Does Russia Have a Dirty Bomb? - The Wednesday AM Quickie 10/26/22
The short answer is, I mean, probably, if they want to have one? But the chances of them using it are pretty slim, so don't panic yet. – Jack
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THE BIG NEWS
Dirty Bomb Fears Rise Again in Ukraine War
You're hearing it more and more these days: and by "it" I mean the phrase "dirty bomb." The latest occurrence: the growing worry that Russia will use such a device, blame it on the Ukrainians, and use that itself as pretext to launching a tactical nuclear weapon.
Both Russia and Ukraine have accused the other of planning to use a dirty bomb to spread radioactive material. Like most of Russia's claims, the idea that the Ukrainians would use one is pretty ludicrous – they'd be using it on their own territory, and they're winning the war conventionally anyway, so what incentive is there? The more likely scenario is Russia orchestrating some thinly-veiled false flag and then using it as a pretext to escalate the conflict.
But is that nightmare scenario likely to come to pass? God I hope not. Fortunately, probably not. Still, it's a big enough of a concern that it's drawing Presidential attention. Here's the relevant graf from the Times coverage:
Mr. Biden said on Tuesday that he was still uncertain if Russia was trying to put together a “false flag operation” in which it would detonate a dirty bomb and blame the Ukrainians. A dirty bomb is not a nuclear weapon, but a conventional explosive wrapped in radioactive waste.
But it was clear from Mr. Biden’s comments that he is far less concerned about a dirty bomb than about the possibility that a set of incidents could result in Russia detonating a battlefield nuclear weapon, the first to be used in a conflict since the United States dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Biden followed that with all of the requisite grave but vague warnings about what would happen if Russia were to use a nuclear weapon.
“Let me just say: Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it to use a tactical nuclear weapon,” Mr. Biden said in response to a reporter’s question about whether Russia was preparing a dirty bomb. “I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false flag operation yet, don’t know, but it would be a serious, serious mistake.”
For now, it doesn't appear as if there's an imminent risk of nuclear war. But bear in mind that U.S. intelligence estimates in Ukraine have sounded like fearmongering before, and borne true in the end. Not to end this block on a dark note but, anything's possible.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
The CPC's Ukraine Letter Woes Go On
Truly sorry to bring this up again, but the hullabaloo about the Congressional Progressive Caucus's ill-timed but mildly-worded letter to Joe Biden about Ukraine will not stop. The CPC formally retracted the letter today amid a firestorm of criticism, which makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills because the letter itself was... extremely inoffensive to basically every party involved? All it said was that they urge Biden to keep diplomatic options on the table and keep channels of communication open. But that was taken as some apologia for Russia's invasion by some on the right and center and further support for the military industrial complex/ caving to craven party politics by some on the left and everyone basically lost their minds. The whole thing was drafted back in July or something anyway. Sheesh.
Oz Deploys Gross Attacks on Stroke Victim Fetterman During Debate
We knew this was coming, but it still wasn't fun to watch. During the debate between Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz, Oz didn't hesitate to strike right at his most effective, and most amoral, line of attack. Since suffering a stroke, Fetterman has had problems with auditory processing – meaning he has difficulty understanding things he hears. He comprehends things fine when they're written out – the debate stage had subtitles displayed on teleprompters for him – but sometimes struggles with speech. Of course, here's Oz:
Pretty disgusting stuff. Would have expected no better from the quack doctor.
- Surprise! The Saudis Screwed Biden Over On an Oil Deal This was supposed to be the big accomplishment of Biden's controversial visit to the Kingdom. Look how that turned out. via NYT.
- Early Voting Numbers in Georgia Are Huge More than 1 million people have cast a vote, a number that's close to the 2020 presidential election numbers and way past the 2018 midterms number. via WaPo.
- Ukrainian Fighters Pushing Across Front Line They're reportedly making gains in both Bakhmut in the East and Kherson in the South. via WaPo.
- Airstrike Kills 80 At Outdoor Concert in Brutal Myanmar Civil War A government plane bombed an outdoor concert of Burmese musician Aurali Lahpai. via NYT.
- Alaska GOP Censures McConnell For Supporting Murkowski Murkowski, if you remember, said she'd rank Democrat Mary Peltola first in the Congressional race. via WaPo.
- Florida Judge Orders DeSantis to Cough Up Migrant Flight Records Ronny's little stunt may cost him. via Politico.
Number of rounds of ammunition that the 19-year-old school shooter who killed a teacher and a student at a St. Louis high school on Monday was armed with, in addition to his AR-15 pattern rifle.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
10/26: Sam and Emma host writer Jacob Silverman to discuss his recent piece in the New Republic "The Quiet Political Rise of David Sacks, Silicon Valley’s Prophet of Urban Doom". Then they are joined by Lauren Ornelas, founder and president of the Food Empowerment Project, to discuss the recent union busting tactics and worker mistreatment that's been occurring at Amy's Kitchen.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Bernie Sanders Finds The American Dream Alive And Well In Finland
Well lets all just move there then! Sanna Marin's certainly having a good time.
Republican BUSTED Avoiding Taxes
Seems like voting for tax break after tax break isn't enough for some of these guys.
“There’s now a level of embarrassment as the Saudis merrily go on their way.”
– Representative Gerald E. Connolly, Democrat of Virginia and a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on the bait and switch oil deal, but could also refer to uh... every other terrible thing the Saudis have done.
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