Oct. 2022 News (Pt. 2)

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative news and views in October 2022 from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12.

 

 

Oct. 12

Top Headlines

United Nations

 

U.S. Politics, Elections, Economy, Governance

 

Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers

 

More On Ukraine War

 

GOP Abortion Hypocrisy, Abortion Bans, #MeToo

 

World News, Human Rights

 

More On U.S. Courts, Regulation, Guns

 

Pandemic, Public Health

 

Drought, Energy Issues, Climate, Hurricanes

 

Media, Sports, Culture, Education

 

Top Stories

 

United Nations

Politico, Strong majority of countries rebukes Russia at UN, Nahal Toosi and Ryan Heath, Oct. 12, 2022. 143 countries backed a resolution slamming Russia’s claims of annexation, a larger-than-expected result.

An overwhelming majority of countries castigated Russia on Wednesday over its claims to have annexed Ukrainian territory, with 143 voting in favor of a critical U.N. resolution after heavy lobbying by the U.S., Britain and the European Union.

politico CustomFive countries voted against the resolution — Russia, and four other dictatorships: North Korea, Syria, Belarus and Nicaragua.

It was a stronger showing than many Western officials had predicted ahead of the vote. The ballot followed one of Russia’s biggest attacks on Ukraine since its invasion in February, with missile strikes in more than 20 Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, the capital.

Among the notable yes votes on Wednesday were Bangladesh, Iraq and Morocco, which either abstained or did not vote on an earlier U.N. resolution in March condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
U.S. United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield speaks into a microphone.

A majority of countries in every region — the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe — voted to condemn Russia’s actions, but more than three dozen countries abstained or did not vote.

The abstention bloc reflects that many nations are, for political and historical reasons, unwilling to take sides in a conflict that has nonetheless strained their energy and food supplies.

Overall, the vote vindicated Western officials, who launched an extensive lobbying effort in favor of the resolution arguing Moscow is undermining the U.N.’s foundations by violating another country’s sovereignty.

“Today, it’s Russia invading Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be another nation whose territory is violated,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told other U.N. countries in remarks ahead of the vote Wednesday. “It could be you. You could be next. What would you expect from this chamber?”

“Russia has failed on the battlefield and failed at the U.N.,” the U.K.’s Ambassador Barbara Woodward said in a statement.

“Russia will be held accountable. The EU will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s chief diplomat, said after the vote.

Russia recently vetoed a similar U.N. Security Council resolution, leading its opponents to move the matter to the larger General Assembly, where the Kremlin wields no veto.

 

An injured woman reacts after Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Two explosions rocked Kyiv early Monday following months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital. (Associated Press photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

An injured woman reacts after Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Two explosions rocked Kyiv early Monday following months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital. (Associated Press photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

ny times logoNew York Times, Zelensky Asks G7 for Air Defense Systems to Counter Russian Missiles, Michael Schwirtz, Andrew E. Kramer and Megan Specia, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). In an emergency summit, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for more “modern and effective” systems to fend off attacks, especially from Iranian-supplied drones.

President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the leaders of seven major industrialized nations for more “modern and effective air defense systems” on Tuesday, a day after Russia launched an intense aerial assault against civilian targets in his country.

Additional defense systems are necessary to counter Russian missiles and drones, particularly those supplied by Iran, Mr. Zelensky told the leaders of the Group of 7 nations, who held an emergency meeting a day after Russian missile strikes killed at least 19 people across the country. After the meeting, the leaders pledged “undeterred and steadfast” financial and military support for Ukraine, and emphasized “severe consequences” for Russia if it were to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kyiv braces for prolonged hardship as Russia threatens more strikes, Missy Ryan and Kostiantyn Khudov, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). With Kyiv facing rolling electricity outages, authorities on Tuesday raced to repair the damage from a barrage of Russian missiles that slammed into the heart of the Ukrainian capital, in a significant escalation of the nearly eight-month-old war that drew international condemnation of Moscow.

Many Kyiv residents hurried on Tuesday to make whatever preparations they could ahead of potential cuts to power, heat and water — fearful that the missile strikes, which killed at least 20 people across Ukraine on Monday, were a bleak prelude to what they will face repeatedly in coming months.

The attack, which Russian President Vladimir Putin said was retaliation for an explosion over the weekend on the Crimean Bridge, targeted power plants and other critical infrastructure, and underscored the continuing vulnerability of Ukrainian cities despite a surge in Western military aid since Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion.

Even as they began bracing for difficult months ahead, Kyiv residents voiced determination and resolve.

Olga Sali, who was surveying the gaping crater a Russian bomb left near a playground in one of the city’s central parks, said that she had just dropped her 10-year-old daughter at school on Monday morning before the first missiles struck. Terrified, she hurried to an underground shelter.

On Tuesday, people looked at a crater left by a Russian missile, which struck a playground in Taras Shevchenko Park in the center of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, a day earlier. (Ed Ram/Getty Images)

But on Tuesday, when the air alert rang out again — in another attack that authorities said was thwarted by air defenses — Sali stayed put. “It’s a pity all that has happened in our country,” she said. But: “We decided to stay here, because it’s our home.”

joe biden black background resized serious file

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden to Re-Evaluate Ties With Saudis After They Teamed With Russia on Oil, Peter Baker, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Angered by the kingdom’s decision to team up with Russia to slash oil output, the president signaled openness to retaliatory measures proposed in Congress.

opec logoPresident Biden is re-evaluating the relationship with Saudi Arabia after it teamed up with Russia to cut oil production in a move that bolstered President Vladimir V. Putin’s government and could raise American gasoline prices just before midterm elections, a White House official said on Tuesday.

john kirby ap wh“I think the president’s been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit,” the official, John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council at the White House, said on CNN. “And certainly in light of the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is.”

Mr. Kirby, shown at left in an AP file photo, signaled openness to retaliatory measures proposed by Democratic congressional leaders outraged by the oil production cut announced last week by the international cartel known as OPEC Plus. Among other things, leading Democrats have proposed curbing American security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales, and stripping OPEC members of their legal immunity so they can be sued for violations of American antitrust laws.

“The president’s obviously disappointed by the OPEC decision and is going to be willing to work with Congress as we think about what the right relationship with Saudi Arabia needs to be going forward,” Mr. Kirby said. He sounded a note of urgency. “The timeline’s now and I think he’s going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away,” he said. “I don’t think this is anything that’s going to have to wait or should wait quite frankly for much longer.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden says Supreme Court ‘more of an advocacy group’ than ‘evenhanded,’ John Wagner, Oct. 12, 2022. President Biden is stepping up his criticism of the Supreme Court, calling it “more of an advocacy group” than “evenhanded” after the court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion.

USTR seal Custom 2Biden’s assessment came Tuesday night toward the end of remarks at a virtual fundraiser for Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) as he laid out what he sees at stake for Democrats in November’s midterm elections.

“So, I view this … off-year election as one of the most important elections that I’ve been engaged in, because a lot can change because the institutions have changed,” Biden said. “The Supreme Court is more of an advocacy group these days than it is … evenhanded.”

Biden has taken repeated shots at the court since June, when it overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision on abortion. The court now has a 6-to-3 conservative supermajority.

In public comments last month, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. defended the authority of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution.

“You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” he said.

During his presidency, Donald Trump bristled over several of the court’s decisions, some regarding policy, others on his false claims about a rigged 2020 election. When the court in December 2020 rejected Trump’s legal challenge aimed at overturning the election, Trump tweeted: “The Supreme Court really let us down. No Wisdom, No Courage!”

Earlier in his remarks Tuesday night, Biden sought to frame the choices facing voters next month.

“We’re less than 30 days away from the midterms, and the stakes are clear,” he said. “The right to choose is on the ballot. Your Social Security you paid for your whole life is on the ballot. The safety of our kids and gun violence is on the ballot. Literally, the survival of the planet is … on the ballot. And your right to vote. And democracy itself is … on the ballot.”

 

alex jones screen shot 2020 05 01 at 12.02.06 pm

Alex Jones, host and founder of the Texas-based Infowars show (file photo).

ny times logoNew York Times, Alex Jones Must Pay Nearly $1 Billion to Sandy Hook Victims’ Families, Elizabeth Williamson, Oct. 12, 2022. Alex Jones and Infowars’ parent company, Free Speech Systems, must pay close to $1 billion to the family members of eight victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and an F.B.I. agent who responded to the scene of the 2012 massacre, which killed 20 first graders and six educators.

Mr. Jones, who was not in court to hear the jury’s decision, had been found liable for defamation after he spent years falsely describing the shooting as a hoax and accusing the victims’ families of being actors complicit in the plot. As a result, the families were threatened in person and online. He used his Infowars platform to spread these lies.

Here’s what to know:

  • The jury’s decision divided the money among 15 plaintiffs: 14 relatives of eight Sandy Hook victims, and William Aldenberg, an F.B.I. agent targeted by conspiracy theorists. The plaintiffs were awarded varying amounts by the jurors, who considered their testimony and other evidence presented in court to gauge the damage done to their reputations, invasion of their privacy and other factors.
  • This case presented the greatest financial risk to Mr. Jones, because he was found liable of violating Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act, by using lies about the shooting to sell products on Infowars. There is no cap on punitive damages under that law.
  • Mr. Jones’s assets are a matter of dispute. He has put Infowars’ parent company into bankruptcy, but the families have accused him of doing so to avoid paying the damages.
  • Mr. Jones has a third Sandy Hook damages trial pending stemming from a defamation suit he lost to Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa, parents of Noah Pozner. An earlier trial, in the suit brought by Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, parents of Jesse Lewis, ended with Mr. Jones being ordered to pay $4 million in compensatory damages and $45.2 million in punitive damages to the Mr. Heslin and Ms. Lewis.

washington post logoWashington Post, Jan. 6 hearing to highlight new evidence Thursday that Trump was warned of brewing violence, Carol D. Leonnig and Jacqueline Alemany, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The Jan. 6 select committee’s hearing on Thursday at 1 p.m. is expected to corroborate parts of the more-startling accounts of that day.

The probably final public hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol is expected to highlight newly obtained Secret Service records showing how President Donald Trump was repeatedly alerted to brewing violence that day, and he still sought to stoke the conflict, according to three people briefed on the records.

The committee plans to share in Thursday’s hearing new video footage and internal Secret Service emails that appear to corroborate parts of the most startling inside accounts of that day, said the people briefed, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal records. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified in June that Trump was briefed on Jan. 6 that some of his supporters were armed for battle, demanded they be allowed into his rally and insisted he wanted to lead them on their march to the Capitol.

Surveillance footage the committee plans to share was taken near the Ellipse that morning before Trump’s speech and shows throngs of his supporters clustered just outside the corralled area for his “Stop the Steal” rally. Secret Service officers screened those entering who sought to get closer to the stage. Law enforcement officials who were monitoring video that morning spotted Trump supporters with plastic shields, bulletproof vests and other paramilitary gear, and some in the Secret Service concluded they stayed outside the rally area to avoid having their weapons confiscated, according to people familiar with the new records.

Politico, DOJ to SCOTUS: Steer clear of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case appeal, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). It is the latest in a winding legal drama that will likely carry on for months.

politico CustomThe Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to turn down former President Donald Trump’s bid to get a set of about 100 documents marked as classified back into the hands of an independent “special master” reviewing materials seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in a brief filed Tuesday afternoon that there’s no reason for the high court to step into the dispute over what role the court system should play, if any, in overseeing investigators’ access to the records the FBI recovered from Trump’s Florida home.

Trump is seeking to get the records with classified markings back into the special master review in what appears to be an attempt to raise arguments that he declassified the records while he was president or that he declared them to be personal files not subject to the Presidential Records Act.

“Applicant has never represented in any of his multiple legal filings in multiple courts that he in fact declassified any documents — much less supported such a representation with competent evidence,” Prelogar wrote in the 32-page brief.

Trump has repeatedly, and publicly, claimed to have declassified all of the items seized by the FBI that bear classification markings — including some which characterize the records as among the most sensitive, closely held secrets the government possesses. But his lawyers have repeatedly refused to echo those claims, saying they don’t want to commit themselves to possible defense theories like declassification before a potential indictment.

In several rounds of legal filings and oral argument — including Trump’s application to the Supreme Court last week — the former president’s attorneys have decidedly avoided the issue, saying only that Trump’s access to the records remains absolute, “whether classified or declassified.”
Can we explain Trump’s reaction to the DOJ probe in 2 minutes? A POLITICO reporter tries (and fails, again)

Trump has also not presented any evidence he designated any of the seized materials as personal records, and DOJ has argued that classified documents — which inherently bear on national security — could never fit the statutory definition of personal records, since they are likely to have value to an incumbent or future administration.

The initial special master order U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon issued at Trump’s request barred the government from using any of the seized records, including the potentially classified documents, for criminal investigation purposes until the special master process is complete.

The Justice Department appealed her ruling to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. But it sought emergency relief only to restore access to the documents with classification markings, aiming to exclude them from the special master process. The appeals court sided with prosecutors on those issues last month in a 3-0 decision, although the broader appeal of Cannon’s ruling remains pending.

Trump’s bid for Supreme Court relief did not seek to restore the ban Cannon initially imposed on investigators accessing the documents with classified markings.

Trump’s request to the Supreme Court and the Justice Department’s response were technically submitted to Justice Clarence Thomas, because he oversees the 11th Circuit, which includes Florida. However, in high-profile cases, the individual justices almost always refer requests for emergency relief to the full court.

 

U.S. Politics, Economy, Governance

ny times logoNew York Times, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Resigns Amid Uproar Over Racist Remarks, Jill Cowan and Shawn Hubler, Oct. 12, 2022. Nury Martinez faced calls from state leaders and President Biden to leave office after making racist remarks on a recording that emerged on Sunday.

Three days after the release of a secretly recorded conversation in which she made racist remarks and disparaged the child of a colleague, the former president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned from elected office on Wednesday.

The announcement by Nury Martinez followed a deluge of outrage from all corners of the city, culminating in two City Council meetings packed with protesters who demanded that the Democratic official step down.

Earlier in the week, President Biden also weighed in and called on Ms. Martinez, along with the two other council members heard in the recordings, to resign.

In a lengthy statement, Ms. Martinez apologized to her constituents, staff members and fellow council members.

washington post logoWashington Post, Leaked racist tape shakes political alliances in Los Angeles, Scott Wilson, Oct. 12, 2022. For decades, Black people and Latinos made common cause in the diverse city. Now, racist comments from some Latino leaders threaten the partnership.

Fallout from a leaked recording of three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council engaged in a conversation involving racist comments about Black people has imploded the city’s Democratic leadership and destabilized a political partnership built over decades in a place that holds itself up as a model of ethnically diverse governance.

The tape published Sunday has sliced jaggedly through the Latino political hierarchy in the state’s largest city. Latino power broker Ron Herrera resigned late Monday as head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and on Tuesday, council member Nury Martinez announced that she would take a leave of absence after resigning the body’s presidency the previous day.

Martinez and other participants on the call, including council members Gil Cedillo, a longtime labor leader and immigrant advocate, and Kevin de León, a former candidate for U.S. Senate and head of the state Senate, faced relentless demands to resign their seats, including from the White House.

In her daily news briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Tuesday that President Biden “believes that they all should resign.”

“The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and it was appalling,” she said. “They should all step down.”

The four — among the most powerful Democrats in the city — were recorded secretly last year in a conversation that included racist criticism of the young Black son of a colleague, councilman Mike Bonin, and of groups of city voters.

In the taped conversation, first reported by the Los Angeles Times, Martinez is heard referring to Bonin’s adopted son in Spanish as “a little monkey.” Martinez also said that “this kid needs a beatdown” after she disapproved of the boy’s behavior on a council parade float.

ny times logoNew York Times, Los Angeles City Councilor Takes Leave of Absence After Racist Comments, Jill Cowan and Shawn Hubler, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). More officials called for the resignation of three City Council members after Nury Martinez, the council’s president, made racist and disparaging remarks.

Outrage continues to mount in the nation’s second-largest city after a leaked audio recording revealed racist and disparaging remarks made by the Los Angeles City Council president, Nury Martinez, right, in a meeting with other city leaders last year. Ms. Martinez stepped down as president on Monday and said on Tuesday that she would take a leave of nury martinezabsence from the council. But calls persist for her to resign as the episode has exposed painful racial fault lines in the diverse and heavily Democratic city.

The details: In the profanity-laced recording, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times and which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Ms. Martinez, who is Latina, compared the Black child of a white council member to a “changuito,” Spanish for little monkey. She also called Oaxacan immigrants living in Koreatown “short little dark people.”

The remarks occurred during a meeting of Ms. Martinez with two other council members and Ron Herrera, the head of one of Los Angeles County’s most powerful labor organizations. Mr. Herrera resigned late Monday at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s executive board, according to Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation.

A growing number of officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and both of the candidates running to replace him, Representative Karen Bass and the developer Rick Caruso, have called for the resignations of Ms. Martinez and the other two council members who attended the meeting, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León. All three have apologized.

ny times logoNew York Times, Leonard Leo Pushed the Courts Right. Now He’s Aiming at American Society, Kenneth P. Vogel, Oct. 12, 2022. The activist has quietly built a sprawling network and raised huge sums of money to challenge liberal values.

Millions of dollars in television advertisements blasting schools for teaching critical race theory and assailing corporations like BlackRock, Uber and American Airlines for catering to “woke politicians.”

A lawsuit pending before the Supreme Court to radically reshape how federal elections are conducted. Complaints against President Biden for violating election law and against school districts that allow information to be withheld from parents about children’s gender identities.

These initiatives were advanced in the past year or so by a handful of new or reconfigured conservative groups — each with their own leadership and mission.

Behind the scenes, though, these groups have something in common: They are part of an ambitious coalition developed in recent years by the conservative activist Leonard A. Leo, who until now has been best known for his role in pushing the appointments of conservative judges to the center of the Republican Party’s agenda.

 

herschel walker informal

washington post logoWashington Post, Woman says she had to press Herschel Walker to pay for abortion he wanted, Annie Linskey and Alice Crites, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The account, echoed by a person she confided in at the time, deepens the questions swirling around the antiabortion Senate GOP candidate in Georgia

The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children had to repeatedly press the former football star and now-Republican Senate nominee in Georgia for funds to pay for a 2009 abortion that she said he wanted her to have, according to the woman and a person she confided in at the time.

“When I talked to him, I said, ‘You need to send — I can’t afford to pay for this,” the woman said in one of several interviews with The Washington Post in recent days, adding that she also told him: “We did this, too. Both of us did this. We both know how babies are made.”

The woman, who lived in the Atlanta area at the time, said she became pregnant when she was unemployed and had less than $600 in her bank account. Walker sent a $700 check via FedEx about a week after the procedure, the woman said. The Post reviewed an image of the check that was printed on an ATM slip, with Walker’s name and an address matching where he lived at the time.

A copy of the check and deposit slip reviewed by The Post includes Walker’s signature and name. It was deposited nine days after the woman said she had an abortion. The Post has reviewed a receipt for $575 at a women’s medical center that day. She said she did not know exactly how much an abortion would cost and estimated the amount she told Walker she would need based on online searches.

The extended discussion over payment for the procedure to end the first pregnancy has not been previously reported. The woman and the person she confided in both spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect the privacy of themselves and their loved ones.

