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Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
 

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MAY 29-30,  2023

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE:

THE ENDLESS WISDOM OF JANE FONDA, FROM FOX:   Jane Fonda blamed men – and racism – for climate change during a conversation at this year's Cannes Film Festival, arguing that without the patriarchy, the crisis allegedly of epic proportions would cease to exist.  "This is serious," she said Saturday. "We’ve got about seven, eight years to cut ourselves in half of what we use of fossil fuels, and unfortunately, the people that have the least responsibility for it are hit the hardest — Global South, people on islands, poor people of color. It is a tragedy that we have to absolutely stop. We have to arrest and jail those men — they’re all men [behind this]."  She continued, answering a question from one of the audience members when she delved into her claims that the climate crisis couldn't exist without the perfect conditions.  "It’s good for us all to realize, there would be no climate crisis if there was no racism. There would be no climate crisis if there was no patriarchy. A mindset that sees things in a hierarchical way. White men are the things that matter and then everything else [is] at the bottom." She adds so much to every discussion.  Why are we lucky enough to have her?  Don't you wish she'd been at the Constitutional Convention? 

May 30, 2023       Permalink

 

THE DEADLY MYSTERY:  We know, barely, that there was a drone attack on Moscow.  That's Moscow, Russia – a big-deal city that houses the Kremlin, the seat of Russian power.   The so-called news media reported the attack, and then the story kind of faded away.   Seems strange, and is strange.  Russia is at war in Ukraine.  You'd think the press would realize how big this could turn out to be.  From Daily Mail: 

A deluded Vladimir Putin and his cronies today accused Ukraine of trying to 'frighten' Russians with their 'increasingly reckless behaviour' after Moscow was targeted in a drone attack blamed on Kyiv.

Apparently forgetting that Russia has unleashed a series of deadly airstrikes on Ukrainian cities that have killed thousands since the start of the war 15 months ago, Putin claimed Kyiv had chosen the 'path of trying to frighten the citizens of Russia'.

Several buildings in wealthy suburbs of Moscow were damaged by suspected Ukrainian kamikaze drones, just hours after Putin unleashed yet another volley of strikes on Kyiv.

Putin claimed the attack was in revenge for earlier Russian strikes on 'command centres'. In reality the Kremlin air strikes have hit residential buildings in Kyiv, causing residents to run for their lives to bomb shelters.

'We have spoken about hitting command centres (in Ukraine). In response, the Kyiv regime has chosen a different path, the path of trying to frighten Russia, frighten the citizens of Russia and of strikes on residential buildings,' Putin said.

And Russia's foreign ministry parroted similar lines, claiming that Western support for Ukraine was 'pushing' Kyiv towards 'increasingly reckless' behaviour.

'Western support for the Kyiv regime is pushing the Ukrainian leadership towards increasingly reckless acts, including terrorism,' the Russian foreign ministry said, adding that the attacks on Moscow was aimed at 'spreading panic among civilians'. 

Russia's defence ministry claimed eight drones sent by Kyiv were shot down or diverted, though Baza, a Telegram channel with links to the security services, said more than 25 were involved. It called the incident a 'terrorist attack' by the 'Kyiv regime'. 

And a ranting Putin admitted there was 'some work to do' on Moscow's air defence system in a sign of his growing frustration with Russia's defences.

'Moscow's air defence system worked normally, satisfactorily, although there is some work to do,' Putin said on Russian television. 

Air defences around Moscow - which as the capital of the world's biggest nuclear power is already protected by an extensive early-warning system - would be strengthened as a result, Putin said.

A Ukrainian presidential aide denied Kyiv was directly involved in the Moscow attack, but said Ukraine was enjoying watching events and forecast more to come.

'Of course we are pleased to watch and predict an increase in the number of attacks. But of course we have nothing directly to do with this,' Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said.

One kamikaze drone exploded in a mushroom cloud near the village of Usovo, which is just down the road from Putin's official Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside of the capital. 

'[Putin's residence] would be in earshot of the explosion,' one local said.

In the city, explosive drones struck blocks of flats in Leninsky Prospekt and Profsoyuznaya Street about six miles from the centre of Moscow, reportedly wounding several residents and damaging the buildings.

If Ukraine is responsible, it would be one of Kyiv's deepest and most daring strikes into Russia since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

Tuesday's early-morning raid targeted some of Moscow's wealthiest areas including a western enclave where Putin and the elite have residences. Two people were injured and some residents in two lightly damaged apartment blocks were briefly evacuated, according to Moscow's mayor.

COMMENT:  There's a big "if" here.   Ukraine, as the story notes, has not admitted any responsibility.  It is possible, and this is my speculation, that the attack was actually launched by Russian dissidents.  Russians cannot possibly be pleased with their country's performance in Ukraine.  Many Russians are coming home in coffins.  There may be plotters at work, with Putin as their target.

All this is dangerous stuff.  The official position of the United States is that we will provide Ukraine with the means to fight off the Russian invader.  But thoughtful analysts warn that the situation can get out of hand, and the war can expand.  Or...Ukraine can start to lose.  What do we do then?  Do we commit troops?  Do we let Ukraine collapse?  There is risk everywhere, and we are led by an impaired president and a dimwitted vice president. 

