters Ukraine, both sides ready for more talks, Jim Heintz, Yuras Karmanau, Vladimir Isachenkov And Dasha Litvinova, March 2, 2022. Russia renewed its assault Wednesday on Ukraine’s second-largest city in a pounding that lit up the skyline with balls of fire over populated areas, even as both sides said they were ready to resume talks aimed at stopping the new devastating war in Europe.

The escalation of attacks on crowded cities followed an initial round of talks between outgunned Ukraine and nuclear power Russia on Monday that resulted in only a promise to meet again. It was not clear when new talks might take place — or what they would yield. Ukraine’s leader earlier said Russia must stop bombing before another meeting.

Seven days into the war, roughly 874,000 people have fled Ukraine and the U.N. refugee agency warned the number could cross the 1 million mark soon. The overall death toll was not clear, but Ukraine’s State Emergency Service said more than 2,000 civilians have died. It was impossible to verify that claim.

Countless others have taken shelter underground, as Russia continued its bombardment.

Another attack came Wednesday on Kharkiv, a city with a population of about 1.5 million, and a strike reportedly hit a hospital in the country’s north. A 40-mile (64-kilometer) convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles advanced slowly the capital of Kyiv, while Russian forces pressed their assault on the strategic southern city of Kherson.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s goals are not clear, but the West has warned he may be seeking to topple the government and install a Kremlin-friendly regime.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has decried Russia’s attacks on civilian targets as a blatant terror campaign, while U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression wouldn’t stop with one country.

Russia, too, ramped up its rhetoric, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminding the world about the country’s vast nuclear arsenal. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, he said: “A third world war will be nuclear, and devastating,” according to Russian news sites.

A Russian strike hit the regional police and intelligence headquarters in Kharkiv, killing four people and wounding several, the state emergency service of Ukraine said. It added that residential buildings were also hit, but did not provide further details.

A blast blew the roof off of the five-story police building and set the top floor alight, according to videos and photos released by the service. Pieces of the building were strewn across adjacent streets.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Reports: Moscow intensifies attacks on key Ukrainian cities; Russia ‘more isolated’ than ever, Biden says, David L. Stern, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett and Ellen Francis, March 2, 2022. Russian forces continued their deadly assault on key Ukrainian cities early Wednesday, prompting some locals officials to warn that their cities were near the breaking point. Russian tanks entered the Black Sea port of Kherson, where the mayor said the city was “waiting for a miracle” to stay out of enemy hands.

As Russia faced stiff resistance from Ukrainian military and civilian defenders throughout the country, the capital, Kyiv, endured overnight attacks, according to military analysts. A massive convoy of Russian tanks and combat vehicles remained stalled about 20 miles north of the city’s center as the invading force grappled with fuel and food shortages. The city’s mayor warned residents on Telegram forces were coming “closer and closer to the capital.” Footage obtained by The Washington Post of the aftermath of a missile strike that hit Kyiv’s main TV tower and a nearby Holocaust memorial showed a gruesome scene of blown-out cars and buildings and several bodies on fire.

In Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, a government official reported missile strikes on a police headquarters and university dormitory and a fierce firefight that repelled Russian “sabotage and reconnaissance groups” from a military hospital. “We are constantly subjected to missile strikes, strikes from the air, from aircraft,” the mayor of Kharkiv said in Telegram post Tuesday. “The enemy is hitting residential areas.”

As the fighting raged in Ukrainian streets, President Biden put the conflict at the center of his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, hailing a unified international backlash that has made Russia “more isolated from the world now than it has ever been.” Russian President Vladimir Putin “sought to shake the very foundations of the free world, thinking he could make it bend to his menacing ways. But he badly miscalculated,” Biden said. “He thought he could roll into Ukraine — and the world would roll over. Instead, he met with a wall of strength he never anticipated or imagined. He met the Ukrainian people.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Reports: Russian Forces Move to Encircle Key Ukrainian Cities; As Russia Surrounds a Port City, the Mayor Is ‘Waiting for a Miracle,’ March 2, 2022. Russia’s push to seize key Ukrainian cities accelerated on Wednesday, with the Russian military claiming that its forces were fully in control of Kherson, a port near the Black Sea, where the mayor said the city was “waiting for a miracle” to collect bodies and restore basic services.

Ukrainian officials disputed Russia’s claim, saying that while the city of about 300,000 people was surrounded, the municipal government was still in place and the battle was continuing. But conditions inside the city were dire, with food and medicine running out and “many wounded civilians,” Gennady Laguta, the head of the regional security office, wrote on the Telegram app.

Ukraine’s military disputed Russia’s claim of control and said it was still battling to hold Kherson, in the south of the country.
Russian troops are positioned to try to surround Kyiv, the capital, and are laying siege to Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million. Here’s the latest.

washington post logoWashington Post, Russia unleashes greater firepower as convoy approaching Ukrainian capital appears stalled, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Missy Ryan, Sudarsan Raghavan and Dan Lamothe, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Russia intensified strikes on cities across Ukraine on Tuesday, but the advance of foreign forces ground to a halt outside Kyiv as local troops and volunteers steeled themselves for a fierce battle for the capital.

U.S. and British officials said a long column of tanks and combat vehicles was stalled roughly 20 miles north of central Kyiv on the sixth day of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, deepening questions about whether Moscow’s assault will yield a protracted war of resistance with its much smaller, less powerful neighbor.

The convoy, stretching some 40 miles, has moved little over the past day as the Russian forces have grappled with fuel and food shortages, a U.S. defense official told reporters, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive situation. The British Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces continued to hold the cities of Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol, but all three “are now likely encircled by Russian forces,” with air and artillery attacks intensifying.

The United Nations has recorded the deaths of more than 130 civilians, including 13 children, since the beginning of the fighting last week, mostly because of shelling and rocket fire. The actual toll is probably far higher, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

 

U.S. State of the Union Address

 

President Biden delivers on March 1 the State of the Union address, as mandated in the U.S. Constitution, while Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on.

President Biden delivers on March 1 the annual State of the Union address, as mandated in the U.S. Constitution, while Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look on.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden condemns Russia, seeks unity beyond war in Ukraine, Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). At a moment of global chaos, Biden cites Americans’ broad agreement on the Russia-Ukraine war to urge similar unity on domestic issues.

President Biden sought to rally the country against war, inflation and the pandemic during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, using one of the biggest moments of his presidency to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pitching a diminished agenda he hopes can win bipartisan support.

The speech unfolded against a brutal backdrop as fighting intensified in what has become the biggest European land war since World War II. In the opening moments of his address, Biden noted the rejection of Russia and embrace of Ukraine by Americans of all stripes as evidence of the country’s underlying commonality,

“We fought for freedom, expanded liberty, defeated totalitarianism and terror. We built the strongest, freest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known,” Biden said toward the end of his address. “Now is the hour. Our moment of responsibility. Our test of resolve and conscience, of history itself,” he said, adding “I know this nation will meet the test. To protect freedom and liberty, to expand fairness and opportunity. We will save democracy.”

joe biden resized oThe lawmakers in the chamber displayed unity as Biden spoke about Ukraine, as some waved small Ukrainian flags and Republicans joined Democrats in applauding his condemnations of Russia. But that unity evaporated the moment Biden turned to domestic policy.

When he turned to immigration, Republicans began chanting, “Build the wall! Build the wall!”

Biden also vowed to keep fighting inflation, calling it his “top priority. He declared a “new moment” in the fight against the pandemic, saying, “We are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines.”

And pushing back against a slogan adopted by some activists, he proclaimed, “The answer is not to defund the police,” Biden said. “It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training.”

  • Washington Post, Ukrainian ambassador gets standing ovation
  • Washington Post, Biden declares pandemic reset, saying covid ‘need no longer control our lives’

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Biden Hails Achieving Unity in Crisis, but Questions Remain, David E. Sanger, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). President Biden emphasized allies’ resolve in the State of the Union, but acknowledged Russia may not be deterred from its aggression.

President Biden’s challenge on Tuesday night was to unite Americans behind his confrontation with a brutal Russian leader who has shattered more than three decades of post-Cold War peace without setting off fears that the return of superpower conflict will inflict an unacceptable cost.

USTR seal Custom 2Even as scenes of ruin were being flashed to the world from the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Kharkiv, Mr. Biden argued that it was worth paying a price — one he suggested he could limit — to preserve freedom in Eastern Europe. And he celebrated his success in organizing the Western allies to impose truly painful sanctions on Russia’s economy as punishment for the invasion of Ukraine and with the hope of loosening President Vladimir V. Putin’s hold over his country.

Mr. Putin’s aggression, he argued, had actually strengthened an Atlantic alliance the Russian leader intended to splinter. And he made the case that even if Mr. Putin prevailed on the ground in Ukraine, Russia would emerge from this “premeditated and unprovoked” war “weaker and the rest of the world stronger.”

Yet Mr. Biden left unaddressed, at least for now, several of the hardest questions about where America goes next — and how it will ultimately emerge from Mr. Putin’s audacious effort to dismantle a world order largely designed in Washington.

ny times logoNew York Times, Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa delivered a scathing Republican rebuke, foreshadowing G.O.P. arguments ahead of the midterms, Glenn Thrush, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa delivered a scathing Republican rebuke of President Biden’s State of the Union address Kim Reynolds 2018 Customon Tuesday, casting his presidency as an unwanted remake of “That ‘70s Show,” complete with “runaway inflation,” rampant crime and a rampaging “Soviet army.”

Ms. Reynolds, right,who was chosen by Republican Senate leadership to deliver the party’s official response, portrayed the populist revolt against mask mandates and remote learning as a “pro-parent, pro-family revolution,” hoping to harness the backlash ahead of this year’s midterm elections.

ap logoAssociated Press via HuffPost, Auditor: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Must Return $450K In COVID-19 Funds, Staff Report, March 2, 2022. Iowa’s state auditor has again called for Gov. Kim Reynolds to return nearly $450,000 in federal coronavirus relief funds that were used to pay for 21 governor’s office staff members for three months in 2020.

Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, released a report Tuesday that repeated his recommendation from October 2020 and last December that the funds were improperly used and should be returned.
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Sand said in December that the Republican governor not only misspent the federal money but tried to conceal it by passing it through the state Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

After that report was released, Sand said he finally received in December a 159-page packet of information he had sought repeatedly from the governor’s office to justify use of federal pandemic emergency money for her staff’s salaries.

After reviewing the documentation, he said his recommendation to return the $448,448 remains the same.

The governor’s staff salaries had already been considered in creating her budget prior to the pandemic, making them ineligible for payment out of the federal pandemic relief money, he said. Reynolds paid salaries for 21 staff members — including her spokesman, a lawyer and her chief of staff — from March 15 to June 30, 2020, out of federal funds.
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Alex Murphy, a spokesman for Reynolds, has said Reynolds’ staff members spent most of their time responding to the pandemic during the months in question. He said many members of her staff worked seven days a week out of the State Emergency Operation Center to provide direct support to Iowans.

Reynolds said at a news conference in September 2020 that she believed the federal coronavirus relief law allowed salaries to be paid for workers whose job requirements were significantly changed due to the pandemic.

 

lauren boebert marjorie taylor greene 3 1 2022TheHill.com, Boebert shocks Democrats with Biden State of the Union interruption, Cristina Marcos, March 2, 2022. In an extraordinary breach of decorum, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), above left, yelled out at President Biden during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, accusing him of putting American troops in coffins.

Biden was in the midst of discussing how many American troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan developed cancer from exposure to toxic smoke from massive burn pits.

“A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin,” Biden said. “I know —”

“You put them in, 13 of them!” Boebert yelled out.

She appeared to be referencing the 13 American service members killed in a bomb attack in Kabul as the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan in August. Biden did not mention the chaotic U.S. military exit from the country during his speech.

Attendees across the entire chamber turned in shock at Boebert for her outburst. A chorus of gasps and a “whoa!” then erupted on the Democratic side of the chamber.

Biden continued to press on with his speech. Before Boebert’s interruption, Biden was explaining how the issue is close to home because his own late son, Beau Biden, may have been affected by toxic burn pits.