As previously reported, the same woman also says Walker pressured her to have an abortion again when she became pregnant a second time; she chose to give birth to her son, who is now 10. The woman sued Walker in New York in 2013 for child support after he allegedly refused to provide it, according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive details. Walker, who now says he is a multimillionaire, said in that case that he made about $140,000 per year, the person said.

The new revelations deepen questions about Walker’s treatment of women and his children, as well as the conflict between his public opposition to abortion and his alleged private behavior. Walker and his campaign have denied the woman’s claims that he wanted her to have two abortions, and Walker initially claimed he did not know the woman who was making them.

“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt last week after the Daily Beast first reported the allegation about paying for an abortion. “Had that happened, I would have said it, because it’s nothing to be ashamed of there.”

Walker is running on a platform that opposes abortion in all cases, without exceptions for rape or incest or to protect the life of the mother. He has said he would vote for a national ban of the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. He has also criticized Black men for being absent parents — a criticism now leveled at him by the woman and by his grown son by another mother, Christian Walker. Herschel Walker has acknowledged having four children with four different women.

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP senators ‘Huddle with Herschel’ in latest show of support, Sabrina Rodriguez, Oct. 12, 2022. Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Tom Cotton on Tuesday delivered a clear message to voters here that they stand with Herschel Walker, despite recent allegations that he paid for a former girlfriend to have an abortion and urged her to have a second one.

Scott (Fla.), the head of the Senate GOP’s campaign arm, and Cotton (Ark.) traveled to Georgia to campaign with Walker in the latest display that national Republicans are still strongly backing the former football star in his tight race against Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.). Warnock has been polling ahead of Walker, but Republicans have targeted the state as one of their best opportunities to pick up a Senate seat and gain the majority.

“Herschel Walker will be a leader in the Senate just like he’s been a leader in sports and in business for the state of Georgia,” Cotton said, prompting the crowd to cheer and clap.

 Wayne Madsen Report, Political Commentary:The Democrats should rid themselves of their Trojan horses, Wayne Madsen, left, Oct. 12, 2022. Tulsi wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped SmallGabbard, the centerfold girl for single-handed Trumper incels, has announced that she is formally leaving the Democratic Party. In many ways, her mission for her propaganda masters in Moscow and New Delhi, is complete.

wayne madesen report logoThe pro-Putin former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primaries and she was appointed vice chair of the Democratic National Committee. Gabbard, a self-proclaimed Karma yogi and member of a Hindu Hare Krishna sect called the Chaitanya Mahaprabhu — which is affiliated with the Indian intelligence-linked Science of Identity Foundation — has long served as a propaganda tool for both far-right Indian Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. The only reason why Gabbard never ran for the Congress as a Republican, the party where her true sympathies lie, is because Republicans cannot get elected in strongly Democratic Hawaii.

In her Twitter statement announcing her departure from the Democratic Party, Gabbard’s reasons could have been penned by her friends at Fox News, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) (where she has spoken), or the Kremlin. Gabbard tweeted that the Democrats were guilty of “cowardly wokeness, anti-white racism, [being] hostile to people of faith and spirituality, and dragging us closer to nuclear war.” Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson could not have said it better.

Gabbard and her right-wing talking points will not be missed by Democrats.

washington post logoWashington Post, New book details how McCarthy came to support Trump after Jan. 6, Marianna Sotomayor, Oct. 12, 2022. The Republican House leader berated a member of his conference, leading her to cry, in a previously unreported meeting as he wrestled with fallout from Jan. 6, 2021.

In the weeks after the Senate voted to acquit Donald Trump of a charge related to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was seething.

Frustrated that Trump would not talk to him, stressed that his chance to become House speaker could be in jeopardy and furious that a trusted confidante had publicly disclosed a tense call between him and Trump, McCarthy snapped.

“I alone am taking all the heat to protect people from Trump! I alone am holding the party together!” he yelled at Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) during a previously undisclosed meeting in McCarthy’s office on Feb. 25, 2021. “I have been working with Trump to keep him from going after Republicans like you and blowing up the party and destroying all our work!”

Stunned by McCarthy’s anger, Herrera Beutler began to cry. Through tears, she apologized for not telling him ahead of time that she had confirmed to the media details of a call McCarthy made to Trump on Jan. 6 urging him to tell his supporters to leave the U.S. Capitol.

“You should have come to me!” McCarthy said. “Why did you go to the press? This is no way to thank me!”

“What did you want me to do? Lie?” Herrera Beutler shot back. “I did what I thought was right.”

The tense meeting between Republican lawmakers is detailed in the new book “Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress’s Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump,” by Washington Post reporter Karoun Demirjian and Politico reporter Rachael Bade, a copy of which The Post obtained ahead of its release next week. Several excerpts detail McCarthy’s state of mind from Election Day 2020 to the inception of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Biden’s three-part closing argument for the midterms, Jennifer Rubin, Oct. 12, 2022. President Biden has been an effective messenger for Democrats, contrary to the chin-stroking pundits and Republican flacks who warned he would be a weight around the necks of his party’s candidates. His approval rating, particularly among Democrats, continues to improve.

Moreover, whether warning that Republicans pose a threat to democracy or that Democrats have made historic investments in infrastructure and green energy, Biden has the capacity to drive the news cycle. And he certainly has the knack of turning the midterm elections into a referendum on former president Donald Trump. With Election Day four weeks away (and early voting well underway), the president can make a critical three-part closing argument to voters.

washington post logoWashington Post, How Trump’s legal expenses consumed GOP donor money, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 12, 2022. As some Republican candidates face fundraising shortfalls, the former president, the RNC and key state parties have all spent significant sums on legal fights.

Donald Trump’s political operation has spent more money since he left office on lawyers representing the former president and a pair of nonprofits staffed by former Cabinet members than it has on Republican congressional campaigns, according to a review of financial filings.

Trump’s leadership PAC, Save America, has blitzed supporters in recent days with fundraising solicitations that focus on next month’s high-stakes contest for control of Congress. “It is IMPERATIVE that we win BIG in November,” blared an email last week.

The group has contributed about $8.4 million so far directly to Republican campaigns and committees, while devoting $7 million to Trump’s lawyers and another $2 million to the nonprofits, which employ former members of his administration, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Legal fees are expected to climb, Trump advisers say, as he employs a growing retinue of lawyers to fend off federal, state and county-level investigations.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Administration Plan Could Lead to Employee Status for Gig Workers, Noam Scheiber, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). A proposed rule, long awaited by labor activists, would make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

joe biden twitterThe Labor Department on Tuesday unveiled a proposal that would make it more likely for millions of janitors, home-care and construction workers and gig drivers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

Companies are required to provide certain benefits and protections to employees but not to contractors, such as paying a minimum wage, overtime, a portion of a worker’s Social Security taxes and contributions to unemployment insurance.

The proposed rule is essentially a test that the Labor Department will apply to determine whether workers are contractors or employees for companies. The test considers factors such as how much control workers have over how they do their jobs and how much opportunity they have to increase their earnings by doing things like offering new services. Workers who have little of either are often considered employees.

The new version of the test lowers the bar for that employee classification from the current test, which the Trump administration’s Labor Department created.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosPolitico, Kinzinger endorses Dems in major governor, secretary of state races, Zach Montellaro, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The retiring Republican congressman is one of Donald Trump’s top intra-party critics.

politico CustomRep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the most prominent Republican critics of former President Donald Trump in Congress, is rolling out a bipartisan series of midterm endorsements Tuesday, including a handful of Democrats seeking to become their states’ top election officials.

Kinzinger (R-Ill.) endorsed four Democratic secretary of state candidates: incumbents Steve Simon of Minnesota and Jocelyn Benson of Michigan, along with Arizona’s Adrian Fontes and Nevada’s Cisco Aguilar, both of whom are running for open seats. Kinzinger’s endorsements, shared first with POLITICO, also include Democrat Josh Shapiro’s campaign for governor of Pennsylvania, where he would appoint the secretary of state if he wins.

Kinzinger also backed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who successfully fended off a Trump-backed primary challenger this year after refusing to help Trump overturn the 2020 election results. And Kinzinger gave another endorsement to Arizona Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs, the state’s current secretary of state.

Kinzinger, who did not seek reelection this year, is making the endorsements through his leadership PAC, Country First. His endorsement list also included a handful of federal candidates. He backed Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is facing a Trump-backed challenger in her state, and Evan McMullin, the 2016 presidential candidate who is running an independent challenge to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

ny times logoNew York Times, In Fight for Congress, a Surprising Battleground Emerges: New York, Nicholas Fandos, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). After a haywire redistricting process, New York has more congressional battlegrounds than nearly any other state.

Just a month before November’s critical midterm elections, New York has emerged from a haywire redistricting cycle as perhaps the most consequential congressional battleground in the country, and Democrats are mired in an increasingly costly fight just to hold their ground.

All told, nine of New York’s 26 seats — from the tip of Long Island to the banks of the Hudson River here in Poughkeepsie — are in play, more than any state but California.

For Democrats, the uncertainty is particularly jarring: Just 10 months ago, party leaders, who controlled the once-in-a-decade redistricting process in the state, optimistically predicted that new district lines could safeguard Democrats and imperil as many as five Republican seats, allowing them to add key blocks to their national firewall.

ny times logoNew York Times, With Migration Surging, U.S. Considers Easing Sanctions on Venezuela, Natalie Kitroeff and Anatoly Kurmanaev, Oct. 12, 2022. The Biden administration may let the last American company producing oil in Venezuela resume exports if Venezuela takes steps to restore democracy.

Texas Tribune, Essay: The education and disillusionment of a young Texas reporter in D.C., Abby Livingston, Oct. 11, 2022. I moved to Washington in 2006 to work for a senator. I left in 2022 in the prime of my journalism career. I had seen enough.

I came into town on a Sunday flight with two suitcases. It was April 2006, and I was 23. Some older Texas girls had an extra room in a Georgetown townhouse for me. On Monday morning, I put on my new Ann Taylor suit and took the D.C. Circulator bus across town to work in the Russell Senate Office Building.

My social life was small. As a newcomer, I toured the sites, watched movies, explored neighborhoods, all on my own. Money was tight, but I didn’t mind because I was so eager to learn.

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Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump worker told FBI about moving Mar-a-Lago boxes on ex-president’s orders, Devlin Barrett and Josh Dawsey, Oct. 12, 2022. The witness’s description is backed up by security camera footage, people familiar with the matter said, offering key evidence of the former president’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified government documents.

A Trump employee has told federal agents about moving boxes of documents at Mar-a-Lago at the specific direction of the former president, according to people familiar with the investigation, who say the witness account — combined with security-camera footage — offers key evidence of Donald Trump’s behavior as investigators sought the return of classified material.

The witness description and footage described to The Washington Post offer the most direct account to date of Trump’s actions and instructions leading up to the FBI’s Aug. 8 search of the Florida residence and private club, in which agents were looking for evidence of potential crimes including obstruction, destruction of government records or mishandling classified information.

The people familiar with the investigation said agents have gathered witness accounts indicating that, after Trump advisers received a subpoena in May for any classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Trump told people to move boxes to his residence at the property. That description of events was corroborated by the security-camera footage, which showed people moving the boxes, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Spokespeople for the Justice Department and FBI declined to comment.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich declined to answer detailed questions for this article. “The Biden administration has weaponized law enforcement and fabricated a Document Hoax in a desperate attempt to retain political power,” Budowich said in a statement. “Every other President has been given time and deference regarding the administration of documents, as the President has the ultimate authority to categorize records, and what materials should be classified.”

Budowich accused the Justice Department of a “continued effort to leak misleading and false information to partisan allies in the Fake News,” and said that to do so “is nothing more than dangerous political interference and unequal justice. Simply put, it’s un-American.”

In Trump White House, classified documents routinely mishandled, former aides say

The employee who was working at Mar-a-Lago is cooperating with the Justice Department and has been interviewed multiple times by federal agents,

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge clears way for Trump to be deposed in defamation case, Shayna Jacobs, Oct. 12, 2022. A federal judge has denied a request by former president Donald Trump to pause proceedings in a defamation case brought against him in 2019 by an author who said he raped her in a department store dressing room decades ago.

The decision clears the way for Trump, who denies the claim, to be deposed as scheduled next week.

In the lawsuit brought against Trump by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, Trump recently won a temporary reprieve from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which sent the case to the appeals court in D.C. to resolve whether Trump was a federal employee as defined by the law when he publicly rebutted Carroll’s story.

On Trump’s behalf, the Justice Department previously tried to intervene in the case on the grounds that he was technically an employee of the U.S. government when he occupied the White House and had legal protections from civil litigation because he was acting under the scope of his employment when he denied Carroll’s account and made disparaging comments about her.

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities in the 2016 era. U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities before the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities before the 2016 presidential election.

Politico, Danchenko trial opens, expected to be last of prosecutor’s probe into origins of Trump-Russia investigation, Kelly Hooper, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). John Durham is seeking the conviction of a Russian analyst who is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI as agents investigated potential collusion.

Igor Danchenko was a leading contributor to the so-called Steele dossier, a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations about Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government. | Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the FBI’s handling of the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia is reaching a critical peak: the launch of what’s expected to be the final trial in his long-running investigation.

Durham is seeking the conviction of Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst who is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI in interviews as agents investigated potential Trump-Russia collusion in the probe that became known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” Danchenko was a leading contributor to the so-called Steele dossier, a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations about Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government. Danchenko pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him.

The government aired the allegations during opening statements on Tuesday, accusing Danchenko of lying about his main sources for his contributions to the dossier, as well as communications he had with Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-American businessman who once did real estate work with the Trump Organization and stayed in touch with Trump associates during the 2016 campaign. Prosecutors specifically accuse Danchenko of fabricating Millian as a source, claiming he lied about speaking to the businessman over the phone.

“We are going to prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant never received a call from Sergei Millian,” prosecutor Michael Kielty said.

Prosecutors also allege that Danchenko lied about his main source for the dossier by telling the FBI he hadn’t “talked” to Democratic operative Charles Dolan, who had ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The government said it would provide evidence that the two had exchanged emails.

The defense, however, argued in opening statements that Danchenko did not lie or mislead the FBI, since he hadn’t had an oral conversation with Dolan. Danchenko’s attorney, Danny Onorato, said the jury would hear evidence during the trial that would “eviscerate” any claim that his client was untruthful.

“They want you to disregard the common-sense notion of what talking means — and that is an oral communication,” Onorato said.

He also argued that the government’s attempt to use phone records to show that a call between Danchenko and Millian never happened would not be sufficient because the call could have happened using a mobile app. Onorato added that Danchenko told the FBI he only believed the caller to be Millian, but never said he was sure.

“His objective, commonsense belief cannot be false,” Onorato said.

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More On Ukraine War

washington post logoWashington Post, Ukraine Live Updates: Russia announces arrests in Crimea bridge blast; Ukraine calls investigation ‘nonsense,’ Emily Rauhala, Ellen Francis, Bryan Pietsch, Leo Sands and Victoria Bisset, Oct. 12, 2022. Russia’s new commander in Ukraine was decorated after brutality in Syria; Kyiv electricity supplier imposes rolling blackouts after Russian attacks; Attacks reported in southern Ukraine for third consecutive day.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said sending more air defense systems to Ukraine is a “top priority” as the alliance’s defense ministers gather in Brussels. Ukraine’s call for more military aid is on the agenda Wednesday as defense officials from nearly 50 countries also convene here, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin set to join both meetings.

Kyiv ramped up its push for more air defense systems after a barrage of Russian strikes and threats to retaliate for an explosion on the Kremlin’s prized bridge to Crimea. Russia’s FSB security service accused Ukraine’s military intelligence of being behind Saturday’s explosion on the Crimean Bridge and said it detained eight people Wednesday.

Here’s what to know

  • A Ukrainian official described the Russian investigation into the Crimean Bridge blast as “nonsense.” Ukraine has not officially claimed responsibility, but a government official told The Washington Post earlier that its special services were involved.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Washington and its allies for Europe’s energy crisis, criticized plans to introduce a price cap on Russian oil and said Russia is “ready” to supply energy to Europe. “Russia is not to blame for the fact that Europeans, like in the Middle Ages, stock up on firewood for the winter,” he said in a speech at the Russian Energy Week forum.
  • Ukraine’s defense minister said an IRIS-T air defense system from Germany and four HIMARS launchers from the United States have arrived. The air defense system is the first of four that Germany is sending, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it could protect “an entire major city from Russian air attacks.”
  • The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine is relying on generators after losing all external power for the second time in days, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is trying to establish a security zone at the site, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russian forces control.

ny times logoNew York Times, Here’s what Russia’s attacks may indicate about its weapons stockpile, Mike Ives, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The Russian missile and drone attacks that killed at least 19 people across Ukraine on Monday were traumatic and wide-ranging, but they were not as deadly as they could have been, in the context of a war that has included widespread civilian killing.

That has renewed questions over the quality of Russia’s weapons and about the capacity of its forces to carry out President Vladimir V. Putin’s military designs.

Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said it could be a sign that Russia’s guided missiles are not very effective, or that it is running short of precision munitions. Most of the missiles targeted energy and other civilian services, in what Mr. Putin said was retaliation for a blast on Russia’s bridge to occupied Crimea.

“Perhaps it was Putin’s way of sending a warning shot across Ukraine’s bow: If you attack our infrastructure, we will ramp up attacks on your cities,” Mr. Storey said. But he and other experts acknowledged that much about Russia’s weapons arsenal remains unclear.

Here is some of what we know: Russia may be running low on sophisticated missiles. Many of Russia’s attacks — increasingly aimed at civilian targets — have been long-range strikes that used outdated, unguided and imprecise missiles, including some from the Soviet era. Ukrainian, Western and Russian analysts have said that the attacks appear to suggest that Russia is running low on its most sophisticated weapons.

Washington Post, Ukraine war at a turning point with rapid escalation of conflict, Karen DeYoung, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Both the nature and tempo of the war have changed in recent weeks, as Ukraine’s forces score victories on the ground and Russia retaliates as Putin is backed into a corner.

In little more than a month, the war in Ukraine has turned abruptly from a grueling, largely static artillery battle expected to last into the winter, to a rapidly escalating, multilevel conflict that has challenged the strategies of the United States, Ukraine and Russia.

Russia’s launch of massive strikes on civilian infrastructure Monday in about a dozen Ukrainian cities far from the front lines brought shock and outrage. The strikes, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as “wave after wave of missiles” struck “children’s playgrounds and public parks,” left at least 14 killed and nearly 100 wounded, and cut electricity and water in much of the country.

“By launching missile attacks on civilians sleeping in their homes or rushing toward children going to schools, Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” Ukraine’s United Nations Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said at the opening of a General Assembly session scheduled before the assault to promote world condemnation of Moscow.

washington post logoWashington Post, Baltic nations long warned about Russia. Now, maybe the West is listening, Robyn Dixon, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv’s strongest allies against President Vladimir Putin have been the nations that know his Soviet playbook best: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, all invaded and brutalized by the Soviet Union and historically wary of Russia.

Their warnings about Russian aggression and calls for stronger Western action to deter Putin were long brushed aside by many in Europe, even after Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and the Kremlin’s 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea.

“One lesson from this war is we should have listened to those who know Putin,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her State of the European Union speech last month. “They have been telling us for years that Putin would not stop.”

