U.S. Support for Ukraine War Falling - The Friday AM Quickie 3/3/23

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Ukraine War Update: Militia Breaches Russian Border

The details remain "extremely sketchy," as the Washington Post puts it, and it doesn't help that the relationships between everyone involved here would be confusing even without the fog of war, but here goes: A far-right Russian nationalist group opposed to Aspiring Tsar Vladimir Putin, and with ties to the Ukrainian military, claims to have briefly taken control of a Russian village near the border with Ukraine. Putin called the incident in the Bryansk region a "terrorist attack" and said the group "opened fire on civilians." The group, the Russian Volunteer Corps, posted a video of its "liberation" operation and claimed "unlike Putin's army, butchers and rapists, we do not fight civilians."

Again, it's unclear exactly what happened -- and lest you feel compelled to cheer on these paramilitaries, do know that the RVC's founder, Denis "WhiteRex" Nikitin, is called a neo-Nazi by the Anti-Defamation League. Ukraine said its forces do not carry out operations inside Russia and called Nikitin's group "independent." For what it's worth, the cross-border assault comes two days after drone strikes that came within 62 miles of Moscow, which Russia also blamed on Ukraine, and which Ukraine also denied.

In related news:

  • Top U.S., Russian Diplomats Meet for the First Time Since the Invasion Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke briefly with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the G20 summit in India yesterday. via the Washington Post.
  • Viktor Orban Holds Up Sweden, Finland NATO Applications "It's not right for them to ask us to take them on board while they're spreading blatant lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about our democracy and about life here," the Putin-sympathizing right-wing authoritarian prime minister said. via the Associated Press.
  • Polls Show American Support for Ukraine Faltering "Overall, public support for Ukraine aid has fallen from 60 percent last May to 48 percent now." via the New York Times.
  • Up to Half of Multinational Companies in Russia Plan to Carry On Business "For many companies, extraction from Russia has been trickier than expected." via the Times.

Nazis Busted for Threats, Bombings in Michigan and California

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said yesterday that she was among the Jewish politicians targeted by a "heavily armed" antisemitic QAnon nut, identified in court documents as Jack Eugene Carpenter III of Tipton. "It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my Hate Crimes & Domestic Terrorism Unit takes plots to murder elected officials," Nessel wrote on Twitter. Meanwhile in California, police arrested a 44-year-old neo-Nazi in connection with a pipe bombing spree in Fresno. Scott Anderson stands accused of placing seven pipe bombs since December, six under vehicles and one in a mailbox. Luckily no one was injured. According to Vice News, Anderson's home was full of Nazi flags and knick-knacks, in addition to a large stockpile of illegal guns, ammunition, and methamphetamine -- the classic neo-Nazi thug trifecta.

Netanyahu Condemns 'Anarchy' as Police Attack Protesters

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price this week used the words "irresponsible," "repugnant," and "disgusting" to describe comments by the far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich calling for the extermination of Palestinians in the village of Huwara, days after it was attacked by Israeli settlers. ("I think the village of Huwara needs to be wiped out. I think the state of Israel should do it," Smotrich said.) In Tel Aviv, police attacked protesters opposed to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to neuter the judiciary. The protesters blocked a highway and descended on a "swanky salon" where Netanyahu's wife Sara was getting her hair done, chanting "shame." The government sent "police forces, secret service and helicopters" to extract her, and she thanked security forces later on Instagram, adding that the "incident could have ended with murder." Just so we're clear who the real victim is in this whole situation: Sara.


  • Storms Still a-Comin': Now With More Tornadoes "California continues to be hammered by severe weather, with parts of the state blanketed in snow [yesterday] as the southern Plains and other areas faced the threat of 'long-lived, intense' tornadoes." via NBC News.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein Is Out Sick Indefinitely The 89-year-old Democratic Sen.'s staff say she "hopes to return to Washington soon" from California, where she is "dealing with a health matter." via the Washington Post.
  • FDA Rejected Elon Musk's Bid to Test Brain Implants on Humans The Food and Drug Administration's "major safety concerns involved the [Neuralink] device's lithium battery; the potential for the implant's tiny wires to migrate to other areas of the brain; and questions over whether and how the device can be removed without damaging brain tissue." via Reuters.
  • Texas GOP Seeks Censure of Rep. Who Voted for Gun Control After Massacre State party officials vote tomorrow to Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde, over his support for a bipartisan gun control bill and same-sex marriage protections. via the Washington Post.
  • Greek Rail Workers Strike After Deadly Crash Union members are "protesting working conditions and what they described as a dangerous failure to modernize the rail system due to a lack of public investment"; a Tuesday night crash killed at least 57 people. via the Associated Press.


36.8 gigatons

That's how much carbon dioxide pollution -- equivalent to 368,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers -- human industry pumped into the atmosphere last year, an increase of nearly 1 percent over the preceding year and a new record high. A new International Energy Agency report announcing the increase "was described as disconcerting by climate scientists," NBC News reports.


3/3: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host David Dayen, executive editor at The American Prospect to round up the week in news.


Trump's War on 'Meatball' Ron DeSantis Is Freakin Hilarious

I think Sam makes a good point when he says DeSantis may calculate that he's in a better position for 2028 if he doesn't end up running for president in 2024.

Fox News Desperate for Conflict With China

Why is Chris Wray even doing Fox News interviews?


"The western Arctic is one of the world's last truly intact landscapes with tens of millions of acres that are completely undeveloped and that have only known subsistence use. I would urge President Biden to ask himself what he thinks America will value more a century from now, a few barrels of oil that are already long gone, or the protection of one of the world's truly great wildlife spectacles."

-- New Mexico Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich, in a statement to the Washington Post urging Biden to reject a big ConocoPhillips oil drilling project off the coast of Alaska known as Willow. The White House has said the final decision, which could come as soon as Monday, will rest with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.

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