“One of those soldiers was my son, Major Beau Biden,” Biden said. Beau Biden, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, died of brain cancer in 2015.

Boebert’s outburst wasn’t her only attempt to draw attention during Biden’s address to the joint session of Congress.

Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), above right, another far-right House Republican who regularly stirs controversy, chanted “build the wall!” as Biden discussed his proposals for immigration reform.

Boebert was also wearing a black shawl with the words “drill baby drill” emblazoned on the back.

Other Republicans criticized Biden for not addressing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last summer and the 13 service members who were killed.

“To the 13 American families who lost loved ones in Afghanistan in August, you deserved to be recognized by the President tonight,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) tweeted after Biden’s speech concluded. “Americans remember your sacrifice, and we are forever indebted to you.”

It’s not the first time that a lawmaker has breached decorum by yelling out during a presidential address. In 2009, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) interrupted a speech by then-President Obama during a joint session of Congress. Wilson shouted “you lie!” in response to Obama maintaining that proposed health care legislation would not provide free health coverage for undocumented immigrants.

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U.S. Elections, Politics, Governance

ny times logoNew York Times, Powell Says Interest Rates Are Headed Higher, Even as Ukraine Poses Uncertainty, Jeanna Smialek, March 2, 2022. Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, will tell lawmakers at a hearing today that the bank is set to raise rates this month. Here’s the latest business news.

jerome powellJerome H. Powell, right, the Federal Reserve chair, will tell lawmakers on Wednesday that the central bank is poised to lift interest rates from near zero at its meeting later this month as it embarks on an effort to cool down high inflation — even as conflict in Ukraine ramps up uncertainty.

“We expect it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate at our meeting later this month,” Mr. Powell said federal reserve system Customin testimony prepared for delivery to the House Committee on Financial Services. He noted that the Fed will move toward a “predictable” shrinking of its big bond holdings after raising rates, a move that will take additional steam out of the economy.

While Fed officials are prepared to use their policies to make money steadily more expensive in a bid to slow consumer and business demand, hoping to cool off today’s rapid prices, Mr. Powell added that the central bank must be poised to respond as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looms large.

“The near-term effects on the U.S. economy of the invasion of Ukraine, the ongoing war, the sanctions and of events to come, remain highly uncertain,” he said. “We will need to be nimble in responding to incoming data and the evolving outlook.”

Mr. Powell painted the geopolitical upheaval as something creating a sense of wariness, rather than predicting what it could mean for policy. Economists have said that the conflict is likely to push gas prices higher, further elevating inflation, but that a combination of higher fuel costs and wavering consumer sentiment could drag on economic growth.

washington post logoWashington Post, Abbott, O’Rourke win nominations for Texas governor in first midterm contests, David Weigel and Michael Scherer, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, right, and Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke will face each other this fall in a contest to lead Texas after Greg Abbott Customeach was projected to win his party’s gubernatorial nomination shortly after most polls closed in the first primary contest of the 2022 midterm cycle.

Even before the Associated Press projected the victories, businessman Don Huffines released a statement conceding defeat to Abbott while claiming credit for forcing the governor “to deliver real conservative victories” during the Republican primary by challenging him from the right.

texas mapIn a closely watched Democratic primary in the 28th Congressional District along the southern border, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D) was in a tight contest with his more liberal 2020 challenger Jessica Cisneros in the most expensive Democratic congressional fight of the cycle. Cuellar had dipped into his war chest after his home and campaign office were searched by the FBI. Cisneros has been supported by liberal activists from Texas and farther north, including the Justice Democrats.

Primary contests for attorney general, Congress and dozens of other local jobs such as county judge and justice of the peace also were on the ballot in a state where Republicans have found their footing after some setbacks during the 2018 midterm elections.

Besides determining the nominees — or setting up runoffs — the results Tuesday will help determine the political staying power of the Bush family name, the potency of former president Donald Trump’s endorsements and the state’s future representation on Capitol Hill.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Trump endorsee who faces an FBI investigation and an indictment on state securities fraud charges, was seeking to avoid a runoff in his quest for his third Republican nomination against Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a grandson and nephew of former presidents, as well as retired state Supreme Court justice Eva Guzman and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.

ny times logoNew York Times, Five Takeaways From the Texas Primary Elections, Reid J. Epstein, March 2, 2022. The turnout by Republicans swamped that of Democrats, while progressives posted wins in the first elections of the 2022 midterms.

For nearly a decade, the refrain from Texas Democrats has been that they are on the verge of making their state competitive, even though no Democrat has won a statewide race since 1994.

Tuesday’s primary results illustrated that Democrats still have a long way to go.

With more than three-quarters of the votes counted, nearly 800,000 more Republicans than Democrats voted for a candidate for governor — a gap far larger than the one in 2018, the last midterm primary election in Texas.

To be sure, Republicans had a more competitive primary than Democrats. Gov. Greg Abbott’s contest against Republican challengers from his right may have been more of a draw than Beto O’Rourke’s glide path to the Democratic nomination. And Democrats will be quick to note that primary turnout is not always a predictor of big turnout in November.

Still, Republicans demonstrated they are energized — even when divided between far-right and mainstream factions — and hardly ceding their hold on the state.

ny times logoNew York Times, Jessica Cisneros, a 28-year-old progressive lawyer, has forced Representative Henry Cuellar into a runoff, Jonathan Weisman, March 2, 2022. A 28-year-old liberal immigration lawyer was headed for a runoff in May with Representative Henry Cuellar, South Texas’s 17-year incumbent, after neither candidate on Tuesday was able to muster 50 percent of the vote in the state’s most closely watched House primary.

The first primaries in what promises to be a grueling midterm season gave indications of battles to come.

ny times logoNew York Times, While some important races remained too close to call, there were several clear winners and losers in the Texas primaries, Maggie Astor, March 2, 2022. The Texas primaries on Tuesday officially opened the 2022 midterm election season, and while several important races remained too close to call early Wednesday morning, the contours were becoming clearer. Here is what we know so far.

washington post logoWashington Post, Conservative pro-Trump attorneys subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee, Jacqueline Alemany, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, issued a subpoena Tuesday to Republican attorney Cleta Mitchell seeking records and testimony from the key legal adviser to former president Donald Trump who led efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

The conservative firebrand is one of several lawyers subpoenaed by the panel who were also closely involved with various strategies to delay or overturn christina bobb resizedthe certification of Joe Biden’s victory, including Christina Bobb, right, an attorney turned One America News host, and Katherine Friess, who worked closely with Rudolph W. Giuliani and former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Several of these lawyers spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the committee’s findings.

“The six individuals we’ve subpoenaed today all have knowledge related to those matters and will help the Select Committee better understand all the various strategies employed to potentially affect the outcome of the election,” said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a statement that accompanied letters that transmitted notice of the subpoenas. “We expect these witnesses to join the hundreds who have cooperated with the Select Committee as we work to provide the American people with answers about the violence of January 6th and its causes.”

Bobb and Friess were “reportedly involved in efforts to draft an executive order for then-President Trump that would have directed federal agencies to seize voting machines in numerous states,” according to Thompson’s statement.

Mitchell established an “election integrity working group” in August 2020, as directed by Trump, but became best known for her participation in a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials during which Trump urged them to find evidence to overturn Georgia’s November election results.

In his letter to Mitchell seeking her cooperation, Thompson cites her promotion of “false claims of election fraud to Members of Congress” and her participation in the call between Trump and Raffensperger, along with her contact with Trump on Jan. 6 “and in the days prior,” per the committee’s findings.

Thompson, who said earlier this week that the public hearings would likely start in April, requested that Mitchell appear before the panel March 28.

“The timeline moves based on the information we see, and as new information comes, it moves,” Thompson told reporters Tuesday.

Kenneth Chesebro, a Boston-area attorney, is also among the list of legal advisers to Trump subpoenaed by the panel. Thompson cites Chesebro’s promotion of legal theories that supported the Trump campaign’s “use of alternate slates of electors in states that former President Trump had lost.”

Thompson also alleges that Chesebro “participated in efforts that you told the Trump campaign would ‘bolster’ the argument for delaying the electoral certification and make the public ‘believe[e] that the election in [Wisconsin] was likely rigged, and stolen by Biden and Harris, who were not legitimately elected.’ ”

The committee is also seeking documents and a deposition from Kurt Olsen, an attorney who represented the state of Texas to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over how they conducted their elections.

Olsen, according to Thompson’s letter, contacted “various high-level officials at the Department of Justice at the former President’s ‘direct[ion]’ to discuss filing a last-minute challenge to the election based on a similar case that the Supreme Court had already rejected.”

He also “reportedly prepared a draft executive order for former President Trump that would have directed the U.S. Department of Justice ‘to take voter action,’ ” and had “multiple telephone calls” with Trump, according to the committee’s findings.

Former Kansas attorney general Phillip Kline is also on the list of lawyers the committee subpoenaed over his role in convening a meeting “between President Trump and more than 300 state legislatures in an attempt to disseminate purported evidence of election fraud, encouraging them to sign onto a letter urging Vice President Mike Pence to delay the electoral certification on January 6, 2021,” according to Thompson.

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More On Ukraine, Russia

 

vladimir putin security council 2 21 2022 alexey nikolsky sputnik afp getty

President Vladimir V. Putin meeting with members of Russia’s Security Council in Moscow on Monday (Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images).

washington post logoWashington Post, In Putin, intelligence analysts see an isolated leader who underestimated the West but could lash out if cornered, Shane Harris, John Hudson, Missy Ryan and Souad Mekhennet, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). As the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, U.S. and European intelligence officials say that Russian President Vladimir Putin appears isolated and reliant on a small coterie of advisers who have not told him the truth about how difficult and costly conquering Ukraine is turning out to be.

In Putin, analysts see a leader on edge, fueled by paranoia after underestimating the unified resolve of the West, and at risk of lashing out when he feels cornered. Those concerns have led some policymakers to repeatedly note that NATO will not intervene in the war lest there be any doubt in Putin’s mind.

Putin’s military campaign, which has killed civilians, as well as his order to place Russian nuclear forces on a higher level of alert, has prompted fresh requests from U.S. policymakers in recent days to the intelligence agencies for insights on his thinking, according to several U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. prepares to expand financial attack on Russian oligarchs, aiming to seize billions held by Putin allies, Jeff Stein and Yeganeh Torbati, March 2, 2022. Western allies plan to confiscate yachts, jets, luxury apartments from Russian elites in hopes of undercutting Moscow over invasion. Senior Biden administration officials are preparing to dramatically expand the number of Russian oligarchs subject to U.S. sanctions, aiming to punish the financial elite close to President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine, according to three people briefed on internal administration deliberations.

Officials at the White House and Treasury Department are working on producing a list of names that is expected to overlap in part with the lineup of Russian oligarchs who were newly subjected to sanctions by the European Union on Monday, the people said.

For instance, the White House is weighing imposing new sanctions on Alisher Usmanov, the owner of an iron and steel conglomerate who Forbes has estimated to be worth more than $15 billion, the people said. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect internal deliberations not yet made public. Usmanov was placed under sanctions by E.U. officials Monday. The U.S. sanctions would also probably include travel restrictions and the seizure of overseas assets that could run into the billions.

  • Washington Post, Aiming to control Ukraine, Russia risks quagmire of foreign regime change, Paul Sonne, March 2, 2022.
  • Washington Post, U.S. to close its airspace to Russian planes, March 2, 2022.

washington post logoWashington Post, Putin’s war is drawing battle lines within Russia, Robyn Dixon, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). When Russians showed shame and grief over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, his most loyal propagandist was withering: “If you are now ashamed that you are Russian, don’t worry, you’re not Russian,” the editor in chief of state-owned broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, sniped on Twitter.

The invasion that united NATO and Europe on sanctions as never before has also divided Russians. On one side: an outward-looking urban middle class who vacation in Europe and while away spend time scrolling through Western apps on their iPhones and send their children to universities abroad. On the other: Putin loyalists, many less-educated Russians or older people raised on Soviet propaganda.