Since February, the Baltics and Poland have repeatedly called for the provision of more and faster military assistance, including more powerful offensive weapons, only to be rebuffed by the United States and Western European allies who wanted to make clear that they were not in a direct conflict with Russia.

washington post logoWashington Post, Russian military ‘exhausted,’ Putin’s judgment ‘flawed,’ U.K. spy chief says, Adela Suliman, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). A British spy chief warned in a rare public speech Tuesday that Russian forces in Ukraine are overstretched and “exhausted” — and that President Vladimir Putin is committing “strategic errors in judgment.”

The assessment from Jeremy Fleming, head of the secretive GCHQ, Britain’s intelligence, cyber and security agency, comes after Putin drafted reservists to bolster his war effort and claimed a “massive strike” across Ukraine this week. The missile attacks hit energy facilities and civilian infrastructure across the country, including in the heart of Kyiv, in retaliation for a weekend explosion on Russia’s strategic Crimean Bridge.

“Russia’s forces are exhausted. The use of prisoners to reinforce, and now the mobilization of tens of thousands of inexperienced conscripts, speaks of a desperate situation,” Fleming said in an address to the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London.

“Far from the inevitable Russian military victory that their propaganda machine spouted, it’s clear that Ukraine’s courageous action on the battlefield and in cyberspace is turning the tide,” Fleming added.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden scrambles to avert cracks in pro-Ukraine coalition, Yasmeen Abutaleb and John Hudson, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). As winter approaches, he’s phoning foreign leaders and facing GOP skeptics.

President Biden has held hours of conversations in recent months with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and other foreign leaders who have not always supported the Western coalition against Ukraine, urging them to stand firm against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So — whether through Biden’s efforts or not — the White House was pleasantly surprised when Modi confronted Putin at a summit last month, lecturing him that “today’s era is not of war” and that Putin should “move onto a path of peace,” comments unusual for a leader who has gone to great lengths to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

As these discussions show, Biden is now pushing hard to hold together what has become a central mission of his presidency: maintaining the global and domestic coalition supporting Ukraine. As the war heads into its first winter, probably a bitter and brutal one, some U.S. allies face economic headwinds fueled by the war, while at home some Republicans voice skepticism about the billions in aid going to Ukraine.

These efforts face a major test Wednesday when the United Nations votes on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of four parts of Ukraine. Biden and U.S. officials have been working to convince nonaligned countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to refrain from taking a neutral position and condemn the Kremlin outright, an effort analysts said might be bolstered by Russia’s barrage of missile attacks Monday on Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities.

U.S. leaders are hoping at least 100 of the 193 U.N. member states — the number that supported a 2014 U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea — will support the draft resolution, several senior administration officials said. In March, when the United States first offered a U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, it received support from 141 member states; arguably, fewer votes than that will mean diplomatic ground has been lost.

By Monday afternoon, bombardments had hit 11 infrastructure sites throughout the country, the prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Facebook. Ukraine should brace for blackouts and disruptions in water supplies, he said.

Russian FlagRegional officials have been bracing for extensive repair jobs at power plants, hiring extra linemen and setting up communal spaces heated by wood or coal stoves as a fallback option if Russia succeeds in knocking out heat and power in the cold winter months.

“As Russians lose, they fire rockets at civilian infrastructure to create panic in the rear and damage our army,” said Oleksandr Vilkul, the military governor of Kryvyi Rih, a central Ukrainian city that was among the first targets of the Russian strategy of attacking infrastructure last month. In that flurry of strikes, missiles hit the city’s waterworks, water pipes and a sluice on a dam, flooding low-lying neighborhoods.

The strikes on Monday expanded the strategy. By afternoon on Monday, four regions — Lviv, Poltava, Sumy and Kharkiv — were without electricity, officials said. In Kharkiv, electrically powered trolley buses and trams glided to a stop. Electric trains from Kyiv headed to the country’s west didn’t leave the station.

Experts on Ukraine’s electrical grid and municipal heating have said it is a hard target to fully disable, making it unlikely a demoralizing nationwide freeze awaits Ukraine over the winter.

ny times logoNew York Times, The West will likely face pressure to give Ukraine more air-defense systems, analysts said, Eric Schmitt, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The barrage of Russian missiles that hit across Ukraine on Monday will likely pressure the Biden administration to accelerate its promise to send Kyiv more sophisticated air defenses, analysts said.

Ukraine has an extensive network of local air defenses that has been largely effective at knocking down Russian missiles — as it managed to do in several cases on Monday — and preventing the Russian air force from gaining dominance over Ukrainian skies.

But Ukrainian defenses cannot stop all incoming Russia attacks, and Kyiv has repeatedly requested more advanced systems to protect cities and civilian infrastructure.

The Pentagon said late last month that it would deliver two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, to Ukraine within the next two months. Six more of the systems are “longer-term” deliveries, the Defense Department has said.

On Monday, Pentagon officials declined to specify when the NASAMS would arrive on the battlefield. “We’re not going to provide a timetable for public consumption that could potentially be used by the Russians to allow them advance notice of any particular capability they might face,” J. Todd Breasseale, a Defense Department spokesman, said.

The United States has used NASAMS to help protect the White House and other part of the Washington Capitol area since 2005, according to Raytheon, which jointly produces the system with a Norwegian partner.

Norway also is expected to send a small number of NASAMS to Ukraine soon, U.S. officials said.

But President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials have asked for even more advanced air defenses.

ny times logoNew York Times, British Official Stresses Threat From China Even Amid Russian Aggression, David E. Sanger, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The head of Britain’s spy agency warned that the West should not lose sight of the technological challenge from China as it deals with Russia’s invasion.

A top British intelligence official will warn in a speech on Tuesday that while Russia’s aggression has created an urgent threat, China’s expanding use of technology to control dissent and its growing ability to attack satellite systems, control digital currencies and track individuals pose far deeper challenges for the West.

In an interview on Monday ahead of his address, the official, Jeremy Fleming, who heads GCHQ — the British electronic intelligence-gathering and cyber agency made famous for its role in breaking the Enigma codes in World War II — also said he was skeptical about how far China would go to support Russia’s aggression.

“I don’t think that this is a ‘relationship without limits,’” he said, using the term that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China employed when they met at the Beijing Olympics early this year, just before the invasion of Ukraine. In light of Russia’s dismal battlefield performance and its brutality, he said, China “needs to be weighing up the advantages and disadvantage of continuing to align themselves strongly with Russia.”

Mr. Fleming’s agency — formally called Government Communications Headquarters, the counterpart to the National Security Agency in the United States — plays an increasingly central role in tracking Russian communications and preparing for the day when China’s advances in quantum computing may defeat the kinds of encryption used to protect both government and corporate communications.

washington post logoWashington Post, Missile strikes reported across Ukraine as Zelensky meets with G-7, Louisa Loveluck, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett and Jennifer Hassan, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Orban says Trump is ‘hope for peace’ in Ukraine, Photos: Kyiv residents take shelter in subway stations, New strike knocks out power for nearly a third of Lviv, mayor says.

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine early Tuesday, including in the capital, Kyiv, a day after strikes killed 19 people and injured more than 100, emergency services said. Western allies were quick to condemn the attacks, but it was not clear whether they would all speed up or expand their military aid as the pace of conflict escalates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting with leaders of the Group of Seven nations, including President Biden, Tuesday. His calls for better air defense systems and longer-range weapons intensified after the strikes tore through busy streets and knocked out power, as Moscow pledged retaliation for a blast on Russia’s bridge to Crimea.

Here’s what to know

  • Biden promised continued aid for Kyiv in a Monday call with Zelensky, according to a White House statement that didn’t include time frames. A meeting of NATO defense ministers will also discuss Ukraine’s pleas for weapons later this week.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi on Tuesday, the Kremlin said. The U.N. watchdog is seeking a buffer zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, which Russian forces control.
  • Germany’s Defense Ministry said that the first of four IRIS-T promised to Ukraine would arrive in the “next few days.” The systems, capable of protecting an entire city, had initially been scheduled for delivery by the end of the year.
  • Russia steps up efforts to portray U.S. as puppet master behind war. Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday said that the United States and United Kingdom “completely control” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and accused Washington and London of giving Kyiv a “direct order” last spring to terminate negotiations that could have halted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

 

crimean bridge graphic

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The consensus in a resolute Kyiv: There can be no compromise, David Ignatius, right, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). A few hours david ignatiusafter the explosion Saturday that buckled Russia’s Kerch Bridge (above) to occupied Crimea, a Ukrainian official named Mykhailo Podolyak described the attack as a “psychological” breakthrough for Ukraine and another sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing the war.

“Ukraine can’t take credit for it,” Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said of the assault. But “it shows that Russia does not control Crimea,” or other territory it has seized. His message was unyielding: no pause in Ukraine’s offensive, no negotiations until Russia agrees to withdraw its forces, no compromise with the invaders. “We need to humiliate Russia,” he told me.

Russia’s punishing retort came two days later, a day after my trip to Ukraine with a study group from the German Marshall Fund (of which I’m a trustee) had ended. The Ukrainian capital was pounded by a wave of rockets, landing on residential areas downtown, local infrastructure and other locations across the city. People took refuge in shelters for the first time in months in Kyiv. But given what we heard during our visit, this latest punitive assault will only harden Ukraine’s will to resist. “Putin is a terrorist,” a Ukrainian military official said in a statement Monday. “Ukraine’s decision not to hold any negotiations with him proved to be correct: no talks are conducted with terrorists.”

Podolyak spoke in the sandbagged offices of the presidential administration. This is ground zero for a nation at war. The surrounding streets are closed and heavily guarded. On the wall behind Podolyak was a photo of two military amputees on crutches, next to the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. Nearby, just in case, were his armor and helmet.

Many Ukrainians repeated the same defiant message during a two-day visit here last weekend: We’re not afraid of Russian nuclear threats; we’ve suffered too much to make concessions; we want the world’s help in ensuring the defeat of Putin. A wall mural downtown summarized the public mood: “Be brave like Ukraine.”

What became clear after several dozen conversations here is that for Ukraine, there’s no middle ground. The resiliency and resolve I heard reminded me of Londoners during the Blitz in World War II. For Ukraine, there’s no turning back, and I was asked repeatedly why some in the West still talk about compromise with Putin.

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GOP Abortion Hypocrisy, Abortion Bans, #MeToo

 washington post logoWashington Post, A little-watched Montana race has become a contentious abortion fight, Karin Brulliard, Oct. 12, 2022. A fight for a Montana supreme court seat has become a proxy for a larger battle over the state’s independent judiciary and constitution by hard-line Republicans.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade, leaving abortion rights up to states, Montana stood out as an island of access in the northern Rocky Mountain states. The procedure remains available in a handful of clinics, including here in the deeply conservative Flathead Valley.

Abortion, the state’s highest court ruled in 1999, is guaranteed by individual privacy rights made explicit by the framers of Montana’s 50-year-old constitution, who sought to shrug off decades of influence by copper barons while projecting a stay-out-of-my-business, frontier ethos.

And that is one reason the race for one state Supreme Court seat, the kind of down-ballot election that is often unexciting and uncontested, may be the most contentious on the ballot this fall.

Since a tidal wave of GOP victories in 2020 took Montana from red to dark red, the state’s independent judiciary and constitution have faced attacks by the hard-line Republicans who now dominate. The outcome of the court contest, an ostensibly nonpartisan race between a veteran jurist and a GOP-backed attorney, will be seen both as a measure of how deep their brand of conservatism runs and a test of Montanans’ support for abortion access.

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World News, Human Rights, Disasters

washington post logoWashington Post, Xi’s looming third term in China raises threat of war over Taiwan, Lily Kuo, Oct. 12, 2022. Beijing’s pressure campaign is making it less likely that the democratic island could be brought under China’s control without military force.

“Taiwan is actually one of the most dangerous places in the world,” said the 17-year-old, seated in an air-gun shop with his childhood friends, Liao Hong-yu, 17, and Chen Yi Hsiang, 18.

It’s a reality dawning on more of the island’s 23 million people as Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s determination to “resolve the Taiwan question” grows in tandem with his ambition to realize China’s place at the top of the global order. Xi’s pursuit of these goals risks a wider military conflict that would pit China against the United States and its allies in Asia. President Biden reiterated last month that American troops would defend Taiwan if China invaded, even as White House officials said his remarks did not signal a change in the U.S. position of strategic ambiguity toward the island.

Xi is expected to secure a third term next week, granting him an extended reign and more latitude to realize the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Unification with Taiwan, by force or negotiations, is a core part of that vision.

washington post logoWashington Post, Hundreds of whales are dead after washing up on New Zealand’s shores, Annabelle Timsit, Oct. 12, 2022. Hundreds of pilot whales washed up on the remote shores of New Zealand’s Chatham Islands in two separate “mass stranding” events that occurred just days apart and deeply “affected” the people who live there, officials said.

Some 230 whales became stranded — or beached — northwest of Chatham Island on Friday, and 245 more washed up on Pitt Island, south of the archipelago, on Monday, the New Zealand Department of Conservation said.

Many of the whales were already dead, but the remaining ones had to be euthanized to minimize their suffering because they could not be put back into the water, the department added. That operation ended Wednesday, it said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Nurse killed 7 babies in ‘malevolent’ poison plot, prosecutor says, Annabelle Timsit, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). A neonatal nurse lucy letbycharged with murdering seven babies and attempting to kill 10 others was accused in court of injecting newborns with air and feeding them insulin at a hospital in the United Kingdom.

Prosecutors accused Lucy Letby, 32, right, of being a “constant malevolent presence” at the hospital in northwest England in a years-long case that has sparked horror and fascination in the country. She has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor Nick Johnson told jurors that Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby worked, saw a significant rise in deaths and “catastrophic collapses” in its neonatal unit during 2015 and 2016, according to the Associated Press.

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U.S. Courts, Regulation, Crime

ny times logoNew York Times, Baltimore Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Adnan Syed, Amanda Holpuch, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Mr. Syed, whose case was featured in “Serial,” had been convicted in the death of a classmate and spent 23 years in prison before being released last month.

adnad syedBaltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped the charges against Adnan Syed, right, who was released last month after he spent 23 years in prison fighting a murder conviction that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial,” officials said.

Emily Witty, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office, said in an email on Tuesday that the case had been dropped.

On Sept. 19, Judge Melissa M. Phinn of Baltimore City Circuit Court vacated Mr. Syed’s conviction on charges that he murdered his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. Prosecutors had 30 days from that date to decide if they would proceed with a new trial or drop the charges.

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender said in a statement that the state’s attorney dropped the charges because of the results of DNA testing “that excluded Mr. Syed from the DNA recovered from the evidence.”

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ny times logoNew York Times, The Origins of the G.O.P. Tactic of Sending Migrants to Blue States, Maggie Haberman and Michael C. Bender, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). The idea, which circulated in conservative circles for years, gained traction under former President Trump. Now Republican governors have put it into practice.

In the fall of 2018, President Donald J. Trump was pushing aides on an idea he wanted to carry out on the border — transporting undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities.

The idea had simmered for months, culminating in a call Mr. Trump placed to Kirstjen Nielsen, his homeland security secretary.

Mr. Trump, Ms. Nielsen’s former chief of staff recalled, wanted to round up migrants in Republican-controlled states and “bus and dump” them in major cities. He wanted to bus migrants who had been deemed to be “murderers, rapists and criminals” to places, such as California, where officials had declined to help carry out the administration’s rigorous deportation policies, according to the former chief of staff, Miles Taylor.

The idea never advanced in the Trump administration, in part because of legal concerns. But four years later, three Republican governors have brought it to visceral life, busing and flying thousands of migrants — not just criminals — from the border and dropping them off in Martha’s Vineyard, New York City and other Democratic-leaning areas.

 ny times logoNew York Times, In a Record, Crypto Exchange Is Fined $24 Million for Breaking U.S. Sanctions, David Yaffe-Bellany, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Bittrex allowed customers in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine to trade virtual currencies, according to the Treasury Department.

The cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex was fined $24 million for breaking United States sanctions, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday, the largest penalty the government has imposed on a crypto business for violating sanctions.

Between 2014 and 2017, Bittrex allowed customers in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine to make virtual currency transactions worth more than $263 million, according to the Treasury Department. The company, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., was fined an additional $5 million for breaking rules designed to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes, the government said.

“Since inception, Bittrex has strived to comply with all government requirements diligently and in good faith,” the company said in a statement. The company was “pleased to have fully resolved this matter” with the government agencies, it said.

The penalty is part of an expanding effort by the Treasury Department and other agencies to crack down on crypto crime. In August, the department barred Americans from accessing Tornado Cash, a crypto platform that criminals have used to launder billions of dollars in digital currency. U.S. investigators are also probing Kraken, another crypto exchange, for possible sanctions violations, The New York Times reported in July.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Crypto regulations are on the front burner this week, Tory Newmyer with research by Aaron Schaffer, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Washington is the center of the world for the cryptocurrency industry this week, as top crypto executives and global financial regulators converge on the city for a pair of meetings that could indicate how the sector will fit into the broader financial system.

The meetings come as U.S. law enforcement and national security officials warn that cybercriminals are using cryptocurrencies and tools to profit off cyberattacks and launder their ill-gotten gains.

ny times logoNew York Times, Wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California to Testify in Weinstein Trial, Corina Knoll, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and former actor, has accused the once-powerful film mogul, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault.

The second sex crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein is underway in Los Angeles and among the witnesses expected to testify is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker, former actress and the wife of California’s governor, Gavin Newsom.

Ms. Siebel Newsom is one of the many women who came forward to describe an encounter with Mr. Weinstein. Her involvement was confirmed on Monday by her lawyer, as jury selection began in a case where the once-powerful film producer faces four counts each of rape and forcible oral copulation.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, who was working as an actor and documentary filmmaker, wrote an essay for HuffPost in 2017 in which she mentioned a meeting with Mr. Weinstein during her earlier years in the industry. The article was published a day after The New York Times broke the news that he had paid off women accusing him of sexual misconduct for decades.

“I believe every word that was written in the New York Times, because very similar things happened to me,” read the headline on the essay.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, 48, described how she had received an invitation to meet with Mr. Weinstein at a hotel about a role in an upcoming film.

“I was naïve, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,” she wrote.

“Staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.”

The experience, Ms. Siebel Newsom wrote, was one of many that inspired her 2011 documentary, “Miss Representation,” about how women are oversexualized in the media.

Related Headlines

 

Public Health, Pandemic, Responses

 

washington post logoWashington Post, Investigation: Experts slam Florida surgeon general’s warning on coronavirus vaccines, Dan Diamond, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). ‘If you submitted that to a peer-reviewed journal … it would get rejected,’ vaccine safety expert says about study on which it is based.

The guidance from the Florida Health Department came in a terse release at 6:12 on Friday evening, ahead of a three-day weekend: Joseph A. Ladapo, the state’s top health official, warned young adult men to stop taking coronavirus vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, citing an “abnormally high risk” of heart-related deaths.

But Ladapo’s recommendation — extrapolated from a short state analysis that has not been peer-reviewed, carries no authors and warns that its findings are “preliminary” and “should be interpreted with caution” — was swiftly condemned by medical and public health leaders, who said the Florida surgeon general’s announcement was politics masquerading as science and could lead Americans to forgo lifesaving interventions.

