Poland Calls NATO Meeting After Deadly Explosion - The Wednesday AM Quickie 11/16/22
I'm not sure what happens next, but the election results gave me hope. – Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
Murky Details Behind Explosion That Killed Polish Civilians
Russia fired approximately 100 missiles at Ukraine yesterday in what the New York Times called "one of the broadest aerial attacks since the invasion began" in February. The attacks knocked out power in the capital, Kyiv, and across the country, killing at least one person. As scary as that is, this story gets worse, and more scary for everyone: two people were killed in a Polish village near the Ukraine border, Przewodow, following one or more explosions at a granary, reportedly caused by one or more projectiles. Early reports in the Polish press were vague, but a U.S. intelligence official told reporters that the explosion was caused by Russian rockets that may have gone astray. As Poland's top leaders convened a "crisis" meeting with the country's National Security Council, Russia's Defense Ministry denied striking targets near the Ukrainian-Polish border, saying any blame cast its way was a "deliberate provocation."
Then, late last night, multiple anonymous U.S. officials told the Associated Press that the deadly incident may have been a Ukrainian mishap:
Three U.S. officials said preliminary assessments suggested the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian one amid the crushing salvo against Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure Tuesday. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Whether or not that proves true, this could turn out to be a very big deal. Unlike Ukraine, Poland is a member of the NATO military alliance. Member states, including the U.S., are obliged to defend one another in the event that any one is attacked. Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, told Politico that he hoped Russia would apologize quickly for the inadvertent loss of life. He noted that the incident "brings into question Article 5" of the NATO charter, which holds that "an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all." As of last night, the Polish government was ready to invoke NATO Article 4, which calls for consultation among members whenever "the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened."
President Joe Biden spoke directly to Polish President Andrzej Duda yesterday to discuss the situation. Then he called an emergency meeting of G7 leaders at the ongoing G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Then he told reporters it was "unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it [any missile] was fired from Russia."
Even if it turns out Russian missiles landed in Poland and killed Polish citizens, that doesn't mean World War III kicks off without a vote. Per Politico,
the exact details and motivations of a strike would affect the possibility or scale of any NATO response. In other words, if the incident was determined to be unintentional, the military alliance may choose to avoid a response that would risk escalating the conflict.
An intentional Russian strike on Poland wouldn't make a lot of sense, given that Russia's military has proven unable to hold on to the Ukrainian territory it captured. However, the invasion itself didn't make a lot of sense, either – and yesterday's salvos on Ukraine also knocked out power in Moldova. The world will be watching closely in the coming days what facts are established about what exactly happened in Przewodow, and how each countries that's involved responds.
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
Post-Midterms Miscellany: Slim House GOP Majority Likely
- House GOP Renominates Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Leader The California Republican kept his power position by a vote of 188-31, though a final vote for House Speaker won't come until the new Congress convenes in January. via the Associated Press.
- Control of House Comes Down to California Races Of the 14 uncalled House races, 10 as of yesterday were in California. via Politico.
- Democrat Katie Hobbs Defeats MAGA Loon Kari Lake for Arizona Governor Lake, who has cast doubt on the results, relied on Trump advisers including former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell. via the New York Times and the Washington Post.
- Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar Confirms GOP Tried to Recruit Him The conservative Democrat says a GOP lawmaker and "a couple folks on K Street" (consultants or lobbyists) tried to persuade him to beef up the likely GOP majority next year. via the Post.
With a Whimper, Unindicted Criminal Launches 2024 Campaign
Donald Trump announced his third campaign for the presidency last night in a "rambling hourlong address" from Mar-a-Lago, a little over a week after voters rejected the far-right election deniers he backed in the midterms, and one day after the New York Times reported he had struck a deal with one of the largest real estate companies in Saudi Arabia to build a golf resort in Oman in a callous demonstration of his corruption. More than two dozen Republican officials and operatives told NBC News that Trump "doomed" their chances in swing states this year, while a News Corp executive told a British newspaper that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch would not back Trump's new bid for the White House, with his eldest son and heir apparent favoring Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis as "a sanitised version of Donald." Finally, the Washington Post reports that Trump's announcement "could complicate the decision-making" around criminal investigations into his conduct, such as the stolen documents case and his Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt, and lead to the appointment of a special counsel.
- Largest Strike of the Year Kicks of at University of California Some 48,000 unionized academic workers statewide walked off the job on Monday, demanding "pay increases, child-care subsidies, enhanced healthcare for dependents, longer family leave, public transit passes and lower tuition costs for international scholars." via the Los Angeles Times.
- Judge Overturns Georgia Abortion Ban Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney called the state's six-week abortion ban, in effect since July, "plainly unconstitutional" and unenforceable. via the Washington Post.
- Mormon Church Backs Federal Gay Marriage Bill One Utah newspaper calls it "an unexpected move." via the Salt Lake Tribune.
- White House Might Extend Pause on Student Loan Repayments A decision hasn't been made, but a federal appeals court's block on partial debt cancellation has Biden's staff planning to extend the existing moratorium past Jan. 1. via the Post.
- Germany Will Offer $200 'Birthday Present' to 18-Year-Olds The goals of the Kulturpass, modeled on programs in France, Spain, and Italy, are to boost the arts scene and encourage young people to "drop stay-at-home pandemic habits." via the Guardian.
That's the human population of the planet Earth, according to the latest estimates from the United Nations.
ON THE SHOW TODAY
11/16: Sam hosts Ari Berman, author at Mother Jones, to discuss his the midterm elections and his recent piece "How Wisconsin Became the GOP's Laboratory for Dismantling Democracy". Then, Sam is joined by Aaron Kleinman, director of research for the States Project at Future Now, to discuss how Democrats did in the midterms at the state level across the country.
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
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The Republican Party: NOT a Cult Just Anti-Woke
My "definitely not a cult member" T-shirt has a lot of people asking questions already answered by the T-shirt.
"If you tell people that voting is hard, or voter fraud is rampant, or elections are rigged, it doesn't make people more likely to participate. Why would you want to play a game you thought was rigged?"
-- David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, explaining to the New York Times how Trumpist election denial propaganda seems to have hurt Republican turnout in the midterms.
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Control of House Comes Down to California Races Of the 14 uncalled House races, 10 as of yesterday were in California. via Politico.
Democrat Katie Hobbs Defeats MAGA Loon Kari Lake for Arizona Governor Lake, who has cast doubt on the results, relied on Trump advisers including former Director of National Intelligence Ric Grenell. via the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar Confirms GOP Tried to Recruit Him The conservative Democrat says a GOP lawmaker and "a couple folks on K Street" (consultants or lobbyists) tried to persuade him to beef up the likely GOP majority next year. via the Post.