In Kamenka village in Russia’s southern Rostov region, close to the Ukraine border, Alexei Safonov, 47, was horrified at the news that Russia began its attack last week. Then he got to work as chief engineer at an ice-skating rink and was sickened to find his colleagues celebrating.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Convoy near Kyiv stalls but forces close in on Kharkiv, other cities, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Phoebe Connelly and Dan Lamothe, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have fled in what might be ‘Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,’ U.N. says. A 40-mile-long Russian convoy approaching Kyiv had “stalled,” perhaps to regroup, a senior U.S. defense official said, but other forces gathered menacing strength on Tuesday, six days into the invasion of Ukraine. A projectile appeared to hit near Kharkiv’s administration building, and a missile strike that appeared to target Kyiv’s TV Tower also hit the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial and killed five people.

In the southern part of the country, Russian and Ukrainian forces are fighting in the city of Kherson, and Russia has occupied Berdyansk and taken possession of Melitopol, a city of about 150,000. Russian forces remain outside the major southern city of Mariupol but are now close enough to attack it with artillery and other long-range weapons, the senior defense official said.

Kharkiv remains under Ukrainian control but is “surrounded” by Russian troops, Mayor Ihor Terekhov told The Washington Post. In Kyiv, residents are bracing for an all-out assault as the Russian force, under the command of a president whose country has quickly become an international political and economic pariah, is apparently preparing to encircle the capital. A senior U.S. defense official said the Kremlin seems ready to adopt the same siege tactics that are beginning to strangle Kharkiv.

There, thousands are without power and heat in freezing temperatures, local officials said, and residents braced for more shelling Tuesday. Suspected cluster munitions struck residential parts of Kharkiv on Monday, raising fears that Russia could use tactics similar to those employed in Chechnya and Syria, where it has been accused of war crimes.

Here’s what to know:

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with President Biden ahead of his State of the Union address about sanctions and against Russia as well as U.S. defense assistance. Meantime, Congressional Democrats and Republicans are rallying around a new push to provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
  • The European Union nations are probably not about to send fighter jets to Ukraine, despite a senior E.U. official’s vow that aircraft would be among the military aid the bloc planned to send to Kyiv, officials. Zelensky pleaded Tuesday with the European Union to admit his country on an emergency basis.
  • The United States and other world powers decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, a move intended to reduce gasoline prices that have climbed rapidly in recent weeks, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • The Ukrainian government turned to the markets on Tuesday for financial help, raising the equivalent of $277 million by issuing war bonds to bolster the country’s military defenses, officials said.
  • Ukrainians and their supporters have used social media to bruise, belittle and humiliate the Russians, seeking to boost citizens’ spirits and sap invaders’ morale during the most Internet-accessible war in history.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Eastern European countries fear catastrophe as Vladimir Putin seeks to reclaim Russia’s lost sphere of influence, Andrew Higgins, March 2, 2022. Many countries fear that the Russian leader’s efforts to turn back the clock and reclaim a sphere of influence lost at the end of the Cold War could spell disaster for them.

Scattered around the forest in Poland like archaeological ruins, the crumbling concrete bunkers for decades stored Soviet nuclear warheads. Today, they store only memories — deeply painful for Poland, joyous for the Kremlin — of the vanished empire that President Vladimir V. Putin wants to rebuild, starting with his war in Ukraine.

“Nobody here trusted the Russians before and we certainly don’t trust them now,” said Mieczyslaw Zuk, a former Polish soldier who oversees the once top-secret nuclear site. The bunkers were abandoned by the Soviet military in 1990 as Moscow’s hegemony over East and Central Europe unraveled in what President Putin has described as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Now Eastern European countries fear a catastrophe of their own could be in the making, as Mr. Putin seeks to turn back the clock and reclaim Russia’s lost sphere of influence, perilously close to their frontiers. Even leaders in the region who have long supported Mr. Putin are sounding the alarm.

Warnings about Moscow’s intentions, often dismissed until last Thursday’s invasion of Ukraine as “Russophobia” by those without experience of living in proximity to Russia, are now widely accepted as prescient.

ukraine war map 2 27 2022 nc

ny times logoNew York Times, EXPLOSION SHAKES CENTRAL KHARKIV, Staff Reports, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Fireball Seen as Ukraine’s Second-Largest City Is Hit Again.

An explosion from an apparent rocket strike devastated a large administrative building in Ukraine’s second largest city on Tuesday, killing seven people and injuring 24, according to emergency officials. It raised fears that Russian forces are increasingly targeting populated areas with more powerful weapons.

The explosion in Kharkiv came a day after at least nine people were killed in Russian shelling in the eastern city, which has experienced some of the heaviest attacks in the six days since Russia launched its invasion. A convoy of Russian tanks and vehicles about 40 miles long was also seen in satellite images just north of the capital, Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces and civilian volunteers are preparing to mount a resistance as many civilians flee.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The attack came a day after shelling killed at least nine civilians in the city. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine accused Russia of war crimes.
  • A convoy of Russian armed forces stretching about 40 miles is moving closer to the capital, Kyiv.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Massive Russian convoy nears Kyiv; Kharkiv is ‘surrounded,’ Ukraine’s capital braces for all-out assault, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng and Ellen Francis, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Russian forces, frustrated by the tenacious defense of major cities by Ukrainian soldiers and ad hoc civilian militias, gathered menacing strength Tuesday, as a projectile appeared to strike near Kharkiv’s administration building and a convoy of tanks, troop carriers and artillery more than 40 miles long threatened Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, during a visit with Ukrainian forces near Donetsk. (Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, during a visit with Ukrainian forces near Donetsk. (Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

washington post logoWashington Post, What to know about Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s TV president turned wartime leader, Bryan Pietsch, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Just a few years ago, Volodymyr Zelensky was playing Ukraine’s president on television. Now, he’s a real-life wartime leader directing his outgunned country in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Though Zelensky says he has become the Kremlin’s “target No. 1,” he has earned the respect of much of the Ukrainian public by refusing to flee the capital. Instead he has walked the streets of Kyiv and urged Ukrainians to resist, while crafting a successful communications strategy that has won the volodymyr zelensky suit portraithearts and minds of European leaders and voters.

While acknowledging that Moscow has vastly superior forces it has not yet deployed, Western officials say Zelensky’s leadership volodmyer zelinsky graphichas firmed up Ukrainian resolve. Here’s what you need to know about the president.

Zelensky, 44, right and left, is a former comedian, television personality and actor — and now Ukraine’s head of state. He was born in the city of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine and raised in an “ordinary Soviet Jewish family,” he has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to justify his invasion of Ukraine as a “denazification” operation, but Zelensky is Jewish and many of his relatives were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust. His grandfather was the only one of four brothers to survive the German occupation of Ukraine.

 

ukraine NATO wpost

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: After a Fumbled Start, Russian Forces Hit Harder in Ukraine, Steven Erlanger, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). After days of miscalculation about Ukraine’s resolve to fight, Russian forces are turning toward an old pattern of opening fire on cities and mounting sieges. Russia appeared to miscalculate Ukraine’s resolve to fight. But the war was already changing quickly on Monday.

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine with nearly 200,000 troops, many observers — and seemingly President Vladimir V. Putin himself — expected that they would roll right in and the fighting would be over quickly. Instead, after five days of war, what appears to be unfolding is a Russian miscalculation about their own tactics and about how hard the Ukrainians would fight.

ukraine flagNo major cities have been taken after an initial Russian push toward Kyiv, the capital, stalled. While Russia appeared to pull its punches, Ukraine marshaled and armed civilians to cover more ground, and its military has attacked Russian convoys and supply lines, leaving video evidence of scorched Russian vehicles and dead soldiers.

But the war was already changing quickly on Monday, and ultimately, it is likely to turn on just how far Russia is willing to go to subjugate Ukraine. The Russian track record in the Syrian civil war, and in its own ruthless efforts to crush separatism in the Russian region of Chechnya, suggest an increasingly brutal campaign ahead.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Unrecognized state propped up by Moscow refuses to participate in invasion of Ukraine, Wayne Madsen, left, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMarch 1-2, 2022. In what can only be described as a diplomatic volte-face, the leader of an unrecognized nation that is propped up by Russia and which hosts two battalions of the Operational Group of Russian Forces, has surprised Russia by remaining neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

wayne madesen report logoThe leader in question is Vadim Krasnoselsky, the president of the self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, a narrow strip of territory along the Dniester River between the independent Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In January 2022, Ukrainian intelligence obtained details of a planned Russian false flag attack on the Russian battalions in Transnistria that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to use as a casus belli to launch an invasion of Ukraine. What changed Moscow’s plans was Krasnoselsky’s statement that Transnistria would not participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and would remain neutral.

 

Virus Updates, Reactions

ny times logoNew York Times, White House to Introduce New Coronavirus Response Strategy, Staff Reports, March 2, 2022. President Biden also announced a Covid initiative that would pair positive tests with free, on-the-spot antiviral treatments. Here’s the latest.

The plan is intended to get the nation to a place where the virus does not disrupt everyday life. The C.D.C. no longer recommends universal case investigation and contact tracing.

President Biden, looking to usher the nation out of the coronavirus crisis into what some are calling a “new normal,” used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to sketch out the next phase of his pandemic response, including a “test to treat” initiative aimed at providing patients with antiviral medications as soon as they learn they are infected.

The initiative will be part of a detailed new strategy, which officials said they would introduce on Wednesday. It is expected to address a range of issues, including developing new vaccines and therapeutics and how to keep schools and businesses open even if things worsen.

The idea is to get the nation out of crisis mode and to a place, Mr. Biden has said, where the virus will no longer disrupt everyday life. The president spoke in broad strokes about the way forward, providing few details.

But a person familiar with the plan said that, in addition to the “test to treat” initiative, the strategy would also emphasize indoor air quality improvements, and a plan to rapidly develop and manufacture a vaccine within 100 days — what the administration is calling a “variant playbook.”

With U.S. cases declining, the coronavirus — perhaps the biggest challenge of the first year of Mr. Biden’s presidency — took a back seat in the speech to Russian aggression in Ukraine and the economy. Still, the president did not miss an opportunity to give himself a pat on the back.

“I know you’re tired, frustrated and exhausted,” he said, adding: “But I also know this: Because of the progress we’ve made, because of your resilience and the tools that we have been provided by this Congress, tonight I can say we are moving forward safely, back to more normal routines.”

Under the “test to treat” program, Mr. Biden said, Americans could get tested at a pharmacy and, if they are positive, “receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.”

Although the pills, made by Pfizer, have been relatively scarce since they were authorized late last year, Mr. Biden said in his speech that “Pfizer is working overtime to get us one million pills this month and more than double that next month.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Hong Kong, Buckling Under Covid, Leaves Its Most Vulnerable in the Cold, Vivian Wang, March 2, 2022. Poor residents have been forced to choose between infecting their families or sleeping outdoors because of cramped quarters and a lack of isolation facilities.

For Chan Shun Ki, a cleaner at a construction site in Hong Kong, getting over the coronavirus was the easy part.

Ms. Chan was anxious to return to work after missing more than a week last month while recovering. She had already skipped her rent payment after the pandemic wiped out her previous jobs cleaning hotels and waiting tables. She was borrowing money from relatives to make up for the loss of her $83 daily wage.

But then she received a text message from the government health system, which was battling days-long backlogs. It ordered her to stay home for two more weeks because her coronavirus test had come back positive. She had taken it 12 days earlier.

“I feel so much pressure,” said Ms. Chan, who is a single mother of a 15-year-old. “The government is really incompetent, and it leaves us residents not knowing what to do.”

As Hong Kong sinks under its fifth, and worst, coronavirus wave, the brunt is falling upon its most vulnerable: migrants, racial minorities, the working class. While the city has long been one of the most unequal on earth, rarely has the cost of that inequality been as steep as now.

ny times logoNew York Times, Explosive Scenes as New Zealand Police Move to End Weekslong Occupation, Natasha Frost, March 2, 2022. Fires and violence at a protest opposing vaccine mandates were a rare sight in a country known for its relative serenity and stability. For more than three weeks, hundreds of protesters have disabled the center of New Zealand’s capital city, occupying the area in front of Parliament and issuing increasingly violent threats to politicians and other public figures in an ostensible battle against the country’s vaccine mandates.