More than a dozen experts interviewed by The Washington Post — including specialists in vaccines, patient safety and study design — listed concerns with Florida’s analysis, saying it relies on information gleaned from frequently inaccurate death certificates rather than medical records, skews the results by trying to exclude anyone with covid-19 or a covid-related death, and draws conclusions from a total of 20 cardiac-related deaths in men 18 to 39 that occurred within four weeks of vaccination. Experts noted the deaths might have been caused by other factors, including underlying illnesses or undetected covid.

“We’re talking about a very small number of deaths. An extra death or two would potentially change these results,” said Robert Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco and co-author of a patient-safety textbook used in many medical schools. “I’m hesitant to even call it a paper; it isn’t published anywhere. The idea that [the analysis] … is being used to change policy — it does not have the scientific chops to do that.”

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘We are in trouble’: Study raises alarm about impacts of long covid, Frances Stead Sellers, Oct. 12, 2022. The Scottish study, one of the largest on long covid, found that 1 in 20 people had not recovered more than six months after infection.

A new long-covid study based on the experiences of nearly 100,000 participants provides powerful evidence that many people do not fully recover months after being infected with the coronavirus.

The Scottish study found that between six and 18 months after infection, 1 in 20 people had not recovered and 42 percent reported partial recovery. There were some reassuring aspects to the results: People with asymptomatic infections are unlikely to suffer long-term effects, and vaccination appears to offer some protection from long covid.

“It’s one more well-conducted, population-level study showing that we should be extremely concerned about the current numbers of acute infections,” said David Putrino, director of rehabilitation innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. “We are in trouble.”

Jill Pell, a professor of public health at the University of Glasgow who led the research, emphasized that the study revealed the wide-ranging impact of long covid on people’s lives. “There are lots of different impacts going beyond health to quality of life, employment, schooling and the ability to look after yourself,” she said.

washington post logoWashington Post, FDA clears updated coronavirus booster for children as young as 5, Laurie McGinley, Oct. 12, 2022. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized updated coronavirus booster shots for children as young as 5, making it likely the shots will be available within days.

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, must recommend the shots before they can be administered — something that seems assured. The CDC has indicated it won’t convene its outside advisers on the matter.

The agency authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children as young as 5. Previously, the booster had been cleared for individuals 12 and older. The FDA cleared the Moderna vaccine for children as young as 6. Previously, it had been authorized for adults 18 and older.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Hospitals Close Children’s Units, Where Does That Leave Lachlan? Emily Baumgaertner, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Adult beds are more lucrative, so pediatrics are often among the services cut when hospitals look to lift profits. Here’s what that means for one boy.

It was Lachlan Rutledge’s sixth birthday, but as he mustered a laborious breath and blew out one candle, it was his mother who made a wish: for a pediatric hospital bed in northeast Oklahoma.

The kindergartner has a connective tissue disorder, severe allergies and asthma. Those conditions repeatedly landed him in the pediatric intensive care unit at Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, with collapsed veins and oxygen levels so low, he was unresponsive to his mother’s voice.

But in April the hospital closed its children’s floor to make room for more adult beds. So on a September morning, after coming down with Covid for the fourth time and with what looked like bilateral pneumonia, Lachlan was struggling to breathe in an overcrowded emergency room at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis — the only remaining inpatient pediatric option in Tulsa.

“We’re always preparing for battle. It’s just a question of where we’re going to fight,” said his mother, Aurora Rutledge, looking frightened as she twisted the blond ringlets that poked out from under Lachlan’s Spider-Man headphones.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: A winter pandemic wave is looming. Get the booster, Editorial Board, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Will there be an autumn or winter wave of covid? Right now, in the United States, daily cases and deaths are gradually declining off a still-high plateau. On the horizon, however, there are worrisome signals of a possible new wave. It is not too soon to grab protection with the bivalent booster.

Europe is a telltale indicator. For the past few weeks, cases among people 65 years and older have been on the rise in 19 of the 26 countries reporting data to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Fifteen countries in the group reported rising hospitalizations. Germany, France and Italy have all seen growing caseloads, which often portend a similar jump in the United States a few weeks later. The European center said the main driver appears to be people gathering together inside after summer’s end. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director general, noted another factor: “Most countries no longer have measures in place to limit the spread of the virus.”

New variants are not yet propelling a wave, but there are new omicron subvariants. They appear to have genetic changes that confer the ability to evade human immunity from vaccines or previous infection. In a paper not yet peer-reviewed, immunologist Yunlong Cao and colleagues at Peking University warned that the new variants mean vaccine boosters and previous infection “may not provide sufficiently broad protection” against the mutated variants and could make existing antibody drugs useless. This could be worrisome if the variant splinters take hold in the population; so far, they have not in the United States, where the older variants BA.5 and BA4.6 still make up 92.8 percent of cases, according to data and modeling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A wall of immunity, created by the substantial amount of previous infection, might be helping, too.

Politico, Twitter blocks — and then restores — Covid-19 vaccination post from Florida’s surgeon general, David Kihara, Oct. 9, 2022. Dr. Joseph Ladapo is an outspoken skeptic of Covid-19 vaccines.

twitter bird CustomTwitter blocked — and then restored — a post from Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo that was promoting an analysis claiming a high incidence of cardiac-related deaths among men who take the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.

politico CustomLadapo, who posted the tweet Friday, had also recommended men aged 18-39 should not receive the mRNA vaccine. Ladapo is an outspoken skeptic of Covid-19 vaccines who has questioned both the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine despite consensus within the medical community that the vaccines help protect against the virus and can lessen severe symptoms.

“Our current misleading information policies cover: synthetic and manipulated media, COVID-19, and civic integrity,” Twitter stated in its post that blocked Ladapo’s tweet. “If we determine a Tweet contains misleading or disputed information per our policies that could lead to harm, we may add a label to the content to provide context and additional information.”

joseph ladapoLadapo, right, has previously recommended that young children should not receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The Florida Department of Health over the summer did not pre-order vaccines for children aged 5 and under even though 49 other states did in the lead-up to the Food and Drug Administration issuing emergency authorization for young kids to receive the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA have all stressed that the vaccine is safe and urged the public to get vaccinated.

Spokespeople for Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed Ladapo to serve as his surgeon general last year, on Sunday criticized Twitter for blocking Ladapo’s post.

“This is an unacceptable and Orwellian move for narrative over fact,” said Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary, in a tweet. In a follow-up tweet later Sunday after Twitter restored the post, he thanked people for bringing attention to it.

DeSantis has consistently rejected Covid-19 rules that mandate showing proof of vaccination, masking students in schools and vaccine requirements for large businesses.

His Department of Health in June threatened the Special Olympics with a $27.5 million fine for requiring thousands of participants to show that they had been vaccinated against Covid before competing in games at an Orlando event. Florida stated that the proof of vaccination requirement violated the state’s law against such a mandate.

Recent Headlines

 

Drought, Hurricanes, Energy, Climate

ny times logoNew York Times, They’re ‘World Champions’ of Banishing Water. Now, the Dutch Need to Keep It, Raymond Zhong, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). As climate change dries out Europe, the Netherlands, a country long shaped by its overabundance of water, is suddenly confronting drought.

The story of the Netherlands’ centuries of struggle against water is written all over its boggy, low-lying landscape. Windmills pumped water out of sodden farmland and canals whisked it away. Dikes stopped more from flooding in.

Now, climate change is drying out great stretches of Europe, and, once again, the Dutch are hoping to engineer their way to safety — only this time, by figuring out how to hold onto more water instead of flushing it out.

From California and Texas to India and China, many parts of the world are grappling with widening swings between very wet conditions and very dry ones. The extra heat near the earth’s surface from global warming is, in many regions, increasing the chances of both punishing droughts and violent rainstorms. Societies like the Netherlands must now plan for both extremes, even though the best preparations for one can be at odds with the best preparations for the other.

“We are world champions in making land dry,” said Peter van Dijk, a blueberry grower based in the country’s south. “Now we are trying to turn that system around, because we overshot.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Options dwindle for Calif. town whose water supply is expected to run out in two months, Joshua Partlow, Oct. 11, 2022. Officials project drought-stricken Coalinga, Calif., will use up its allotted amount of water before the end of the year — possibly forcing the city to buy water at exorbitant prices.

The residents of this sun-scorched city feel California’s endless drought when the dust lifts off the brown hills and flings grit into their living rooms. They see it when they drive past almond trees being ripped from the ground for lack of water and the new blinking sign at the corner of Elm and Cherry warning: “No watering front yard lawns.”

But what lies ahead might be far worse for the 17,000 residents living amid the oil derricks and cattle farms on the western edge of the state’s Central Valley. Coalinga has only one source of water — a shrinking allotment from an aqueduct managed by the federal government — and officials are projecting the city will use up that amount before the end of the year.

That looming threat has left city officials racing between meetings in Sacramento and phone calls to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation seeking to increase their water supply.

Coalinga, named for its history as a coal mining town, is a small Republican outpost in liberal California. The city had already defied state leadership in 2020, passing a resolution that declared all businesses essential to avoid mandatory pandemic closures. When it was time for the state to distribute covid-19 relief funds to municipalities, Coalinga didn’t get any.

Recent Headlines

 

U.S. Media, Philanthropy, Education, Sports News

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: A judge’s attack on Yale explains the right’s ‘cancel culture’ ruse, Paul Waldman, Oct. 11, 2022. Can you cancel “cancel culture” by canceling the cancelers? Some Republican judges are answering with an emphatic “Yes!” — which shows that their commitment to free and open debate isn’t quite what they would have you believe.

This very public attack on Yale Law School isn’t just about hypocrisy over free expression, or even just about the politicization of the judiciary. It also shows that in a way, this isn’t an argument the right actually wants to win. The controversy itself is the point.

The story starts a couple of weeks ago, when Judge James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit announced in a speech that he would no longer accept clerks from Yale Law School, which he described as a place where censorious liberals suppress conservative voices with a particular cruelty. “Yale not only tolerates the cancellation of views — it actively practices it,” he said, and Ho encouraged other judges to follow his lead.

Although some conservatives objected, on the whole the right celebrated. The Federalist trumpeted Ho’s speech, calling Yale a “cancel culture cesspool.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted that “Judge Ho’s takedown of cancel culture” was “a courageous and important stand that I hope other judges will replicate!”

And some have. Another appeals court judge, Elizabeth Branch of the 11th Circuit, said she too would refuse to hire clerks from Yale (like Ho, she is restricting her boycott to future students, not those currently enrolled). The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported that a dozen other judges were taking up Ho’s call, though they wanted to remain anonymous.

As a practical matter, this boycott makes almost no sense. Let’s grant for a moment that Yale has a stifling culture of silencing conservatives. That means the students Ho is shutting out of positions in his chambers would be the victims of this culture, not its perpetrators.

Ho, who is extremely conservative, essentially had the prototypical career for someone gliding through the Federalist Society pipeline, including experience in the George W. Bush administration and at a corporate law firm. His clerks are presumably Federalist Society-approved conservatives seeking careers just like his; his move would just cut off one path to a prestigious clerkship. Rather than encouraging debate at Yale, fewer conservatives might apply, giving up on following Clarence Thomas (Yale Law ’74), Samuel Alito (Yale Law ’75) and Brett Kavanaugh (Yale Law ’90).

Apparently many conservatives would be perfectly happy if Yale Law remained a source of anecdotes that they could use to rail against cancel culture. As for Ho himself, he’ll have plenty of schools to choose from; the Federalist Society brags that it has chapters at all 204 ABA-accredited law schools.

Which is why his move is culture-war posturing, of a type we used to think judges would excuse themselves from.

washington post logoWashington Post, Brett Favre says he has ‘done nothing wrong’ in Mississippi welfare scandal, Cindy Boren, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). Brett Favre denied wrongdoing in the Mississippi welfare scandal, speaking out for the first time on the controversy in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying, “I have done nothing wrong and it is past time to set the record straight.” He added that he has “been unjustly smeared in the media.”

Favre has been embroiled in Mississippi’s largest public corruption case, one in which tens of millions of dollars earmarked for needy families was misspent. He faces no criminal charges, but his alleged involvement has helped bring the case to broader national attention and cost him endorsement deals.

Favre received $1.1 million intended for welfare recipients in exchange for speeches and appearances the state auditor says he never made. And text messages included in court filings last month showed Favre was heavily involved in discussions that resulted in $5 million in welfare money going toward construction of a volleyball facility at his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter played the sport. Favre later repaid the $1.1 million, but $228,000 in interest remains in dispute.

Brett Favre is the face of a scandal, but Mississippi’s issues go deeper

The money for the appearances and volleyball facility was channeled through a nonprofit called Mississippi Community Education Center run by Nancy New and her son, Zach, who have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators. John Davis, the former head of the state’s Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty Sept. 22 to federal counts of conspiracy and theft and state counts of conspiracy and fraud against the government and has agreed to testify against others.

“No one ever told me, and I did not know, that funds designated for welfare recipients were going to the University or me. I tried to help my alma mater USM, a public Mississippi state university, raise funds for a wellness center,” Favre’s statement read. “My goal was and always will be to improve the athletic facilities at my university.

washington post logoWashington Post, Angela Lansbury, Broadway luminary and ‘Murder, She Wrote’ star, dies at 96, Adam Bernstein, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). She also excelled as the world’s most evil mother in the film ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’

Angela Lansbury, the English-born actress who excelled as the world’s most evil mother in “The Manchurian Candidate,” became a luminary of Broadway musical theater, and starred for 12 years as a warmhearted crime writer and sleuth in the TV series “Murder, She Wrote,” died Oct. 11 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 96.

Her family announced the death in a statement but did not cite a cause.

“Murder, She Wrote” — with its opening montage of Ms. Lansbury pecking at a typewriter and facing down danger in a coastal Maine town — was one of the most popular TV shows of the 1980s and 1990s. To tens of millions of viewers, the veteran actress with a trace of a British accent personified Jessica Fletcher, the widow-turned-detective whose genteel manner masked her wits.
Angela Lansbury in 1989 on the set of “Murder, She Wrote.” (Douglas Pizac/AP)

To a younger generation, Ms. Lansbury was best remembered as the voice of Mrs. Potts, the tenderhearted teapot who sings the Oscar-winning title song in the animated Disney feature “Beauty and the Beast” (1991).

Such cherished performances may have suggested that Ms. Lansbury was a specialist in plucky, non-threatening roles. Yet over seven decades in show business, she had two earlier and distinct phases of her career — on-screen and then on Broadway — in which she revealed herself as an artist of immense range and power.

“Hardly anyone can match her career for success, longevity and variety,” said film scholar Jeanine Basinger.

In her teens, Ms. Lansbury earned Oscar nominations for supporting roles in her first two movie appearances: as an impudent and seductive Cockney maid in “Gaslight” (1944) and as a sweetly innocent music-hall singer in “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1945). In the latter, her high and light voice was used to poignant effect in the ditty “Goodbye, Little Yellow Bird,” forecasting her own doom.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Kanye Shows Where the Right’s Troll Politics Lead, Michelle Goldberg, right, Oct. 12, 2022 (print ed.). It’s a perfect satire of how the modern right operates. The michelle goldberg thumbright-winger starts with a bigoted provocation and, when criticized, defaults to aggrieved claims of persecution and accusations of oversensitivity. He revels in the power he’s amassed even as he poses as a victim. This dynamic has been particularly stark since the musician Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, declared his intention to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

Usually, mainstream conservatives are a bit more nuanced in their antisemitism. They decry the Luciferian puppet master George Soros, or, as Donald Trump did in a 2016 campaign ad featuring images of prominent Jews in finance, refer to “those who control the levers of power” and “global special interests.” Marjorie Taylor Greene attributed the 2018 California wildfires to space lasers controlled, in part, by the Rothschild banking family. Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor — and not, in general, an opponent of religious education — has recently attacked his Democratic rival, Josh Shapiro, for sending his kids to an “exclusive, elite” Jewish day school, saying it shows “disdain for people like us.”

kanye west resized headshotYe, right, however, doesn’t bother with ambiguity. Last week, after Sean Combs, the rapper known as Diddy, criticized him for his “White Lives Matter” T-shirts, Ye posted an exchange on Instagram accusing Combs of being controlled by Jews. That got Ye’s Instagram account frozen, so he went on Twitter, where he was welcomed back by the site’s likely future owner, Elon Musk. There, after announcing his vendetta against the Jewish people, Ye addressed us directly: “You guys have toyed with me and tried to blackball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”

If Republicans were capable of shame they might have felt some. Ye, who long ago embraced Donald Trump, had just given an interview to Tucker Carlson in which he lambasted the media’s “godless agenda” and railed against abortion. Always thirsty for celebrity validation, conservatives ate the interview up. The account for the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted, “Kanye. Elon. Trump.” And now here was Ye showing, in a completely unvarnished way, just what his right-wing conversion entails. (As it turns out, Carlson already knew; Vice has since revealed that Ye’s most paranoid and unhinged comments were edited out.)

Recent Headlines

 

Oct. 11

Top Headlines

 

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shown with U.S. President Joe Biden at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference

 

U.S. Politics, Elections, Economy, Governance

 

Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers

 

More On Ukraine War

 

GOP Abortion Hypocrisy, Abortion Bans, #MeToo

 

World News, Human Rights

 

More On U.S. Courts, Regulation, Guns

 

Pandemic, Public Health

 

Drought, Energy Issues, Climate, Hurricanes

 

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Top Stories

An injured woman reacts after Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Two explosions rocked Kyiv early Monday following months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital. (Associated Press photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

An injured woman reacts after Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. Two explosions rocked Kyiv early Monday following months of relative calm in the Ukrainian capital. (Associated Press photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

ny times logoNew York Times, Zelensky Asks G7 for Air Defense Systems to Counter Russian Missiles, Michael Schwirtz, Andrew E. Kramer and Megan Specia, Oct. 11, 2022. At an emergency summit, President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for more “modern and effective” systems to fend off attacks, especially from Iranian-supplied drones.

President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the leaders of seven major industrialized nations for more “modern and effective air defense systems” on Tuesday, a day after Russia launched an intense aerial assault against civilian targets in his country.

Additional defense systems are necessary to counter Russian missiles and drones, particularly those supplied by Iran, Mr. Zelensky told the leaders of the Group of 7 nations, who held an emergency meeting a day after Russian missile strikes killed at least 19 people across the country. After the meeting, the leaders pledged “undeterred and steadfast” financial and military support for Ukraine, and emphasized “severe consequences” for Russia if it were to use chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

joe biden black background resized serious file

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden to Re-Evaluate Ties With Saudis After They Teamed With Russia on Oil, Peter Baker, Oct. 11, 2022. Angered by the kingdom’s decision to team up with Russia to slash oil output, the president signaled openness to retaliatory measures proposed in Congress.

opec logoPresident Biden is re-evaluating the relationship with Saudi Arabia after it teamed up with Russia to cut oil production in a move that bolstered President Vladimir V. Putin’s government and could raise American gasoline prices just before midterm elections, a White House official said on Tuesday.

john kirby ap wh“I think the president’s been very clear that this is a relationship that we need to continue to re-evaluate, that we need to be willing to revisit,” the official, John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council at the White House, said on CNN. “And certainly in light of the OPEC decision, I think that’s where he is.”

Mr. Kirby, shown at left in an AP file photo, signaled openness to retaliatory measures proposed by Democratic congressional leaders outraged by the oil production cut announced last week by the international cartel known as OPEC Plus. Among other things, leading Democrats have proposed curbing American security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales, and stripping OPEC members of their legal immunity so they can be sued for violations of American antitrust laws.

