Cup of Joe – 3/21/22

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said the Jan. 6 committee is considering recommending enhanced criminal penalties for the “kind of supreme dereliction of duty that you saw with President Trump,” Axios reports.

Said Cheney: “I can tell you I have not learned a single thing since I have been on this committee that has made me less concerned or less worried about the gravity of the situation and the actions that President Trump took and also refused to take while the attack was underway.”

New York Times: “Kyiv remains the biggest prize of all for the Russian military; it is the seat of government and ingrained in both Russian and Ukrainian identity. But capturing it, military analysts say, would require a furious and bloody conflict that could be the world’s biggest urban battle in 80 years.”

“For comparison, one of the largest urban battles this century was the nine-month siege of Mosul, Iraq, in 2016 and 2017 to oust its Islamic State occupiers. Mosul covers 70 square miles and had a wartime population of about 750,000 people — a fraction of the numbers for Kyiv, where the metropolitan area’s prewar population was 3.6 million.”

Washington Post: “The next two weeks could be critical in determining the outcome of the entire war, they say. Unless Russia can swiftly improve its supply lines, bring reinforcements and bolster the flagging morale of the troops now on the ground, its goals may become impossible to achieve.”

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky equated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to the Nazi campaign to subjugate Europe in an address Sunday to Israel’s Knesset, urging leaders to do more to prevent the carnage in his country,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Zelensky: “We know that you know how to protect your interests, to protect Ukrainians, and the Jews of Ukraine. But we ask why we’re not receiving weapons from you, why you haven’t applied sanctions on Russia and on Russian businesses. You will need to give answers, and to be able live with those answers.”

Ihor Zhovka, President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief diplomatic adviser, has invited President Joe Biden to visit Kyiv next week amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country, saying “one should not be afraid to – if you are brave,” the Daily Mail reports.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that President Joe Biden would not be visiting the war-torn Ukrainian capital of Kyiv during his European trip this week.

Said Thomas-Greenfield: “The president is going to Europe, and he will be meeting with all of our partners and allies there. I have not seen any discussions of the president going into Ukraine. But you have to remember, we have discouraged Americans from going into Ukraine. This is a country at war. I can’t imagine that that would be on the table.” 

“Russia appears to be preparing to reset its forces after more than three brutal weeks of combat and limited ground games in its assault on Ukraine, while it continues to lean on artillery fire and long-range missile strikes in a bid to soften Ukrainian defenses,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Ukraine’s military said early Sunday that Russian forces were largely busy replenishing losses in people and equipment with otherwise little movement by the invading army. Russia also has been mobilizing people in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, occupied by Russia, to reinforce its military.”

“Russian forces are killing civilians and looting stores and homes across occupied parts of southern Ukraine, residents said, as Moscow arrested elected local leaders and sought to replace them with pro-Russian collaborators,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“People arriving here from Russian-held areas over the weekend described hungry and undisciplined Russian troops shooting unarmed villagers, breaking into supermarkets and shops, and raiding homes in search of food and valuables as their own supply lines have failed.”

“The Ukrainian military claimed to have killed yet another Russian general, this time Lieutenant-General Andrei Mordvichev, making him the fifth to die so far in the conflict,” the Daily Beast reports.

New York Times: “For the moment, the protest is perhaps most notable as a window onto the evolution of the American right in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, and one that Republican politicians are watching. Although organizers insist that their demonstration is nonpartisan and narrowly focused on Covid restrictions, in practice, it is animated by a broad, familiar array of conservative and right-wing issues and grievances. Complaints about schools mix with far-right conspiracy theories and refusal to accept the 2020 election results.”

“This worldview is increasingly incorporating ideas from the anti-vaccine movement, some of them preceding the Covid outbreak, even as the virus has receded and Covid restrictions have eased.”