On Wednesday, the 23rd day of the protest, the police began an aggressive clampdown, descending on the site in Wellington at 6 a.m., dismantling tents, toilets, a kitchen and other camp infrastructure, and urging the demonstrators to leave. Eventually, most did — but not without a fight.

In chaotic and sometimes bloody clashes, protesters wielded fire extinguishers, paint-filled projectiles, homemade plywood shields and pitchforks. Some lobbed cobblestones at officers. Others piled detritus onto gas-fueled fires, including one that caused an explosion at a playground near Parliament.

Protest leaders, against a soundtrack of the national anthem and the 1980s Maori pop song “Poi E,” urged demonstrators to hold the line and called the police “the Gestapo.” Officers, many bearing riot shields, responded with pepper spray and rubber bullets. At least 60 people were arrested, and three officers were taken to hospitals.

ny times logopfizer logoNew York Times, Pfizer Shot Is Far Less Effective in 5- to 11-Year-Olds, New Data Show, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). While protection against hospitalization is still strong, the vaccine offered almost no protection against infection, even just a month after full vaccination.

ny times logoNew York Times, Three West Coast States to Lift School Mask Mandates, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). California, Oregon and Washington will stop requiring masks in schools after March 11, the governors of the three states said. Here’s the latest.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated March 2, 2022), with some governments reporting lower numbers than the covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2totals here and some experts saying the numbers are far higher:

World Cases: 439,289,221, Deaths: 5,986,770
U.S. Cases:     80,697,924, Deaths:    977,402
Indian Cases:   42,938,599, Deaths:    514,246
Brazil Cases:   28,811,165, Deaths:    649,717

Related Recent Headlines:

 

Nuclear Threat

washington post logoWashington Post, Overview: Putin puts nuclear forces on alert as Ukrainian civilian deaths mount, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Drew Harwell, Robyn Dixon and Miriam Berger, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). Though Ukraine has agreed to diplomatic talks and soldiers fought off invaders in its biggest cities, fears of a refugee and humanitarian crisis have grown. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian soldiers “are fighting against everything alive.”

washington post logoWashington Post, With Russian nuclear forces on alert, crisis enters a more dangerous phase, Missy Ryan, Karoun Demirjian, John Hudson and Shane Harris, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put Russian nuclear forces on alert thrust the crisis over Ukraine into a more volatile phase on Sunday, fueling the potential for deadly miscalculation as the West’s campaign of economic reprisal increases the chances the Russian leader could see his survival and that of the Russian state at risk.

U.S. officials were scrambling in the hours following Putin’s order, issued as Russian troops face stiff resistance in the fourth day of their invasion of Ukraine, to decode what the enigmatic leader’s decision meant in practice. Experts said it was the first time the Kremlin, which has the world’s biggest nuclear stockpile, had made such an announcement since the Russian Federation was established in 1991.

Putin described the move as a response to what he called “aggressive statements” from the West and its escalating package of economic retaliation. The sanctions, including new steps unveiled Saturday that would cut off Russia’s financial institutions from the global economy and cripple its central bank, have already sent the ruble tumbling to a record low, raising questions about how Russia’s economy can hold on.

ny times logoNew York Times, When President Vladimir Putin declared a nuclear alert, President Biden sought a different path, David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). When the Russian leader ordered his nuclear forces into “special combat readiness,” the U.S. could have gone on high alert. Instead, the administration tried not to inflame him.

They could match the move and put American forces on Defcon 3 — known to moviegoers as that moment when the Air Force rolls out bombers, and nuclear silos and submarines are put on high alert. Or the president could largely ignore it, sending out aides to portray Mr. Putin as once again manufacturing a menace, threatening Armageddon for a war he started without provocation.

For now, at least, Mr. Biden chose to de-escalate. The American ambassador to the United Nations reminded the Security Council on Sunday afternoon that Russia was “under no threat” and chided Mr. Putin for “another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all.” The White House made it clear that America’s own alert status had not changed.

But to many in the administration, who spoke on Sunday on the condition of anonymity, it was a stark reminder of how quickly the Ukraine crisis could spin into a direct superpower confrontation — and how it may yet do so, as Mr. Putin tests how far he can go and threatens to use the ultimate weapon to get there.

 

Law, Courts, Crime, Race

ny times logoNew York Times, Texas Investigates Parents Over Care for Transgender Youth, Lawsuit Says, J. David Goodman and Amanda Morris, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Officials are investigating parents of transgender teenagers for possible child abuse, according to the suit, after Gov. Greg Abbott called for such inquiries.

Texas officials have begun investigating parents of transgender adolescents for possible child abuse, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, after Gov. Greg Abbott directed them last week to handle certain medical treatments as possible crimes.

The investigations by the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, which have not been previously reported, were started in response to an order from Mr. Abbott to the agency, the lawsuit says. The order followed a nonbinding opinion by the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, that parents who provide their transgender teenagers with puberty-suppressing drugs or other medically accepted treatments — which doctors describe as gender-affirming care — could be investigated for child abuse.

Among the first to be investigated was an employee of the state protective services agency who has a 16-year-old transgender child. On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas and Lambda Legal went to state court in Austin to try to stop the inquiry.

The employee, who was not named in the court filing, works on the review of reports of abuse and neglect. She was placed on administrative leave last week, according to the filing, and on Friday was visited by an investigator from the agency, which is also seeking medical records related to her child. The family of the child, identified in court documents only as Mary Doe, has refused to voluntarily turn over the records.

ny times logoNew York Times, Former Police Chief Faked Death to Evade Charges, Officials Say, Eduardo Medina, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). William Anthony Spivey, who resigned last year as the Chadbourn, N.C., police chief after a misconduct investigation, has been charged with more than 70 felonies, the authorities said.

Other Recent Headlines:

 

Media, Education, Sports, Religion

washington post logoWashington Post, Bolton, in rejecting Newsmax host’s assertion, says Trump ‘barely knew where Ukraine,’ Timothy Bella, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). Former national security adviser John Bolton rejected a claim from a Newsmax host who asserted that the behavior of President Donald Trump deterred the Russians from invading Ukraine. Bolton emphasized that Trump “barely knew where Ukraine was.”

Speaking with the conservative network Monday night, Bolton sat back as host Rob Schmitt listed Trump accomplishments that the broadcaster claimed helped hinder Russia from attacking Ukraine. All the while, the pro-Trump network displayed a chyron that read, “Trump was tough on Russia.”

But Bolton, who has become a vocal critic of Trump, denied that his former boss was tough on Russia, claiming that Trump complained about any sanctions on Russian oligarchs in the United States. Then Bolton, who said Trump “did not” do a better job with Russia than President Biden, went one step further about Trump’s knowledge of Ukraine.

Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Trump, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Budowich told the Hill in a statement that Bolton was fired “because he believes anything less than war is not enough.”

“President Trump ensured peace during his administration and ended wars, making Bolton irrelevant,” Budowich said.

Bolton’s comments come as Russian forces continue to bear down on Ukraine. A 40-mile-long Russian convoy approaching Kyiv had “stalled,” perhaps to regroup, a senior U.S. defense official said, but other forces gathered menacing strength on Tuesday, six days into the conflict in Ukraine. While fighting continues across the country, nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have fled since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Convoy near Kyiv stalls but forces close in on Kharkiv, other cities

Trump has faced criticism since he recently described Putin as “smart,” “savvy” and a “genius” for sending military forces into Ukraine. Trump has continued to champion Putin at the expense of Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 presidential election.

washington post logoWashington Post, How Ukrainians have used social media to humiliate the Russians and rally the world, Drew Harwell and Rachel Lerman, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). A defiant resistance has used the Internet to counter one of the world’s most fearsome war machines, telling the invaders, ‘Welcome to hell.’

Ukrainians and their supporters have used social media to bruise, belittle and humiliate the Russians, seeking to boost citizens’ spirits and sap invaders’ morale during the most Internet-accessible war in history.

A flood of real-time videos across Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter has blunted Kremlin propaganda and rallied the world to Ukraine’s side as it facebook logofights to defend its democracy from a military behemoth.

It has also potentially saved lives: Ukrainians have raced to disseminate defensive strategies, plot escape routes and document the brutality of a raging clash. Some expect that the phone footage recorded in recent days could play a critical role in investigating war crimes after the combat ends.

Russia has long been fabled as the Internet’s most wily mischief-maker, and the nation’s propaganda machine has for years used social and state-backed media to deceive and disempower its enemies.

But Ukraine has in many ways begun to beat Russia at its own game, using constant, colorful communication to foment a digital resistance and expose its aggression on a global stage.

tiktok logo CustomThe tactics reveal how social media has opened a new dimension of modern war, showing how the Internet has become not only a territory to fight over but a tactic for real-world conquest.

It has also helped Ukrainians feel they can contribute to the fight. Solomiia Shalaiska, a Kyiv-based motion designer, said she felt helpless until she started posting pro-Ukraine rally images on an Instagram page she previously used for art and design.

One image — a David-and-Goliath-style map comparing the size of both countries titled “Realize the Scale of Ukrainian Heroism” — has been “liked” more than 100,000 times in the past day. Shalaiska said she has joined the nation’s nascent “IT army” of volunteer hackers and hell-raisers, who have worked to counter Russian psychological operations by overwhelming their websites and flooding their intelligence officers with spam. (Shalaiska said she has helped mostly by spreading information and reporting bots.)

washington post logoWashington Post, Cyberwar predictions are still unrealized in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Joseph Menn and Craig Timberg, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). For more than a decade, military commanders and outside experts have laid out blueprints for how cyberwar would unfold: military and civilian networks would be knocked offline, cutting-edge software would sabotage power plants, and whole populations would be unable to get money, gas or refrigerated food.

But while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spawned all manner of cyberattacks and defenses, few are playing out the way the experts thought they would.

As of Monday, five days after tanks moved into Ukraine, the Internet and other key Ukrainian infrastructure were still functioning, the outgunned Ukrainian military was still coordinating effectively and Russia’s vaunted disinformation capabilities were failing to persuade Ukrainians that resistance is futile.

“We imagined this orchestrated unleashing of violence in cyberspace, this ballet of attacks striking Ukraine in waves, and instead of that we have a brawl. And not even a very consequential brawl, just yet,” said Jason Healey, a former White House staffer for infrastructure protection and intelligence officer who’s now a research scholar on cyber conflict at Columbia University.

A vastly larger, more powerful military — one especially feared for its cyber-military prowess — has allowed Ukrainians almost unfettered access to the Internet. This has helped them get weapons to citizens and harness social media to rally global political support through direct, emotional appeals backed by stirring visuals.

“It’s certainly not what anyone predicted,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, a longtime cybersecurity executive and U.S. government adviser who heads Silverado Policy Accelerator.

Ukraine’s core cyberdefense has done better than expected because it focused on the issue after Russian hackers briefly knocked out power to swaths of the country in 2015 and 2016, said David Cowan, a veteran cybersecurity venture capitalist and corporate director, and because it has had help from American and European experts.

Recent Headlines

 

ny times logoNew York Times, Major League Baseball canceled games, delaying the start of the season, James Wagner, March 2, 2022 (print ed.). After the league and the players’ union failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement by M.L.B.’s self-imposed deadline Tuesday evening, the league said the season would not start on March 31.

Major League Baseball canceled the first two series of the 2022 regular season on Tuesday after the league and the players’ union failed to reach a new collective bargaining agreement.

After nearly a year of negotiating, including nine straight days of talks between the league and the union in Florida starting Feb. 21, the sides could not come to a new pact by M.L.B.’s self-imposed deadline of 5 p.m. Tuesday in order to begin the 162-game season on March 31 as scheduled.

Rob Manfred, the M.L.B. commissioner, announced the cancellations in a news conference on Tuesday at Roger Dean Stadium, where the Cardinals and Marlins would usually be having spring training but instead hosted the talks.

