Showing posts with label donald trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label donald trump. Show all posts

Thursday, May 19, 2022

May 19: Ukraine

Estonia’s Tough Voice on Ukraine Urges No Compromise With Putin Kaja Kallas, the prime minister, remembers the repression of life under Soviet rule and sees the same brutality in occupied Ukraine, which she believes is fighting for all of Europe. ........ She remembers the Soviet occupation and a visit to East Berlin in 1988, when she was 11, and her father told her to “breathe in the air of freedom” from West Berlin. And she remembers the stories of 1949, when her mother, Kristi, then a baby, was deported to Siberia in a cattle car with her own mother and grandmother and lived in exile there until she was 10 — part of Moscow’s effort to wipe out Estonia’s elite. .......... Along with Latvia and Lithuania — countries also annexed by the Soviet Union — her country and its fellow Baltic States are some of the smallest and most vulnerable in Europe. ......... as they press Europe’s larger countries to take a hard line against President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and to keep faith with Ukraine and its struggle for freedom. ......... simply suing for peace with Mr. Putin would be a mistake at this stage, she believes, rewarding his aggression. She argues forcefully instead that

Russia must be seen to lose its war against Ukraine

, so that history — that of her family and her country — is not repeated elsewhere. ............ “Peace can’t be the ultimate goal,” she said. “We had peace after the Second World War, but the atrocities for our people started or continued then,” she said, citing mass deportations, killings of the elite and “trying to erase our culture and our language.” .......... NATO was engaged in a massive military exercise in Estonia called “Hedgehog,” involving some 15,000 troops from 14 countries, including participation by the U.S. Navy. It is part of a series of large NATO exercises this month in Central Europe. ........... Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks a turning point in European history and must be defeated at all costs, and without compromise. ......... early support for Ukraine, and more support per capita, from this small nation of 1.3 million people, than any other country in the world. ........... She has been a sharp critic of continuing efforts by other leaders, like Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, to keep contacts with Mr. Putin while Ukraine is fighting for its sovereignty and its existence as an independent state. ....... only the Ukrainian government and its president, Volodymyr Zelensky, should be negotiating with Mr. Putin, whom she considers a war criminal. .......... “The conversation has to happen between Zelensky and Putin, because they are part of the war and their skin is in the game,” she said. The Ukrainians “are the only ones who can say what is their room for maneuver,” she said, “because it’s their people who suffer.” ........... There are some in Europe, including important business executives, who want the war in Ukraine over as quickly as possible, given the sharp increases in the price of energy, grain, cooking oil and countless other items leading to record inflation, in part caused by Europe’s harsh sanctions on Russia. .............. only Ukrainians are doing the fighting for what she considers the values and security of the entire trans-Atlantic alliance. ...........

so far, she said, Mr. Putin has refused to talk to Mr. Zelensky.

........ A partial settlement that allows Russia to renew its offensive later is not sustainable, she said. “I only see a solution as a military victory that could end this once and for all, and also punishing the aggressor for what he has done.” Otherwise, she said, “we go back to where we started — you will have a pause of one year, two years, and then everything will continue.” ......... That has been the mistake of the West with Mr. Putin for years now, she said, citing the Georgian war in 2008, the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas that has been ongoing since 2015. .......... Mr. Zelensky “is in a very difficult position.” On one hand, “you’re the leader of the country, and you see the suffering of your people, you want this to stop.” But on the other, “you have public opinion saying that Ukraine is winning this war, and we shouldn’t give any territory to Russia.” .......... Finding the balance will be hard, she said, but it is up to Mr. Zelensky to find it. “It is up to Ukraine to decide where their limits are,” no one else, she said. .......... It is important that the European Union and NATO keep the door open to Ukraine, she said, given the already remarkable sacrifices it has made to protect Western values and interests. The Ukrainians have earned the right to prove that they can qualify, she said, and the West “should not be intimidated by anything Russia is saying or threatening.” .........

“Europe is not a geography — it’s a set of values and principles.”

We Must Make Sure Russia Finishes This War in a Worse Position Than Before Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of Britain said that her country would seek “to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine.” ....... Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, declared that “we want Ukraine to win this war.” ........ A peace that for the second time since 2014 rewards a Russian invasion with Ukrainian territory would have severe consequences for Ukraine’s future, Western security and credibility, and the norms of sovereignty and nonintervention that underpin the international order. ......... At a minimum, Western policy should ensure that Russia gains no new Ukrainian territory and continues to face severe sanctions until it fundamentally changes its policy toward Ukraine. ...... Further sanctions would be inconvenient for Europe — but disastrous for Russia. The West must prevail in this contest of resolve. ...... unambiguously committing to both the restoration of Ukraine’s territory and the reconstruction of its war-torn economy. ........ Fear of Russian escalation should not constrain the West from taking these steps. Russia’s reckless nuclear talk is designed to play on the West’s fears. But Russia’s saber-rattling reflects its dearth of other options. Since the war has exposed Russia’s weakness in other domains — conventional military force, informational warfare, cyberpower and economic resilience —

weapons of mass destruction are now its only claim to geopolitical greatness

. ........... The argument that “Russia will use nuclear weapons unless it is allowed to gain from the war” does not deter Ukraine from fighting. It should not deter the West from giving it the means to do so.

‘S.N.L.’ Takes on the Trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard In an episode hosted by Selena Gomez, “Saturday Night Live” tried to distract itself from a dire news week with a celebrity lawsuit and whoopee cushions. ......... After rattling off other headlines — “political fallout from the recent Jan. 6 subpoenas, updates on the Russian helicopter taken down by Ukraine, plus a nationwide shortage of baby formula” — McKinnon explained to viewers that her network would instead be covering the celebrity trial. ........ “On one hand, I believe Mr. Depp’s story. But on the other hand, your constant little smirk lets me know that this is not the first woman you’ve made so mad that she pooped in your bed.” ......... Is it me or does every story this week sound like the opening voice-over in a “Mad Max” movie? The year is 2022. A virus rages across the planet. Digital money has collapsed. Infants have nothing to eat. Women are forced to breed. Men are ready to die for gasoline. And we suffer under the leadership of the one known only as Joe.......... Cryptocurrency crashed this week with Bitcoin losing nearly half its value. And now it has to legally change its name to Bit O’ Coin. In fact, the entire crypto market has lost over $1 trillion, but you can make that money back fast as long as you’ve been hoarding baby formula.