USTR seal Custom 2“The president’s obviously disappointed by the OPEC decision and is going to be willing to work with Congress as we think about what the right relationship with Saudi Arabia needs to be going forward,” Mr. Kirby said. He sounded a note of urgency. “The timeline’s now and I think he’s going to be willing to start to have those conversations right away,” he said. “I don’t think this is anything that’s going to have to wait or should wait quite frankly for much longer.”

 ny times logoNew York Times, Here’s what Russia’s attacks may indicate about its weapons stockpile, Mike Ives, Oct. 11, 2022. The Russian missile and drone attacks that killed at least 19 people across Ukraine on Monday were traumatic and wide-ranging, but they were not as deadly as they could have been, in the context of a war that has included widespread civilian killing.

That has renewed questions over the quality of Russia’s weapons and about the capacity of its forces to carry out President Vladimir V. Putin’s military designs.

Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said it could be a sign that Russia’s guided missiles are not very effective, or that it is running short of precision munitions. Most of the missiles targeted energy and other civilian services, in what Mr. Putin said was retaliation for a blast on Russia’s bridge to occupied Crimea.

“Perhaps it was Putin’s way of sending a warning shot across Ukraine’s bow: If you attack our infrastructure, we will ramp up attacks on your cities,” Mr. Storey said. But he and other experts acknowledged that much about Russia’s weapons arsenal remains unclear.

Here is some of what we know: Russia may be running low on sophisticated missiles. Many of Russia’s attacks — increasingly aimed at civilian targets — have been long-range strikes that used outdated, unguided and imprecise missiles, including some from the Soviet era. Ukrainian, Western and Russian analysts have said that the attacks appear to suggest that Russia is running low on its most sophisticated weapons.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shown with U.S. President Joe Biden at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky shown with U.S. President Joe Biden at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference

washington post logoWashington Post, Ukraine war at a turning point with rapid escalation of conflict, Karen DeYoung, Oct. 11, 2022. Both the nature and tempo of the war have changed in recent weeks, as Ukraine’s forces score victories on the ground and Russia retaliates as Putin is backed into a corner.

In little more than a month, the war in Ukraine has turned abruptly from a grueling, largely static artillery battle expected to last into the winter, to a rapidly escalating, multilevel conflict that has challenged the strategies of the United States, Ukraine and Russia.

Russia’s launch of massive strikes on civilian infrastructure Monday in about a dozen Ukrainian cities far from the front lines brought shock and outrage. The strikes, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken described as “wave after wave of missiles” struck “children’s playgrounds and public parks,” left at least 14 killed and nearly 100 wounded, and cut electricity and water in much of the country.

“By launching missile attacks on civilians sleeping in their homes or rushing toward children going to schools, Russia has proven once again that it is a terrorist state that must be deterred in the strongest possible ways,” Ukraine’s United Nations Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said at the opening of a General Assembly session scheduled before the assault to promote world condemnation of Moscow.

 

vladimir putin 9 30 2022

washington post logoWashington Post, Putin boasts of ‘massive strike’ across Ukraine, warns of further attacks, Missy Ryan, Jennifer Hassan, Isabelle Khurshudyan, Rachel Pannett and Nick Parker, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown above in a Sept. 30 address, boasted of a “massive strike” across Ukraine at a meeting of his Security Council on Monday.

Accusing Ukraine’s special services of carrying out an attack on the Crimean Bridge, Putin warned of “harsh” reprisal. “Its scale will correspond to the level of threats,” he said. Ukrainian officials called for a “resolute response” from allies to the torrent of attacks on energy facilities and civilian targets — including in the heart of Kyiv, the first major strikes in the capital in months.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will address an emergency meeting of the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, tweeting Monday that he had an urgent call with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss “air defense, the need for a tough European and international reaction, as well as increased pressure on the Russian Federation.” Ukraine’s prime minister said 11 infrastructure facilities in eight regions and the city of Kyiv were damaged, in addition to strikes on a playground, museums and educational institutions. He warned of interruptions to electricity, water and communications facilities. Attacks were also reported in Kharkiv in the northeast, Lviv in the west and Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro in central Ukraine.

 

President Biden Addresses the United Nations on Sept. 21, 2022 (New York Times photo by Doug Mills).

President Biden Addresses the United Nations on Sept. 21, 2022 (New York Times photo by Doug Mills).

Politico, Biden condemns Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities, pledging continued support, Olivia Olander, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). President Joe Biden on Monday condemned major attacks from Russia on Ukrainian civilian centers, calling again on Russia “to end this unprovoked aggression immediately and remove its troops from Ukraine.”

politico Custom“We will continue to impose costs on Russia for its aggression, hold Putin and Russia accountable for its atrocities and war crimes, and provide the support necessary for Ukrainian forces to defend their country and their freedom,” Biden said in a statement, offering his condolences to the loved ones of those killed. The Associated Press reported that at least eight people were killed and 24 were injured in one of the strikes in the capital, Kyiv, according to Rostyslav Smirnov, an adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Russia launched dozens of missiles and rockets toward civilian targets and major cities overnight, “some during rush hour, in which the maximum amount of civilians would be present,” according to Mick Mulroy, a former Pentagon official and retired CIA officer. The United States has since pledged to continue supporting the embattled country.

 

wayne madesen report logo

Wayne Madsen Report, Investigative Commentary: Not just another arrest for child porn, Wayne Madsen, left, author of 22 books, former Navy wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallintelligence officer and NSA analyst, Oct. 10-11, 2022. When the Falls Church, Virginia Police arrested Kimball B. Winn on September 9 and charged him with five counts of possession of child pornography, it was reported as merely another bust involving a pedophile.

Acting upon a tip from the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC Internet Crimes Against Children (NOVA-DC ICAC) Task Force and a judicial warrant, the Falls Church police had originally searched Winn’s home at 905 Parker Street [right] on August 31. It is during that search that police discovered “multiple digital devices” that “were forensically previewed” and on which child pornography was located.

The investigation of Winn’s on-line activities had previously involved both the Falls Church and Virginia State Police. The investigation on Winn’s online Internet activities remains ongoing.

If one were to have read the websites of the local media, including WJLA ABC 7 and WUSA CBS 9 but with the notable absence of The Washington Post, Winn was just another accused pervert with that being the end of the story. It is not. At a time when the roles of the U.S. Senate and House Sergeant-at-Arms are under scrutiny after the January 6, 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol by insurrectionists and coup plotters, it is important to delve deeper into what, on the surface, looked like a routine arrest last month in Falls Church.

Winn was from 2008 to 2013 the Chief Information Officer and Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for the U.S. Senate. Winn was responsible for providing all computer and network support services for members of the Senate and their staffs.

washington post logoWashington Post, Nurse killed 7 babies in ‘malevolent’ poison plot, prosecutor says, Annabelle Timsit, Oct. 11, 2022. A neonatal nurse lucy letbycharged with murdering seven babies and attempting to kill 10 others was accused in court of injecting newborns with air and feeding them insulin at a hospital in the United Kingdom.

Prosecutors accused Lucy Letby, 32, right, of being a “constant malevolent presence” at the hospital in northwest England in a years-long case that has sparked horror and fascination in the country. She has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutor Nick Johnson told jurors that Countess of Chester Hospital, where Letby worked, saw a significant rise in deaths and “catastrophic collapses” in its neonatal unit during 2015 and 2016, according to the Associated Press.

Politico, DOJ to SCOTUS: Steer clear of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago case appeal, Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Oct. 11, 2022 It is the latest in a winding legal drama that will likely carry on for months.

politico CustomThe Justice Department is asking the Supreme Court to turn down former President Donald Trump’s bid to get a set of about 100 documents marked as classified back into the hands of an independent “special master” reviewing materials seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in a brief filed Tuesday afternoon that there’s no reason for the high court to step into the dispute over what role the court system should play, if any, in overseeing investigators’ access to the records the FBI recovered from Trump’s Florida home.

Trump is seeking to get the records with classified markings back into the special master review in what appears to be an attempt to raise arguments that he declassified the records while he was president or that he declared them to be personal files not subject to the Presidential Records Act.

“Applicant has never represented in any of his multiple legal filings in multiple courts that he in fact declassified any documents — much less supported such a representation with competent evidence,” Prelogar wrote in the 32-page brief.

Trump has repeatedly, and publicly, claimed to have declassified all of the items seized by the FBI that bear classification markings — including some which characterize the records as among the most sensitive, closely held secrets the government possesses. But his lawyers have repeatedly refused to echo those claims, saying they don’t want to commit themselves to possible defense theories like declassification before a potential indictment.

In several rounds of legal filings and oral argument — including Trump’s application to the Supreme Court last week — the former president’s attorneys have decidedly avoided the issue, saying only that Trump’s access to the records remains absolute, “whether classified or declassified.”
Can we explain Trump’s reaction to the DOJ probe in 2 minutes? A POLITICO reporter tries (and fails, again)

Trump has also not presented any evidence he designated any of the seized materials as personal records, and DOJ has argued that classified documents — which inherently bear on national security — could never fit the statutory definition of personal records, since they are likely to have value to an incumbent or future administration.

The initial special master order U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon issued at Trump’s request barred the government from using any of the seized records, including the potentially classified documents, for criminal investigation purposes until the special master process is complete.

The Justice Department appealed her ruling to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. But it sought emergency relief only to restore access to the documents with classification markings, aiming to exclude them from the special master process. The appeals court sided with prosecutors on those issues last month in a 3-0 decision, although the broader appeal of Cannon’s ruling remains pending.

Trump’s bid for Supreme Court relief did not seek to restore the ban Cannon initially imposed on investigators accessing the documents with classified markings.

Trump’s request to the Supreme Court and the Justice Department’s response were technically submitted to Justice Clarence Thomas, because he oversees the 11th Circuit, which includes Florida. However, in high-profile cases, the individual justices almost always refer requests for emergency relief to the full court.

 

U.S. Politics, Economy, Governance

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Tim Ryan’s debate performance shows Democrats how to beat MAGA candidates, Jennifer Rubin, right, Oct. 11, jennifer rubin new headshot2022. Ohio is a solidly red state that former president Donald Trump won by eight points in 2020. Yet Democrat Tim Ryan is essentially tied with Trump sycophant J.D. Vance in the state’s U.S. Senate race.

How is that possible? Well, consider Ryan’s performance in his debate with Vance on Monday in which the moderate Democrat gave a tutorial in demolishing a weaselly MAGA cultist.

Sure to go viral, Ryan tore into Vance for being a Trump bootlicker (well, he used stronger language):

Contrary to Republican claims that Democrats are soft on crime, Ryan also skewered Vance for promoting the legal defense fund for insurrectionists who assaulted police at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. “Can you imagine one guy saying out of one side of his mouth he’s pro-cop, and out of the other side of his mouth he’s raising money for the insurrectionists who were beating up the Capitol police?” Ryan declared.

Ryan not only tied Vance to Trump but also to the entire loony band that now dominates the GOP. “You’re running around with Lindsey Graham, who wants a national abortion ban. You’re running around with Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is the absolute looniest politician in America,” Ryan said. “This is a dangerous group!”

The overall impression from Ryan’s performance was that Vance is a smarmy lightweight beholden to extremists. Ryan took Vance to task for his nonprofit meant to combat opioid addiction, which did nothing of the sort. And he lit into Vance for sneering at support for Ukraine. As Ryan put it, “If J.D. had his way, [Vladimir] Putin would be through Ukraine at this point. He’d be going into Poland.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Los Angeles City Councilor Takes Leave of Absence After Racist Comments, Jill Cowan and Shawn Hubler, Oct. 11, 2022. More officials called for the resignation of three City Council members after Nury Martinez, the council’s president, made racist and disparaging remarks.

Outrage continues to mount in the nation’s second-largest city after a leaked audio recording revealed racist and disparaging remarks made by the Los Angeles City Council president, Nury Martinez, right, in a meeting with other city leaders last year. Ms. Martinez stepped down as president on Monday and said on Tuesday that she would take a leave of nury martinezabsence from the council. But calls persist for her to resign as the episode has exposed painful racial fault lines in the diverse and heavily Democratic city.

The details: In the profanity-laced recording, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times and which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times on Sunday, Ms. Martinez, who is Latina, compared the Black child of a white council member to a “changuito,” Spanish for little monkey. She also called Oaxacan immigrants living in Koreatown “short little dark people.”

The remarks occurred during a meeting of Ms. Martinez with two other council members and Ron Herrera, the head of one of Los Angeles County’s most powerful labor organizations. Mr. Herrera resigned late Monday at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor’s executive board, according to Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation.

A growing number of officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles and both of the candidates running to replace him, Representative Karen Bass and the developer Rick Caruso, have called for the resignations of Ms. Martinez and the other two council members who attended the meeting, Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León. All three have apologized.

The City Council is set to meet on Tuesday at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Administration Plan Could Lead to Employee Status for Gig Workers, Noam Scheiber, Oct. 11, 2022. A proposed rule, long awaited by labor activists, would make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors.

joe biden twitterThe Labor Department on Tuesday unveiled a proposal that would make it more likely for millions of janitors, home-care and construction workers and gig drivers to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors.

Companies are required to provide certain benefits and protections to employees but not to contractors, such as paying a minimum wage, overtime, a portion of a worker’s Social Security taxes and contributions to unemployment insurance.

The proposed rule is essentially a test that the Labor Department will apply to determine whether workers are contractors or employees for companies. The test considers factors such as how much control workers have over how they do their jobs and how much opportunity they have to increase their earnings by doing things like offering new services. Workers who have little of either are often considered employees.

The new version of the test lowers the bar for that employee classification from the current test, which the Trump administration’s Labor Department created.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosPolitico, Kinzinger endorses Dems in major governor, secretary of state races, Zach Montellaro, The retiring Republican congressman is one of Donald Trump’s top intra-party critics.

politico CustomRep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the most prominent Republican critics of former President Donald Trump in Congress, is rolling out a bipartisan series of midterm endorsements Tuesday, including a handful of Democrats seeking to become their states’ top election officials.

Kinzinger (R-Ill.) endorsed four Democratic secretary of state candidates: incumbents Steve Simon of Minnesota and Jocelyn Benson of Michigan, along with Arizona’s Adrian Fontes and Nevada’s Cisco Aguilar, both of whom are running for open seats. Kinzinger’s endorsements, shared first with POLITICO, also include Democrat Josh Shapiro’s campaign for governor of Pennsylvania, where he would appoint the secretary of state if he wins.

Kinzinger also backed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who successfully fended off a Trump-backed primary challenger this year after refusing to help Trump overturn the 2020 election results. And Kinzinger gave another endorsement to Arizona Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs, the state’s current secretary of state.

Kinzinger, who did not seek reelection this year, is making the endorsements through his leadership PAC, Country First. His endorsement list also included a handful of federal candidates. He backed Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is facing a Trump-backed challenger in her state, and Evan McMullin, the 2016 presidential candidate who is running an independent challenge to Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

ny times logoNew York Times, In Fight for Congress, a Surprising Battleground Emerges: New York, Nicholas Fandos, Oct. 11, 2022. After a haywire redistricting process, New York has more congressional battlegrounds than nearly any other state.

Just a month before November’s critical midterm elections, New York has emerged from a haywire redistricting cycle as perhaps the most consequential congressional battleground in the country, and Democrats are mired in an increasingly costly fight just to hold their ground.

All told, nine of New York’s 26 seats — from the tip of Long Island to the banks of the Hudson River here in Poughkeepsie — are in play, more than any state but California.

For Democrats, the uncertainty is particularly jarring: Just 10 months ago, party leaders, who controlled the once-in-a-decade redistricting process in the state, optimistically predicted that new district lines could safeguard Democrats and imperil as many as five Republican seats, allowing them to add key blocks to their national firewall.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Hospitals Close Children’s Units, Where Does That Leave Lachlan? Emily Baumgaertner, Oct. 11, 2022. Adult beds are more lucrative, so pediatrics are often among the services cut when hospitals look to lift profits. Here’s what that means for one boy.

It was Lachlan Rutledge’s sixth birthday, but as he mustered a laborious breath and blew out one candle, it was his mother who made a wish: for a pediatric hospital bed in northeast Oklahoma.

The kindergartner has a connective tissue disorder, severe allergies and asthma. Those conditions repeatedly landed him in the pediatric intensive care unit at Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, with collapsed veins and oxygen levels so low, he was unresponsive to his mother’s voice.

But in April the hospital closed its children’s floor to make room for more adult beds. So on a September morning, after coming down with Covid for the fourth time and with what looked like bilateral pneumonia, Lachlan was struggling to breathe in an overcrowded emergency room at the Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis — the only remaining inpatient pediatric option in Tulsa.

“We’re always preparing for battle. It’s just a question of where we’re going to fight,” said his mother, Aurora Rutledge, looking frightened as she twisted the blond ringlets that poked out from under Lachlan’s Spider-Man headphones.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The 2022 midterms are the most important of my lifetime, Eugene Robinson, right, Oct. 11, 2022. In eugene robinson headshot Customfour short weeks, the nation faces the most important midterm elections of my lifetime. This year, the choice is between our democracy as we know it — messy, incremental, often frustrating — and a hard-edged performative populism fueled by resentment, misogyny and racism. To have any hope of building a better future, we must make a stand here.

It is hard for me to write those words because one of the first things I was taught as a young journalist was to be wary of superlatives. But the truth is plain — and painful: Democrats must keep control of at least one chamber of Congress, and preferably both, because the Republican Party has become a danger to the American experiment.

This is not the traditional contest between one set of politicians favoring progressive policies and another offering a more conservative vision. It is between a Democratic Party that believes voters ought to be able to make those ideological choices and a GOP that no longer believes the will of many of the American people must be respected.

ny times logoNew York Times, Why Little-Noticed State Legislative Races Could Be Hugely Consequential, Nick Corasaniti, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Races in state legislatures are often quiet and turn on local issues like roads or schools. But a Supreme Court case could give these legislative bodies nearly absolute power over federal elections.

The struggle for the Michigan Senate, as well as clashes for control of several other narrowly divided chambers in battleground states, have taken on outsize importance at a time when state legislatures are ever more powerful. With Congress often deadlocked and conservatives dominating the Supreme Court, state governments increasingly steer the direction of voting laws, abortion access, gun policy, public health, education and other issues dominating the lives of Americans.

The Supreme Court could soon add federal elections to that list.

The justices are expected to decide whether to grant nearly unfettered authority over such elections to state legislatures — a legal argument known as the independent state legislature theory. If the court does so, many Democrats believe, state legislatures could have a pathway to overrule the popular vote in presidential elections by refusing to certify the results and instead sending their own slates of electors.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Republicans can’t keep getting away with racist and sexist comments, Jennifer Rubin, right, Oct. 11, jennifer rubin new headshot2022. Republicans these days aren’t even bothering to disguise their racism or contempt for women. They flaunt their bigotry, daring the media to recoil. And they usually get away with it.

Consider a recent statement from Sen. Tommy Tuberville. During a rally in Nevada on Saturday, the Alabama Republican declared that Democrats are “pro-crime.” He added: “They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

republican elephant logoThis is a blatantly racist comment suggesting that Black people “do” crime. Why hasn’t the media forced Republicans to respond to it?

