Showing posts with label Kamala Harris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kamala Harris. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 04, 2023

4: Biden

Anthony Fauci on Larry Kramer and Loving Difficult People Larry was the initial driving force that changed forever the relationship between the advocacy community and the scientific and regulatory establishment. .......... the tactics that he had mastered to an art form: confrontation, outrageous behavior, anger and insults followed by insight, rationality, sensitivity, vulnerability, empathy and even humor. ........ it was pure passion related to his concern for the plight of what he called “my people,” the gay community, which drove him to outrageous behavior in order to gain the attention of the government and the general public concerning the disaster of the AIDS epidemic. ........ despite his sometimes provocative behavior, he was as noble as the most respected scientist and public servant .......... He felt strongly that I should chain myself to the White House fence and, as he put it, embarrass President George H.W. Bush into speaking out more on AIDS and providing more funding for AIDS research. I explained to him that this would be 15 minutes of attention and I would immediately lose all access to the White House. No matter. He still felt I should do it. ........... During a dinner that he threw for just the two of us in his Greenwich Village apartment, we reminisced like two aging warriors who recalled the battles that we fought together, how despite our initial adversarial relationship, we ultimately became partners in an important struggle and how differences of opinion and even a history of antagonism are entirely compatible with friendship and even love. .

Putin’s Options for Dealing With Wagner Aren’t Great For years, Yevgeny Prigozhin’s sprawling private army has quietly acted as a proxy for Russian foreign policy. The Wagner force’s network of thousands of Russian mercenaries installed in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa have helped the Kremlin secure natural resources and project influence in failed states and conflict zones, while allowing President Vladimir Putin of Russia to conveniently distance himself from the group’s unsavory alliances and ruthless tactics. ........... In Syria and Libya, Wagner fighters prop up strongmen like Bashar al-Assad and Khalifa Haftar in exchange for profits accrued from the oil and gas installations the mercenaries help protect. In Madagascar and Sudan, Wagner has advised governments on stamping out protests, started disinformation campaigns and meddled in elections. In Mali and the Central African Republic, military juntas rely on Wagner for regime security, while Wagner extracts gold, diamonds and timber, and wages counterinsurgency campaigns against jihadist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. ........... Days after the doomed uprising, Mr. Putin proclaimed that Wagner was entirely funded by the Russian state, to the tune of billions of dollars. ........... Wagner forces already have a well-deserved reputation for brutality, are alleged to have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in several theaters and have been credibly accused of torture, kidnapping and executing civilians. .......... Wagner’s African footprint is vast, with ongoing activities in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya. .......... Patriot, a group linked to Mr. Shoigu, is widely viewed as a significant competitor to Wagner, with reported operations in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Syria and Yemen. ........... The E.N.O.T. Corporation is another Russian private military company, founded by Russian nationalist Igor Mangushev, with some experience abroad, but is much less influential and experienced than Wagner. Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has also developed its own private army, although it is designed mainly to protect oil and gas infrastructure against attacks............. For a leader who has worked assiduously to cultivate an image as master strategist, Mr. Putin does not appear to have a plan for what comes next with Wagner. Instead, he looks increasingly vulnerable, both at home and in his effort to maintain Russia’s influence abroad. He will almost certainly struggle to rein in the beast he helped create. .

Jersey Boy Takes On Florida Man After years of watching Republicans cower before Trump, it’s bracing to see the disgraced former president finally meet his mean match............ I warned that Trump is an asymmetrical fighter, so it’s hard to know how to go at him. Clinton tried to rise above him, and Marco Rubio imitated his crude style. ........... He knows I know what his game is. .......... Trump came to debate prep in September 2020 without telling Christie or anyone else that he had tested positive the day before, and Christie ended up in the I.C.U. for seven days. ........... Christie mocked Ron DeSantis responding to Jan. 6 by saying he was not in Washington — “Was he alive?” Christie asked Kaitlan Collins on CNN. ........... Trump is playing checkers, not chess, Christie said, just scrambling to make that next jump. ......... He told me one time the reason he ties his ties so long is that it slenderizes him and I should do the same thing.” .

Biden Is Taking Aim at Trump’s Biggest Strength . The wildness of Donald Trump’s political style often obscures — at least to his critics — the more banal dimensions of his appeal. ....... the order of the day was incoherence. Infrastructure weeks came and went. Tax cuts were tilted toward the rich. There was no strategy to restore America’s manufacturing prowess or rebuild bargaining power for workers without college degrees. ......... Only about a third of voters approve of the job Biden has done on the economy. Polls show Trump is the more trusted economic manager, by far. ........ “Bidenomics.” Biden’s case is this: What Trump only promised, I delivered. ........... The Biden administration is thickly populated with veterans of the Obama and Clinton White Houses. But it doesn’t see itself in comfortable continuity with those legacies. It sees itself, in key ways, as a break with them. .......... Sullivan slammed the belief that “the type of growth did not matter.” That had led, he said, to administrations that let Wall Street thrive while “essential sectors, like semiconductors and infrastructure, atrophied.” He dismissed the “assumption at the heart of all of this policy: that markets always allocate capital productively and efficiently.” ......... In letting globalization and automation hollow out domestic manufacturing, Democrats had been part of a Washington consensus that “had frayed the socioeconomic foundations on which any strong and resilient democracy rests.” .......... “I believe every American willing to work hard should be able to say where they grew up and stay where they grew up,” he said. “That’s Bidenomics.” ......... Biden’s red states will get $623 billion in clean energy investments by 2030, compared with $354 billion for blue states. ....... After comparing the infrastructure weeks Trump never delivered and “the infrastructure decade” he did, Biden noted: “Construction of manufacturing facilities here on U.S. soil grew only 2 percent on my predecessor’s watch in four years. Two percent. On my watch, it’s grown nearly 100 percent in two years.” ......... About two-thirds of the work force isn’t college-educated. And there’s no version of Bidenomics that leaves two-thirds of the labor force out.” ........... The Black-white employment gap has nearly closed, and wage gains have been particularly strong for workers without a college education. ........ Inflation is down by more than half since its peak. Forecasters who were confidently predicting a recession in 2023 are now hedging. .