A Ruling Family on the Run as Sri Lanka Plunges Into Economic Ruin Once empowered by triumphant ethnic nationalism after a brutal civil war, the Rajapaksa dynasty has been undone by what its own allies call incompetence and denial........ The president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and his brother Mahinda, the prime minister, had come on board with the measure after a year of discussion. But another member of the family — Basil, the finance minister, one of five Rajapaksas in the cabinet — had other ideas. ........... Sri Lanka lies in economic ruin, with basic food items scarce, hospitals out of medicine and lines for fuel stretching for blocks as the country’s foreign reserves all but run out. The wave of anger now gripping the country is as much about the family dynasty ruling Sri Lanka as it is about the economic disaster. Once empowered by a triumphant Buddhist Sinhalese nationalism after a brutal civil war, the Rajapaksas have been undone by what their own allies call incompetence and denial. ........... with most of the family in hiding at a military base and only the president clinging to power ........... “Basil was not willing to accept the fact that this financial crisis will lead to an economic crisis, and unless we are going to solve it, that will lead to a political crisis” ........... “He controlled everything,” Mr. Gammanpila added, a sentiment repeated by other officials and diplomats, “and he knew nothing.” ........ Over a period of decades, the small island nation of 22 million people had built a bloated state sector, robust social welfare programs that exceeded the country’s means, a large military and an elaborate series of postwar construction projects. As economic growth slowed, it kept borrowing to pay. ............. Then came a disastrous ban on chemical fertilizers, as the Rajapaksa government pushed organic farming at a time when climate change was already threatening harvests and food security. ........ As it became clearer that the government needed help from financial bodies like the International Monetary Fund, the Rajapaksas dragged their feet. Used to easy loans from allies like China, they were daunted by the strict expectations that come with such packages ........... Many have described the root of the crisis as the impunity that the political and military elite enjoyed after a civil war rife with accusations of crimes against Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils. The war’s end initiated a majoritarian triumphalism, exploited by the Rajapaksas, that concealed the deeper economic troubles and bypassed reconciliation. ............ the Rajapaksas, buoyed by war and ethnic nationalism, felt an entitlement that was all the more glaring in the face of their weak governance. .......... Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters, bused to his residence, walked out and attacked peaceful protesters who had camped there for weeks through heat and monsoon downpours. .......... Mr. Godahewa, whose home was also burned down, said he remained at the president’s residence for much of the night as anarchy took hold. At Temple Trees, the old colonial compound where the prime minister lives, protesters broke the gates and forced their way in. ......... the military had calculated its own interests, and that the economic crisis was too widespread, also affecting the families of those in the military, for officers to blindly support the president despite the public anger.

There Are Two Endgames in Ukraine. Both Carry Big Risks. The significant date of May 9, the celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory over Hitler’s Germany, came and went with no change of Russian strategy. .......... More of the same, then, seems to be the Russian plan — meaning a continuation of the grinding war in Ukraine’s south and east, with the goal of regime change essentially abandoned in favor of the goal of holding territory that might eventually be integrated into the Russian Federation. .......... The risk that a proxy war would encourage Moscow to climb the ladder toward a larger conflict has been manifest in the constant saber-rattling on Russian state TV — but not, thus far, in the actual choices of the Kremlin. Putin obviously doesn’t like our armaments flowing into Ukraine, but he appears willing to fight the war on these terms rather than gambling at more existential stakes. ......... Two scenarios loom for the next six months of war. In the first, Russia and Ukraine trade territory in small increments, and the war gradually cools into a “frozen conflict” in a style familiar from other wars in Russia’s near abroad. .......... And already, the pro-Ukraine united front in the United States is fracturing a little over the sheer scale of what we’re sending. So it’s not clear that either the Biden administration or the Zelensky government would be wise to invest in a long-term strategy for a frozen conflict that requires sustained bipartisan support — and perhaps soon enough the backing of a Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis administration. ........ the stalemate breaks in Ukraine’s favor. This is the future that the Ukrainian military claims is within reach — where with sufficient military aid and hardware they are able to turn their modest counteroffensives into major ones and push the Russians back not just to prewar lines but potentially out of Ukrainian territory entirely........... Clearly, this is the future America should want — except for the extremely important caveat that it’s also the future where Russian nuclear escalation suddenly becomes much more likely than it is right now. ........... We know that Russian military doctrine envisions using tactical nuclear weapons defensively, to turn the tide in a losing war. We should assume that Putin and his circle regard total defeat in Ukraine as a regime-threatening scenario. Combine those realities with a world where the Russians are suddenly being routed, their territorial gains evaporating, and you have the most nuclear-shadowed military situation since our naval blockade of Cuba in 1962. .......... what our posture should be in the event that rapid Ukrainian advances are met with a Russian tactical nuclear strike. ........ since we are arming the Ukrainians on a scale that seems intended to make a counteroffensive possible, I sincerely hope a version of the Colby-Heinrichs back-and-forth is happening at the highest reaches of our government — before an issue that matters now on academic panels becomes the most important question in the world.

The MAGA Formula Is Getting Darker and Darker The chilling amalgam of Christian nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiratorial zeal — from QAnon to the “stolen” 2020 election — has attracted a substantial constituency in the United States, thanks in large part to the efforts of Donald Trump and his advisers. By some estimates, adherents of these overlapping movements make up

as much as a quarter or even a third of the electorate

. Whatever the scale, they are determined to restore what they see as the original racial and religious foundation of America. .......... “Donald Trump wove them together and brought them out into the open. Indeed, the MAGA formula — the stoking of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment while making nativist appeals to the Christian right — could accurately be described as a white Christian nationalist strategy from the beginning.” ......... “There is definitely a wing of the Christian nationalist movement that overlaps with the great replacement theory and demographic paranoia in general.” ........... Christian nationalism is making significant inroads among some Latino communities, for example, and there the argument is not that a preferred racial group is being replaced but that a preferred religious and cultural value system (with supposed economic implications) is under threat.” ........... a reactionary, authoritarian ideology that centers its grievances on a narrative of lost national greatness and believes in the indispensability of the “right” religion in recovering that lost greatness. This mind-set always involves a narrative of unjust persecution at the hands of alien or “un-American” groups. The specific targets may shift. Some focus their fears on the “homosexual agenda”; others target Americans of color or nonwhite immigrant groups; still others identify the menace with religious minorities such as Muslims, Jews and secular “elites” or perceived threats against gender hierarchy and sexual order. And of course, many take an all-of-the-above approach. ........... We can see how the great replacement theory overlaps with Christian nationalism. Both view some specific population as “real” Americans, whether that is defined explicitly as white Christians or in the more vague and coded language of “real” or “native born” or “legacy” Americans. And both frame demographic change as threats to both that population and to the country’s essential character. Finally, although not all flavors of Christian nationalism include a conspiratorial element, some versions share with replacement theory an imagined cabal of nefarious elites — often Jews, communists/socialists or globalists — who are intentionally promoting racial and/or religious diversity in order to diminish white Christian power. ........... “white Christian nationalism” and the other “colorblind Judeo-Christian nationalism.” ......... “explicitly fuses whiteness, Christianity and Americanness,” leading to the conclusion that “white Christians alone embody the values on which a healthy democracy rests and, as such, white Christians alone are suited to hold positions of social influence and political power.” ............