What should Democrats do if they want voters to understand the tenor of today’s Republicans? Tie Republican candidates up and down the ballot to remarks such as these. Otherwise, the GOP will continue waltzing along, denigrating and diminishing women.

washington post logoWashington Post, Florida offers warning for Democrats about Hispanic voters, Marianna Sotomayor and Silvia Foster-Frau, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Florida has become the worst-case scenario for Democrats, a glaring warning about other states if the party does not aggressively court Hispanic voters.

The first major indicator that Democrats might be losing their hold on the Hispanic community here came during Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2018 reelection bid.

Gov. Rick Scott, his Republican challenger, was making inroads with Puerto Rican voters after his engaged response to Hurricane Maria. Hispanic political strategists tried to sound the alarm, warning the Democratic Party committee in Washington that Nelson’s outreach to the Hispanic community was close to nonexistent. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee told them not to worry, according to people who took part in the discussions: The Democrats had Florida locked up.

Nelson ended up losing by 10,000 votes, a slim defeat that strategists from both parties concluded could have been avoided had Democrats aggressively targeted Florida’s 2.5 million Hispanic registered voters.

A Democrat has not won a national race in Florida since.

This year’s midterms are expected to feature historic Democratic investment in advertising and outreach to Hispanic voters, an effort to stunt significant GOP gains and prevent similar inroads in states with burgeoning Hispanic communities.

Despite the investment, Democratic strategists and party leaders are pessimistic about their prospects among Hispanic voters in Florida after losing ground with that demographic in the state in the two most recent election cycles. Strategists privately admit that Democrats are still not investing enough to attract Florida’s Hispanic voters as the party sees that years of neglect and cultural conservatism has made the voting base too partisan to sway.

Florida is emerging as a glaring warning for Democrats about what can happen if they do not aggressively court Hispanic voters in other states, some party strategists say.

As the fastest-growing U.S. voting bloc, Hispanics could reshape the landscape of electoral politics for decades, making them essential in races that are determined at the statistical margins. Strategists for both parties said Latinos should now be viewed as swing voters, a group that needs constant persuasion and engagement because their turnout rate could determine close elections. Spanish speakers also have been targeted with misinformation and disinformation, which could further depress their turnout.

Although a majority of Latinos voted Democratic in 2020, the erosion of their support for the party in Florida and South Texas shook the long-standing notion that demographic change in the United States would automatically benefit Democrats.

 

Doug Mastriano (Shown at a rally at the state capitol at Harrisburg on Sept. 24, 2022 (Photo by Roxbury News).

Doug Mastriano (Shown at a rally at the state capitol at Harrisburg on Sept. 24, 2022 (Photo by Roxbury News).

ny times logoNew York Times, Mastriano’s Attacks on Jewish School Set Off Outcry Over Antisemitic Signaling, Katie Glueck, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.).. Doug Mastriano, the G.O.P. candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, is alarming Jewish voters as he faces the Democratic candidate, Josh Shapiro, who is Jewish.

Four years after the massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue, believed to be the deadliest antisemitic attack in American history, Doug Mastriano, the Republican nominee for governor of Pennsylvania, has rattled a diverse swath of the state’s Jewish community, alarming liberal Jews with his remarks and far-right associations, and giving pause to more conservative ones.

Some of those voters have recoiled from Mr. Mastriano’s opposition to abortion rights under any circumstance, or from his strident election denialism. But the race between Mr. Mastriano, a state senator, and his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Josh Shapiro — a Jewish day school alum who features challah in his advertising and routinely borrows from Pirkei Avot, a collection of Jewish ethics — has also centered to an extraordinary degree on Mr. Shapiro’s religion.

Mr. Mastriano, who promotes Christian power and disdains the separation of church and state, has repeatedly lashed Mr. Shapiro for attending and sending his children to what Mr. Mastriano calls a “privileged, exclusive, elite” school, suggesting to one audience that it evinced Mr. Shapiro’s “disdain for people like us.”

It is a Jewish day school, where students are given both secular and religious instruction. But Mr. Mastriano’s language in portraying it as an elitist reserve seemed to be a dog whistle.

“Apparently now it’s some kind of racist thing if I talk about the school,” Mr. Mastriano said at a recent event as he cast himself as a champion of school choice for all. “It’s a very expensive, elite school.”

The focus on Mr. Shapiro’s religion has freighted one of the nation’s most consequential elections with an unusually raw and personal dimension.

“You have a candidate who is Jewish, an observant Jewish candidate, who puts his observance and his faith in his campaign ads,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League. “And then you have someone who associates with unapologetic, unabashed antisemites running against him.”

In a closely divided state where races are often won on the margins, Mr. Mastriano is now losing ground with a small but significant part of the Trump coalition, squandering opportunities with more conservative and religiously observant Jews who embraced the former president and his party because of his often-hawkish stance concerning Israel, but who now express grave reservations about Mr. Mastriano.

Texas Tribune, Essay: The education and disillusionment of a young Texas reporter in D.C., Abby Livingston, Oct. 11, 2022. I moved to Washington in 2006 to work for a senator. I left in 2022 in the prime of my journalism career. I had seen enough.

I came into town on a Sunday flight with two suitcases. It was April 2006, and I was 23. Some older Texas girls had an extra room in a Georgetown townhouse for me. On Monday morning, I put on my new Ann Taylor suit and took the D.C. Circulator bus across town to work in the Russell Senate Office Building.

My social life was small. As a newcomer, I toured the sites, watched movies, explored neighborhoods, all on my own. Money was tight, but I didn’t mind because I was so eager to learn.

Relevant Headlines

 

Trump-Related Trials, Probes, Election Deniers

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities in the 2016 era. U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities before the 2016 presidential election.

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel John Durham, right, is shown in a file photo with international consultant Igor Danchenko, defendant in a false statement prosecution that represents in a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday the culmination of a Durham probe began with his Trump administration appointment in 2019 to investigate Trump allegations that the president was being smeared by suspicions that Trump and his campaign team acted in cooperation with Russian interests and entities before the 2016 presidential election.

Politico, Danchenko trial opens, expected to be last of prosecutor’s probe into origins of Trump-Russia investigation, Kelly Hooper, Oct. 11, 2022. John Durham is seeking the conviction of a Russian analyst who is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI as agents investigated potential collusion.

Igor Danchenko was a leading contributor to the so-called Steele dossier, a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations about Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government. | Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Special counsel John Durham’s probe into the origins of the FBI’s handling of the 2016 Trump campaign’s ties to Russia is reaching a critical peak: the launch of what’s expected to be the final trial in his long-running investigation.

Durham is seeking the conviction of Igor Danchenko, a Russian analyst who is charged with five counts of lying to the FBI in interviews as agents investigated potential Trump-Russia collusion in the probe that became known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” Danchenko was a leading contributor to the so-called Steele dossier, a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations about Donald Trump’s relationship with the Russian government. Danchenko pleaded not guilty to the five counts against him.

The government aired the allegations during opening statements on Tuesday, accusing Danchenko of lying about his main sources for his contributions to the dossier, as well as communications he had with Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-American businessman who once did real estate work with the Trump Organization and stayed in touch with Trump associates during the 2016 campaign. Prosecutors specifically accuse Danchenko of fabricating Millian as a source, claiming he lied about speaking to the businessman over the phone.

“We are going to prove to you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant never received a call from Sergei Millian,” prosecutor Michael Kielty said.

Prosecutors also allege that Danchenko lied about his main source for the dossier by telling the FBI he hadn’t “talked” to Democratic operative Charles Dolan, who had ties to the Hillary Clinton campaign. The government said it would provide evidence that the two had exchanged emails.

The defense, however, argued in opening statements that Danchenko did not lie or mislead the FBI, since he hadn’t had an oral conversation with Dolan. Danchenko’s attorney, Danny Onorato, said the jury would hear evidence during the trial that would “eviscerate” any claim that his client was untruthful.

“They want you to disregard the common-sense notion of what talking means — and that is an oral communication,” Onorato said.

He also argued that the government’s attempt to use phone records to show that a call between Danchenko and Millian never happened would not be sufficient because the call could have happened using a mobile app. Onorato added that Danchenko told the FBI he only believed the caller to be Millian, but never said he was sure.

“His objective, commonsense belief cannot be false,” Onorato said.

ny times logoNew York Times, Judge Narrows Trial of Analyst Who Reported Salacious Claims About Trump, Charlie Savage and Adam Goldman, Oct. 10, 2022 (print ed.). Matters deemed tangential to the charges of making false statements, including a notorious and uncorroborated rumor of a sex tape, will be excluded from the case.

John H. Durham, the Trump-era special counsel, set off political reverberations last year when he unveiled a lengthy indictment of an analyst he accused of lying to the F.B.I. about sources for the so-called Steele dossier, a discredited compendium of political opposition FBI logoresearch about purported ties between Donald J. Trump and Russia.

But the trial of the analyst, Igor Danchenko, which opens on Tuesday with jury selection in federal court in Alexandria, Va., now appears likely to be shorter and less politically salient than the sprawling narrative in Mr. Durham’s indictment had suggested the proceeding would be.

anthony trengaIn an 18-page order last week, the judge overseeing the case, Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia, right, excluded from the trial large amounts of information that Mr. Durham had wanted to showcase — including material that undercuts the credibility of the dossier’s notorious rumor that Russia had a blackmail tape of Mr. Trump with prostitutes.

Certain facts Mr. Durham dug up related to that rumor “do not qualify as direct evidence as they are not ‘inextricably intertwined’ or ‘necessary to provide context’ to the relevant charge,” Judge Trenga wrote, adding that they “were substantially outweighed by the danger of confusion and unfair prejudice.”

In that and other disputes over evidence, Judge Trenga, a George W. Bush appointee, almost always sided with Mr. Danchenko’s defense lawyers. Mr. Durham, they said, had tried to inject irrelevant issues into the trial in “an unnecessary and impermissible attempt to make this case about more than it is.”

Judge Trenga’s ruling has pared down the larger significance of the trial, which is likely to be Mr. Durham’s final courtroom act before he retires as a longtime prosecutor. The grand jury that Mr. Durham has used to hear evidence has expired, suggesting he will bring no further indictments.

Mr. Durham is also writing a report to Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who succeeded the Trump administration official who appointed william barr new ohim as special counsel, William P. Barr, right.

The dossier, which is at the heart of the Danchenko trial, attracted significant public attention when BuzzFeed published it in January 2017. Mr. Trump and his supporters frequently try to conflate it with the official Russia inquiry or falsely claim that it was the basis for the F.B.I.’s investigation.

But the F.B.I. did not open the investigation based on the dossier, and the final report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, did not cite anything in it as evidence. The F.B.I. did cite some claims from the dossier in applying for court permission to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser with ties to Russia.

washington post logoWashington Post, Steele dossier source heads to trial, in possible last stand for Durham, Salvador Rizzo and Devlin Barrett, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Former president Donald Trump said that special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the FBI’s 2016 Russia probe should “reveal corruption at a level never seen before in our country.”

But the special counsel’s nearly three-and-a-half-year examination seems destined for a less dramatic conclusion this month in a federal courthouse in Alexandria, Va., where Durham will put on trial a private researcher he says lied to the FBI.

Igor Danchenko — a researcher who fed information to former British spy Christopher Steele, and whose contributions ended up in the now-infamous “Steele dossier” of allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia in 2016 — goes on trial Tuesday. The trial is expected to last one week.

Danchenko was indicted on charges of lying to FBI agents who interviewed him in 2017 about the sources behind his claims to Steele. Defense attorneys argue that Danchenko made a series of “equivocal” statements to the FBI and should not be penalized for giving wishy-washy answers to vaguely worded questions.

Whatever the outcome, the Danchenko trial is shaping up to be Durham’s last stand in court.

ny times logoNew York Times, Stewart Rhodes is Not the Only Oath Keeper on Trial, Alan Feuer, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The stories of the four other members of the far-right militia also facing charges of seditious conspiracy help flesh out the group’s role around the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

When the seditious conspiracy trial of five members of the Oath Keepers militia opened last week in Federal District Court in Washington, stewart rhodes mugprosecutors focused much of their attention on the organization’s founder and leader, Stewart Rhodes, shown in a mugshot at right.

That was for good reason: The government’s evidence suggests that Mr. Rhodes was the central force driving the far-right group to disregard the results of the 2020 election and to ultimately seek to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power from Donald J. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But as the trial unfolds over the next several weeks, the spotlight will fall on Mr. Rhodes’s co-defendants: Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell. Their stories help to flesh out how the group came to play such a prominent role in the effort to keep Mr. Trump in the White House despite his loss in the election.

Here is a look at each of them and what the jury may hear about their individual roles in the plot to storm the Capitol and disrupt the democratic process on Jan. 6, 2021.

KELLY MEGGS

Mr. Meggs, a car dealer from Dunnellon, Fla., a small town north of Tampa, was the leader of the Oath Keepers’ Florida chapter on Jan. 6, having taken over the position two weeks earlier from its previous chief, Michael Adams. Mr. Adams, who testified at the trial last week, said he had resigned the post in protest over Mr. Rhodes’s increasingly violent language, including calls for a “bloody war” against the Biden administration.

From an early stage, Mr. Meggs, outraged by the results of the election, seemed prepared to join that fray according to Facebook messages seized by the government. And after Mr. Trump posted a tweet on Dec. 19, 2020, inviting supporters to a “wild” protest in Washington on Jan. 6, Mr. Meggs reacted enthusiastically.

“He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!” he wrote. “Sir Yes Sir!! We are headed to DC.”

Around the same time, Mr. Meggs claimed to have organized an “alliance” between the Oath Keepers and other far-right groups — among them, the Proud Boys and the Florida chapter of the Three Percenter militia movement, the Facebook messages show. While much of the planning seems to have revolved around efforts to combat leftist activists from antifa, who were expected to harass Trump supporters on Jan. 6, Mr. Meggs discussed bringing mace, gas masks and batons to Washington for the rally that day.

Mr. Meggs also played an instrumental role in the Oath Keepers’ getting the job of providing security to Roger J. Stone Jr., Mr. Trump’s longtime political adviser, who was scheduled to speak at rallies on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. Lawyers for the group have used the security job as part of their defense strategy, suggesting the Oath Keepers did not go to Washington to attack the Capitol, but rather to protect pro-Trump dignitaries.

On Jan. 6 itself, Mr. Meggs was part of a military-style “stack” that entered the east side of the Capitol and, according to prosecutors, moved through the Rotunda toward the House of Representatives in search of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Should Mr. Rhodes testify at the trial, as expected, he is likely to say that Mr. Meggs went “off mission” by going into the building and that he did so without instructions from any Oath Keepers leaders.

KENNETH HARRELSON

Two days before the Capitol attack, Mr. Meggs named Mr. Harrelson, a welder and Army veteran from Titusville, Fla., as the leader of his “ground team,” prosecutors say.

But not much is known about Mr. Harrelson’s activities or beliefs in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, in large part because he had no social media accounts and deleted most of his cellphone messages after the Oath Keepers left Washington that day.

The jury will eventually hear evidence that Mr. Harrelson brought rifles to a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va., as part of a so-called “quick reaction force” designed to rush into Washington and aid the Oath Keepers at the Capitol if things went wrong.

The jurors will also likely hear how Mr. Harrelson entered the building with one of the military “stacks” and joined Mr. Meggs in search of Ms. Pelosi.

Mr. Harrelson’s lawyers chose not to give an opening statement to the jury, but they have said he had no idea the Oath Keepers intended to storm the Capitol and had only gone to Washington to take part in the group’s security work. The quick reaction force also never brought their weapons from Virginia into Washington.

JESSICA WATKINS

Ms. Watkins, an Army veteran and bar owner from rural Ohio, ran her own militia in that state and joined up with the Oath Keepers around the time of the election. Like others in the group, she was disturbed by the results of the election and considered the prospect of a Biden presidency to be “an existential threat,” court papers say.

“Biden may still be our President,” she wrote to an associate in November 2020. “If he is, our way of life as we know it is over.”

She quickly added: “Then it is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights.”

On Jan. 6, Ms. Watkins used a digital walkie-talkie app called Zello to communicate with her fellow Oath Keepers and with dozens of others who were on the same channel, “Stop the Steal J6.” Prosecutors intend to play a recording of their chatter to the jury, providing a real-time, firsthand account of Ms. Watkins marching toward the Capitol and entering the building where she was met by paintballs and stun grenades from the police.

As a transgender woman, Ms. Watkins may have the most interesting personal story of any of the Oath Keepers defendants, and her lawyer, Jonathan Crisp, said during his opening statement last week that he intends to use it to humanize her for the jury.

While the details remain unclear, Mr. Crisp said that Ms. Watkins found it challenging to spend years in hypermasculine organizations like the Army and the Oath Keepers.

THOMAS CALDWELL

Though he was not a dues-paying member of the Oath Keepers, Mr. Caldwell, a former naval officer who once held a top-secret clearance, was intimately involved with each of the Oath Keepers’ events in Washington after the election.

He let several members of the group stay on his 30-acre property in Berryville, Va., while they attended the so-called Million MAGA March on Nov. 14, 2020.

Then, in advance of a second pro-Trump rally in the city on Dec. 12, Mr. Caldwell — a self-described “crusty intel guy” — wrote an “ops plans,” advising his compatriots to bring “striking weapons” and possibly firearms to the event. The guns, and each of their bullets, he wrote, should be wiped down thoroughly before the gathering and discarded after use.

As Jan. 6 approached, Mr. Caldwell took charge of assembling the armed “quick reaction force” that would be stationed at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va. At one point, he considered a plan to use a boat to ferry weapons across the Potomac River to his fellow Oath Keepers at the Capitol, evidence has shown.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Bad news for Donald Trump in Fulton County Georgia criminal case, Shirley Kennedy, right, Oct. 11, 2022. You must hand it to Fani Willis, the district attorney in bill palmerGeorgia who is investigating Donald Trump’s criminal attempts to interfere with the elections in Georgia.

bill palmer report logo headerShe is leaving no proverbial stone unturned. CNN reported that Willis has secured the cooperation of Cassidy Hutchinson in her investigation. Willis has been trying to get testimony from former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who has not exactly been willing to cooperate. Instead of sitting around waiting for Meadows, Willis did the next best thing and went to his former aide. While it is unlikely that Hutchinson was on the phone call with Trump, Meadows, and others, it is likely that she was nearby when the call took place.

Meadows was clearly one of the participants in Trump’s call to Brad Raffensperger. A hearing has been scheduled later this month to determine whether Meadows will be forced to testify. If there is any doubt about Meadows’ involvement, CNN reminded us that Meadows is the person who reached out to the DOJ to allege voter fraud in Georgia (among other states) and pushed the DOJ to investigate. Willis included that information in her filing to force Meadows to testify, calling him a “material witness.” He was not only a witness but was a willing participant in the real fraud: the claim that the 2020 election was stolen. While both Willis and the DOJ are ramping down their investigations until after the Midterms, CNN has reported that Willis plans to issue indictments as early as December. Hopefully, one of those indictments will have Trump’s name on it. If Willis doesn’t get Trump, the DOJ will.