Biden Versus the Bad News Bros no longer a fringe phenomenon: Bizarre conspiracy theories are now mainstream on the American right. .......... the old inflation truthers and the new recession truthers. ....... The new group is dominated by tech bros, billionaires who imagine themselves focused on the future rather than the golden past, more likely to be crypto cultists than gold bugs. .......... Indeed, the most prominent recession truther right now is none other than Elon Musk ............ You might have expected technology billionaires to be well-informed about the world — someone like Musk could, if he chose, easily maintain a large research department for his personal edification. ........... So why do we see tech bros indulging in conspiracy theories, often citing random Twitter accounts to justify their views? ......... The answer, I believe, is that technology billionaires are especially susceptible to the belief that they’re uniquely brilliant, able to instantly master any subject, from Covid to the war in Ukraine. They could afford to hire experts to brief them on world affairs, but that would only work if they were willing to listen when the experts told them things they didn’t want to hear. So what happens instead, all too often, is that they go down the rabbit hole: Their belief in their own genius makes them highly gullible, easy marks for grifters claiming that the experts are all wrong. ............ What you need to know, then, is that the economic data isn’t fake. A recession might eventually happen, but it isn’t happening now. And the wealthy men claiming to know better are actually less well-informed than, say, the average reader of The New York Times — because they don’t know what they don’t know, and nobody is in a position to enlighten them. .

Putin Thinks He’s Still in Control. He’s Not. That was rather strange, because the festival was on Saturday, June 24 — the day Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner group, launched his mutiny. Despite the shock of the rebellion, which saw Wagner forces march to within 125 miles of Moscow unimpeded, Mr. Putin flew to St. Petersburg. Nothing, not even armed revolt, would deter him from his favorite party. .......... In the opinion of my sources close to Mr. Putin’s inner circle — officials, administrators, journalists, businessmen and more — this is the clearest evidence yet that the president is divorced from reality. He still believes that he has everything under control and that Mr. Prigozhin’s rebellion has not changed the political situation in any way. But he is mistaken. Not only is the atmosphere around Mr. Putin fundamentally different, but there is also a growing appetite for change — even among those close to the president. For many I spoke to, Mr. Putin’s system of rule simply can’t go on much longer. ............. Prigozhin was clearly elevated to act as a counterweight to the defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the military generals, ensuring they didn’t become too popular. So when Mr. Prigozhin started criticizing the military leadership — often in explicit, expletive-ridden diatribes — the president did nothing to stop it. ............ But it soon became a problem. Mr. Prigozhin, riding a wave of popularity, became increasingly personal and insulting in his denunciations of Mr. Shoigu. Yet Mr. Putin failed to mediate. Though he arranged a meeting between the two men in February, he did not, according to a source in the presidential administration, say anything specific in the conversation, hoping the gathering itself was a sufficient warning to stop the public attacks. Mr. Prigozhin did not take the hint, however, and continued to fulminate against the military commanders. ........... In the weeks after the meeting, Mr. Prigozhin traveled the country as if he were a politician running an election campaign, meeting with potential supporters and criticizing the war effort. In this again he was unhindered by the Kremlin, which knew of his plans but chose to do nothing about them. As Mr. Prigozhin grew in popularity, even pulling in a former deputy defense minister as a deputy commander for Wagner — a clear sign he had high-ranking admirers among the security forces — Mr. Putin kept to himself. Sources close to him tell me he hasn’t met with Mr. Prigozhin for months. ........... In early June, when Mr. Shoigu sought to clamp down on private militias like Wagner by making all mercenaries sign a contract with the army, Mr. Prigozhin couldn’t get in touch with the president to object. In the language of Russian bureaucracy, this signals the highest degree of disfavor. ............... the Wagner chief is in Belarus. Exile in the Central African Republic, where the Wagner group has a military base, is reportedly in the cards. ............ A purge is to be expected, starting with Gen. Sergei Surovikin, a former commander of Russian forces in Ukraine who is said to have known of the mutiny in advance. ............ The rebellion has desacralized Mr. Putin, substantially weakening his authority. Before this weekend, much of Russian society, and especially state bureaucrats, believed that he always made the right decisions, that he was much more cunning, wiser and better informed than anyone else. But the events of the weekend have shown Mr. Putin in the worst possible light: weak, vacillating, incapable of exerting control. He alone is to blame for what happened, something that is obvious to everyone except him. ........... For many members of the ruling elite, it is now clear that Mr. Putin has ceased to be the guarantor of stability he was for so long. .