Why have Christian nationalism and replacement theory moved so quickly to center stage?

......... it was “twin shocks to the system” delivered during the first two decades of this century: “the election and re-election of our first Black president and the sea change of no longer being a majority-white Christian nation.” ........... White Christians went from 54 percent to 47 percent in that period, down to 44 percent today. This set the stage for Trump and the emergence of full-throated white Christian nationalism.

Trump exchanged the dog whistle for the megaphone.

....... 29 percent believe that immigrants are invading our country; among Republicans, it’s 60 percent; among Democrats, 11 percent; among QAnon believers, 65 percent; among white evangelicals, 50 percent; and among white noncollege voters, as pollsters put it, 43 percent. .......... White Americans who agree that “God has granted America a special role in human history” (a softer measure of Christian nationalism) are more than twice as likely as those who disagree with that statement to believe that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country” (28 percent vs. 11 percent). And white Americans who agree that “God intended America to be a promised land for European Christians” (a harder measure of Christian nationalism) are four times as likely as those who disagree with that statement to believe that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country” (43 percent vs. 10 percent). And white Americans who believe that “Immigrants are invading our country and replacing our cultural and ethnic values” are more than five times as likely as those who disagree with that statement to believe that “true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country” (45 percent vs. 8 percent). ........... “Religious ideologies like Christian nationalism should be associated with support for violence, conditional on several individual characteristics that can be inflamed by elite cues.” Those characteristics are “perceived victimhood, reinforcing racial and religious identities and support for conspiratorial information sources.” ......... “It’s a toxic blend of extremist orientations, such as Christian nationalism, racism, some expressions of populism and conspiracism, for example, that edges individuals closer to supporting violence.” ............

conspiracy-minded individuals, like the accused Buffalo shooter, can find connections between anything

.......... conspiracy theories, of which great replacement theory is an example, are oftentimes undergirded by antisocial personality traits, such as the dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) and a predisposition toward conflict. If you combine all of these dispositions and traits and dial them up to 10, that’s when you’re most likely to find support for violence, which is correlated with (but not determinative of) behavioral violence. ........ “between 25 to 32 percent of white Americans support some Christian nationalist ideas. .......... of “the major predictors of support for violence — perceived victimhood, attachment to one’s whiteness, racial animus toward Blacks, support for authoritarianism, support for populism and past or current military service — all, save for military service, are present in the accused Buffalo shooter’s written statement.” ........... 6 percent of whites, 11.5 percent of white evangelicals and 17.7 percent of white weekly churchgoers fall into the joint top quartile of justification of violence, Christian nationalist beliefs, perceived victimhood, white identity and support for QAnon.

That would represent millions of individuals. It also represents a far greater share of the white American population than surveys find when testing Muslim American support for terrorism.

.............. Christian nationalism, white replacement theory and conspiracy preoccupation overlap, although each has unique characteristics. ........ Belief in replacement theory is much higher among OANN/Newsmax viewers (45 percent) and Fox News viewers (31 percent) than it is among CNN (13 percent) or MSNBC viewers (11 percent). ..........

They are also very concerned with low birthrates

.......... I can only report that without an overhaul of the law and the allocation of resources, millions of illegal immigrants will continue flooding to this great land from around the world. Many of them have no marketable skills. They are illiterate and unhealthy. Some are violent criminals. Their numbers will soon overwhelm the culture as we have known it, and it could bankrupt the nation. America has been a wonderfully generous and caring country since its founding. That is our Christian nature. But in this instance, we have met a worldwide wave of poverty that will take us down if we don’t deal with it. And it won’t take long for the inevitable consequences to happen. ................ Christian nationalism’s numeric decline and cultural resurgence are, ironically, directly connected.

With or Without Trump, the MAGA Movement Is the Future of the Republican Party The fissures in the Democratic Party are on display for all to see, since it is the party in power, but the divisions in the Republican Party and the conservative movement are deeper, wider and far more threatening. ........ In 2011, the Department of Education declared that Title IX required universities to investigate charges of sexual harassment with few due-process protections for the accused — to the dismay of many conservatives (and plenty of liberals). In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services mandated that Obamacare cover the costs of contraception and abortifacients. In 2016, the Department of Education advised schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice. .......... Kennedy’s “decision nullified bans on gay marriage in 31 states. Social conservatives were apoplectic.” ............. “At the top of society,” Continetti writes, “a self-perpetuating elite lived inside a bubble of affluent neighborhoods and postal codes Murray called ‘Super-Zips,’ while mass suffering played out below. Most Americans, Murray pointed out, did not enjoy the benefits of intact families, vibrant communities and church membership.” Addiction levels, Continetti continued, were staggering. “Opioid and heroin abuse caused a spike in deaths, in some years killing as many Americans as died in Vietnam.” ........... “All this happened under the noses of most conservative and Republican elites. They lived in the wealthy Virginia and Maryland suburbs surrounding Washington, D.C. They enjoyed life in the Super-Zips,” Continetti writes. The elite of the right “were separated from growing numbers of their own party by background, education, income and lifestyle.” ......... The stage was set for a political explosion, and it came in the form of Donald Trump. ..... George Will said that he deserved to lose 50 states. Charles Krauthammer called him a “rodeo clown.” ......... “Not one iota of Trump was politically correct. He played by no rules of civility. He genuflected to no one. He despised the media with the same intensity as the conservative grass roots.” ........... Here’s what’s the terrifying thing on the right that can be a career- and reputation-ending allegation: “You’re weak. You’re a coward.” So the transformation,

this flipping upside down of morality, turning bullying into strength, turning restraint into vice

