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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,728

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

A son explains why he turned his father in over the Jan. 6 attack

A soft-spoken 19-year-old told jurors he felt uncomfortable after he decided to alert the FBI about "surreal and scary" text messages from his father in the weeks before the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Testifying in the first trial related to the insurrection, Jackson Reffitt said his father, Guy Reffitt, warned that he and others were about to "rise up," in a family text chain on Christmas Eve 2020.

"What's about to happen will shock the world," Guy Reffitt typed to his family, only a couple of weeks before a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election's electoral votes.

As the heated texts piled up, Jackson Reffitt performed an internet search from his bedroom in a Dallas suburb. Jackson said he felt "paranoid" — but the Justice Department said his suspicions proved correct.

"Googling that to report my father, saying it out loud is pretty weird," said Jackson, who wore a dark suit and white shirt with no tie, his brown hair spilling loose several inches past his shoulders.

Kid did what he had to, but his family was broken long before that.

A diverse resistance is taking shape in Lviv as residents get trained in warfare

The city of Lviv in western Ukraine has been spared the worst of Russia’s war so far, but Lviv's residents are preparing for the assault to come to them. Meanwhile, they’re sending supplies and volunteers ready to fight to the frontlines. Residents are attending free firearms training, building DIY firebombs and readying to join the fight.

Here, a diverse resistance is taking shape.

In the week since Russia invaded Ukraine, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have enlisted to fight and Ukraine’s defense ministry expects roughly 16,000 foreign volunteers to join soon.

At a military enlistment center, 19-year-old interior design student Zhora Malconyan stands in line waiting to sign up.

A bulging blue duffle bag is slung around his body. Inside is his uniform, a tin cup, packs of cigarettes, important documents, and individually wrapped candies.


Third Hit on Zelensky Fails as Putin Sparks 'Nuclear Terror'

Comic-turned-hero Volodymyr Zelensky has survived at least three precision assassination attempts by elite hit squads since Russia’s week old war began, according to Ukrainian officials who say his survival was all thanks to tip-offs from Russian spies.

Both the the Kremlin-funded Wagner group mercenaries and Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Akhmadovich Kadyrov’s kill teams have allegedly tried to kill the Ukrainian president, who is hiding out in various bunkers deep below the capital Kyiv, according to the Washington Post. The Wagner mercenaries—run by Yevgeny Prigozhin A.K.A. “Putin’s chef” —reportedly have a kill list of 24 names, including Zelensky, but were waylaid by the stalled military convoy outside of Kyiv that made it difficult for Russian special forces to secure an escape route, according to the Times of London.

Ukrainian national security chief Oleksiy Danilov told a Ukrainian television network that double agents from Russia’s Federal Security Service or FSB warned them of the attempts. “I can say that we have received information from the FSB, who do not want to take part in this bloody war,” Danilov said. “And thanks to this, the Kadyrov elite group was destroyed, which came here to eliminate our president.”

Still, as President Putin’s brutal battle rages on, Zelensky’s stoic resistance has lofted him to cult status, undoubtedly angering Putin whose inferiority complex seems to be tipping towards psychosis. Zelensky is now even pleading to Putin to meet face-to-face— which may seem like a death wish—but which is unlikely to happen. “I don’t bite,” Zelensky said in a statement to Putin. “What are you afraid of?”

Early Friday morning, as Europe’s largest nuclear power plant smoldered under a Russian attack that turned into occupation, Zelensky made an emotional plea in a video statement accusing Russia of edging ever closer to nuclear war. “If there is an explosion, that’s the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe,” he said as world leaders reacted with shock and dismay. “Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops. Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”

Zelensky added, “No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units. This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror,” he said. “The Russian tanks knew that they were firing with a direct fire at the station.” The Russian military instead claimed that it was Ukrainian forces guarding the plant who fired first, provoking return fire.


Putin Isn't Just Insane. It's Far Worse Than That.

The subject is Putin’s brain.

Is President Putin clinically insane? Is he choreographing madness and threats of a nuclear holocaust to frighten the West? Or does Putin know precisely what he’s doing? The questions are reasonable, but ultimately unanswerable. There is a data point, however: Russian and German scientists at Moscow’s aptly named Research Institute of the Brain in 1925 sliced and diced 30,953 sections of Vladimir Lenin’s cytoarchitecture for indications of genius.

The results of that research remain a mystery, as does a solution to the enigma of whether the heir to Lenin’s throne—one Vladimir Putin—believes his own hype or is experiencing buyer’s remorse over an invasion that caught the rest of the Kremlin unawares.

Sadly, work has not yet begun dissecting Putin’s cerebrum for clues.

Short of delving inside his mind, Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Europe and Russia on the U.S. National Security Council during the Trump administration, did a splendid job of purifying Putin’s sense and sensibility in a recent interview. “Putin is increasingly operating emotionally,” she told Politico. “It’s reestablishing dominance over what Russia sees as the Russian Imperium. We’re treading back through old historical patterns that we said that we would never permit to happen again.”

Rewind about 150 years and you will hear a familiar refrain from Russia’s imperial Romanov family, who spent 300 years brutally persuading their subjects to back endless wars. “If the West is cursing Russia, Russia is doing something right,” blustered the multi-titled Emperor of Russia, King of Congress Poland, and Grand Duke of Finland.


Why has Russia's 64km convoy near Kyiv stopped moving?

Russia's huge military convoy, said to be 40 miles (64km) long, near Ukraine's capital Kyiv has hardly moved in three days, the UK defence ministry says.

But US defence officials say Russia still intends to surround and seize the city where some three million people live - by siege tactics if necessary.