Monday, February 06, 2023

6: Kamala

Year Two of the Ukraine War Is Going to Get Scary Ukraine, a country most Americans couldn’t find on a map in 10 tries ......... no U.S. combat forces are in Ukraine, so it feels as if all that we’re risking, for now, is arms and treasure — while the full brunt of the war is borne by Ukrainians. ......... to the extent that we have used our power wisely and in concert with our allies, we have built and protected a liberal world order since 1945, which has been hugely in our interest — economically and geopolitically. ......... an order in which autocratic great powers like Nazi Germany, imperial Japan or modern Russia and China are not free to simply devour their neighbors. And this is an order where more democracies than ever have been able to flourish, and where free markets and open trade have lifted more people out of poverty than at any time in the history of the world ........... this order has produced almost 80 years without a Great Power war, the kind of war that can destabilize the whole world. .........

Putin’s “marry me or I’ll kill you” invasion of Ukraine

.......... Putin, it’s now clear, has decided to double down, mobilizing in recent months possibly as many as 500,000 fresh soldiers for a new push on the war’s first anniversary. Mass matters in war — even if that mass contains a large number of mercenaries, convicts and untrained conscripts. .......... Putin is basically saying to Biden: I can’t afford to lose this war and I will pay any price and bear any burden to ensure that I come away with a slice of Ukraine that can justify my losses. How about you, Joe? How about your European friends? Are you ready to pay any price and bear any burden to uphold your “liberal order”? ......... “the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist — McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15.” Somebody needs to keep the order and enforce the rules. .......... Franklin Roosevelt’s 1939 State of the Union address. At a time when American security was in no way threatened — Hitler had not yet invaded Poland and the fall of France was almost impossible to imagine — Roosevelt insisted there were nevertheless times ‘in the affairs of men when they must prepare to defend not their homes alone but the tenets of faith and humanity on which their churches, their governments and their very civilization are founded.’ In both world wars and throughout the Cold War, Americans acted not in immediate self-defense but to defend the liberal world against challenges from militaristic authoritarian governments, just as they are doing today in Ukraine.” ............ International relations theorists, Kagan added, “have taught us to view ‘interests’ and ‘values’ as distinct, with the idea that for all nations ‘interests’ — meaning material concerns like security and economic well-being — necessarily take primacy over values. But this is not, in fact, how nations behave.

Russia after the Cold War has enjoyed greater security on its western border than at practically any time in its history, even with NATO’s expansion.

Yet Putin has been willing to make Russia less secure to fulfill traditional Russian great power ambitions which have more to do with honor and identity than with security.” The same seems to be true with President Xi when it comes to recovering Taiwan. ................. “The ‘isolationists’ in the 1930s were overwhelmingly Republicans. Their greatest fear, or so they claimed, was that F.D.R. was leading the nation toward communism. In international affairs, therefore, they tended to be more sympathetic to the fascist powers than liberal Democrats. They thought well of Mussolini, opposed aiding the Spanish Republicans against the fascist, Nazi-backed Franco and regarded Hitler as a useful bulwark against the Soviet Union. ............. Republicans were destroyed politically by their opposition to World War II and were only able to resurrect themselves by electing an internationalist Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.” .......... “Any negotiation that leaves Russian forces in place on Ukrainian soil will only be a temporary truce before Putin’s next attempt,” he said. “Putin is in the process of completely militarizing Russian society, much as Stalin did during World War II. He is in it for the long haul, and he is counting on the United States and the West to grow weary at the prospect of a long conflict

The Shift to Renewable Energy Is Speeding Up. Here’s How. The head of the world’s leading energy organization called the war in Ukraine an “accelerator” of the transition. ............ an estimated $1.4 trillion poured into “clean energy” projects in 2022, a category that includes solar farms, batteries and electric vehicle charging stations. ......... more than ever before, and more than the money that poured into new oil and gas projects ........ Renewables are increasingly affordable, once they’re built, and they offer security as well. ........ In Europe, wind and solar accounted for 22 percent of electricity generation last year, overtaking for the first time the share of gas (20 percent) and coal (16 percent) ......... Globally, renewable energy installations grew by 25 percent in 2022. ....... China’s investments exceeded, by a long shot, that of every other country. ........ In 2022, nearly 15 percent of all new car sales globally were electric, compared to 3 percent of all new car sales in 2019 ........ China’s biggest electric car and bus maker, BYD, has a higher global market share than Tesla. ......... by 2030, every second car sold in the biggest car markets — China, the United States and Europe — will be powered by electricity, not fossil fuels. ......... If you want to develop a solar project in Brazil or India, Birol said, you’re likely to pay three times more for financing than if you were to build the same project in Europe. .......... “The biggest hurdle in front of us is the cost of capital,” Birol said.