“I had hoped against hope I wouldn’t have to have this press conference where I am going to cancel some regular season games,” Manfred said, adding, “I want to assure our fans that our failure to reach an agreement was not due to a lack of effort by either party.”

 

March 1

Top Headlines

ukraine russian convoy north kyiv maxar technologies

 

U.S. State of the Union

 

World Disasters, Climate Change

 

Virus Victims, Responses

 

Nuclear Threat

 

U.S. Law, Courts, Crime, Race

 

U.S. Media, Education, Sports, Religion

 

U.S. Elections, Politics, Governance

 

More Ukraine Coverage

 

Top Stories

 

ukraine russian convoy north kyiv maxar technologies

A huge convoy of Russian armour, about 40 miles long, is advancing on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, satellite images show. Satellite imagery company Maxar Technology says that earlier reports indicating the column of Russian armour advancing on Kyiv is 17 miles (27km) long are inaccurate.

washington post logoWashington Post, Convoy near Kyiv stalls but forces close in on Kharkiv, other cities, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng, Ellen Francis, Timothy Bella, Phoebe Connelly and Dan Lamothe, March 1, 2022. Nearly 680,000 Ukrainians have fled in what might be ‘Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century,’ U.N. says. A 40-mile-long Russian convoy approaching Kyiv had “stalled,” perhaps to regroup, a senior U.S. defense official said, but other forces gathered menacing strength on Tuesday, six days into the invasion of Ukraine. A projectile appeared to hit near Kharkiv’s administration building, and a missile strike that appeared to target Kyiv’s TV Tower also hit the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial and killed five people.

In the southern part of the country, Russian and Ukrainian forces are fighting in the city of Kherson, and Russia has occupied Berdyansk and taken possession of Melitopol, a city of about 150,000. Russian forces remain outside the major southern city of Mariupol but are now close enough to attack it with artillery and other long-range weapons, the senior defense official said.

Kharkiv remains under Ukrainian control but is “surrounded” by Russian troops, Mayor Ihor Terekhov told The Washington Post. In Kyiv, residents are bracing for an all-out assault as the Russian force, under the command of a president whose country has quickly become an international political and economic pariah, is apparently preparing to encircle the capital. A senior U.S. defense official said the Kremlin seems ready to adopt the same siege tactics that are beginning to strangle Kharkiv.

There, thousands are without power and heat in freezing temperatures, local officials said, and residents braced for more shelling Tuesday. Suspected cluster munitions struck residential parts of Kharkiv on Monday, raising fears that Russia could use tactics similar to those employed in Chechnya and Syria, where it has been accused of war crimes.

Here’s what to know:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with President Biden ahead of his State of the Union address about sanctions and against Russia as well as U.S. defense assistance. Meantime, Congressional Democrats and Republicans are rallying around a new push to provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.

The European Union nations are probably not about to send fighter jets to Ukraine, despite a senior E.U. official’s vow that aircraft would be among the military aid the bloc planned to send to Kyiv, officials. Zelensky pleaded Tuesday with the European Union to admit his country on an emergency basis.

The United States and other world powers decided to release 60 million barrels of oil from their reserves, a move intended to reduce gasoline prices that have climbed rapidly in recent weeks, according to the International Energy Agency.

The Ukrainian government turned to the markets on Tuesday for financial help, raising the equivalent of $277 million by issuing war bonds to bolster the country’s military defenses, officials said.

Ukrainians and their supporters have used social media to bruise, belittle and humiliate the Russians, seeking to boost citizens’ spirits and sap invaders’ morale during the most Internet-accessible war in history.

ukraine war map 2 27 2022 nc

ny times logoNew York Times, EXPLOSION SHAKES CENTRAL KHARKIV, Staff Reports, March 1, 2022. Fireball Seen as Ukraine’s Second-Largest City Is Hit Again.

An explosion from an apparent rocket strike devastated a large administrative building in Ukraine’s second largest city on Tuesday, killing seven people and injuring 24, according to emergency officials. It raised fears that Russian forces are increasingly targeting populated areas with more powerful weapons.

The explosion in Kharkiv came a day after at least nine people were killed in Russian shelling in the eastern city, which has experienced some of the heaviest attacks in the six days since Russia launched its invasion. A convoy of Russian tanks and vehicles about 40 miles long was also seen in satellite images just north of the capital, Kyiv, where Ukrainian forces and civilian volunteers are preparing to mount a resistance as many civilians flee.

Here are the latest developments:

  • The attack came a day after shelling killed at least nine civilians in the city. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine accused Russia of war crimes.
  • A convoy of Russian armed forces stretching about 40 miles is moving closer to the capital, Kyiv.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Massive Russian convoy nears Kyiv; Kharkiv is ‘surrounded,’ Ukraine’s capital braces for all-out assault, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Steve Hendrix, Rachel Pannett, Amy Cheng and Ellen Francis, March 1, 2022. Russian forces, frustrated by the tenacious defense of major cities by Ukrainian soldiers and ad hoc civilian militias, gathered menacing strength Tuesday, as a projectile appeared to strike near Kharkiv’s administration building and a convoy of tanks, troop carriers and artillery more than 40 miles long threatened Kyiv.

washington post logoWashington Post, In a Kyiv under siege, neighbors dig trenches and raise barriers to prepare for Russian attack, Sudarsan Raghavan, Siobhán O’Grady, Whitney Shefte and Kostiantyn Khudov, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Along a highway flowing north from the capital, lined by businesses and tall apartment buildings, the Ukrainian fighters were taking no chances. The Russians were less than an hour’s drive up the road.

By Monday evening, the Ukrainians — a mix of soldiers and volunteers — had dug deep trenches and erected barricades of giant truck tires topped with sand. At one wide intersection, they positioned multiple machine guns including a Soviet-era Dushka heavy gun, shoulder-held antitank rockets and an antiaircraft gun with its barrels pointed at the sky, among other weaponry.

An armored personnel carrier with a cannon was covered by a green camouflage tarpaulin. And outside one building, they were making molotov cocktails by the scores. “We are going to give the Russians lots of presents,” promised Yuriy Syrotyuk, 45, a local journalist-turned-warrior, an AK-47 rifle slung over his shoulder.

As Ukrainian and Russian envoys held peace talks at the Belarusian border Monday, Ukrainian forces here, driven by deep mistrust of the Russians and a desire to protect their homeland, were preparing for the worst-case scenario. That scenario was Russian tanks and soldiers pressing into Kyiv and seizing the seat of government.

This highway stretching through the city’s northern Obolon district is one of the main routes by which the Russians could attack.

A visit Monday to this fortified patch, an area the Ukrainian fighters described as “their second line,” opened a window into the courageous efforts by ordinary Ukrainians to stand up to Russian aggression. But it also portended a violent urban conflict, with the prospect of street-to-street fighting and guerrilla tactics and thousands of civilians trapped in the crossfire.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, during a visit with Ukrainian forces near Donetsk. (Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, center, during a visit with Ukrainian forces near Donetsk. (Presidential Press Service/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

washington post logoWashington Post, What to know about Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s TV president turned wartime leader, Bryan Pietsch, March 1, 2022. Just a few years ago, Volodymyr Zelensky was playing Ukraine’s president on television. Now, he’s a real-life wartime leader directing his outgunned country in its fight against the Russian invasion.

Though Zelensky says he has become the Kremlin’s “target No. 1,” he has earned the respect of much of the Ukrainian public by refusing to flee the capital. Instead he has walked the streets of Kyiv and urged Ukrainians to resist, while crafting a successful communications strategy that has won the volodymyr zelensky suit portraithearts and minds of European leaders and voters.

While acknowledging that Moscow has vastly superior forces it has not yet deployed, Western officials say Zelensky’s leadership volodmyer zelinsky graphichas firmed up Ukrainian resolve. Here’s what you need to know about the president.

Zelensky, 44, right and left, is a former comedian, television personality and actor — and now Ukraine’s head of state. He was born in the city of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine and raised in an “ordinary Soviet Jewish family,” he has said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to justify his invasion of Ukraine as a “denazification” operation, but Zelensky is Jewish and many of his relatives were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust. His grandfather was the only one of four brothers to survive the German occupation of Ukraine.

washington post logoWashington Post, No breakthrough in talks; West increases financial pressure on Russia, Isabelle Khurshudyan, David L. Stern and Karen DeYoung, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Russian and Ukrainian delegations held five hours of inconclusive talks near the Belarus border Monday, as heavy Russian bombardment continued in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and Western countries tightened their financial stranglehold on the Russian banking system.

Amid what appeared to be sporadic missile strikes in Kyiv, satellite photographs showed a Russian column of troops and armored vehicles stretching for 17 miles and heading southeast, in the direction of the Ukrainian capital. The United Nations refugee agency said more than half a million Ukrainians, primarily women and children, had fled to neighboring countries seeking safety.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a video posted late Monday, called the shelling of Kharkiv a “war crime” and the “deliberate destruction of people” in areas where there are no military facilities. Calling for an international tribunal to judge Russia’s actions, he said, “No one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people.”

ukraine NATO wpost

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: After a Fumbled Start, Russian Forces Hit Harder in Ukraine, Steven Erlanger, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). After days of miscalculation about Ukraine’s resolve to fight, Russian forces are turning toward an old pattern of opening fire on cities and mounting sieges. Russia appeared to miscalculate Ukraine’s resolve to fight. But the war was already changing quickly on Monday.

When Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine with nearly 200,000 troops, many observers — and seemingly President Vladimir V. Putin himself — expected that they would roll right in and the fighting would be over quickly. Instead, after five days of war, what appears to be unfolding is a Russian miscalculation about their own tactics and about how hard the Ukrainians would fight.

ukraine flagNo major cities have been taken after an initial Russian push toward Kyiv, the capital, stalled. While Russia appeared to pull its punches, Ukraine marshaled and armed civilians to cover more ground, and its military has attacked Russian convoys and supply lines, leaving video evidence of scorched Russian vehicles and dead soldiers.

But the war was already changing quickly on Monday, and ultimately, it is likely to turn on just how far Russia is willing to go to subjugate Ukraine. The Russian track record in the Syrian civil war, and in its own ruthless efforts to crush separatism in the Russian region of Chechnya, suggest an increasingly brutal campaign ahead.

BBC, Daily Summary: Dozens of civilians were killed earlier on Monday in Russian missile strikes on Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, the interior ministry oan logosays, Staff Reports, Feb. 28, 2022. Air raid sirens are once again heard in Kyiv with reports of a Russian strike on the outskirts of the city.

Negotiators for Kyiv and Moscow have held talks in Belarus in a bid to end the conflict. Russia says both sides have agreed to continue talking and will meet again “in the next few days.” Before the meeting, Ukraine’s President Zelensky urged Russian troops to lay down their weapons and called for immediate EU membership. Fifa and Uefa have suspended Russian football clubs and national teams from all competitions. The UN says more than half a million refugees have now fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries.

 

Russian President Vladimir V. Putin chairing a meeting with members of Russia’s Security Council in Moscow, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2022 (Pool photo by Alexei Nikolsky).

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Russia Is a Potemkin Superpower, Paul Krugman, right, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Beware, Vladimir Putin: Spring is coming. And paul krugmanwhen it does, you’ll lose much of whatever leverage you had left.

Before Putin invaded Ukraine, I might have described the Russian Federation as a medium-size power punching above its weight in part by exploiting Western divisions and corruption, in part by maintaining a powerful military. Since then, however, two things have become clear. First, Putin has delusions of grandeur. Second, Russia is even weaker than most people, myself included, seem to have realized.

It has long been obvious that Putin desperately wants to restore Russia’s status as a Great Power. His already infamous “there is no such thing as Ukraine” speech, in which he condemned Lenin (!) for giving his neighbor what Putin considers a false sense of national identity, made it clear that his aims go beyond recreating the Soviet Union — he apparently wants to recreate the czarist empire. And he apparently thought that he could take a big step toward that goal with a short, victorious war.

So far, it hasn’t worked out as planned. Ukrainian resistance has been fierce; Russia’s military has been less effective than advertised. I’ve been especially struck by reports that the early days of the invasion were hampered by severe logistical problems — that is, the invaders had a hard time providing their forces with the essentials of modern war, above all fuel. It’s true that supply problems are common in war; still, logistics is one thing advanced nations are supposed to be really good at.