Trump’s lackeys have been working overtime trying to blame who and whatever they can for Trump taking classified documents from the White House to his resort in Florida. Several of them claimed that the GSA, and not Trump, packed the boxes, but no one was really buying that story. Now, the GSA has released emails detailing the hoops they jumped through to ensure Trump took nothing that didn’t belong to him. They asked Trump’s former assistant for operations, Beau Harrison, to affirm what was being taken, which should have been materials “required to wind down the office of the Former President or are items that are property of the Federal Government.” While presidents can take some documents that assist with setting up new permanent offices, they are not allowed to take classified documents. This information clearly shows that not only did the GSA NOT pack any of the boxes, but the agency had to go to Trump’s people to find out what was in the boxes. If they had packed the boxes themselves, they wouldn’t have had to ask anyone. According to CNN, the boxes had already been packed and shrink-wrapped, so the GSA had no way of knowing what was inside of them. What a surprise that they contained classified documents, which Trump was not allowed to take.

Trump knew what he was doing, and he did it for his own twisted purposes. Trump is slowly putting together the DOJ’s case for them. All they have to do is follow the paper.

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More On Ukraine War

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Biden scrambles to avert cracks in pro-Ukraine coalition, Yasmeen Abutaleb and John Hudson, Oct. 11, 2022. As winter approaches, he’s phoning foreign leaders and facing GOP skeptics.

President Biden has held hours of conversations in recent months with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and other foreign leaders who have not always supported the Western coalition against Ukraine, urging them to stand firm against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So — whether through Biden’s efforts or not — the White House was pleasantly surprised when Modi confronted Putin at a summit last month, lecturing him that “today’s era is not of war” and that Putin should “move onto a path of peace,” comments unusual for a leader who has gone to great lengths to remain neutral in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to a senior White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

As these discussions show, Biden is now pushing hard to hold together what has become a central mission of his presidency: maintaining the global and domestic coalition supporting Ukraine. As the war heads into its first winter, probably a bitter and brutal one, some U.S. allies face economic headwinds fueled by the war, while at home some Republicans voice skepticism about the billions in aid going to Ukraine.

These efforts face a major test Wednesday when the United Nations votes on a draft resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of four parts of Ukraine. Biden and U.S. officials have been working to convince nonaligned countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to refrain from taking a neutral position and condemn the Kremlin outright, an effort analysts said might be bolstered by Russia’s barrage of missile attacks Monday on Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities.

U.S. leaders are hoping at least 100 of the 193 U.N. member states — the number that supported a 2014 U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea — will support the draft resolution, several senior administration officials said. In March, when the United States first offered a U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s invasion, it received support from 141 member states; arguably, fewer votes than that will mean diplomatic ground has been lost.

ny times logoNew York Times, Russian hawks cheered the attacks, saying they were a sign of escalation, Ivan Nechepurenko and Anton Troianovski, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Russian hard-liners celebrated on Monday as missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities, saying the attacks were retaliation for the blast that partially destroyed Moscow’s bridge to Crimea and were a long-awaited sign that the Kremlin was intensifying its attacks against Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

Ramzan Kadyrov — the bellicose leader of the Russian republic of Chechnya, who just days ago had railed against the military leadership in Moscow for ordering a retreat from a key city in eastern Ukraine — cheered that he was finally “satisfied with how the special military operation is ongoing,” using Russia’s official term for the war in Ukraine.

Sergei Aksynov, the head of Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014, said the attacks demonstrated that Russia’s approach to the war had changed. Had the Russian military targeted Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure “every day since the first day of the special military operation, we would have ended it all in May,” he wrote on Telegram.

For months, Russian state media, in tune with the official Kremlin line, has been claiming that Russian forces were only hitting military targets in Ukraine. That changed on Monday with Channel One, one of the country’s two main television networks, reporting the strikes against Ukrainian cities as their top story.

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. midterm elections, and need for aid, cast shadow on Ukraine’s battlefield gains, Missy Ryan, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). As American officials pore over maps tracking developments in Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia, their Ukrainian counterparts are monitoring a different kind of contest back in the United States: the upcoming midterm congressional elections.

In Kyiv, Ukrainians voice hope, and some apprehension, that next month’s legislative polls won’t undercut the staggering flow of U.S. weapons and security aid that Washington has authorized since the start of President Vladimir Putin’s Feb 24. invasion. And they warn that a softening of Republican sentiment has the potential to sap a recent surge in battlefield momentum.

Uncertainty about future American support is intensifying as pollsters predict that Republicans will retake control of the House of Representatives. Some Republican lawmakers and candidates have expressed displeasure with giant aid sums, citing competing security concerns about China, domestic priorities, and the need for greater oversight.

ny times logoNew York Times, With Civilian Attacks, Putin Gives Hard-Liners What They Wanted, Valerie Hopkins and Anton Troianovski, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). A shift toward deadly strikes in Ukraine signaled that pressure over Russia’s war had escalated to the point where Vladimir Putin felt a show of force was needed.

For months, Russia’s state media has insisted that the country was hitting only military targets in Ukraine, leaving out the suffering that the invasion has brought to millions of civilians.

On Monday, state television not only reported on the suffering, but also flaunted it. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.

“There’s no hot water; part of the city is without power,” one anchor announced, describing the scene in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

The sharp shift was a sign that domestic pressure over Russia’s flailing war effort had escalated to the point where President Vladimir V. Putin believed that a brutal show of force was necessary — as much for his audience at home as for Ukraine and the West.

ap logoAssociated Press via Politico, Russian ally cancels Russian-led military drill on its land, Staff Report, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan did not explain why.

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan on Sunday unilaterally cancelled joint military drills between the six nations making up the Russia-led Collective Security Treaty Organization, less than a day before they were due to start on its territory.

politico CustomThe Kyrgyz defense ministry did not specify the reason for cancelling the “Indestructible Brotherhood-2022” command and staff exercises, which were set to be held in the country’s windswept eastern highlands Monday to Friday.

According to earlier reports, the exercises were set to involve army personnel from CSTO members Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and focus on securing ceasefires. Observers from five further states, including Serbia, Syria and Uzbekistan, had also been invited.

The move by Bishkek is the latest indication that tensions may be simmering within the alliance, formed in the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Last month, Armenia skipped a two-week drill held by the collective in Kazakhstan, after criticizing the bloc for failing to openly side with it after large-scale fighting erupted on its border with non-member Azerbaijan in September.

Russia and other CSTO countries effectively turned down Yerevan’s request for military aid, issued hours after hostilities began, and limited their response to sending fact-finding missions to the border. Armenian authorities had accused the Azerbaijani government in Baku of using heavy artillery and combat drones to strike Armenian army positions.

Despite its apparent ambitions to provide a counterpart to NATO, the CSTO has at times struggled to define its exact purpose. Failure to engage in numerous security crises among its members over the years has prompted analysts to question its viability.

ny times logoNew York Times,  Russia’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure come as winter looms, Andrew E. Kramer, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Russian missiles on Monday targeted electrical power plants, transmission lines and waterworks across Ukraine in a strategy now being openly discussed in Russia — retaliating for battlefield loses by attempting to cripple Ukraine’s critical infrastructure.

Plunging cities into darkness and complicating people’s lives with water outages are intended to sow panic behind the Ukrainian lines as winter looms, even though it may have little immediate effect on the fighting, Ukrainian officials and military analysts say. Lights flickered off in multiple cities on Monday, as local authorities resorted to rolling blackouts to avoid overloading backup electrical lines.

The idea of freezing Ukrainians into submission is not new. The Kremlin has for years studied Ukraine’s energy networks and sought to manipulate prices or cut natural gas deliveries to influence politics in the country, an approach it is now pursuing with military force. Twice in past years, Russia cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine in midwinter.

By Monday afternoon, bombardments had hit 11 infrastructure sites throughout the country, the prime minister, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Facebook. Ukraine should brace for blackouts and disruptions in water supplies, he said.

Russian FlagRegional officials have been bracing for extensive repair jobs at power plants, hiring extra linemen and setting up communal spaces heated by wood or coal stoves as a fallback option if Russia succeeds in knocking out heat and power in the cold winter months.

“As Russians lose, they fire rockets at civilian infrastructure to create panic in the rear and damage our army,” said Oleksandr Vilkul, the military governor of Kryvyi Rih, a central Ukrainian city that was among the first targets of the Russian strategy of attacking infrastructure last month. In that flurry of strikes, missiles hit the city’s waterworks, water pipes and a sluice on a dam, flooding low-lying neighborhoods.

The strikes on Monday expanded the strategy. By afternoon on Monday, four regions — Lviv, Poltava, Sumy and Kharkiv — were without electricity, officials said. In Kharkiv, electrically powered trolley buses and trams glided to a stop. Electric trains from Kyiv headed to the country’s west didn’t leave the station.

Experts on Ukraine’s electrical grid and municipal heating have said it is a hard target to fully disable, making it unlikely a demoralizing nationwide freeze awaits Ukraine over the winter.

ny times logoNew York Times, The West will likely face pressure to give Ukraine more air-defense systems, analysts said, Eric Schmitt, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The barrage of Russian missiles that hit across Ukraine on Monday will likely pressure the Biden administration to accelerate its promise to send Kyiv more sophisticated air defenses, analysts said.

Ukraine has an extensive network of local air defenses that has been largely effective at knocking down Russian missiles — as it managed to do in several cases on Monday — and preventing the Russian air force from gaining dominance over Ukrainian skies.

But Ukrainian defenses cannot stop all incoming Russia attacks, and Kyiv has repeatedly requested more advanced systems to protect cities and civilian infrastructure.

The Pentagon said late last month that it would deliver two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, to Ukraine within the next two months. Six more of the systems are “longer-term” deliveries, the Defense Department has said.

On Monday, Pentagon officials declined to specify when the NASAMS would arrive on the battlefield. “We’re not going to provide a timetable for public consumption that could potentially be used by the Russians to allow them advance notice of any particular capability they might face,” J. Todd Breasseale, a Defense Department spokesman, said.

The United States has used NASAMS to help protect the White House and other part of the Washington Capitol area since 2005, according to Raytheon, which jointly produces the system with a Norwegian partner.

Norway also is expected to send a small number of NASAMS to Ukraine soon, U.S. officials said.

But President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian officials have asked for even more advanced air defenses.

ny times logoNew York Times, British Official Stresses Threat From China Even Amid Russian Aggression, David E. Sanger, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). The head of Britain’s spy agency warned that the West should not lose sight of the technological challenge from China as it deals with Russia’s invasion.

A top British intelligence official will warn in a speech on Tuesday that while Russia’s aggression has created an urgent threat, China’s expanding use of technology to control dissent and its growing ability to attack satellite systems, control digital currencies and track individuals pose far deeper challenges for the West.

In an interview on Monday ahead of his address, the official, Jeremy Fleming, who heads GCHQ — the British electronic intelligence-gathering and cyber agency made famous for its role in breaking the Enigma codes in World War II — also said he was skeptical about how far China would go to support Russia’s aggression.

“I don’t think that this is a ‘relationship without limits,’” he said, using the term that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Xi Jinping of China employed when they met at the Beijing Olympics early this year, just before the invasion of Ukraine. In light of Russia’s dismal battlefield performance and its brutality, he said, China “needs to be weighing up the advantages and disadvantage of continuing to align themselves strongly with Russia.”

Mr. Fleming’s agency — formally called Government Communications Headquarters, the counterpart to the National Security Agency in the United States — plays an increasingly central role in tracking Russian communications and preparing for the day when China’s advances in quantum computing may defeat the kinds of encryption used to protect both government and corporate communications.

washington post logoWashington Post, In Izyum, joyous family reunions after liberation ends Russian occupation, Siobhán O’Grady, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Viktor Havrashenko, 41, decided shortly after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion to flee Izyum with his wife and daughter. They settled in a part of the Kharkiv region still under Ukrainian control. It was clear from early on that Russian forces were intent on illegally annexing the territory and declaring it part of Russia.

Viktor’s parents, like many older people across the country, refused to evacuate — preferring to stay home, come what might. By March, after weeks of heavy fighting, Russian forces took control of Izyum and many surrounding villages, including their own.

For months, there was barely any phone connection. But from what little Viktor learned, he knew the situation was dire. Shelling had destroyed many apartment buildings and homes — including the house just across the street from his own. Food was scarce. He wasn’t sure what had happened to his many chickens. He missed his pet cat. He worried about his parents getting the medicines they needed to survive.

As a driver working for The Washington Post, Viktor bore witness to the dangers civilians faced in towns near the war’s front lines. The summer passed without much hope that his situation would change any time soon.

Torture, killings, abductions: Russian retreat from Izyum reveals horrors

Then, in the span of just a few days in September, a rapid and unexpected Ukrainian counteroffensive forced unsuspecting Russian forces and their collaborators to retreat from the Kharkiv region, abandoning many of their belongings — including tanks and weapons. Ukrainian forces were invigorated by their gains. Military analysts lauded the advances as a potential turning point in the war. And many civilians who survived months of Russian occupation embraced the arrival of the blue-and-yellow flag that restored their place in Ukraine.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Missile strikes reported across Ukraine as Zelensky meets with G-7, Louisa Loveluck, Ellen Francis, Rachel Pannett and Jennifer Hassan, Oct. 11, 2022. Orban says Trump is ‘hope for peace’ in Ukraine, Photos: Kyiv residents take shelter in subway stations, New strike knocks out power for nearly a third of Lviv, mayor says.

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine early Tuesday, including in the capital, Kyiv, a day after strikes killed 19 people and injured more than 100, emergency services said. Western allies were quick to condemn the attacks, but it was not clear whether they would all speed up or expand their military aid as the pace of conflict escalates.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is meeting with leaders of the Group of Seven nations, including President Biden, Tuesday. His calls for better air defense systems and longer-range weapons intensified after the strikes tore through busy streets and knocked out power, as Moscow pledged retaliation for a blast on Russia’s bridge to Crimea.

Here’s what to know

  • Biden promised continued aid for Kyiv in a Monday call with Zelensky, according to a White House statement that didn’t include time frames. A meeting of NATO defense ministers will also discuss Ukraine’s pleas for weapons later this week.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi on Tuesday, the Kremlin said. The U.N. watchdog is seeking a buffer zone at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, which Russian forces control.
  • Germany’s Defense Ministry said that the first of four IRIS-T promised to Ukraine would arrive in the “next few days.” The systems, capable of protecting an entire city, had initially been scheduled for delivery by the end of the year.
  • Russia steps up efforts to portray U.S. as puppet master behind war. Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday said that the United States and United Kingdom “completely control” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and accused Washington and London of giving Kyiv a “direct order” last spring to terminate negotiations that could have halted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The consensus in a resolute Kyiv: There can be no compromise, David Ignatius, right, Oct. 11, 2022. A few hours david ignatiusafter the explosion Saturday that buckled Russia’s Kerch Bridge to occupied Crimea, a Ukrainian official named Mykhailo Podolyak described the attack as a “psychological” breakthrough for Ukraine and another sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing the war.

“Ukraine can’t take credit for it,” Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said of the assault. But “it shows that Russia does not control Crimea,” or other territory it has seized. His message was unyielding: no pause in Ukraine’s offensive, no negotiations until Russia agrees to withdraw its forces, no compromise with the invaders. “We need to humiliate Russia,” he told me.

Russia’s punishing retort came two days later, a day after my trip to Ukraine with a study group from the German Marshall Fund (of which I’m a trustee) had ended. The Ukrainian capital was pounded by a wave of rockets, landing on residential areas downtown, local infrastructure and other locations across the city. People took refuge in shelters for the first time in months in Kyiv. But given what we heard during our visit, this latest punitive assault will only harden Ukraine’s will to resist. “Putin is a terrorist,” a Ukrainian military official said in a statement Monday. “Ukraine’s decision not to hold any negotiations with him proved to be correct: no talks are conducted with terrorists.”

Podolyak spoke in the sandbagged offices of the presidential administration. This is ground zero for a nation at war. The surrounding streets are closed and heavily guarded. On the wall behind Podolyak was a photo of two military amputees on crutches, next to the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. Nearby, just in case, were his armor and helmet.

Many Ukrainians repeated the same defiant message during a two-day visit here last weekend: We’re not afraid of Russian nuclear threats; we’ve suffered too much to make concessions; we want the world’s help in ensuring the defeat of Putin. A wall mural downtown summarized the public mood: “Be brave like Ukraine.”
A wall mural in downtown Kyiv. (David Ignatius/The Washington Post)

What became clear after several dozen conversations here is that for Ukraine, there’s no middle ground. The resiliency and resolve I heard reminded me of Londoners during the Blitz in World War II. For Ukraine, there’s no turning back, and I was asked repeatedly why some in the West still talk about compromise with Putin.

Ukraine’s determination to go all the way worries some in the Biden administration, who believe that the war must be settled through negotiations and that the United States has a responsibility to contain this conflict before it expands into something much worse. I share those concerns, but it’s hard to make arguments for conciliation to Ukrainians whose nation is being hammered by Russian attacks.

“It would be extremely difficult to explain to society why we need to sit down at the table with these terrorists and negotiate,” Oleksiy Danilov, head of the Ukrainian national security council, told us.

An example of this defiant spirit is Olga Datsiuk, a 33-year-old Ukrainian television producer. I met her in a glass-walled cafe in downtown Kyiv a few hours after the Kerch attack. She said she felt “joy” at the news of the explosion. “It should have been done a long time ago,” she said of this assault on Russia’s lifeline to occupied Crimea. “It feels like one of the first steps for Putin to be defeated.”

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GOP Abortion Hypocrisy, Abortion Bans, #MeToo

 

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washington post logoWashington Post, Ga. Senate candidate Herschel Walker urged second abortion, according to report, Annie Linskey, Oct. 8, 2022 (print ed.). A woman interviewed by the New York Times said the former football star ended their relationship after she refused his request.

The mother of one of Herschel Walker’s children has said that the Georgia Republican Senate candidate ended a relationship with her in 2011 after she refused to have a second abortion as she had done two years earlier, according to an account in the New York Times. Instead, the woman gave birth to the child, according to the report.

The Washington Post has not independently confirmed the account, which builds on a story published earlier this week by the Daily Beast reporting that Walker, who is campaigning on an antiabortion platform, paid for the woman to have an abortion.

Walker denied paying for an abortion and said he did not know what woman was making the allegation.

GOP crisis in Herschel Walker race was nearly two years in the making

“I know nothing about any woman having an abortion,” Walker said Thursday to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The woman, who has not been publicly identified, has not responded to multiple inquiries from The Post.

georgia mapWalker’s campaign did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment about the Times’s report.

The revelations threaten to further complicate one of the most competitive Senate campaigns in the country and confirm fears among some Republicans that Walker’s chaotic personal history, including allegations of domestic violence, will continue to attract attention and scrutiny in the final weeks of the campaign.

Also on Friday, Walker’s campaign fired a political director over accusations that he had unauthorized contacts with reporters, according to a person familiar with the events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal campaign matters.

Republicans have sought to go on offense in Georgia, releasing a new political advertisement that highlights Democratic Sen. Raphael G. Warnock’s history of opposition to abortion and other issues.

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World News, Human Rights, Disasters

washington post logoWashington Post, Who will succeed Xi Jinping as China’s leader? It’s complicated, Christian Shepherd, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). All eyes are on Xi Jinping at the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress that begins on Oct. 16. Barring a major upset, the most powerful Chinese leader in decades will extend his rule, undoing the previous convention of top leaders serving two five-year terms before stepping aside.