It’s Time for a Reality Check on Eggs They’re expensive, difficult to find and myths about them abound on social media. Here’s what to know. ....... An avian flu outbreak in the United States killed millions of hens last year, eliminating a critical egg supply. ...... To Joe Rogan, eggs cause blood clots. To some on Twitter sharing screenshots of the abstract of a scholarly paper, yolks can ward off Covid. ........ Since eggs are rich in cholesterol — a single egg yolk can contain around 200 milligrams — and high lipid levels have been linked to poor cardiovascular health, some targeted them as an easy dietary fix: Ditch the eggs Benedict, and protect your heart. ........ “if you eat a cheese omelet today and you haven’t eaten one in a while, your arteries aren’t going to clog immediately,” she said. Eggs are also high in protein, making them an alternative to meat, which tends to be high in saturated fat. ........ promote eggs as a “nutrient-dense” protein source. ........ Are eggs all they’re cracked up to be? ........ Eggs contain vitamins B, E and D, and they’re low in saturated fat. “You get high protein for low calories” ......... They also contain nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes and bones ......... some eggs are enriched with omega-3 fatty acids, depending on what hens have been fed. ............ eating them in moderation, like one full egg (including the yolk) per day, is safe for people who don’t have underlying cardiovascular issues ......... yolk is also where most of an egg’s vitamins lie ......... A breakfast that features an egg with toast and fresh fruit, for example, is far better for your heart health than a doughnut and sweetened coffee.

Kamala Harris Is Trying to Define Her Vice Presidency. Even Her Allies Are Tired of Waiting. Ms. Harris is struggling to carve out a lane for herself in what may be one of the most consequential periods in the vice presidency. ........ The teachers she was about to address were on the front lines of the nation’s culture wars, Ms. Harris told her staff. They were the same ones on the front lines of school shootings. ....... She has already made history as the first woman, the first African American and the first Asian American ever to serve as vice president, but she has still struggled to define her role much beyond that legacy. ........ she is expected to not do anything to overshadow Mr. Biden while navigating intractable issues he has assigned her such as voting rights and illegal immigration. And some see a double standard applied to a prominent woman of color. ......... Because the Senate was split evenly for the last two years, Ms. Harris has cast 26 tiebreaking votes in her role as president of the Senate, more than any vice president since John C. Calhoun, who left office in 1832. Tethered to Washington, she could never be more than 24 hours away from the Capitol when the Senate was in session in case her vote was needed. ........... She has told her staff that she wants to make at least three out-of-town trips a week in the coming year. ........ the Ms. Harris they say they see when the cameras are off, one who can cross-examine policymakers on the intricacies of legislative proposals and connect with younger voters across the country. ........ “My bias has always been to speak factually, to speak accurately, to speak precisely about issues and matters that have potentially great consequence,” she said in the interview in Japan. “I find it off-putting to just engage in platitudes. I much prefer to deconstruct an issue and speak of it in a way that hopefully elevates public discourse and educates the public.” .......... In planning meetings before she travels abroad, officials from foreign governments have proposed meetings or public appearances with the first lady of the country Ms. Harris is visiting. Her staff rebuffs those proposals, saying the vice president is not visiting as a spouse but as the second-ranking official of the United States ........ Ms. Harris — who stands about 5-foot-2 ........ When the Biden administration confronted a shortage of baby formula across the nation last year, Ms. Harris declined a request by the West Wing to highlight efforts to solve the problem by meeting a shipment of formula at Washington Dulles International Airport .......... she feels most comfortable receiving intelligence briefings or addressing law enforcement officials, venues where she says substance is valued over politics ....... has watched the vice president try to distill complex health care issues in a way that “everyday citizens” can understand......... she asked if Americans can ever “truly be free” if a woman cannot make decisions about her own body. ...... how threats to Roe represent a broader threat to civil rights.

Jimmy Kimmel Takes on Trump’s ‘Sad’ Return to the Campaign Trail Kimmel called Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign “the political equivalent of when Michael Jordan went to play for the Wizards.” .......... “Trump also warned that if Ron DeSantis runs for president, he would consider it a great act of disloyalty. And, you know, loyalty means everything to the guy who cheated on his third wife with a porn star and thought it might be cool to hang his vice president.” — JIMMY KIMMEL ........ ‘DeSantis 2024: Make America Florida Again.’ ........ “I would tell them, I would sit them down and say, ‘Boys, whoever wins is the son we love more and that’s that.’ That’s how Trump does it.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

Doctors Aren’t Burned Out From Overwork. We’re Demoralized by Our Health System. the diseased systems for which we work. ........ The United States is the only large high-income nation that doesn’t provide universal health care‌ to its citizens. Instead, it maintains a lucrative system of for-profit medicine. For decades, ‌at least tens of thousands of preventable deaths have occurred each year because health care here is so expensive. ....... at least 338,000 Covid deaths in the United States could have been prevented by universal health care. ....... in 2021 alone, about 117,000 physicians left the work force, while fewer than 40,000 joined it. ........ One in five doctors says he or she plans to leave practice in the coming years‌. ....... burnout. Nearly two-thirds of physicians report they are experiencing its symptoms. ........ What’s burning out health care workers is less the grueling conditions we practice under, ‌and more our dwindling faith in the systems for which we work. What has been identified as occupational burnout is a symptom of a deeper ‌collapse. We are witnessing the slow death of American medical ideology. ........ a belief system made up of interlinking political, moral and cultural narratives upon which we depend to make sense of our social world ........ nearly one-fifth of physicians reporting they knew a colleague who had considered, attempted‌‌ or died by suicide during the first year of the pandemic alone. ........... the structural perversity of our institutions‌‌ ......... ostensibly nonprofit‌ charity hospitals have illegally saddl‌ed poor patients with debt for receiving‌‌ care to which they were entitled without cost and have exploited tax incentives meant to promote care for poor communities to turn ‌‌large profits. ......... Hospitals are deliberately understaffing themselves and undercutting patient care while sitting on billions of dollars in cash reserves. Little of this is new, but doctors’ sense of our complicity in putting profits over people has ‌grown more difficult to ignore. ........ Resistance to self-criticism has long been a hallmark of U.S. medicine and the industry it has shaped. From at least the 1930s through today, doctors have organized efforts to ward off the specter of “socialized medicine.” We have repeatedly defended health care as a business venture against the threat that it might become a public institution oriented around rights rather than revenue. .......... We sit ‌at our patients’ bed sides and counsel them on their duty to counteract the risks of obesity, heart disease and diabetes, for example, while largely ignoring how those diseases are tied to poor ‌access to quality food because of economic inequities. .......... teaches us to suppress critical thinking and trust the system, even with its perverse incentives. ........ a system of billing codes invented by the American Medical Association as part of a political strategy to protect its vision of for-profit health care now dictates nearly every ‌aspect of medical practice, producing not just endless administrative work, but also subtly shaping treatment choices. .........