But Russia is looking less and less like an advanced nation.

The truth is that I was being generous in describing Russia as even a medium-size power. Britain and France are medium-size powers; Russia’s gross domestic product is only a bit more than half as large as either’s. It seemed remarkable that such an economically underweight state could support a world-class, highly sophisticated military — and maybe it couldn’t.

That’s not to deny that the force ravaging Ukraine has immense firepower, and it may well take Kyiv. But I wouldn’t be surprised if post-mortems on the Ukraine war eventually show that there was a lot more rot at the heart of Putin’s military than anyone realized.

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Unrecognized state propped up by Moscow refuses to participate in invasion of Ukraine, Wayne Madsen, left, wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallMarch 1, 2022. In what can only be described as a diplomatic volte-face, the leader of an unrecognized nation that is propped up by Russia and which hosts two battalions of the Operational Group of Russian Forces, has surprised Russia by remaining neutral in the Russo-Ukrainian war.

wayne madesen report logoThe leader in question is Vadim Krasnoselsky, the president of the self-declared Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic, also known as Transnistria, a narrow strip of territory along the Dniester River between the independent Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

In January 2022, Ukrainian intelligence obtained details of a planned Russian false flag attack on the Russian battalions in Transnistria that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prepared to use as a casus belli to launch an invasion of Ukraine. What changed Moscow’s plans was Krasnoselsky’s statement that Transnistria would not participate in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and would remain neutral.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Five vile things Trump did to Zelensky and Ukraine that you forgot about, Greg Sargent, right, March 1, 2022. With the Russian greg sargentinvasion of Ukraine getting more horrific, Donald Trump and his allies are frantically erasing the truth about Trump’s relations with Ukraine. Trump absurdly claims that as president, he stood strong behind Ukraine and NATO, while his spinners comically downplay his corrupt and deeply malevolent betrayal of our ally.

The obvious rejoinder to this spin is that Trump got impeached for withholding military aid to strong-arm Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into manufacturing propaganda to help Trump’s reelection. This came even as Zelensky pleaded for help against Russian aggression, which the world is now witnessing unfold in all its horror.

But the focus only on that episode risks oversimplifying the story. It casts this recent history as being mainly about Trump’s personal corruption, i.e., his effort to use foreign policy to smear his campaign opponent.

A broader focus shows that this saga was, and is, really about the United States’ foreign policy posture: In episode after episode, Trump aligned our interests with those of Russian President Vladimir Putin and against those of Ukraine, NATO and the West.

“Trump acted against U.S. interests with the consequence of aiding Russian interests,” Alexander Vindman, the former lieutenant colonel who testified dramatically against Trump, told me.

All this is particularly pressing, given that Trump is likely to run for president again. The simplest way to illustrate this is by recalling five other things Trump did with regard to Zelensky and Ukraine:

1. Spread propaganda about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election. As early as 2017, Trump began voicing the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 presidential election. This was one of the things Trump pressured Zelensky to “investigate” while withholding military aid. It’s complete nonsense, and crucially, it echoed Russian propaganda that had a geopolitical purpose.

2. Ousted the well-regarded U.S. ambassador to Ukraine

3. Froze military assistance to Ukraine

4. Withheld a White House meeting from Zelensky

5. Turned Ukraine policy over to Giuliani

 

U.S. State of the Union

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden wanted to use the State of the Union for his agenda. Then Russia started a land war, Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). His team has shifted his address to portray the tension between democracy and autocracy.

joe biden resized oPresident Biden’s team has revised his first State of the Union address to portray Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine as a major crisis facing the West, according to a person familiar with the text, shifting the tenor of a speech that his team had long hoped would launch a reset of his administration.

While not a wholesale rewrite of the address, which will be delivered at 9 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday from the U.S. Capitol, the new version will reflect the way the crisis has added urgency to Biden’s running theme of defending democracies, according to one adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

This new heavy dose of foreign policy is one of several ways the speech will depart from the typical State of the Union address, which modern presidents usually use to sell domestic ideas and exhibit sunny optimism. This year, Biden must also contend with a 40-year record in the pace of inflation, which he plans to address under the rubric of “lowering costs,” according to one person briefed on the address, along with voter angst driven by high crime and lingering coronavirus restrictions.

joe biden black background resized serious file

washington post logoWashington Post, The state of the union, according to President Biden’s worried supporters, Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Dan Simmons, Rose Hansen and Barry Yeoman, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Even among those who — reluctantly or enthusiastically — voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump, there is growing worry that things are not going as they’d hoped.

 

World Disasters, Climate Change

 

climate change photo

washington post logoWashington Post, Humanity has a ‘rapidly closing window’ to avoid a deadly future, U.N. climate report says, Sarah Kaplan and Brady Dennis, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). In the hotter and more hellish world humans are creating, parts of the planet could become unbearable in the not-so-distant future, a panel of the world’s foremost scientists warned Monday in an exhaustive report on the escalating toll of climate change.
10 steps you can take to lower your carbon footprint

Unchecked greenhouse gas emissions will raise sea levels several feet, swallowing small island nations and overwhelming even the world’s wealthiest coastal regions. Drought, heat, hunger and disaster may force millions of people from their homes. Coral reefs could vanish, along with a growing number of animal species. Disease-carrying insects would proliferate. Deaths — from malnutrition, extreme heat, pollution — will surge.

These are some of the grim projections detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body dedicated to providing policymakers with regular assessments of the warming world.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Here are five takeaways from the U.N. report on climate hazards, Raymond Zhong, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Global warming is affecting every part of the planet. Humans should have started preparing yesterday.A body of experts convened by the United Nations has put out its most comprehensive look to date at how climate change is affecting our homes, health, livelihoods and infrastructure, as well as the natural systems upon which they all depend.

United NationsThe picture is not a cheery one. The report, which was approved by 195 governments, shows how widespread and severe the impacts of human-caused global warming are becoming worldwide — and how hard it will be for societies and ecosystems to manage if nations do not bring greenhouse gas emissions down sharply.

“Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action,” the report says, “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”

Here are five main findings: Climate hazards have worsened significantly in the past decade.

This group of experts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, put out its last big survey of the impacts of climate change in 2014. (It put out a separate report last year on the physical drivers of climate change.) Back in 2014, its report said there was “limited evidence” that nations needed more money to cope with the dangers than was being allocated. Global warming was having a “relatively small” effect on human health, the panel’s report said, compared with other stressors.

washington post logoWashington Post, Cities submerged, at least 10 dead in ‘unprecedented’ Australian floods, Frances Vinall, March 1, 2022. Ten people have died, and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes in eastern Australia as almost a week of torrential rain and record flooding have submerged houses, washed away construction cranes and smashed boats like toys.

Flash floods had swept through 185 miles of Australia’s coast across two states by Tuesday, with warnings in place for the most populated city, Sydney, as the country endures the final months of the La Niña weather pattern.

washington post logoWashington Post, How Ukrainians have used social media to humiliate the Russians and rally the world, Drew Harwell and Rachel Lerman, March 1, 2022. A defiant resistance has used the Internet to counter one of the world’s most fearsome war machines, telling the invaders, ‘Welcome to hell.’

Ukrainians and their supporters have used social media to bruise, belittle and humiliate the Russians, seeking to boost citizens’ spirits and sap invaders’ morale during the most Internet-accessible war in history.

A flood of real-time videos across Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and Twitter has blunted Kremlin propaganda and rallied the world to Ukraine’s side as it facebook logofights to defend its democracy from a military behemoth.

It has also potentially saved lives: Ukrainians have raced to disseminate defensive strategies, plot escape routes and document the brutality of a raging clash. Some expect that the phone footage recorded in recent days could play a critical role in investigating war crimes after the combat ends.

Russia has long been fabled as the Internet’s most wily mischief-maker, and the nation’s propaganda machine has for years used social and state-backed media to deceive and disempower its enemies.

But Ukraine has in many ways begun to beat Russia at its own game, using constant, colorful communication to foment a digital resistance and expose its aggression on a global stage.

tiktok logo CustomThe tactics reveal how social media has opened a new dimension of modern war, showing how the Internet has become not only a territory to fight over but a tactic for real-world conquest.

It has also helped Ukrainians feel they can contribute to the fight. Solomiia Shalaiska, a Kyiv-based motion designer, said she felt helpless until she started posting pro-Ukraine rally images on an Instagram page she previously used for art and design.

One image — a David-and-Goliath-style map comparing the size of both countries titled “Realize the Scale of Ukrainian Heroism” — has been “liked” more than 100,000 times in the past day. Shalaiska said she has joined the nation’s nascent “IT army” of volunteer hackers and hell-raisers, who have worked to counter Russian psychological operations by overwhelming their websites and flooding their intelligence officers with spam. (Shalaiska said she has helped mostly by spreading information and reporting bots.)

washington post logoWashington Post, Cyberwar predictions are still unrealized in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Joseph Menn and Craig Timberg, March 1, 2022. For more than a decade, military commanders and outside experts have laid out blueprints for how cyberwar would unfold: military and civilian networks would be knocked offline, cutting-edge software would sabotage power plants, and whole populations would be unable to get money, gas or refrigerated food.

But while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spawned all manner of cyberattacks and defenses, few are playing out the way the experts thought they would.

As of Monday, five days after tanks moved into Ukraine, the Internet and other key Ukrainian infrastructure were still functioning, the outgunned Ukrainian military was still coordinating effectively and Russia’s vaunted disinformation capabilities were failing to persuade Ukrainians that resistance is futile.

“We imagined this orchestrated unleashing of violence in cyberspace, this ballet of attacks striking Ukraine in waves, and instead of that we have a brawl. And not even a very consequential brawl, just yet,” said Jason Healey, a former White House staffer for infrastructure protection and intelligence officer who’s now a research scholar on cyber conflict at Columbia University.

A vastly larger, more powerful military — one especially feared for its cyber-military prowess — has allowed Ukrainians almost unfettered access to the Internet. This has helped them get weapons to citizens and harness social media to rally global political support through direct, emotional appeals backed by stirring visuals.

“It’s certainly not what anyone predicted,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, a longtime cybersecurity executive and U.S. government adviser who heads Silverado Policy Accelerator.

Ukraine’s core cyberdefense has done better than expected because it focused on the issue after Russian hackers briefly knocked out power to swaths of the country in 2015 and 2016, said David Cowan, a veteran cybersecurity venture capitalist and corporate director, and because it has had help from American and European experts.

 

U.S. Elections, Politics, Governance

washington post logoWashington Post, Conservative pro-Trump attorneys subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee, Jacqueline Alemany, March 1, 2022. The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, issued a subpoena Tuesday to Republican attorney Cleta Mitchell seeking records and testimony from the key legal adviser to former president Donald Trump who led efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

The conservative firebrand is one of several lawyers subpoenaed by the panel who were also closely involved with various strategies to delay or overturn christina bobb resizedthe certification of Joe Biden’s victory, including Christina Bobb, right, an attorney turned One America News host, and Katherine Friess, who worked closely with Rudolph W. Giuliani and former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik.

Several of these lawyers spoke with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the committee’s findings.

“The six individuals we’ve subpoenaed today all have knowledge related to those matters and will help the Select Committee better understand all the various strategies employed to potentially affect the outcome of the election,” said the panel’s chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), in a statement that accompanied letters that transmitted notice of the subpoenas. “We expect these witnesses to join the hundreds who have cooperated with the Select Committee as we work to provide the American people with answers about the violence of January 6th and its causes.”

Bobb and Friess were “reportedly involved in efforts to draft an executive order for then-President Trump that would have directed federal agencies to seize voting machines in numerous states,” according to Thompson’s statement.

Mitchell established an “election integrity working group” in August 2020, as directed by Trump, but became best known for her participation in a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and other state officials during which Trump urged them to find evidence to overturn Georgia’s November election results.