, all of that, what has then happened is it enables the Trumpists and the Trumpist world. They’re wielding this sword that is very sharp culturally in red spaces, this accusation of weakness and cowardice, as a weapon to keep people in line, because they’ve defined support for this movement as evidence of your strength. .............. But for conservatives — I mean those who champion some version of the difficult balance of traditionalism in the moral arena, market mechanisms for addressing our economic challenges, and American strength in a dangerous world — all bound by a limited-government constitutionalism — this sorry year’s lessons have one overarching implication: We can no longer treat the G.O.P. simply as our own. ......... faults the conservative movement for clinging to “an agenda almost frozen in amber, locking in place a 1980s-style policy program even as the nation changed around us.” ........... “Trump blew it all up,” Levin wrote. “It’s not that he had a rival policy prescription; his campaign largely amounts to a frantic venting of frustrations punctuated by demagogic chest-thumping. But his approach clearly appealed to a significant portion of Republican voters.” .......... Trump did have one crystal-clear policy objective: to drastically reduce immigration, legal and illegal. ........... Without the assent of Congress, President Trump has remade almost every major facet of America’s immigration system over the past three-plus years, slashing levels of legal and illegal arrivals; refugees and asylum seekers; Muslim and Christian migrants. He has sought to strip citizenship from naturalized Americans and subject “dreamers” raised in this country to deportation. He tried to deter illegal border crossings by sundering families, thereby traumatizing migrant teens, tweens and toddlers. ............. Mr. Trump has largely succeeded in delivering on the anti-immigration message that drove his 2016 victory and continues to animate much of his base. Only a small fraction of his border wall has been built, and Mexico has paid for none of it, but the thrust of his nativist vision has taken root in hundreds of rule changes and policy shifts that have slammed shut America’s doors. ............ Every so often the right has embraced a demagogic leader who pulls it toward the political fringe. From Tom Watson to Henry Ford, Father Coughlin to Charles Lindbergh, Joseph McCarthy to George Wallace, Ross Perot to Pat Buchanan, Ron Paul to Donald Trump, these tribunes of discontent have succumbed to conspiracy theories, racism and anti-Semitism. They have flirted with violence. They have played footsie with autocracy. .............. the substantial intellectual infrastructure that has buoyed the Trumpist right, its willingness to rupture moral codes and to discard traditional norms — an infrastructure that includes the Claremont Institute, Hillsdale College, First Things magazine and the American Mind website. ............ Social institutions dependent upon the old morality have become intellectually indefensible. In terms of contemporary social and political thought, it is the good understood as the old that is no longer defensible, and its political defense has therefore become untenable. This alone makes the defense of reasonable conservatism — and constitutionalism itself — something akin to the defense of a dream that masquerades itself as reality in the minds of its votaries. ............ Progressives understand that culture war means discrediting their opponents and weakening or destroying their institutions. Conservatives should approach the culture war with a similar realism. Civility and decency are secondary values. They regulate compliance with an established order and orthodoxy. ................ Our norms are now hopelessly corrupt and need to be destroyed. It has been like this for a while — and the MAGA voters knew it, while most of the policy wonks and magazine scribblers did not … and still don’t. In almost every case, the political practices, institutions, and even rhetoric governing the United States have become hostile to both

liberty and virtue

. .............. The current tensions and arguments on the right aren’t anything new — there’s been a multi-front struggle within conservatism as long as modern conservatism has existed. What’s new is that the populist tendency has usually been subordinate to the classic liberal element, and now, with the advent of Trump, populism has the upper hand. ............ the right has rejected the lazy business-oriented consensus on immigration and China that held sway for too long. We won’t see a so-called comprehensive immigration reform again for a long time — and good riddance. ............ “any impetus to pursue entitlement reform has completely disappeared.” ............ the unanimous belief in the effectiveness and political gain to be made by the current Republican assault on “woke” corporations supporting transgender rights and on corporations requiring employees to undergo diversity training using principles of “critical race theory” — an assault led by Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida. .............. Yet Trump earned neither a majority of votes overall nor majorities in the key primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. He benefited from divisions and flaws among his many rivals as well as his canny political instincts that allowed him to seize on the issue of immigration and connect it to worries over international terrorism. .......... Trump became president because he had the good fortune of running against the second-most-unpopular general election candidate in the history of the Gallup poll (Trump is number one). ............. opposition to illegal immigration, resistance to international trade, a general dislike of permanent alliances and overseas intervention, he also combined these modifications with the Reaganite agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, increased defense spending, conservative judicial appointments and support for Israel. ............

Trump has “a contempt for the ‘niceties of liberal democracy’ and an admiration for nationalist strongmen who use state power to diminish the cultural power of the progressive left,”

Continetti added that “Trump’s inability to accept defeat was behind his ‘Stop the Steal’ movement that, in a horrific illustration of what happens when one abandons the ‘niceties of liberal democracy,’ culminated in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.” ............ whether the Republican Party had become the party of Patrick J. Buchanan, the fire-breathing populist conservative who ran unsuccessfully for president in 1992. .......... “If it indeed became anti-immigrant, anti-trade and America First in foreign policy, it would indeed mirror Pat Buchanan’s insurgency. But I think the party is still fighting over these policies. The response of party leaders to Ukraine shows that the older Republican internationalist wing of the party is still alive and strong.” .......... Trump has absolutely ruined the discourse among conservative intellectuals, elites, think tankers, pundits, etc. We were all basically on the same side, then Trump won the nomination, and it seemed like everybody turned on everybody, depending on the shades or nuances of your views.” .............. Trump’s flagrantly aberrant moral compass ............ As the Republican Party evolves from a party focused on individual liberty and limits on government power to a party that more fully embraces government control of the economy and morality, it is reversing many of its previous stances on free speech in public universities, in public education, and in private corporations. ............ The primal forces unleashed by Trump have not lost momentum. Whoever ends up as the Republican Party nominee in 2024 — whether it is Trump himself or one of the other contenders — will be under pressure to continue the abandonment of principle. ....... Whether Trumpism is more powerful with Trump or without him is still an open question, but the MAGA movement shows no real sign of abating.

Growing evidence of a military disaster on the Donets pierces a pro-Russian bubble. The destruction wreaked on a Russian battalion as it tried to cross a river in northeastern Ukraine last week is emerging as among the deadliest engagements of the war, with estimates based on publicly available evidence now suggesting that well over 400 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded. ...... as the scale of what happened comes into sharper focus, the disaster appears to be breaking through the Kremlin’s tightly controlled information bubble. ....... “The commentary by these widely read milbloggers may fuel burgeoning doubts in Russia about Russia’s prospects in this war and the competence of Russia’s military leaders” ........ On May 11, the Russian command reportedly sent about 550 troops of the 74th Motorized Rifle Brigade of the 41st Combined Arms Army to cross the Donets River at Bilohorivka, in the eastern Luhansk region, in a bid to encircle Ukrainian forces near Rubizhne. ....... Satellite images reveal that Ukrainian artillery destroyed several Russian pontoon bridges and laid waste to a tight concentration of Russian troops and equipment around the river. .......

as many as 485 Russian soldiers killed or wounded and more than 80 pieces of equipment destroyed.