Any illusion that medicine and politics are, or should be, separate spheres has been crushed under the weight of over ‌‌1.1 million Americans killed by a pandemic that was in many ways a preventable disaster.

........ our institutions, and much of our work inside them, primarily serve a moneymaking machine. .......... We have a responsibility to use our collective power to insist on changes: for universal health care and paid sick leave but also investments in community health worker programs and essential housing and social welfare systems. .......... If we can build an organizing network through doctors’ unions, then proposals to demand universal health care through use of collective civil disobedience via physicians’ control over health care documentation and billing, for example, could move from visions to genuinely actionable plans. ......... until doctors join together to call for a fundamental reorganization of our medical system, our work ‌won’t do what ‌we were promised it would do, nor will it prioritize the people we claim to prioritize. To be able to build the systems we need, we must face an unpleasant truth: Our health care institutions as they exist today are part of the problem rather than the solution.

The rise and rise of Xi Jinping — the strongman of China. Even before the Congress approved his third term, he laid out his decade-long vision for China....

Thursday, October 06, 2022

American Racism And Visas For Indians

Just from anecdotal evidence I get the impression the United States has been "punishing" India for "siding" with Russia. India is not. A lot of people I know are having visa issues. Visas that used to get issued within a week or two now have yearlong waiting periods. This is asinine. This is racism. Racism is a variant of the fascism virus. Liberty is the opposite of fascism. Donald Trump is a fascist. His last antic has been to threaten violence upon the Republican Senate Leader. Republican! 

You can not house liberty and racism in the same framework. 

Did you ask? Before you threatened Russia, did you ask India? Did you consult? Before you sent in weapons, did you ask? Did you consult? Was it a mutual decision that you should expect blind support? 

The Russian attack on Ukraine was a surprise to India. India did not have any say in it. India has disapproved of it. India has sent a lot of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. 

India was buying oil in the world markets. India continues to buy oil in the world markets. If high oil prices are not a problem, why is California sending oil rebates to all its people? The Indian foreign minister has made the point that what India buys in a month Europe buys in one afternoon. China buys from Russia and sells to Europe. 

India is not a party to the war. India disapproves of the war. But it is also being realistic that it is not in a position to end the war. Russia is. Ukraine is. The US is. But India is not. 

Tiny bureaucrats who used to topple elected leaders in Latin America make these decisions. They be like, India! 

India is the CEO of Google! India is the CEO of Microsoft! India is the CEO of Twitter! India is Vice President of the United States. 

India is best positioned to engineer peace if peace is possible. So far it does not look possible. 

A peacemaker is not a yes man. A peacemaker without integrity will not succeed. 

Putin is not the only one who does not want peace. The military-industrial complex in America does not want peace. It is making big money right now. Don't turn off that tap. 

Friday, March 11, 2022

March 11: Ukraine, India

Ukraine Crisis Kicks Off New Superpower Struggle Among U.S., Russia and China Beijing and Moscow now hold a stronger hand in confronting the West than during the Cold War ......... Russia’s audacious military assault on Ukraine is the first major clash marking a new order in international politics, with three major powers jostling for position in ways that threaten America’s primacy. ........ Russia and China have built a thriving partnership based in part on a shared interest in diminishing U.S. power. Unlike the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s, Russia is a critical gas supplier to Europe, while China isn’t an impoverished, war-ravaged partner but the world’s manufacturing powerhouse with an expanding military. .......... “We all thought we were looking at a Europe whole, free and at peace indefinitely,” said Michele Flournoy, who served as the Pentagon’s top policy official during the Obama administration. “We knew that Russia would conduct gray zone operations and that Putin would use his KGB playbook to create instability on his periphery. But a wholesale invasion of a sovereign country to reorient its government is a different moment.” .......... Beijing doesn’t really like Putin’s tactics ...... When pro-democracy protesters rose up in Hong Kong, Mr. Xi imposed harsh security laws, brushing off agreements his predecessors made giving autonomy to the former British colony and international financial center. ......... what the Pentagon in 2015 called the “re-emergence of great power competition” and shifted from its emphasis of counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. ......... Even with annual defense budgets that soared over $700 billion, coping with an urgent Russian-generated crisis while preparing for a Chinese threat whose peak is still years away presents an enormous challenge for the Pentagon. ........ “The United States is going to have to get used again to operating in multiple theaters simultaneously—not just militarily, but in terms of psychology and foreign-policy making” ....... Beyond the military, the new confrontation with Moscow might also accelerate a further fracturing of economic globalization. China and the U.S. are trying to unravel supply chains for critical technologies. Should the West impose crippling sanctions on Russian banks and major companies, Moscow is likely to become more reliant on Beijing, which has issued a digital currency and is building a payments system separate from the West’s. ..........

most Europeans see the Ukraine crisis as a broader threat to Europe.