New York Times: “Social media has played a role in political campaigning since at least 2007, when Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, registered his first official Twitter handle. Since then, enormous numbers of political bids have harnessed the power of social platforms, through dramatic announcement videos on YouTube, Twitter debates, Reddit A.M.A.s, fireside chats on Instagram Live and more. TikTok, with its young-skewing active global user base of one billion, would seem a natural next frontier.”

“So far, though, compared with other platforms, it has been embraced by relatively few politicians. Their videos run the gamut of cringey — say, normie dads bopping along to viral audio clips — to genuinely connecting with people.”

Wall Street Journal: “Two years after the Covid-19 pandemic tore into the global economy, business leaders have had to confront another crisis that left them racing to protect staff, untangle supply-chain snarls and revamp operations around the world. It has also required each company to rethink its future in Russia, a country of 150 million people and vast natural resources, whose army is now waging a bloody war.”

“This time, companies were more prepared. The pandemic had given leaders a crisis playbook. Years of corporate activism on issues such as climate change and racial discrimination had trained them to respond to a range of issues. The invasion took many by surprise, but they reacted quickly to what was a potentially fatal threat to their employees and also a reputational threat to their businesses.”

“Scarcely two months after the Omicron variant drove coronavirus case numbers to frightening heights in the United States, scientists and health officials are bracing for another swell in the pandemic and, with it, the first major test of the country’s strategy of living with the virus while limiting its impact,” the New York Times reports.

“At local, state and federal levels, the nation has been relaxing restrictions and trying to restore a semblance of normalcy. Encouraging Americans to return to prepandemic routines, officials are lifting mask and vaccine mandates and showing no inclination of closing down offices, restaurants or theaters.”

“But scientists are warning that the United States isn’t doing enough to prevent a new surge from endangering vulnerable Americans and potentially upending life again.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted an “uptick” in coronavirus infections similar to the current increase in Europe, despite the current decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States, the New York Times reports.

While anticipating a new rise, Fauci said that at this time he does not expect a surge.

Ohio Republicans are discussing whether to impeach Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor after the Ohio Supreme Court rejected a third set of legislative maps, the Columbus Dispatch reports.   “O’Connor, a Republican, is seen as an independent voice on the court and sided with Democrat justices to throw out multiple sets of maps, arguing they did not comply with constitutional rules for redistricting. That’s increasingly made her a target of fellow party members who contend she’s shirking her responsibilities.”

Dan Balz: “The president has gotten no noticeable bump in his approval ratings. That could change, of course. At best, his approval ratings have ticked up a point or two, but some strategists say the reason is that he has brought back to his side some Democrats who were unhappy with him because of what didn’t happen with his domestic agenda last year. He is solidifying his base but apparently not yet moving others.”

New York Times: “Until the invasion began, United States Cyber Command had a unit based in Kyiv that was helping the government fend off attacks. It is now operating from a nearby NATO country. There is fragmentary evidence that the United States and its allies worked to counter some of the attacks and to prevent others from being launched. But action seems to have been limited.”

“Inside the Biden administration, there is a view that Mr. Putin could be choosing his moment to launch a cyberattack against the American financial system in retaliation for the devastating financial sanctions imposed on his country by the United States and its allies. Unless and until that happens, the administration appears resolved not to launch a significant first strike and invite retaliation — especially given the risks to the U.S. economy and financial system if Russia were to target them.”

Bloomberg: NATO wants to avoid getting dragged into a war with Russia by mistake.

New York Times: “This is a different kind of exodus — tens of thousands of young, urban, multilingual professionals who are able to work remotely from almost anywhere, many of them in information technology or freelancers in creative industries.”

“Russia is hemorrhaging outward-looking young professionals who were part of a global economy that has largely cut off their country.”

“This is a gathering of 100 titanic egos sitting in a little boat, and there’s hardly room for us. The person who you’re pushing overboard today may be the person who’s going to save your life tomorrow. So you quickly have to adjust your relationships.”  — Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), quoted by the Wall Street Journal, on working in the U.S. Senate.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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