......... some Russian bloggers did not appear to hold back in their criticism of what they said was incompetent leadership. “I’ve been keeping quiet for a long time,” Yuri Podolyaka, a war blogger with 2.1 million followers on Telegram, said in a video posted on Friday, saying that he had avoided criticizing the Russian military until now. ......... “The last straw that overwhelmed my patience was the events around Bilohorivka, where due to stupidity — I emphasize, because of the stupidity of the Russian command — at least one battalion tactical group was burned, possibly two.” ......... the Russian Army was short of functional unmanned drones, night-vision equipment and other kit “that is catastrophically lacking on the front.” ........ “But when the same problems go on for three months, and nothing seems to be changing, then I personally and in fact millions of citizens of the Russian Federation start to have questions for these leaders of the military operation.” ......... the fact that commanders left so much of their force exposed amounted to “not idiocy, but direct sabotage.” ........ Russia’s eastern offensive was moving slowly not just because of a lack of surveillance drones but also “these generals” and their tactics. ....... “Until we get the last name of the military genius who laid down a B.T.G. by the river and he answers for it publicly, we won’t have had any military reforms” ......... the attempted crossing demonstrated a stunning lack of tactical sense. ........ They have speculated that Russian commanders, desperate to make progress, rushed the operation. Some also suggested that it was a reflection of disorder in the Russian ranks. ......... If the estimates that hundreds of soldiers were killed or injured prove accurate, it would be one of the deadliest known engagements of the war. ...... There were more than 500 sailors aboard the Russian Black Sea flagship Moskva when it was struck by a Ukrainian missile in April. The Kremlin at first insisted that all the sailors were rescued, later saying one was killed. But even as the families of missing sailors have publicly demanded answers, the Kremlin has largely kept up an official silence on the fate of the crew, part of a larger campaign to suppress bad news.

Finland and Sweden Move Toward NATO Membership. But What About Ukraine? Why not allow Ukraine — the flawed, corrupt but also heroic democracy at the heart of the current conflict — to join as well, enshrining the West’s commitment to its security? ....... Moscow would take “retaliatory steps,” including a “military-technical” response, which many experts interpreted as a threat to deploy tactical nuclear weapons near the Russian-Finnish border. ....... The two Nordic states are model democracies and modern militaries that the United States and other NATO nations regularly conduct exercises with, working together to track Russian subs, protect undersea communications cables and run air patrols across the Baltic Sea. ........ “We have stayed out of NATO for 30 years — we could have joined in the early ’90s,” Mikko Hautala, the Finnish ambassador to the United States, said on Thursday as he was walking the halls of the U.S. Senate, drumming up support for his country’s sudden change of course. Trying to avoid provoking Mr. Putin, he said, “hasn’t changed Russia’s actions at all.” ........ while it altered its Constitution three years ago to make NATO membership a national objective, it has been considered too full of corruption and too devoid of democratic institutions to make membership likely for years, if not decades, to come. ........ In late March, a month after the Russian invasion and a point when there still seemed some prospect of a diplomatic solution, he made clear that if it would bring about a permanent end to the war, he was prepared to declare Ukraine a “neutral” state. ........ Mr. Biden declined to send MIG fighters to Ukraine that could be used to bomb Moscow. He rejected a no-fly zone over Ukraine because of the risk that American pilots could get into dogfights with Russian pilots. ......... George F. Kennan, the architect of the post-World War II “containment” strategy to isolate the Soviet Union, called the expansion “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.” ........ many believe Mr. Putin will lean on Hungary and its prime minister, Viktor Orban, to reject the applications. ....... Ukraine had forced the Finns to think differently about their security. ...... “You caused this,” Mr. Niinisto said of Mr. Putin. “Look at the mirror.”

Vladimir Putin, Family Man As Western nations place sanctions on people close to the Russian leader, including family members, the strict secrecy surrounding his private life is being punctured....... It was 2008, and the Russian president, then 56 and eight years into his tightening grip on power, stood for a news conference in Sardinia’s lavish Villa Certosa. At his side was his closest ally in Western Europe, Silvio Berlusconi, the media mogul and Italian prime minister of legendarily hedonist appetites with whom he shared a taste for raunchy jokes, over-the-top furnishings and vast wealth. ........ the facade is beginning to crumble, shedding new light on the Russian leader’s private life. ........ he had fallen for Ms. Kabaeva, a famously flexible Olympic gold medalist in rhythmic gymnastics, who, at 24, was about the age of his daughters and had become a public face of his political party. ....... “I have always reacted negatively to those who, with their snotty noses and erotic fantasies, meddle in other people’s lives,” Mr. Putin said, denying the report. Mr. Berlusconi mimed shooting Ms. Melikova with an imaginary machine gun as Mr. Putin, who by then had been accused of murdering several journalists, nodded and smiled. Days later, Moskovsky Korrespondent halted operations for “financial reasons.” ........ A former K.G.B. operative steeped in the agency’s ways of subterfuge, disinformation and the Janus-like ability to present different selves depending on the situation, he has shrouded his personal life in secrecy and wrapped it in rumor. ........ He has two officially recognized daughters from his first marriage, but according to independent Russian news outlets and unverified international news reports, he may have four more children with two other women. Yet even his acknowledged daughters, now approaching middle age, are so hidden as to be unrecognizable on a Moscow street. His former wife, whom some biographers believe he married to improve his chances of entering the bachelor-resistant K.G.B., essentially vanished from view even before they divorced. ......... In the villa-dotted Russian enclaves of Switzerland, a petition began circulating in March demanding the repatriation of his supposed paramour, Ms. Kabaeva, angrily comparing her with Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun. In Lugano, locals whisper about the green glass building Ms. Kabaeva lived in overlooking the lake and speak with confidence about the hospital where her rumored children were born and the schools they attended. But they have not seen her........ or by supporters to compound the image of Mr. Putin’s wealth, virility and mysteriousness. Or maybe they are simply real ........ was at once both obsessively clandestine and an exhibitionist who fed off the Western depiction of him as a supervillain. ........ The great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev, Ms. Khrushcheva said that Mr. Putin had a byzantine worldview typical of the Kremlin, and like Stalin, he embraced and perpetuated mythology peppered with truth. “You create misinformation,” she said. “You create an atmosphere of something that everybody is guessing and everybody is discussing and everything is secret.” ........ Members of Mr. Putin’s family circle are beneficiaries of a kleptocratic system that Mr. Putin rules over like a mafia don, with oligarch lieutenants paying him tribute in the form of wealth, lucrative jobs or luxurious villas lavished on his family and those in the potential orbit of his affection. ........ and that his invisible and untouchable private world could be seen and reached by the West. ......... “Overall, sanctions that are not approved by the U.N. Security Council are bad, most importantly, they are useless,” said Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, when asked for comment on the Western sanctions against Mr. Putin’s family members. “Sanctions against families, relatives, acquaintances and journalists are stupid.” Asked whether the Kremlin believed sanctions against Ms. Kabaeva and her relatives were a personal affront against Mr. Putin, Mr. Peskov added, “This is just an absurd decision!” ......... Maria’s parents did not attend her Dutch wedding party. Some Russians did, however, including fit men who watched from the bar as a relative of the bride — a young woman who sang a touching, traditional Russian song — danced emphatically to tango music. ........ in 2010, a Russian news outlet, New Times, reported that Jorrit, then an official at a Russian consultancy firm, received a beating from the bodyguards of Matvey Urin, a top Russian banker who did not know who he was dealing with, after a road rage episode in Moscow. Mr. Urin promptly lost licenses to operate banks and the bodyguards ended up in jail. Russian gossip reporters speculated that the Dutchman was Mr. Putin’s son-in-law, though Jorrit always denied it. ......... From the beginning, Mr. Putin’s personal story seemed filled with the stuff of myth making. He used an official biography — published in 2001, when he first took power as an apparent next-generation democrat — to burnish his image as a tough but heroic family man. In it, he tells the story of personally saving the family, while naked, when a faulty sauna burned down the family dacha. ......... Mr. Putin let slip in a 2011 Russian television interview that Katerina majored in Oriental studies at St. Petersburg University. But as she stepped gingerly into view in 2015, it was as the author of a math textbook and a half-dozen scientific papers, including one on space travel and how the body reacts to zero gravity. Her co-author, the rector of Moscow State University, Viktor Sadovnichy, did not return a request for comment. ......... And by 2014, she helped oversee the $1.7 billion expansion of Moscow State University, working as a liaison to the business sector with the title of vice rector. ......... As she grew professionally, so did her husband’s wealth. Kirill Shamalov acquired from Mr. Timchenko, the Putin-connected oligarch and apparent family fixer, a roughly $3 billion stake in Russia’s leading oil and petrochemical company and became one of its top shareholders. The couple also acquired from Mr. Timchenko, for an undisclosed price, a seaside villa in Biarritz, France. (In March, Russian activists broke into that villa and tried to make it available to Ukrainian refugees.) ......... Elizaveta Vladimirovna Krivonogikh, whose patronymic means she is the daughter of a Vladimir, is a 19-year-old who played up her possible connection to Mr. Putin to gain tens of thousands of followers on her Instagram account ......... In interviews, Luiza, as she is known, admitted that she looked a lot like Mr. Putin and said that if the president stood before her, she would ask him, “Why?” But the war brought angry attention and her account suddenly disappeared. ........ In 2021, the release of the Pandora Papers — millions of leaked documents from offshore financial firms — and an earlier investigation by Proekt, which was subsequently banned in Russia, showed that Svetlana’s worth was estimated to be around 100 million euros, or about $105 million, and included a $3.75 million Monaco apartment. ......... On April 22, Mr. Putin’s supposedly current mistress — and by some accounts, his new wife, Ms. Kabaeva — appeared in Moscow at her annual Alina Festival, a patriotic gymnastics event. An advisory member of the National Media Group, controlled by the powerful oligarch Yuri Kovalchuk, she rallied support for the invasion of Ukraine in front of the “Z” signs that are symbols of Mr. Putin’s war.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Sinema Is The Democrats' Sudetenland Moment