Narendra Modi’s BJP Wins Big in Indian Elections Result of regional votes shows the enduring popularity of the leader despite the impact of the pandemic and a controversial proposal to overhaul the agricultural sector ......... It is the first time in decades that voters have returned an incumbent party to power in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP was also on track to win a majority in three other states—Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur. .......

“He enjoys a huge, huge popularity among ordinary people.”

........ The BJP’s wins will strengthen the party’s control in Parliament’s upper house, where it doesn’t have a majority. ........ In a major upset, the regional Aam Aadmi Party, which runs the government of New Delhi, won a majority of seats in the huge farming state of Punjab and defeated the Indian National Congress Party ........ Its victory in Punjab now positions the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, for a bigger presence during the 2024 national elections. ...... He has cultivated an image as a pious bachelor and devout Hindu who is wholly dedicated to public service.

Why Is Russia Invading Ukraine and What Is Happening on the Ground? Ukrainian fighters put up fierce resistance as Putin places nuclear forces on alert ....... Russia is Europe’s major supplier of natural gas. ....... Ukraine’s defenders held on to Kyiv, and pushed back Russian troops in urban combat in its second-largest city, Kharkiv. ....... Ukrainian authorities have ordered Kyiv residents to stay indoors until Monday morning while they hunt for Russian infiltrators, who engaged in several shootouts with Ukrainian troops and civilian volunteers overnight. ....... “They have consciously chosen to hit civilians and everything that renders life normal. Power stations, hospitals, kindergartens, housing blocks—they are all targeted daily.” .......... Before the invasion, Russia had massed a fighting force totaling up to 190,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders compared with Ukraine’s 200,000-strong army, supplemented by tens of thousands of reservists. ........ Putin says the main objective is to defend the Russian-speakers in Ukraine, especially those in the two self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which broke away from Ukrainian control in 2014. ....... eight million Ukrainians died during World War II and that his own grandfather served as a Soviet officer during the conflict. ....... Before 2014, polls showed a roughly even split in support among the population for joining the EU or a Moscow-led economic bloc. In a November survey, however, 58% favored the EU, with 21% for Russia’s group. Polling data show that even people in the south and east, where there are many ethnic Russians and Russian speakers, are now in favor of the EU. ....... Russia’s military campaign marks the continuation of a policy that has seen Mr. Putin steadily expanding the country’s sphere of influence, reasserting Moscow’s dominion over former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Georgia and Moldova. ........ Putin excoriated Mr. Zelensky, calling him a terrorist and urging Ukraine’s military to oust him. ...... “This is really a pattern that we’ve seen from President Putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don’t exist in order to justify further aggression,” she said. “And the global community and the American people should look at it through that prism. We’ve seen him do this time and time again.” ......... NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Russia’s invasion an act of war, “deliberate, coldblooded and long-planned.” ........ Ukrainian Mig-29 jet fighters roared low overhead, in a sign that Russia, despite its formidable advantage in aviation and two days of relentlessly bombing Ukraine’s air bases, still hadn’t achieved full control of the skies. ........ Ukrainian artillery and tanks were moving through the city, and thousands of volunteers lined up at recruitment centers to receive weapons. On the roads south of Kyiv, armed villagers made their own roadblocks out of tractors and sandbags. ........ The Russian advance toward Kyiv has been slowed by antiair and antitank weapons, raising the possibility that Russian forces might be weakened by a lack logistical support before they can achieve their objective. The growing fear, though, is that Moscow may begin indiscriminate strikes against civilian targets to cow the Ukrainian government into submission. .

Endgame in Ukraine: how could the war play out? Russia’s failure to secure a swift win opens a range of possible outcomes ....... Ukraine is mounting a stronger than anticipated defence and western countries are supporting it with arms supplies. Meanwhile, Russia’s campaign has been beset by strategic errors, logistical shortcomings and intelligence blunders that vastly underestimated Ukrainian capabilities. ........ that Russia will win a comprehensive victory — remains the most likely outcome, given its overwhelming military power. ........ The civilian death toll will also be much higher than anticipated as Russia turns to more indiscriminate bombardment and deploys arms such as cluster munitions and thermobaric weapons. ........ many defence and intelligence officials say a potential retreat to western Ukraine — where Russia has so far made no attempt to seize territory — is a potential endgame. They have mooted Lviv, close to the Polish border, as a possible new capital for a rump Ukrainian state........ a partition of the country between its more Russian-speaking east and Europe-focused west........ If Russia were to attack and capture the port of Odesa, Ukraine’s third-largest city and long identified by Nato as a potential Russian target, it could cut off a rump Ukraine from the sea, crippling a crucial export route........ few think Putin would settle for failing to capture Kyiv or to topple the Zelensky government, given his stated aim to “demilitarise” the country and wrench it from its EU and Nato membership ambitions. ........ In talks in Turkey between the combatants’ foreign ministers — the most senior-level negotiations so far convened — on Thursday, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov denied Moscow had attacked Ukraine and claimed the US was funding biological weapons research in the country. Dmytro Kuleba, his Ukrainian counterpart, said seeking ceasefire promises from Lavrov was impossible as “there are other decision makers for this matter in Russia”........ while Ukrainian officials have suggested a deal on the status of Crimea and pro-Russian separatist-controlled regions in the east could be feasible, Kyiv has ruled out Russia’s broader demands that it become neutral and give up its military capabilities. ........ western officials say anything short of a full Russian withdrawal would mean that crippling economic sanctions against Moscow were retained. “We keep tightening the noose,” said one. “Putin cannot hope for a fait accompli and for the world to go back to some kind of [normality]. There has been an irreversible change.” .........