Recent satellite images showing the size of the convoy sparked fears that an attack would be imminent.

But UK and US officials say logistical problems could be slowing the advance.

In an intelligence update on Thursday morning, the UK Ministry of Defence said the column had made "little discernible progress in over three days" and remains more than 30km from Kyiv.

Several reasons could explain why the huge column, which includes armoured vehicles, tanks, and towed artillery, has stopped its advance on the capital. They include logistical problems, unexpected Ukrainian resistance, and low morale among Russian troops.

Mechanical breakdown and congestion are causing problems, according to the UK government. Food and fuel are said to be in short supply, and there are reports that poor quality and badly maintained tyres may also be an issue.

Sitting ducks?

Who's in Putin's inner circle and running the war?

Vladimir Putin cuts a solitary figure, leading Russia's military into a high-risk war that threatens to tear apart his country's economy.

He has rarely looked more isolated than in two recent, choreographed appearances with his inner circle, where he sits at a resolute distance from his closest advisers.

As commander in chief, ultimate responsibility for the invasion rests with him, but he has always relied on a deeply loyal entourage, many of whom also began their careers in Russia's security services. The question is who has his ear, during this most fateful moment in his presidency?

If anyone does, it is long-time confidant Sergei Shoigu, who has parroted the Putin line of demilitarising Ukraine and protecting Russia from the West's so-called military threat.

This is a man who goes on hunting and fishing trips with the president to Siberia, and he has in the past been viewed as a potential successor.

But take a look at this extraordinary photo of him at the end of this table, sitting awkwardly beside the head of the armed forces, and you wonder how much of President Putin's ear he is able to reach.


It's not the best time to be a Russian oligarch

If Russia's oligarchs weren't already shaking in their custom Italian-leather boots, they probably are now.

In his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin's cronies directly, telling them that the United States and its allies are coming to "seize your yachts, your luxury apartments, your private jets."
The message underscored how much the ground is shifting beneath the well-heeled feet of Russia's oligarchs, a class of businessmen who amassed their billions in personal wealth by leveraging their connections to the Kremlin in the 1990s carve-up of the former Soviet Union's assets.
Since Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Western governments have sought to freeze the oligarchs' overseas assets along with Putin's, as well as prevent them from traveling. The goal is two-pronged: Sanctions act as both a punishment for Russia's ruling class and a cudgel to try to force Putin to back down.
It's safe to say the sanctions have, at least so far, successfully grabbed the oligarchs' attention.
Roman Abramovich, a 55-year-old worth an estimated $13.5 billion, on Wednesday announced he is selling his beloved Chelsea Football Club, which he acquired in 2003. Even though Abramovich has not yet been named on sanctions lists, UK lawmakers are pressuring leaders to do so. The tycoon is reportedly offloading some of his London properties in anticipation of sanctions.
"He's terrified of being sanctioned, which is why he's already going to sell his home tomorrow and sell another flat as well," British lawmaker Chris Bryant said, according to Bloomberg.


Media coverage of Ukraine shows it's time to rethink what we know about Africa

Opinion by Moky Makura

"It's very emotional for me because I see European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed." These were the words of Ukraine's Deputy Chief Prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze, during a recent BBC interview about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It wasn't so much what he said, it was more what was implied; that not all lives have equal value. And that idea -- the belief that some races are superior to others -- is a fundamental principle of racism. It's alarming to me that Sakvarelidze was left unchallenged during his interview.
As a Black, African woman without the benefit of blue eyes or blonde hair, it's been equally emotional to see the number of racist and ignorant comments in the coverage on Ukraine that have passed unchallenged by the interviewers and media platforms that have aired them. CBS, Aljazeera, France's BFM TV and ITV have all reported the invasion in ways that illustrate deep bias, informed by a belief system that screams of an old-world, White-led, order.
ITV News correspondent Lucy Watson on ITV reporting back to the studio summed up the collective hypocrisy and underlying narrative that the Ukrainian war has exposed when she said: "The unthinkable has happened...this is not a developing, third-world nation; this is Europe!"

According to the narrative she believes, "unthinkable things" happen only in "third world nations" (now an outdated and derogatory term, someone should tell her), and that narrative is perpetuated by the type of stories she and many like her, have heard about the continent.
In Africa, it's the stories of conflict in Ethiopia, insurgency in Mozambique, election violence in Uganda, and the recent coups in Mali, Chad, Guinea, Sudan, Burkina Faso and Guinea Bissau. But it's clear that far too many are not paying attention to them because the people in these stories are not rich or from the Global North.


Virginia substitute teacher suspended over Russia comments

A Virginia substitute teacher has been suspended after expressing approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine and urging students to read Russian propaganda outlets.

Arlington Public Schools suspended John Stanton, 65, who made the comments during a middle school Spanish class Friday, The Washington Post reported.

Stanton said he offered an opposing viewpoint and told students to read as many news sources as possible, including Sputnik News, which the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency have declared a “state-run propaganda machine.”

“The statement I think that got me was I said, ‘I personally support the logic of Putin,’ and what I meant by that is, he made a rational decision from his perception,” Stanton said.

A schools spokesperson declined to discuss Stanton’s comments or employment status.


House to vote on bill to help veterans exposed to burn pits

The House is poised to pass legislation that would dramatically boost health care services and disability benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bill set for a vote on Thursday has the backing of the nation's major veterans groups and underscores the continued cost of war years after the fighting has stopped. If passed into law, it would increase spending by more than $300 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

"If we're not willing to pay the price of war, we shouldn't go," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The bill would open up Department of Veterans Affairs health care to millions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service even if they don't have a service-connected disability.

Watch all the RepubliQans vote NO.
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