Sinema and Manchin are making Trump's second term possible. That is the only thing they are doing. Politicians picking voters instead of the other way round is not new to America. But what has been happening this past year in terms of denying voting rights is at a whole another level. You take a stand now, or you say bye bye to democracy in America. A country that can not muster whatever it takes to protect voting rights is no longer a democracy.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Bin Laden's Fantasy, Trump's Reality

It was Osama Bin Laden's fantasy to hit the Capitol. One airplane was supposed to strike the Capitol building. He did not think that would bring down the US government. He knew enough not to think that. Any more than hitting the World Trade Center brought down Wall Street. But he meant to make a symbolic strike. He failed. 

Donald Trump succeeded. He did manage to strike the Capitol in a way that was beyond Bin Laden's fantasy. Trump managed to strike fear into the hearts of every lawmaker in that building. 

Bin Laden paid for it with his life. Trump is planning to run for president again. 

What Trump did he did very openly. Everything is recorded in video, second by second, minute by minute. He planned the strike. He implored the crowd to go do what they did. He was not hiding in a cave when he did that. He was addressing a crowd a stone's throw away from the White House. 

That makes Donald Trump a domestic terrorist. A terrorist is going to run for President Of The United States in 2024. And he can do that because he is white? 

Democracy is one person one vote. That is the promise. But you have one of only two parties existing in the country making a full effort to take voting rights away from people who are not likely to vote for them. The democratic way would have been to try to reach out to them and convince them to vote Republican. But that is not in the plan. Instead, disenfranchise. 

If America is a democracy, it is an unraveling one. 

Monday, February 01, 2021

In The News (13)

The Standing 7-Minute Workout A gentler version of a popular workout keeps you moving while keeping your body off the floor.  

Powerful Snowstorm Expected to Affect Much of the East Winter storm warnings have been issued from North Carolina to New York. Hazardous travel conditions and heavy snow are expected, forecasters said. ............   most of New Jersey Transit’s bus and rail operations would be temporarily suspended on Monday because of the storm. ...........  At the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, which describes itself as the “busiest bus terminal in the world,” all bus service in and out will be suspended on Monday.   

The Forgotten People Fighting the Forever War A devastating incident in Afghanistan shows the perils of relying on Special Operations alone to fight the nation’s battles. ...........  The Afghan army and police, plagued by corruption and poor leadership, had abandoned their posts and left the city to the Taliban with barely a fight.   

The Brazil Variant Is Exposing the World’s Vulnerability Somehow the coronavirus is rampaging through a city that was supposedly immune. ........... Even in a year of horrendous suffering, what is unfolding in Brazil stands out. In the rainforest city of Manaus, home to 2 million people, bodies are reportedly being dropped into mass graves as quickly as they can be dug. Hospitals have run out of oxygen, and people with potentially treatable cases of COVID-19 are dying of asphyxia. This nature and scale of mortality have not been seen since the first months of the pandemic. ................  Data seemed to support the idea that herd immunity in Manaus was near. ........... Although no known variants have been found to pose an immediate threat to vaccinated people, the capacity for reinfection to any significant degree would reshape the pandemic’s trajectory. .............. The new wave of COVID-19 cases in Manaus occurred about eight months after the initial wave. People might have lost some degree of immunity during that window. .............  the variant in Brazil, known as the P.1 (or B.1.1.248) lineage, has a potent combination of mutations. Not only does this variant seem to be more transmissible; its lineage carries mutations that help it escape the antibodies that we develop in response to older lineages of the coronavirus. That is, it at least has a capacity to infect people who have already recovered from COVID-19, even if their defenses protect them against other versions of the virus. .................... the virus’s capacity to cause such a deadly second surge in Brazil suggests a dangerous evolutionary potential. ............. New, dangerous variants are all but inevitable when there are extremely high levels of transmission of the virus. ............ The immune response that the vaccines create is generally more robust than the immune response we get after being infected by a virus .......... vaccines will not be available to more than a fifth of the world’s population until 2022. ........... Ensuring that every human is vaccinated is in everyone’s interest, as global distribution of vaccines is the most effective way to drive down the virus’s capacity to replicate and evolve. The key will be bringing down the global rates of transmission as quickly as possible—not getting any single country to 100 percent vaccination while dozens of countries roil. ..............   In a recursive loop, the virus could come back to haunt the vaccinated, leading to new surges and lockdowns in coming years. The countries that hoard the vaccine without a plan to help others do so at their own peril.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