Russian retreat, Putin toppled

......... Ukraine’s resistance so far has raised the possibility that Kyiv could continue repelling Russian efforts to seize key cities, especially if western weapons supplies continue to bolster the army’s capabilities ......... Putin himself could be a casualty of a failed invasion. They argue that the Russian president, who has ruled for more than 22 years, might be toppled by Kremlin elites, or by Russian military or security officials angry at his handling of the war, or by a groundswell of protest among Russian citizens furious at falling living standards...... the key to ending the conflict in Ukraine was increasing opposition to Putin inside Russia ...... However, Putin’s grip on power is arguably stronger than it has ever been, thanks to draconian new legislation in effect outlawing independent media in Russia and leaving Kremlin-controlled outlets as the sole source of information....... Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said this week that plans — mooted by the west but now ruled out — to supply Kyiv with Polish MiG fighters would be a “very undesirable and potentially dangerous scenario”. In turn, Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, has warned Russia that attacks on western supply lines to Ukraine would represent an escalation. ......... “Putin wants less Nato, he’s getting more Nato,” Stoltenberg said this week. “He wanted to divide us, he is getting a more united alliance.”

Won’t fight in Ukraine, direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is World War III: Joe Biden Joe Biden stated that the United States would not fight in Ukraine, and that a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia would result in World War III. .

Communication, visibility and delivery: How Yogi bulldozed Akhilesh Yadav's caste calculus The BJP has become the only party since 1977 to breach the 40% vote share mark in Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. ......... Yogi Adityanath has become the first Chief Minister in 37 years to retain power after completing a full five-year term in Uttar Pradesh....... The Election Commission data showed BJP bagging a 41.3 % vote share. In 1977, the Janata party had touched a 47.8% vote share high in UP. ........ The BJP swept the UP polls, winning 255 of the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party settled with 111 seats. ........ The BJP swept the UP polls, winning 255 of the 403 assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh. Meanwhile, the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party settled with 111 seats. ....... The free ration delivery along with the cash transfer scheme of the BJP government has given the party a big boost in this election. With the help of these two schemes, the BJP was able to mobilise poor voters, cutting across the caste and community lines. . 'If Congress wants...': Mamata Banerjee hints at 2024 alliance against BJP Mamata Banerjee said her party can get together with the Congress to defeat the BJP in the 2024 general elections. ...... The grand old party, which has been reduced to an all-time low in the recently-concluded elections, accused the Trinamool Congress of being “agents of the BJP” in a sharp rebuttal. “The TMC is the biggest agent of the BJP. Rather, TMC should merge with Congress if it is so serious about fighting against BJP,” Congress’ Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said. ......... On Thursday, Kolkata Mayor and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim offered: “The TMC has shown how you can put up a fight against the BJP and defeat it (in Bengal). It is high time that Congress merges with TMC and fights under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee.” ....... The Trinamool chairperson had sent shockwaves across the Congress camp in December with her “the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) does not exist anymore” remark. The attack didn’t stop there. Editorials in the TMC mouthpiece “Jago Bangla” continued its criticism of the grand old party, writing: "Congress is a failure... UPA is over..." It even went on to say that the Congress “has locked itself in the freezer”. .

How Arvind Kejriwal has disrupted Mamata Banerjee’s India plan ahead of 2024 The 2022 Assembly Elections have put Kejriwal's AAP as the major contender next only to BJP and Congress while Mamata's TMC suffered losses. What does it mean for the two parties as it gears up for 2024 Lok Sabha elections? ....... After winning the Punjab election, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the only party after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to have a majority government of its own in two states or more. Even the Communist Party of India-Marxist does not have majority in two states. ........ With Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh going to the polls later this year, Kejriwal’s party has a chance to cross the threshold to enter the elite club. ....... Arvind Kejriwal, on the other hand, has been working to strengthen the AAP in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat for the late-2022 elections. The AAP contested Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand elections. Both gave forgettable results for the AAP but the presence was recorded. ....... The AAP’s success in the Punjab election has given Arvind Kejriwal an edge over Mamata Banerjee in their competition to replace the Congress as the BJP’s principal challenger in 2029 if not in 2024. Soon after the Punjab victory, AAP leader Raghav Chadha said, “The AAP is going to become the challenger of the BJP. There is no doubt in my mind that in the times to come, the AAP will become the national and natural replacement.” .