With authority tightly held in one man’s hands, it’s easy to forget the remaining 2,295 delegates attending the conclave in Beijing. But it is among these jockeying cadres that experts in Chinese politics search for clues about just how much power Xi has — and how long he is liable to hold it.

The primary focus will be on the Politburo’s Standing Committee, the seven-member body at the pinnacle of decision-making power. If Xi is able to stack the committee with loyalists, then there will be few signs of checks on his personal control.

Turnover at the top of the party had previously been encouraged by an informal age limit known as “seven up, eight down” whereby officials of 67 or below take on new positions while 68-year-olds and above retire. Sticking to this rule-of-thumb would create two new slots for Xi to fill with allies.

But that norm may no longer hold. Aged 69, Xi is at minimum set to ignore the purported rule for himself — and may also do so to promote allies to the Politburo. “It’s not about age any more. It’s about whether you are on Xi’s side,” said Yang Zhang, a sociologist at American University’s School of International Service.

One key indicator of Xi’s power will be if extra members of the current committee are pushed into early retirement, with most attention being on Premier Li Keqiang, who at 67 has not reached the age limit.

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U.S. Courts, Regulation, Crime

ny times logoNew York Times, Baltimore Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Adnan Syed, Amanda Holpuch, Oct. 11, 2022. Mr. Syed, whose case was featured in “Serial,” had been convicted in the death of a classmate and spent 23 years in prison before being released last month.

Baltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped the charges against Adnan Syed, who was released last month after he spent 23 years in prison fighting a murder conviction that was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial,” officials said.

Emily Witty, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office, said in an email on Tuesday that the case had been dropped.

On Sept. 19, Judge Melissa M. Phinn of Baltimore City Circuit Court vacated Mr. Syed’s conviction on charges that he murdered his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999. Prosecutors had 30 days from that date to decide if they would proceed with a new trial or drop the charges.

The Maryland Office of the Public Defender said in a statement that the state’s attorney dropped the charges because of the results of DNA testing “that excluded Mr. Syed from the DNA recovered from the evidence.”

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ny times logoNew York Times, The Origins of the G.O.P. Tactic of Sending Migrants to Blue States, Maggie Haberman and Michael C. Bender, Oct. 11, 2022. The idea, which circulated in conservative circles for years, gained traction under former President Trump. Now Republican governors have put it into practice.

In the fall of 2018, President Donald J. Trump was pushing aides on an idea he wanted to carry out on the border — transporting undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities.

The idea had simmered for months, culminating in a call Mr. Trump placed to Kirstjen Nielsen, his homeland security secretary.

Mr. Trump, Ms. Nielsen’s former chief of staff recalled, wanted to round up migrants in Republican-controlled states and “bus and dump” them in major cities. He wanted to bus migrants who had been deemed to be “murderers, rapists and criminals” to places, such as California, where officials had declined to help carry out the administration’s rigorous deportation policies, according to the former chief of staff, Miles Taylor.

The idea never advanced in the Trump administration, in part because of legal concerns. But four years later, three Republican governors have brought it to visceral life, busing and flying thousands of migrants — not just criminals — from the border and dropping them off in Martha’s Vineyard, New York City and other Democratic-leaning areas.

 ny times logoNew York Times, In a Record, Crypto Exchange Is Fined $24 Million for Breaking U.S. Sanctions, David Yaffe-Bellany, Oct. 11, 2022. Bittrex allowed customers in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine to trade virtual currencies, according to the Treasury Department.

The cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex was fined $24 million for breaking United States sanctions, the Treasury Department announced on Tuesday, the largest penalty the government has imposed on a crypto business for violating sanctions.

Between 2014 and 2017, Bittrex allowed customers in Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and the Crimea region of Ukraine to make virtual currency transactions worth more than $263 million, according to the Treasury Department. The company, which is based in Bellevue, Wash., was fined an additional $5 million for breaking rules designed to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes, the government said.

“Since inception, Bittrex has strived to comply with all government requirements diligently and in good faith,” the company said in a statement. The company was “pleased to have fully resolved this matter” with the government agencies, it said.

The penalty is part of an expanding effort by the Treasury Department and other agencies to crack down on crypto crime. In August, the department barred Americans from accessing Tornado Cash, a crypto platform that criminals have used to launder billions of dollars in digital currency. U.S. investigators are also probing Kraken, another crypto exchange, for possible sanctions violations, The New York Times reported in July.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Crypto regulations are on the front burner this week, Tory Newmyer with research by Aaron Schaffer, Oct. 11, 2022.  Washington is the center of the world for the cryptocurrency industry this week, as top crypto executives and global financial regulators converge on the city for a pair of meetings that could indicate how the sector will fit into the broader financial system.

The meetings come as U.S. law enforcement and national security officials warn that cybercriminals are using cryptocurrencies and tools to profit off cyberattacks and launder their ill-gotten gains.

ny times logoNew York Times, Wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom of California to Testify in Weinstein Trial, Corina Knoll, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and former actor, has accused the once-powerful film mogul, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault.

The second sex crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein is underway in Los Angeles and among the witnesses expected to testify is Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker, former actress and the wife of California’s governor, Gavin Newsom.

Ms. Siebel Newsom is one of the many women who came forward to describe an encounter with Mr. Weinstein. Her involvement was confirmed on Monday by her lawyer, as jury selection began in a case where the once-powerful film producer faces four counts each of rape and forcible oral copulation.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, who was working as an actor and documentary filmmaker, wrote an essay for HuffPost in 2017 in which she mentioned a meeting with Mr. Weinstein during her earlier years in the industry. The article was published a day after The New York Times broke the news that he had paid off women accusing him of sexual misconduct for decades.

“I believe every word that was written in the New York Times, because very similar things happened to me,” read the headline on the essay.

Ms. Siebel Newsom, 48, described how she had received an invitation to meet with Mr. Weinstein at a hotel about a role in an upcoming film.

“I was naïve, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,” she wrote.

“Staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.”

The experience, Ms. Siebel Newsom wrote, was one of many that inspired her 2011 documentary, “Miss Representation,” about how women are oversexualized in the media.

washington post logoWashington Post, As Supreme Court test looms, UNC defends use of race in admissions, Nick Anderson, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Founded to educate the enslaving elite of this Southern state [of North Carolina], allied for generations with the cause of white supremacy, roiled by racial tensions in recent years over the fate of a Confederate monument and treatment of Black faculty members, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been thrust into an unlikely role in a legal clash that has reached the Supreme Court.

It is making what could be the last stand for affirmative action in public university admissions.

The gatekeepers of UNC-Chapel Hill consider race and ethnicity, among many factors, when they sift tens of thousands of applications a year to decide who will get in. Now a plaintiff is urging the high court to declare the race-conscious method unconstitutional. Analysts believe the conservative majority of justices will be sympathetic to the critique during oral arguments later this month.

UNC-Chapel Hill, represented by the state attorney general, is urging the court to uphold decades of precedent that allow the limited use of race to promote campus diversity.

“We are standing behind our holistic admissions process,” Kevin M. Guskiewicz, the university’s chancellor, said in a recent interview. “This case is really about us defending the values of this institution and that of hundreds of other universities across the country.”

Harvard University, the defendant in a companion case that has overshadowed the suit against UNC-Chapel Hill, is pressing the same argument to the high court on behalf of private colleges and universities. The newest Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson, who until recently served on a Harvard governing board, will recuse herself from that appeal but participate in the one involving UNC-Chapel Hill.

Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in both cases, alleges in court filings that Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill “award mammoth racial preferences” to African American and Hispanic applicants, to the detriment of White and Asian American applicants, and ignore “race-neutral” alternatives that might preserve student diversity. These practices, the plaintiff alleges, amount to “basic and blatant” violations of civil rights law. Both universities deny the allegations, and both won victories in federal trial courts.

While many selective schools consider race in what they call “holistic” admissions, many others don’t. Several states prohibit the practice at public universities.

This public flagship university excluded Black students for more than a century and a half after it was founded in 1789 — and it still struggles to build a student body that reflects North Carolina. Today the Black share of undergraduates here, about 9 percent, falls well short of the Black share of the state population, about 22 percent. About 56 percent of undergraduates at Chapel Hill are White, according to federal data, 13 percent of Asian descent, 10 percent Hispanic or Latino, 5 percent multiracial and 5 percent international. Most of the rest are of unknown background.

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Public Health, Pandemic, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: A winter pandemic wave is looming. Get the booster, Editorial Board, Oct. 11, 2022. Will there be an autumn or winter wave of covid? Right now, in the United States, daily cases and deaths are gradually declining off a still-high plateau. On the horizon, however, there are worrisome signals of a possible new wave. It is not too soon to grab protection with the bivalent booster.

Europe is a telltale indicator. For the past few weeks, cases among people 65 years and older have been on the rise in 19 of the 26 countries reporting data to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. Fifteen countries in the group reported rising hospitalizations. Germany, France and Italy have all seen growing caseloads, which often portend a similar jump in the United States a few weeks later. The European center said the main driver appears to be people gathering together inside after summer’s end. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director general, noted another factor: “Most countries no longer have measures in place to limit the spread of the virus.”

New variants are not yet propelling a wave, but there are new omicron subvariants. They appear to have genetic changes that confer the ability to evade human immunity from vaccines or previous infection. In a paper not yet peer-reviewed, immunologist Yunlong Cao and colleagues at Peking University warned that the new variants mean vaccine boosters and previous infection “may not provide sufficiently broad protection” against the mutated variants and could make existing antibody drugs useless. This could be worrisome if the variant splinters take hold in the population; so far, they have not in the United States, where the older variants BA.5 and BA4.6 still make up 92.8 percent of cases, according to data and modeling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A wall of immunity, created by the substantial amount of previous infection, might be helping, too.

Politico, Twitter blocks — and then restores — Covid-19 vaccination post from Florida’s surgeon general, David Kihara, Oct. 9, 2022. Dr. Joseph Ladapo is an outspoken skeptic of Covid-19 vaccines.

twitter bird CustomTwitter blocked — and then restored — a post from Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo that was promoting an analysis claiming a high incidence of cardiac-related deaths among men who take the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine.

politico CustomLadapo, who posted the tweet Friday, had also recommended men aged 18-39 should not receive the mRNA vaccine. Ladapo is an outspoken skeptic of Covid-19 vaccines who has questioned both the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine despite consensus within the medical community that the vaccines help protect against the virus and can lessen severe symptoms.

“Our current misleading information policies cover: synthetic and manipulated media, COVID-19, and civic integrity,” Twitter stated in its post that blocked Ladapo’s tweet. “If we determine a Tweet contains misleading or disputed information per our policies that could lead to harm, we may add a label to the content to provide context and additional information.”

joseph ladapoLadapo, right, has previously recommended that young children should not receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The Florida Department of Health over the summer did not pre-order vaccines for children aged 5 and under even though 49 other states did in the lead-up to the Food and Drug Administration issuing emergency authorization for young kids to receive the Pfizer and Moderna shots.

Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Mayo Clinic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA have all stressed that the vaccine is safe and urged the public to get vaccinated.

Spokespeople for Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed Ladapo to serve as his surgeon general last year, on Sunday criticized Twitter for blocking Ladapo’s post.

“This is an unacceptable and Orwellian move for narrative over fact,” said Bryan Griffin, the governor’s press secretary, in a tweet. In a follow-up tweet later Sunday after Twitter restored the post, he thanked people for bringing attention to it.

DeSantis has consistently rejected Covid-19 rules that mandate showing proof of vaccination, masking students in schools and vaccine requirements for large businesses.

His Department of Health in June threatened the Special Olympics with a $27.5 million fine for requiring thousands of participants to show that they had been vaccinated against Covid before competing in games at an Orlando event. Florida stated that the proof of vaccination requirement violated the state’s law against such a mandate.

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: ‘The Cash Monster Was Insatiable’: Insurers Made Billions From Medicare, Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz, Oct. 9, 2022 (print ed.). By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud.

medicare advantage promo nytThe health system Kaiser Permanente called doctors in during lunch and after work and urged them to add additional illnesses to the medical records of patients they hadn’t seen in weeks. Doctors who found enough new diagnoses could earn bottles of Champagne, or a bonus in their paycheck.

Anthem, a large insurer now called Elevance Health, paid more to doctors who said their patients were sicker. And executives at UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest insurer, told their workers to mine old medical records for more illnesses — and when they couldn’t find enough, sent them back to try again.

Each of the strategies — which were described by the Justice Department in lawsuits against the companies — led to diagnoses of serious diseases that might have never existed. But the diagnoses had a lucrative side effect: They let the insurers collect more money from the federal government’s Medicare Advantage program.

Medicare Advantage, a private-sector alternative to traditional Medicare, was designed by Congress two decades ago to encourage health insurers to find innovative ways to provide better care at lower cost. If trends hold, by next year, more than half of Medicare recipients will be in a private plan.

But a New York Times review of dozens of fraud lawsuits, inspector general audits and investigations by watchdogs shows how major health insurers exploited the program to inflate their profits by billions of dollars.

The government pays Medicare Advantage insurers a set amount for each person who enrolls, with higher rates for sicker patients. And the insurers, among the largest and most prosperous American companies, have developed elaborate systems to make their patients appear as sick as possible, often without providing additional treatment, according to the lawsuits.

As a result, a program devised to help lower health care spending has instead become substantially more costly than the traditional government program it was meant to improve.

Eight of the 10 biggest Medicare Advantage insurers — representing more than two-thirds of the market — have submitted inflated bills, according to the federal audits. And four of the five largest players — UnitedHealth, Humana, Elevance and Kaiser — have faced federal lawsuits alleging that efforts to overdiagnose their customers crossed the line into fraud.

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Drought, Hurricanes, Energy, Climate

ny times logoNew York Times, They’re ‘World Champions’ of Banishing Water. Now, the Dutch Need to Keep It, Raymond Zhong, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). As climate change dries out Europe, the Netherlands, a country long shaped by its overabundance of water, is suddenly confronting drought.

The story of the Netherlands’ centuries of struggle against water is written all over its boggy, low-lying landscape. Windmills pumped water out of sodden farmland and canals whisked it away. Dikes stopped more from flooding in.

Now, climate change is drying out great stretches of Europe, and, once again, the Dutch are hoping to engineer their way to safety — only this time, by figuring out how to hold onto more water instead of flushing it out.

From California and Texas to India and China, many parts of the world are grappling with widening swings between very wet conditions and very dry ones. The extra heat near the earth’s surface from global warming is, in many regions, increasing the chances of both punishing droughts and violent rainstorms. Societies like the Netherlands must now plan for both extremes, even though the best preparations for one can be at odds with the best preparations for the other.

“We are world champions in making land dry,” said Peter van Dijk, a blueberry grower based in the country’s south. “Now we are trying to turn that system around, because we overshot.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Options dwindle for Calif. town whose water supply is expected to run out in two months, Joshua Partlow, Oct. 11, 2022. Officials project drought-stricken Coalinga, Calif., will use up its allotted amount of water before the end of the year — possibly forcing the city to buy water at exorbitant prices.

The residents of this sun-scorched city feel California’s endless drought when the dust lifts off the brown hills and flings grit into their living rooms. They see it when they drive past almond trees being ripped from the ground for lack of water and the new blinking sign at the corner of Elm and Cherry warning: “No watering front yard lawns.”

But what lies ahead might be far worse for the 17,000 residents living amid the oil derricks and cattle farms on the western edge of the state’s Central Valley. Coalinga has only one source of water — a shrinking allotment from an aqueduct managed by the federal government — and officials are projecting the city will use up that amount before the end of the year.

That looming threat has left city officials racing between meetings in Sacramento and phone calls to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation seeking to increase their water supply.

Coalinga, named for its history as a coal mining town, is a small Republican outpost in liberal California. The city had already defied state leadership in 2020, passing a resolution that declared all businesses essential to avoid mandatory pandemic closures. When it was time for the state to distribute covid-19 relief funds to municipalities, Coalinga didn’t get any.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Julia strikes Nicaragua as hurricane with ‘life-threatening’ flooding, Matthew Cappucci and Samantha Schmidt, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Devastating inland mudslides are possible with up to 15 inches of rain.

Tropical Storm Julia is drifting westward through Nicaragua, bringing what the National Hurricane Center warns could be “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides” in Central America and southern Mexico. Up to 15 inches of rain are possible in the higher terrain of Nicaragua and El Salvador as Julia’s circulation continues to disintegrate inland and unload moisture.
10 steps you can take to lower your carbon footprint

Julia made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane around Laguna de Perlas, Nicaragua, at 3:15 a.m. local time Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Maximum winds were around 85 mph. As of 11 a.m., Julia, centered 65 miles east-northeast of Managua, Nicaragua, had weakened to a tropical storm with 70 mph winds as it moved west at 15 mph.

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U.S. Media, Philanthropy, Education, Sports News

washington post logoWashington Post, Twitter, Instagram remove Kanye West’s antisemitic posts, freeze accounts, Bryan Pietsch, Oct. 11, 2022 (print ed.). Twitter confirmed Sunday that it had removed a tweet by Ye, right, the musician and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West, and temporarily kanye west resized headshotprohibited him from further posts on the platform, as the fallout from his recent antisemitic comments on social media continued.

Ye’s account, @kanyewest, was “locked for violating Twitter’s policies,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email Sunday, declining to state which policy he had violated. The account shows that a recent tweet “violated the Twitter Rules.”

twitter bird CustomThough the tweet is no longer visible on his account, screenshots shared widely on social media show that Ye had said he would go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to Defcon, the U.S. military’s defense readiness system. In the tweet, he used antisemitic tropes and said he could not be antisemitic “because black people are actually Jew also.”

Analysis: What Kanye West and Tucker Carlson reveal about the struggle for power

instagram logoThe action by Twitter comes after Instagram removed a post from Ye’s account and similarly locked his account temporarily.

A spokesperson for Meta, Instagram’s parent company formerly known as Facebook, said in an email that the platform “deleted content from @kanyewest for violating our policies and placed a restriction on the account. We may place restrictions on accounts that repeatedly break our rules, for example, we may temporarily restrict them from posting, commenting, or sending DM’s.” Screenshots of the post show that Ye had posted an apparent conversation with the rapper Diddy, employing antisemitic tropes to allege that he was being influenced by Jewish people.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Kanye Shows Where the Right’s Troll Politics Lead, Michelle Goldberg, right, Oct. 11, 2022. It’s a perfect satire of how the modern right operates. The michelle goldberg thumbright-winger starts with a bigoted provocation and, when criticized, defaults to aggrieved claims of persecution and accusations of oversensitivity. He revels in the power he’s amassed even as he poses as a victim. This dynamic has been particularly stark since the musician Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, declared his intention to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

Usually, mainstream conservatives are a bit more nuanced in their antisemitism. They decry the Luciferian puppet master George Soros, or, as Donald Trump did in a 2016 campaign ad featuring images of prominent Jews in finance, refer to “those who control the levers of power” and “global special interests.” Marjorie Taylor Greene attributed the 2018 California wildfires to space lasers controlled, in part, by the Rothschild banking family. Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor — and not, in general, an opponent of religious education — has recently attacked his Democratic rival, Josh Shapiro, for sending his kids to an “exclusive, elite” Jewish day school, saying it shows “disdain for people like us.”

Ye, however, doesn’t bother with ambiguity. Last week, after Sean Combs, the rapper known as Diddy, criticized him for his “White Lives Matter” T-shirts, Ye posted an exchange on Instagram

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