Tuesday Reads: Just the Latest News

Good Morning!!

There was a mass shooting inside a subway station in New York this morning. Five people were shot and thirteen were injured. There also were IED’s found that didn’t detonate. The suspect was wearing a gas mask and some type of construction worker’s vest.

The New York Times: Live Updates: Several People Are Shot at Brooklyn Subway Station.

Multiple people were shot in the subway system in Brooklyn during the Tuesday morning rush, officials said, a violent episode that came amid fears about public safety as New York City struggles to recover from the pandemic.

Police officers were called to the 36th Street station, where the D, N and Rlines pass through the Sunset Park neighborhood, around 8:30 a.m., the Police Department said. The Fire Department said that 13 people were injured, several by gunfire. Police officials said that preliminary reports suggested that five people were shot.

A senior law enforcement official said that the police were seeking a heavyset man with a gas mask and an orange construction vest who had been wearing a dark blue outfit that appeared to resemble that of a transit worker.

The official said that investigators believed that a smoke bomb went off and that the gunman had shot from inside a subway train. Videos posted on social media showed panicked riders pouring from a train and onto a platform at 36th Street as smoke billowed through the station.

The shooting happened just a short time ago, so there will be updates coming.

Ukraine news

There are reports of possible chemical weapons used in Mariupol. BBC: Ukraine War: US ‘deeply concerned’ at report of Mariupol chemical attack.

The US and Britain say they are looking into reports that chemical weapons have been used by Russian forces attacking the Ukrainian port of Mariupol.

Ukraine’s Azov regiment said three soldiers were injured by “a poisonous substance” in an attack on Monday.

However, no evidence has been presented to confirm the use of chemical weapons.

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said officials were working to “urgently” investigate what she called “a callous escalation” of the war.

The Pentagon called the potential use of the weapons “deeply concerning”.

Western nations have warned that the use of chemical weapons would mark a dangerous escalation of the conflict and have pledged to take firm action if Russia carries out such attacks.

Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said the government was investigating the allegations, adding that early assumptions suggested phosphorous ammunition had been used.

Phosphorus is not classed as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention, but using it as an incendiary weapon near civilians would be illegal.

AP News: Putin vows Russia will press Ukraine invasion till goals met.

President Vladimir Putin vowed Tuesday that Russia’s bloody offensive in Ukraine would continue until its goals are fulfilled, and insisted the campaign was going as planned, despite a major withdrawal in the face of stiff Ukrainian opposition and significant losses.

Russian troops, thwarted in their push toward Ukraine’s capital, are now focusing on the eastern Donbas region, where Ukraine said Tuesday it was investigating a claim that a poisonous substance had been dropped on its troops. It was not clear what the substance might be, but Western officials warned that any use of chemical weapons by Russia would be a serious escalation of the already devastating war.

Russia invaded on Feb. 24, with the goal, according to Western officials, of taking Kyiv, toppling the government and installing a Moscow-friendly one. In the six weeks since, Russia’s ground campaign stalled, its forces suffered losses that may number in the thousands and it stands accused of killing civilians and other atrocities.

Putin insisted Tuesday that his military action aimed to protect people in areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed rebels and to “ensure Russia’s own security.”

He said Russia “had no other choice” but to launch what he calls a “special military operation,” and vowed it would “continue until its full completion and the fulfillment of the tasks that have been set.”

The article says that the Russian forces are hoping he will get popular support from Ukrainians when he attacks the Donbas region.

Video of kids near Kyiv:

The Guardian: Russia ‘using weapons smuggled by Iran from Iraq against Ukraine’

Russia is receiving munitions and military hardware sourced from Iraq for its war effort in Ukraine with the help of Iranian weapons smuggling networks, according to members of Iranian-backed Iraqi militias and regional intelligence services with knowledge of the process.

RPGs and anti-tank missiles, as well as Brazilian-designed rocket launcher systems, have been dispatched to Russia from Iraq as Moscow’s campaign has faltered in the last month, the Guardian has learned.

An Iranian-made Bavar 373 missile system, similar to the Russian S-300, has also been donated to Moscow by the authorities in Tehran, who also returned an S-300, according to a source who helped organise the transport.

Using the weapons-trafficking underworld would signal a dramatic shift in Russian strategy, as Moscow is forced to lean on Iran, its military ally in Syria, following new sanctions triggered by the invasion of Ukraine.

The developments also have huge implications for the direction and volume of trade in the international weapons trafficking business.