Quick, my sleeping pills.

May 30, 2023       Permalink

 

FINALLY, SOME LIGHT IN SAN FRANCISCO:  A new district attorney is starting to turn things around.  From American Greatness: 

Chesa Boudin, named after cop-killer Joanne Chesimard, and son of Weather Underground terrorists Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, was elected district attorney of San Francisco in November 2020. Criminals were happy with the outcome. 

“Chesa Boudin threw a monkey wrench into the city’s criminal justice system,” recalls Richie Greenberg, San Francisco resident and business consultant. “Amid a series of high-profile cases, his promise to release repeat criminals and to allow quality of life crimes to go unpunished, San Francisco descended into a scofflaw paradise.” 

Greenberg spearheaded a recall effort and in June 2022 voters booted Boudin by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin. Mayor London Breed then appointed University of Chicago law alum Brooke Jenkins, a prosecutor in the city’s homicide division. 

Jenkins proceeded to fire 16 Boudin loyalists, part of “important changes to my management team and staff that will help advance my vision to restore a sense of safety in San Francisco by holding serious and repeat offenders accountable and implementing smart criminal justice reforms.” 

In November 2022, Jenkins prevailed over three rivals with approximately 54 percent of the vote. As the victor proclaimed. “I pledge that improving and promoting public safety will be my and our office’s top priority.” 

The “scofflaw paradise” recently threw up a challenge. 

On April 27, “black trans man” Banko Brown shoplifted items from a downtown Walgreens store. That drew the attention of security guard Michael Earl-Ray Anthony, who struggled with Brown. Anthony contended that Brown threatened to stab him and shot the shoplifter, who later died from the wound. No weapon was found on the decedent. 

“Banko’s death is yet another testament to the dire need for increased advocacy for the safety of all trans people in this country, especially Black trans people,” said a statement from Tori Cooper of the Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. “His death comes at a time of blatant hateful, xenophobic rhetoric and legislative measures which fuel violence against our community. We can’t continue to stand idle while this unfolds.” 

Protesters also called for Anthony to be prosecuted for murder, but San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins took a different approach. “The killing of Mr. Banko Brown on April 27, 2023 was a tragedy and my heart breaks for his friends and family,” Jenkins said in a statement. 

After careful review of all of the evidence gathered by the San Francisco Police Department in this case, my office will not be pursuing murder charges, at this time, in connection to the shooting. We reviewed witness statements, statements from the suspect, and video footage of the incident and it does not meet the People’s burden to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury that the suspect is guilty of a crime. The evidence clearly shows that the suspect believed he was in mortal danger and acted in self-defense. We cannot bring forward charges when there is credible evidence of reasonable self-defense. Doing so would be unethical and create false hope for a successful prosecution. No matter the case, however, we must follow the law and the evidence, wherever it leads. We never make decisions based on emotions or what may be politically expedient.

COMMENT:  Very well said.  It looks like Frisco has gotten itself a mature D.A. with common sense.  They've needed her for a long time.  Maybe she has some friends who can serve in Chicago, New York,  St. Louis, and other areas of need.  We hope Brooke Jenkins becomes a national figure.

May 29, 2023       Permalink

 

 

MAY 27-28,  2023

SOME PROGRESS:  Well, we know that one good thing will come out of the negotiations over raising the debt limit.  Be thankful for small blessings.  From Fox: 

The highly-anticipated debt ceiling package House Republicans and President Biden announced on Sunday includes a provision fast-tracking a massive 303-mile West Virginia-to-Virginia natural gas pipeline project for approval.

The unexpected carveout green-lighting the billion-dollar Mountain Valley Pipeline — which is 94% complete, but has been mired in a lengthy permitting process for years — was immediately cheered by West Virginia lawmakers who have touted the project's expected economic benefits for years. The pipeline is projected to create 2,500 construction jobs, $40 million in new tax revenue for West Virginia, $10 million in new tax revenue for Virginia and up to $250 million in royalties for West Virginia landowners.

"After working with Speaker McCarthy and reiterating what completing the Mountain Valley Pipeline would mean for American jobs and domestic energy production, I am thrilled it is included in the debt ceiling package that avoids default," Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

"Despite delay after delay, we continued to fight to get this critical natural gas pipeline up and running, and its inclusion in this deal is a significant victory for the future of West Virginia," she added.

According to a spokesperson for Capito, the pipeline's approval was ultimately earmarked in the debt ceiling deal after she personally engaged with McCarthy about its importance. The spokesperson added that the entire congressional delegation from West Virginia had pushed for its inclusion in the package.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also applauded House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for ensuring the project was included in the deal. Manchin's attempts last year to fast-track the pipeline in a budget package in September and a defense spending package in December both failed to garner enough support.

"Last summer, I introduced legislation to complete the Mountain Valley Pipeline," Manchin said Sunday. "I am pleased Speaker McCarthy and his leadership team see the tremendous value in completing the MVP to increase domestic energy production and drive down costs across America and especially in West Virginia."

COMMENT:  A small but important victory over the reckless energy policies of the Biden administration, which have made America once again dependent on foreign energy.  President Trump had made us energy independent.

May 28,  2023    Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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