In The News (12)

Raphael Warnock and the Solitude of the Black Senator The Georgia pastor will be just the 11th Black U.S. senator. His victory came amid an attempt to delegitimize election results — a pattern for more than 150 years. ...........  The expansion of American democracy to accommodate Black participation was interpreted as a threat to those who considered politics to be the divine and exclusive province of white men. .......... The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer’s headline the next day was even more direct: “The Mississippi Gorilla Admitted to the Senate.” ..............  By the time Bruce’s term ended in 1881, so had Reconstruction. With federal troops no longer enforcing civil rights protections, white segregationists’ violent and methodical retaking of the South, where more than 90 percent of Black Americans lived, blocked them by racial terrorism and measures like grandfather clauses, poll taxes and literacy tests from voting booths and elected office, systemically removing Black citizens from the democracy. ............ It would be more than eight decades before the Senate seated another Black member. .............. By the time he left the Senate in January 1979, a political language had emerged that eerily invoked the period after Reconstruction: “law and order,” often a euphemism for maintaining a particular social and racial order; “states’ rights,” as cover for skirting civil rights protections in the Constitution; “personal responsibility,” an evasion of the systemic economic subjugation of Black Americans. ...................  It was only eight years ago that, for the first time in the nation’s history, the Senate had more than one Black member. .............  The echoes of eras past resound in present-day America, where Black Americans’ participation in the nation’s leadership is seen by some not as a fulfillment of its founding ideals but as an existential threat to them. 

Biden’s Nightmare May Be China Think dealing with Mitch McConnell will be tough? Managing a reckless Xi Jinping will be even harder. .......... Xi is an overconfident, risk-taking bully who believes that the United States is in decline. .............  Few expected Xi to pick fights with India on their shared border, as he has several times in the past year, and heaven help us if he is similarly reckless toward Taiwan and sparks a war with the United States. ....................   Biden’s challenge will be to constrain a Chinese leader who has been oppressive in Hong Kong, genocidal in the Xinjiang region, obdurate on trade, ruthless on human rights and insincere on everything, while still cooperating with China on issues like climate change, fentanyl and North Korea ...............  I have had more Chinese friends imprisoned than I can count. I have no illusions about Beijing ............  China is a complex and contradictory place, not a caricature. ........... whether arms control agreements, hotlines and military-to-military consultations can lower temperatures.   

As Biden Plans Global Democracy Summit, Skeptics Say: Heal Thyself First The sense of a dysfunctional, if not entirely broken, democratic system in the United States has foreign rivals crowing — and suggesting that it has no business lecturing other nations. ...............  Mr. Biden should instead hold a democracy summit at home — one focused on “injustice and inequality” in the United States, including issues like voting rights and disinformation. .............  “and in progress on issues like dealing with systemic racism.” ............. who, exactly, would be invited to attend.  

The Silicon Valley Start-Up That Caused Wall Street Chaos Robinhood pitched itself to investors as the antithesis of Wall Street. It didn’t say that it also entirely relies on Wall Street. This past week, the two realities collided. .............  Online brokers had traditionally charged around $10 for every trade, but Robinhood said that customers of its phone app could trade for free. .......... Rampant speculation on options contracts helped drive the rise of GameStop’s shares from about $20 on Jan. 12 to nearly $500 on Thursday — a rally that forced Robinhood to hit the brakes on its own customers.    

A 10-Year-Old GameStop Investor Cashed In. His Return? Over 5,000%. Jaydyn Carr of San Antonio made $3,200 on shares from GameStop this week that his mother bought him in 2019 for about $60. ...............  “I asked him, ‘Do you want to stay or sell?’” .........  Jaydyn decided to sell his shares, earning $3,200 — a return of more than 5,000 percent on an investment of about $60.  

China Wanted to Show Off Its Vaccines. It’s Backfiring. Delays, inconsistent data, spotty disclosures and the country’s attacks on Western rivals have marred its ambitious effort to portray itself as a leader in global health. ........  China’s vaccines, while considered effective, cannot stop the virus as well as those developed by Pfizer and Moderna, the American drugmakers. .............  Sinopharm, a state-owned vaccine maker, and Sinovac have said they can produce up to a combined two billion doses this year, making them essential to the global fight against the coronavirus. .............  Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, their doses can be kept at refrigerated temperatures and are more easily transported, making them appealing to the developing world. ...........  Several world leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, have gotten a Sinovac vaccine.   

Biden Wants the Biggest Stimulus in Modern History. Is It Too Big? Supporters of a ‘hot’ economy see a chance to correct the mistakes of the last recession. Others see danger.  ...........  “Interest rates are at zero, inflation is low, unemployment is high. You don’t need a textbook to know this is when you push on the fiscal accelerator. Let’s go.” ................  but there also might be a painful adjustment with a period of slow growth on the other side of the mountain.”  

Forecast: Wild Weather in a Warming World The polar vortex is experiencing an unusually long disturbance this year because of a “sudden stratospheric warming.” Bundle up. .......... two disruptions of the polar vortex so far this year and, potentially, a third on the way. ........... While warming means milder winters overall, “the motto for snowstorms in the era of climate change could be ‘go big or go home!’ ......... The wild weather has its origins in the warming Arctic. .......   “We’re changing the planet in such dramatic and incontrovertible ways,” she said. “The atmosphere is different now. The Earth’s surface is different now. The oceans are different now. So there must be some connections that are yet to be discovered as we do more research on the stratospheric polar vortex.” ...............  precisely where the snow will fall, and how deep, is difficult to predict ahead of time.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

In The News (11)

Fauci, unchained The government’s leading infectious-disease expert exults in being able to speak frankly ........... Over the months that followed, Fauci was a regular frustration to Trump, given that same prioritization of accuracy and research over gut feelings and platitudes. Eventually, Trump elevated Scott Atlas from doing Fox News interviews to serving on his coronavirus team, on which Atlas advocated a “do-little” approach more in line with Trump’s preferences. Fauci spoke to the media regularly but was clearly sidelined within the White House. ............. “One of the things that we’re going to do is to be completely transparent, open and honest,” he said of the government’s approach to the pandemic. “If things go wrong, not point fingers but to correct them and to make everything we do be based on science and evidence. I mean, that was literally a conversation I had 15 minutes ago with the president, and he has said that multiple times.” ............  The doctor’s repeated references to there being a new sheriff in town did not go unnoticed.  