Iraq has hosted US and western troops since the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the US has trained and supplied various Iraqi army and special forces units to defend the Baghdad government against insurgencies. After two decades of war, the country is awash with weaponry.

From the WaPo article:

More than six weeks into his war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is feeling the sting of failure.

Thousands of Russian battlefield deaths. Three front-line retreats by the Russian military. Millions of Ukrainians who will never forgive Moscow. More isolation than ever — and perilously few goals achieved.

Putin is now regrouping to focus his military campaign on Ukraine’s east in what is widely seen as “Plan B,” after his forces failed to topple Ukraine’s government or wrest control of its biggest cities. All the while, questions are mounting about how a Russian leader steeped in security policy and known for railing against the folly of regime-change wars could have sleepwalked into a such a strategic morass.

At issue is a broader quandary that will occupy historians for years: How could Russia — a country with such deep familial, cultural and historic ties to its western neighbor — get Ukraine so wrong?

Officials in the United States and Europe are piecing together the answer to that question. What emerges, those officials say, is a picture of a hubristic and isolated leader, beset by biases and skewed information, pressing forward with a calamitous decision without consulting his full cohort of advisers. Putin rushed headlong into Ukraine, confident in his ability to secure a quick victory and weather any blowback within the authoritarian system he erected at home, they said. Underpinning his assumptions: misconceptions about Ukraine fundamentally rooted in Moscow’s colonial past.

“Historically, there just hasn’t been expertise on Ukraine in Russia at all,” said Alina Polyakova, president and CEO of the Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis. “When you don’t believe a country’s a real country and a people’s a real people, why would you invest any expertise in a thing you don’t think exists?”

Read the rest of this interesting piece at the WaPo.

Right wing crazy stories

Grid News: QAnon candidates are on the ballot in 26 states.

Dozens of politicians running for state or federal office are aligning themselves with the right-wing, conspiracy-rich, sometimes-violent movement known as QAnon. They’re drawing tens of millions of dollars in donations as the movement’s popularity stays strong among voters, a Grid investigation has found.

And despite the movement’s penchant for lies and violence, key Republicans — from influential megadonors to prominent elected officials — are welcoming the QAnon movement into the party, Grid found. In sum: QAnon appears to be a growing political movement with increasing clout and significant mainstream appeal.

Grid reviewed public records and reporting, social media posts, and campaign materials and events to identify and confirm at least 78 QAnon-aligned candidates running for office in 26 states in 2022. They’re running for governorships, secretaries of state, seats in the Senate and House, and in state legislatures. They have raised over $20 million this cycle — and over $30 million since 2018.

Image: *** BESTPIX *** President Trump Holds Make America Great Again Rally In Pennsylvania

David Reinert holds up a large “Q” sign while waiting in line to see President Donald J. Trump at his rally on August 2, 2018 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania.

All but six of the QAnon-aligned candidates Grid examined are Republican. Over a dozen are incumbents: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) serve in the House of Representatives, while another 14 serve at the state level, mostly legislatures. Most are running against fellow Republicans in primaries, which will take place throughout the spring and summer.

Arizona has the highest number of QAnon-aligned candidates running in 2022, at 13. Other states with high numbers of QAnon candidates include Florida (12), California (10) and Texas (six)….

While some Republican elites were circumspect about aligning themselves explicitly with the movement, their reluctance has ebbed as the popularity of QAnon’s theories have grown.

QAnon candidates receive support from GOP megadonors like Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus, casino mogul Steve Wynn and San Francisco Giants owner Charles Johnson, as well as from party-affiliated fundraising machines. They have enjoyed exposure on right-wing outlets from Fox News to OANN. The movement’s causes and themes are echoed by prominent elected officials like Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and by former president Donald Trump himself.

Which raises a related riddle: What to call the influx of QAnon messages and candidates into the political mainstream? The movement has no apparent party structure or central organization, yet it appears stronger than any third party. The community doesn’t appear to have a candidate recruitment strategy but fielded dozens of federal and state candidates in over half of U.S. states this cycle.

There’s much more at the link. This is part one of a two-part investigation.

The Daily Beast: Tucker Carlson Brags to Megachurch That He Is Totally Unvaccinated.