After massive drubbing in 5 states, G23 battle for all-new Congress intensifies The G23's fight for a new Congress has heated up following a landslide defeat in five states in the Assembly election. ....... An intense power struggle has begun in the Congress hours after humiliating electoral setbacks in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, and Manipur. ....... ‘G23’, or the group of 23 dissenters, is closing ranks once again to force the leadership issue. Unlike the August 15, 2020, missive that had questioned Sonia and Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning, this time around, the focus would be on "democratising" the decision-making process in the Congress. The target is the composition of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), an emergency session of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), accountability for the recent poll debacle, and the completion of organisational polls. ........ Priyanka in Uttar Pradesh drew a good crowd, but neither seats nor votes polled justified her efforts. Old Congressmen from UP, leaning on an old film song, said she should have understood the distinction between crowd curiosity and votes. The song from Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi is "woh hans ke mile hum pyar samajh baithe". ......... Team Rahul was in a daze. A day before the results came out, Rahul’s picture of having a triple ice-cream sundae with faluda was apparently circulated to convey how confident he was about getting Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa. Three scoops for the three states. The poll outcome came as a shocker. It explains why Congress has gone into a shell again. .

How 'Delhi model' facilitated AAP's historic Punjab sweep The AAP’s historic victory in a state with no reliable voting base and a weak and invisible party organisation is a fairy tale story almost similar to what the newbie party achieved in the Delhi elections in 2015. ........ the 2022 elections have proven to be a Waterloo for the old and established parties in Punjab. ....... How did an eight-year-old party achieve this magical feat in a state where its party unit was dissolved by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal over indiscipline after the 2017 electoral debacle? Behind the AAP revolution in Punjab, there is a single and uncomplicated factor that has vastly shaped the insurgent party’s historic victory: the ‘Delhi Model’. ......... a key factor was the electorate’s disillusionment with the established parties in the state. This is nowhere more prominent than the ruling Congress party which, despite winning an inspiring election in 2017, allowed itself to be consumed in factionalism and leadership war. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s unceremonious removal by the party’s leadership from Delhi, his running feud with newly appointed party president Navjot Singh Sidhu and the party’s known Dalit face Charanjit Singh Channi’s elevation to the hot-seat just months before elections played a key role in the party’s debacle. ....... a disillusioned voter in Punjab was desperately looking for a change and a new template of governance that could address deep-rooted corruption, patronage politics and end elite control. The Kejriwal government’s ‘Delhi Model’ of governance based on efficient delivery of public services found a strong resonance among voters in Punjab. The Delhi Model, as has been aggressively promoted by the AAP government, comprises four crucial planks of welfare delivery - quality school education, healthcare, water and electricity at affordable rates. ......... After it won the landslide in 2015 in Delhi, the AAP government singled out education as a key area of building its credentials. With slogans such as ‘education first’, the AAP-led government infused a fresh dose of energy into a moribund education system, especially the government-run schools in the capital. The AAP government under the leadership of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, allotted the highest funds to education, introduced new teacher training courses for students, and infused money to improve the ailing schooling infrastructure. A concerted and much focussed effort produced quick positive results. For instance, a Delhi government school, Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya in Dwarka, was ranked number one among all government-run day schools in India, while two others have made it to the top ten in 2019. Since then, many other schools have joined the rank. The net result is that more and more students from private schools are joining government schools in Delhi. ........ Beyond school education, there has been a visible transformation in healthcare access and quality. Delhi’s Mohalla Clinics have acquired national and international attention in the last few years. What also helped the broader appeal of the Delhi Model is that additional packages such as electricity subsidies (free up to 200 units), free bus rides for women, drinking water for 24X7 have earned the goodwill of most residents of the national capital. AAP’s back-to-back landslide victory in 2020 despite facing a massive challenge from the BJP is a vindication of the success of the Delhi Model. .......

the Delhi Model that assures corruption-free and efficient delivery of public services.

........ The party managed to connect with the women voters by promising them monthly cash grants of Rs 1,000, buttressing the narrative of a dignified life for women in some way within a societal setting marred by traditions of patriarchy. This seems to have worked given AAP’s good track record of delivering its key promises in Delhi and Kejriwal’s own image as an anti-corruption activist.

G23 members demand new Congress chief, seek emergency AICC meeting G23 members Kapil Sibbal and Manish Tiwari held a meeting at former leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad's house on Friday. .

Arvind Kejriwal's AAP marches forward to become a national party | Infographic The victory in Punjab has turned Arvind Kejriwal's AAP into a fledgling national party with a simmering potential to replace the Congress as the main opposition. .

Arvind Kejriwal model of governance is now becoming national identity in politics: Manish Sisodia on AAP's win in Punjab . .

Congress preps post-poll strategy, opens backchannel talks with like-minded parties As the countdown to the declaration of state assembly polls’ result starts, Congress gets down to implement its post-poll strategies. .

The great stall of Kyiv Ground reports from Ukraine and western intelligence indicate that the key to Ukraine’s fight against Russia lies in the resilience being shown on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv. ...... US intelligence assessments estimate that Ukraine’s Air Force still has operational jets along with TB2 Unmanned Combat Aircraft Vehicles (UCAV). Coverage of these assets has so far kept Russian air strikes away from the capital, although the capital has been hit by missiles. Ukraine still has 56 operational fighter jets in its inventory and the Ukraine Air Force is still flying anywhere between 5-10 sorties every day ...... Russia has launched 328 cruise missiles on civilian facilities since the invasion began. .

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

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