In his letter to Mitchell seeking her cooperation, Thompson cites her promotion of “false claims of election fraud to Members of Congress” and her participation in the call between Trump and Raffensperger, along with her contact with Trump on Jan. 6 “and in the days prior,” per the committee’s findings.

Thompson, who said earlier this week that the public hearings would likely start in April, requested that Mitchell appear before the panel March 28.

“The timeline moves based on the information we see, and as new information comes, it moves,” Thompson told reporters Tuesday.

Kenneth Chesebro, a Boston-area attorney, is also among the list of legal advisers to Trump subpoenaed by the panel. Thompson cites Chesebro’s promotion of legal theories that supported the Trump campaign’s “use of alternate slates of electors in states that former President Trump had lost.”

Thompson also alleges that Chesebro “participated in efforts that you told the Trump campaign would ‘bolster’ the argument for delaying the electoral certification and make the public ‘believe[e] that the election in [Wisconsin] was likely rigged, and stolen by Biden and Harris, who were not legitimately elected.’ ”

The committee is also seeking documents and a deposition from Kurt Olsen, an attorney who represented the state of Texas to sue Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over how they conducted their elections.

Olsen, according to Thompson’s letter, contacted “various high-level officials at the Department of Justice at the former President’s ‘direct[ion]’ to discuss filing a last-minute challenge to the election based on a similar case that the Supreme Court had already rejected.”

He also “reportedly prepared a draft executive order for former President Trump that would have directed the U.S. Department of Justice ‘to take voter action,’ ” and had “multiple telephone calls” with Trump, according to the committee’s findings.

Former Kansas attorney general Phillip Kline is also on the list of lawyers the committee subpoenaed over his role in convening a meeting “between President Trump and more than 300 state legislatures in an attempt to disseminate purported evidence of election fraud, encouraging them to sign onto a letter urging Vice President Mike Pence to delay the electoral certification on January 6, 2021,” according to Thompson.

ny times logoNew York Times, It’s Primary Day in Texas. Here’s a Sneak Peek at America’s Midterm Battles, Shane Goldmacher and J. David Goodman, March 1, 2022. The Texas primaries will provide the first pieces of the 2022 midterm puzzle, with former President Trump’s continued hold on Republican voters at play.

The Texas primaries on Tuesday will provide the first pieces of the 2022 midterm puzzle.

The strength of the two parties’ ideological factions. The intensity of Donald J. Trump’s continued hold on the Republican electorate. And, for bullish Republicans, the earliest signs of how advantageous the political climate has become.

The full picture of the 2022 landscape will be revealed through a series of state-by-state primaries held over the next six months. But the country’s first primary elections in Texas represent almost a sneak peek of many of the coming dynamics nationwide in an increasingly challenging environment for President Biden and the Democrats. That includes the impact of strict new voting rules imposed by the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature and the political salience of abortion for both parties.

A Texas state law last year effectively banned most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, and this year a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court is expected in the Mississippi abortion case, which could affect procedures in multiple states. In South Texas, progressives are attempting to defeat one of the last anti-abortion Democrats remaining in Congress, Representative Henry Cuellar, and they received a political gift when the F.B.I. recently raided his home. Falling short under those circumstances would be a blow for the left after Mr. Cuellar narrowly won two years ago.

At the top of the ticket, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is widely expected to vault past two spirited right-wing challengers. But he is also likely to come nowhere close to the 90 percent he marshaled in his last primary four years ago, a testament to an increasingly restive Republican base.

washington post logoWashington Post, Texas’s primaries are happening on a legally disputed congressional map (interactive), Harry Stevens, Feb. 24, 2022. The Justice Department is challenging redrawn districts for the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Houston and its suburbs, and a district in West Texas.

washington post logoLas Vegas Review-Journal, VIDEO: Nevada governor, first lady accosted, threatened at Las Vegas restaurant, Bill Dentzer, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Governor Sisolak threatened at local restaurant. Gov. Steve Sisolak and his wife Kathy were accosted and threatened at a Las Vegas restaurant Sunday by at least two men who shouted racial and anti-government epithets at them in an incident captured on cell phone video.

steve sisolakThe governor (shown at right in a file photo) released a statement Monday decrying the incident but declined additional comment, noting it was under investigation by state police. The governor was without his security detail at the time he was confronted.

A minute-long video, sent to news outlets and posted on social media, shows the encounter at a restaurant identified as Lindo Michoacan in Summerlin. It begins with a man appearing to want a selfie with the governor before unleashing a stream of profanities at him.

“I can’t tell you what a piece of f—-ing s—- you are,” the man says.

“Sorry to hear that,” Sisolak says, stepping away.

The oral assault continues as the man and at least one other follow the governor through the restaurant and outside as the Sisolaks leave.

A statement from the governor’s office Monday said Sisolak had arrived Sunday at the restaurant for dinner with his wife and a daughter when he “was approached by a customer in the establishment who asked to take a photo with him. The Governor often greets Nevadans in public with a quick handshake, conversation or a picture – talking to Nevadans is one of the Governor’s favorite parts of his job.”

The governor was “deeply disappointed in how this incident unfolded, particularly with the language used to talk about First Lady Kathy Sisolak’s heritage. We can disagree about the issues, but the personal attacks and threats are unwarranted, unwelcome and unbecoming behavior for Nevadans.”

The man in the video has been identified through social media as Justin Andersch, a self-described “digital creator” whose website and podcast promote extreme-right anti-government conspiracy theories. A second video posted to social media, taken from the table where Andersch was sitting in the restaurant, shows him rising from the table to approach the governor.

“Sisolak, right?” the man says. “This is amazing.”

“Right,” the governor responds, posing for the photo before the encounter takes a bad turn.

The man identified as Andersch continues to scream threats and profanities at the governor and his wife as they leave.

“You’re in here without security?” he shouts. “I’m surprised you have the balls to be out here in public, punk.”

The altercation continues outside and the language becomes more threatening, with a second man joining in.

“You running into a patriot now. Huh? Huh?” the first man says.

 

Recent Headlines

 

Virus Updates, Reactions

ny times logoNew York Times The mask mandate in the Capitol is being lifted in time for President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jonathan Weisman, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). The House of Representatives is lifting the House floor mask mandate in time for President Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, ending a requirement that had allowed some Republicans to express their defiance, but at a personal cost.

Congress’s attending physician, Brian P. Monahan, delivered the news on Sunday, saying coronavirus cases had dropped so much in Washington that mask wearing should become optional, not mandatory.

“People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with Covid-19 should wear a properly fitted, high-quality filtration mask,” Dr. Monahan said, but even that was advisory.

It was yet another mask mandate being lifted, as others are being eliminated in states and cities across the country.

For months now, compliance with the mandate in the Capitol complex has been spotty and partisan. But on the House floor, the House sergeant-at-arms has diligently enforced the mask mandate and reported scofflaws to the House Ethics Committee. It has levied fine after fine, especially on Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew S. Clyde, both Republicans of Georgia, who racked up more than $100,000 combined in fines while declaring the mandate authoritarian.

Compliance on the Senate side of the Capitol was far looser, with no real consequences to ignoring the mandate. The date for the president’s State of the Union address is later this year than is traditional — it will be the first to be delivered in March. And, unlike last year’s event, it will be open to all members of Congress, who will be required to produce a negative coronavirus test before entering the chamber for the president’s annual message.

Last year, the president spoke to a socially distanced audience of fewer than 200 officials, a small fraction of the packed crowd of lawmakers that is typically present for the speech. Those who were allowed to attend were instructed to wear masks, and they sat with several empty seats separating them from other audience members.

ny times logoNew York Times, New York City is dropping school mask mandates and indoor vaccination rules, Staff Reports, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). The restrictions will end on March 7 if case numbers remain low. In Hong Kong, the worst outbreak of the pandemic is overloading hospitals.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • New York City says it will end the school mask mandate and indoor vaccination requirements.
  • Hong Kong hospitals can’t keep up with the deaths amid an Omicron surge.
  • Kyrie Irving still won’t be able to play in Brooklyn if the mayor lifts some Covid restrictions next week.
  • The mask mandate in the Capitol is being lifted in time for the State of the Union.
  • South Korea tries to free up workers to battle a surge in cases.

ny times logopfizer logoNew York Times, Pfizer Shot Is Far Less Effective in 5- to 11-Year-Olds, New Data Show, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). While protection against hospitalization is still strong, the vaccine offered almost no protection against infection, even just a month after full vaccination.

ny times logoNew York Times, Three West Coast States to Lift School Mask Mandates, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). California, Oregon and Washington will stop requiring masks in schools after March 11, the governors of the three states said. Here’s the latest.

Worldometer, World & U.S. Coronavirus Case Totals (updated March 1, 2022), with some governments reporting lower numbers than the covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2totals here and some experts saying the numbers are far higher:

World Cases: 437,590,133, Deaths: 5,977,350
U.S. Cases:     80,647,343, Deaths:   975,150
Indian Cases:   42,931,045, Deaths:   514,054
Brazil Cases:   28,787,620, Deaths:   649,443

Related Recent Headlines:

 

Nuclear Threat

 

 

vladimir putin security council 2 21 2022 alexey nikolsky sputnik afp getty

President Vladimir V. Putin meeting with members of Russia’s Security Council in Moscow on Monday (Photo: Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images).

washington post logoWashington Post, Overview: Putin puts nuclear forces on alert as Ukrainian civilian deaths mount, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Drew Harwell, Robyn Dixon and Miriam Berger, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). Though Ukraine has agreed to diplomatic talks and soldiers fought off invaders in its biggest cities, fears of a refugee and humanitarian crisis have grown. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian soldiers “are fighting against everything alive.”

washington post logoWashington Post, With Russian nuclear forces on alert, crisis enters a more dangerous phase, Missy Ryan, Karoun Demirjian, John Hudson and Shane Harris, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put Russian nuclear forces on alert thrust the crisis over Ukraine into a more volatile phase on Sunday, fueling the potential for deadly miscalculation as the West’s campaign of economic reprisal increases the chances the Russian leader could see his survival and that of the Russian state at risk.

U.S. officials were scrambling in the hours following Putin’s order, issued as Russian troops face stiff resistance in the fourth day of their invasion of Ukraine, to decode what the enigmatic leader’s decision meant in practice. Experts said it was the first time the Kremlin, which has the world’s biggest nuclear stockpile, had made such an announcement since the Russian Federation was established in 1991.

Putin described the move as a response to what he called “aggressive statements” from the West and its escalating package of economic retaliation. The sanctions, including new steps unveiled Saturday that would cut off Russia’s financial institutions from the global economy and cripple its central bank, have already sent the ruble tumbling to a record low, raising questions about how Russia’s economy can hold on.

ny times logoNew York Times, When President Vladimir Putin declared a nuclear alert, President Biden sought a different path, David E. Sanger and William J. Broad, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). When the Russian leader ordered his nuclear forces into “special combat readiness,” the U.S. could have gone on high alert. Instead, the administration tried not to inflame him.

They could match the move and put American forces on Defcon 3 — known to moviegoers as that moment when the Air Force rolls out bombers, and nuclear silos and submarines are put on high alert. Or the president could largely ignore it, sending out aides to portray Mr. Putin as once again manufacturing a menace, threatening Armageddon for a war he started without provocation.

For now, at least, Mr. Biden chose to de-escalate. The American ambassador to the United Nations reminded the Security Council on Sunday afternoon that Russia was “under no threat” and chided Mr. Putin for “another escalatory and unnecessary step that threatens us all.” The White House made it clear that America’s own alert status had not changed.

But to many in the administration, who spoke on Sunday on the condition of anonymity, it was a stark reminder of how quickly the Ukraine crisis could spin into a direct superpower confrontation — and how it may yet do so, as Mr. Putin tests how far he can go and threatens to use the ultimate weapon to get there.

 

U.S. Media, Education, Sports, Religion

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin fully loses her patience with Fox’s Ukraine punditry, Aaron Blake, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Among the many times in which punditry can go very wrong, few rank as high as wartime. And nothing demonstrates that better than some corners of Fox News right now.

tucker carlsonTucker Carlson, right, has spent years suggesting maybe Vladimir Putin isn’t a bad guy. Several of its hosts wagered that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was manufactured to distract from the Biden administration’s domestic political issues — right before Russia actually invaded. A number of its pundits and hosts have seen their statements on issues like sanctions contradicted by the network’s actual reporting on the situation.

fox news logo SmallFox’s Jennifer Griffin seems to have almost completely lost patience with all of it.