The pandemic is showing us which friendships are worth keeping and overall her quieter life has felt restorative. “I detoxed from all the social connecting I was doing,” Carlton said recently. “I’ve gotten to crave that time to myself, and I’m so much more aware of when I need it.” .............   once her family is vaccinated and life begins to speed up again, she wants to continue focusing mostly on her besties rather than stretching to see everyone in her circle. Her pod just might outlive the pandemic. .............. Just as working from home has revealed that commuting to an office five days a week isn’t necessary for every worker, some who once tried to maintain dozens of friendships are realizing they’re more fulfilled while keeping up with just their nearest and dearest.............. We don’t have to catch up with everyone. Some friendships won’t survive this time, and that’s okay. .............. people who are prioritizing fewer pals, and are going deeper with them, are feeling more connected. “The pandemic gave us this collective permission to talk about the hard things going on in our lives without shame” ...............   those with friendships that didn’t make the transition to phone calls, texting or Zoom “are the people who are super-lonely right now.” .......... she doesn’t have room for “inauthentic interactions anymore,” meaning connections that feel more like networking ....... Gujral plans to be more transparent with invitations she can’t accept, telling friends or acquaintances that an event would intrude on family time. ............. some people will never return to pre-pandemic levels of party-hopping and calendar-packing.  

CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant to become dominant in U.S.  So far, no variant is known to cause more severe illness, although more infections would inevitably mean a higher death toll overall ........... Scientists both in and out of government have stressed the need for the public to stick to proven methods of limiting viral spread, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and having good hand hygiene. ...............   the level of pain and suffering in late March, when the new variant is forecast to be dominant, depends on actions taken today to try to drive down infection rates. ............ Scientists say B.1.1.7 has mutations in the “receptor binding domain” of the virus, and this may be enhancing the ability of the virus to bind with cells in the human body. There is evidence it leads to higher viral loads, which in turn could boost the amount of virus that a person is shedding, or prolong the period in which someone can transmit the virus. ........ vaccination, performed rapidly, is critical to crushing the curve of viral infections. Without vaccines, under one CDC scenario, the country could be dealing with even greater levels of infections in May than in January.   

Boris Johnson says British coronavirus variant may be more deadly  among 1,000 men in England age 60 or older who get infected, the original virus would kill 10. The new variant, he said, would kill 13 or 14.  

FEMA would operate up to 100 federally run mass vaccination sites under Biden plan A draft document envisions different models for sites, with the largest capable of handling 6,000 doses a day  ........... The document envisions FEMA, which previously had more of a piecemeal role in pandemic response, fully unleashed. Its mission will be to “provide federal support to existing or new community vaccination centers and mobile clinics across the country.” .............  Biden intends to involve the federal government more directly in the administration of vaccines, instead of leaving the final step of the massive effort to state and local authorities. ............. “FEMA … will mobilize thousands of clinical and nonclinical staff and contractors who will work hand-in-glove with the National Guard and state and local teams to assist, augment, and expedite the distribution and administration of coronavirus vaccines,” the FEMA document states. If requested by states and other jurisdictions, the draft notes, “the U.S. Government would develop, equip, provide information management, and staff and operate the site.” ............. A lack of abundant vaccine supply will remain the most pressing problem, probably through March. .................  The largest, called the “Mega Model,” would be able to administer 6,000 doses a day but require a space at least as large as 15,000 square feet. The smallest would extend across just 2,500 square feet and be able to handle 250 doses a day.  

‘Pixie dust’: Why some vaccine sits on shelves while shortages intensify nationwide Confusion over set-asides for nursing homes and reluctance to order vaccine that might go unused mean some doses remain in warehouses. .......... The bottleneck isn’t just in administering the vaccines; some states are not ordering everything they’ve been allotted. ........... The president’s advisers have said they were left no plan by the Trump administration. But what they inherited this week was more like a black box than a bare cupboard — the result of fractured communication among federal, state and local officials and a juggling act between manufacturers making a new product and thousands of providers, from big hospital systems to tiny clinics, struggling to plan around an unknown amount of vaccine. ...............  comes in a minimum order of 975 doses. Once vials are opened, doses must be used within six hours. ............  there is reluctance to set up vaccination sites and mobilize beleaguered medical workers only to perform a meager number of inoculations. 

People without symptoms spread virus in more than half of cases, CDC model finds The finding underscores the importance of following guidelines to wear masks and maintain social distancing ........... Regardless of whether you feel ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, stay socially distant and get a coronavirus test. ............ The clinical trials for the mRNA vaccines, authorized in December, concluded the vaccinations are highly capable of preventing symptomatic illness. But those trials did not determine whether vaccinated people are able to spread the pathogen. “If they were asymptomatic but equally contagious, then that’s going to have quite an impact on the epidemic,” Menzies warned. That is why it is so important to keep testing people, he said, especially those who were vaccinated and then exposed to the virus.

Yes, people with coronavirus vaccinations should still distance from each other. Here’s why.  experts have repeatedly emphasized that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean an immediate return to pre-pandemic life. ............ “There are many people that think it’s kind of an antidote to it all and that once you’re vaccinated, you won’t have to mask or distance or any of those things,” said Namandje Bumpus, director of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, who has participated in community calls about the vaccines. “Certainly, all of us getting vaccinated moves us toward that more quickly, but it’s not something that we’re going to be able to do as soon as we get vaccinated. We’re going to have to continue to be diligent the way that we have been.” .................  So far, more than 2.2 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated ....... But public health officials say at least 70 percent of the population needs to be inoculated for the country to achieve herd immunity and stop the virus’s spread.............   And with the virus continuing to spread rapidly across much of the country, many forms of in-person socializing carry some level of risk, including gatherings among people who are fully vaccinated...............  It is possible that people who are vaccinated can be exposed to the coronavirus and become unknowing carriers .......... The virus can also sometimes just hang around in a person’s nostrils after they are exposed, Barocas said. Then, all it takes is an ill-timed sneeze to potentially transmit it. ............ “The problem with this virus is that it’s incredibly contagious and it’s very easily transmissible,” Shah said. “We’ve seen cases of very minimal exposures and then people getting infected from there.” ..............  “In the short term, life is going to look much the same until much more of society has had a chance to be vaccinated”