The Washington Post’s Jeremy Barr reported Friday on how the network’s respected longtime national security correspondent has repeatedly found herself in the position of fact-checking her network’s hosts and pundits. And it continued this weekend, with Griffin apparently becoming even more exasperated. She even went so far as to seemingly question the platform her employer has afforded some fringe figures.

washington post logoWashington Post, Art Briles steps down as Grambling’s offensive coordinator days after being hired, Des Bieler, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Just days after being hired to be Grambling’s offensive coordinator, Art Briles stepped down from the position. The former Baylor head coach, who was fired from the school in 2016 amid criticism of his handling of sexual assault allegations against a number of his players, said in a statement Monday that he didn’t want to be a distraction for Grambling’s program.

 

Law, Courts, Crime, Race

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court conservatives seem skeptical of EPA emissions regulation, Robert Barnes, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). Some of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices seemed skeptical Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency can proceed with sweeping regulation of climate-warming emissions from the nation’s power plants without clearer authority from Congress.

Such a finding would be in step with the justices’ worry that federal agencies are exceeding the powers granted to them. But it would be a huge blow for the Biden administration, which has ambitious plans to drastically cut emissions and would like the U.S. power grid to run entirely on clean energy by 2035.

In Monday’s two-hour hearing, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated that the ambitious plans of the administration implicated the “major questions” doctrine. That says agencies undertaking such actions must be clearly authorized by Congress, rather than relying on general language in federal law, in this case the Clean Air Act.

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court to review Indian Child Welfare Act, which prioritizes adoptions by Native American parents, tribes, Robert Barnes, March 1, 2022 (print ed.). The Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of a federal law intended to rectify past abuses of Native American children being removed from their homes and tribes, the justices announced Monday.

The court consolidated four cases about the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which prioritizes placement of Indian children with relatives, other Native Americans or a tribe. The act was intended to stop past practices in which hundreds of thousands of Native American children were removed from their homes by adoption agencies and placed with White families or in group settings.

Native Americans say the law is essential to them, and have pledged to defend it.

washington post logoWashington Post, Man fatally shoots 4, including his 3 daughters, in Sacramento church before killing himself, Jaclyn Peiser, March 1, 2022 (print ed). 
A father fatally shot his three daughters and one other person before killing himself in a Sacramento church Monday, law enforcement officials said.

The girls were 9, 10 and 13, authorities told reporters. The fourth victim was supervising the 39-year-old father’s visit with his daughters, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones confirmed. It is unclear whether the person was a social worker or affiliated with the church.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr calls prospect of Trump running for president again ‘dismaying,’ says GOP should ‘look forward’ to others, Matt Zapotosky and Josh Dawsey, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). Former attorney general William P. Barr says in a new book that the prospect of Donald Trump running for president again is “dismaying” and urges the Republican Party to “look forward” to other candidates, concluding after a searing, behind-the-scenes account of his time in the president’s Cabinet that Trump is not the right man to lead the country.

In the book, One Damn Thing After Another, Barr takes shot after shot at Trump, especially over his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and his false claims that the election was stolen from him. Barr, who had a famous falling-out with Trump late in his presidency, writes that Trump’s “constant bellicosity diminishes him and the office,” and that in the final months of the administration, he came to realize that “Trump cared only about one thing: himself. Country and principle took second place.”

“We need leaders not only capable of fighting and ‘punching,’ but also persuading and attracting — leaders who can frame, and advocate for, an uplifting vision of what it means to share in American citizenship,” Barr writes. “Donald Trump has shown he has neither the temperament nor persuasive powers to provide the kind of positive leadership that is needed.”

Barr styles the book, to be published March 8, as a memoir of his life. He recounts events as far back as his childhood on the Upper West Side of New York City. He launches blistering attacks on liberals and the news media — whom he views even more dimly than the former president — while outlining his conservative views on crime, religion, gender and sexuality. He also defends his handling of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report, and details how the Justice Department navigated allegations that Trump had committed a crime in pressuring Ukraine’s president to investigate Joe Biden.

Most notably, he unloads on Trump, casting him as an “incorrigible” narcissist who, “through his self-indulgence and lack of self-control,” blew the 2020 election and then did “a disservice to the nation” in falsely claiming his defeat was due to fraud.

“The election was not ‘stolen,’” Barr writes. “Trump lost it.”

Other Headlines:

  • New York Times, Retail Theft Rises, and N.Y.C. Small Business Owners Are Paying the Price, In New York City, neighborhood stores are struggling to confront the crimes that have stemmed from the disruptions of the pandemic.
  • New York Times, First Jan. 6 Trial to Open, Allowing Prosecutors to Set Out Broad Case.

 

More Ukraine Coverage

 

Ukrainian service members pass by a downed aircraft on Feb. 25, 2022 (Photo by Oleksandr Ratushniak via the Associated Press).

 Ukrainian service members pass by a downed aircraft on Feb. 25, 2022 (Photo by Oleksandr Ratushniak via the Associated Press).

Guardian, EU to ban Russian state-backed channels RT and Sputnik, Patrick Wintour, Jennifer Rankin and Kate Connolly, Feb. 28, 2022 (print ed.). The EU has announced it will ban the Russian state-backed channels RT and Sputnik in an unprecedented move against the Kremlin media machine.

The European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union. So we are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”

The move, which was not trailed or widely discussed, came as part of a package of tougher sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government and the regime of the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, which Von der Leyen described as “complicit in this vicious attack against Ukraine”.

european union logo rectangleEuropean foreign policy taboos have been smashed in just a few days. European foreign policy taboos have been smashed in just a few days, after Russia invaded its neighbour, provoking fears of the biggest war in Europe since 1945.

For the first time in its history, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons to a country under attack, Von der Leyen said. EU foreign ministers are expected to approve the use of funds from the European Peace Facility to finance lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine at a meeting on Sunday evening. While a handful of countries may hold back, because of policies against sending weapons into a conflict zone, the plan is expected to pass.

Ministers are also set to agree to ban Russian airlines from EU skies, after more than a dozen countries took the decision unilaterally. “Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane – and that includes the private jets of oligarchs,” Von der Leyen said.

Reuters, Monaco clamps down on Russian assets after Ukraine invasion, Staff Report, Feb. 28, 2022. Monaco, a tax haven often favoured by the super-wealthy, will proceed with freezing assets and imposing sanctions on certain Russians following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the Monaco Royal Palace said on Monday.

Prince Albert of Monaco supported all efforts aimed at halting the fighting in Ukraine and encouraging the withdrawal of Russian armed forces from Ukrainian territory, the palace said.

“The Principality has adopted and implemented, without delay, procedures for freezing funds and economic sanctions identical to those taken by most European States,” the palace said in a statement.

Foreigners, including rich Russians, have for years been attracted to Monaco, a tiny Mediterranean principality, by its warm climate and generous tax rules. During the summer months, Monaco’s marina and bay are filled with the superyachts of international billionaires, celebrities and oligarchs. The Monaco Royal Palace did not say whose assets would be frozen.

washington post logoWashington Post, Western businesses’ flight from Russia continues with Shell, GM and others ending or suspending dealings, Jeanne Whalen, Feb. 28, 2022. Companies cut ties to comply with sanctions or to express outrage over Russia’s Ukraine invasion. 

Russia’s business rupture with the West grew wider Monday as Shell, General Motors and others announced plans to end or freeze their dealings with the nation after its invasion of Ukraine.

The string of exits — planned or immediate, permanent or temporary — began to erase decades of business ties, with no clear reconciliation in sight.

Many of the announcements sprang from Western companies attempting to comply with U.S. and European sanctions on Russia, which have banned a range of trade in recent days. Other companies attributed their moves to disgust over the Kremlin’s attack on a sovereign neighbor.

Some of the relationships have survived big ups and downs over the past 30 years or more, but they “just broke in the last week,” said Nick Tsafos, an expert on energy and geopolitics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank. “Companies are basically saying, ‘We don’t want to be part of this.’”

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook and TikTok ban Russian state media in Europe, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Cat Zakrzewski, Facebook also took down a Russian disinformation campaign targeting Ukraine. Facebook and TikTok said Monday that the companies would shut down access to Kremlin-controlled media sites RT and Sputnik in Europe, setting the stage for retaliation from Russia.

facebook logoIn blocking Russian state media in the region, the companies are complying with requests from the European Union and individual governments there to punish the media outlets for sharing misinformation and propaganda about Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

Facebook’s announcement came in a tweet from its president for global affairs, Nick Clegg. TikTok confirmed its decision to The Washington Post late Monday.

Clegg’s announcement came after Facebook disclosed late Sunday that it had disrupted a Russian disinformation operation targeting Ukraine, one of the first official confirmations of such a campaign since the invasion of Ukraine last week. In addition, it said it blocked efforts by a hacking group that in recent days attempted to compromise the accounts of prominent Ukrainians.

Recent Top Ukraine Headlines

 

Ukraine Battlefields

 

World Impacts, Reactions To Russian Invasion

 

U.S. Reactions To Ukraine Crisis

 

Probes Of Trump, Allies

 

djt looking up

ny times logoNew York Times, House Panel Widens Investigation of Trump’s Handling of Documents, Luke Broadwater, Feb. 26, 2022 (print ed.). The Oversight Committee is demanding more information about classified material that former President Trump took with him when he left office.

A House committee on Friday expanded its investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s destruction and removal of White House documents, demanding more information about classified material found at Mr. Trump’s property in Florida and reports that aides had discovered documents in a White House toilet during his time in office.

In a letter to the national archivist, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the Oversight Committee, said the panel was seeking a detailed description of the contents of 15 boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach compound, including their level of classification, and all records that he “had torn up, destroyed, mutilated or attempted to tear up, destroy or mutilate.” She also said the panel wanted documents “relating to White House employees or contractors finding paper in a toilet in the White House, including the White House residence.”

The letter also sought information about the findings of any federal inquiries into the classified material and any communications with Mr. Trump about the Presidential Records Act or White House policies on record-keeping.

“The American people deserve to know the extent of what former President Trump did to hide and destroy federal records and make sure these abuses do not happen again,” Ms. Maloney said in a statement.

washington post logoWashington Post, Backstage drama at Jan. 6 rally for Trump draws interest of House committee, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Beth Reinhard, Feb. 26, 2022. A previously unreported Park Police recording and text exchanges reveal more about the tensions and turf battles among Trump supporters jockeying to influence him as he preached his falsehoods about the election and sought to overturn its results.

At roughly 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2021, a few hours before President Donald Trump and his allies whipped up thousands of supporters with false claims of election fraud, law enforcement was summoned to the rally grounds to deal with a “possible disorderly.”

The incident threatening to disrupt the event at the Ellipse wasn’t happening in the crowd. It was happening backstage.

A simmering feud between rally organizers, including longtime Trump adviser Katrina Pierson and Republican fundraiser Caroline Wren, over who should speak that day was boiling over, culminating in a call to the U.S. Park Police, according to interviews with people familiar with the incident as well as text messages and police radio recordings reviewed by The Washington Post.

The call to police was made by Kylie Jane Kremer, executive director at Women for America First, a pro-Trump group that held the permit for the rally, who was aligned with Pierson in trying to keep some of Wren’s proposed speakers from addressing the crowd. Kremer confirmed in a statement to The Post that she called the Park Police.

Wren, who was listed on the permit for the rally as a “VIP ADVISOR,” had with others organized an initial spreadsheet of potential speakers that included far-right conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones and Ali Alexander, planning documents obtained by The Post show. The final list of Jan. 6 speakers was personally approved by Trump and did not include Jones and Alexander, according to those documents and people involved in the planning, who like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But on the morning of the event, Kremer grew concerned that Wren was rearranging seats and trying to move Jones and Alexander closer to the stage, according to several people involved in the rally.

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