For more than a year now, Fox News star Tucker Carlsonhas gone out of his way to avoid confirming whether or not he’s vaccinated. This month, however, he bragged about having not gotten a single jab.

https___cdn.cnn.com_cnnnext_dam_assets_210506095843-tucker-carlson-antivax-remarksWhile speaking at Awaken Church earlier this month, the primetime star heaped praise on the San Diego megachurch for defying COVID-19 restrictions throughout the pandemic before mocking the need for additional booster shots.

“I skipped the first three, I’m not getting that one either,” Carlson said, to rapturous applause from the crowd, Voice of San Diego first reported.

Additional audio provided to Source Material by the nonprofit investigative outfit confirmed Carlson’s remarks, which further included him citing his having grown up “next to the Salk Institute in La Jolla” as evidence that he is “obviously” not opposed to vaccines.

“I’ve had like a million of them,” he said, but regarding the COVID shots, Carlson added of its proponents: “I look at these people, like, this just does not make sense at all. And I have no idea what’s up here, but whatever you’re telling me it’s just not true.”

The loudest anti-vax voice among a plethora of Fox News cranks, Carlson had repeatedly leaned on privacy rights to justify not providing his vax status when asked. “When was the last time you had sex with your wife and in what position? We can trade intimate details,” Carlson texted The New York Times last year when asked.

Supposedly Fox News requires all its employees to be vaccinated. I’m waiting to see what Carlson’s bosses have to say about this.

Gender controversy

This is an interesting story from The Washington Post by a transwoman who now realizes that at 19 when he struggled with gender dysphoria and had surgery, he was actually just a gay man attracted to other men. Corrina Cohn: Opinion: What I wish I’d known when I was 19 and had sex reassignment surgery.

When I was 19, I had surgery for sex reassignment, or what is now called gender affirmation surgery. The callow young man who was obsessed with transitioning to womanhood could not have imagined reaching middle age. But now I’m closer to 50, keeping a watchful eye on my 401(k), and dieting and exercising in the hope that I’ll have a healthy retirement.

In terms of my priorities and interests today, that younger incarnation of myself might as well have been a different person — yet that was the person who committed me to a lifetime set apart from my peers.

There is much debate today about transgender treatment, especially for young people. Others might feel differently about their choices, but I know now that I wasn’t old enough to make that decision. Given the strong cultural forces today casting a benign light on these matters, I thought it might be helpful for young people, and their parents, to hear what I wish I had known.

Anatomy-of-sex-etc-1I once believed that I would be more successful finding love as a woman than as a man, but in truth, few straight men are interested in having a physical relationship with a person who was born the same sex as them. In high school, when I experienced crushes on my male classmates, I believed that the only way those feelings could be requited was if I altered my body.

It turned out that several of those crushes were also gay. If I had confessed my interest, what might have developed? Alas, the rampant homophobia in my school during the AIDS crisis smothered any such notions. Today, I have resigned myself to never finding a partner. That’s tough to admit, but it’s the healthiest thing I can do.

As a teenager, I was repelled by the thought of having biological children, but in my vision of the adult future, I imagined marrying a man and adopting a child. It was easy to sacrifice my ability to reproduce in pursuit of fulfilling my dream. Years later, I was surprised by the pangs I felt as my friends and younger sister started families of their own.

Sadly, because of his early decision, Cohn is sterile and apparently unable to enjoy sex.

Surgery unshackled me from my body’s urges, but the destruction of my gonads introduced a different type of bondage. From the day of my surgery, I became a medical patient and will remain one for the rest of my life. I must choose between the risks of taking exogenous estrogen, which include venous thromboembolism and stroke, or the risks of taking nothing, which includes degeneration of bone health. In either case, my risk of dementia is higher, a side effect of eschewing testosterone.

What was I seeking for my sacrifice? A feeling of wholeness and perfection. I was still a virgin when I went in for surgery. I mistakenly believed that this made my choice more serious and authentic. I chose an irreversible change before I’d even begun to understand my sexuality. The surgeon deemed my operation a good outcome, but intercourse never became pleasurable. When I tell friends, they’re saddened by the loss, but it’s abstract to me — I cannot grieve the absence of a thing I’ve never had.

14 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Just the Latest News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a great Tuesday, everyone!!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    • quixote says:

      “all they do is complain that we’re not cleaning up their mess fast enough”

      The Dems need to repeat that on a loop, everywhere, all the time. *That* is the truth.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    • bostonboomer says:

      The Manhattan District Attorney’s investigation into former President Donald Trump seems doomed, but a little-known New York law is buying time for prosecutors to build a better case against him and convince the hesitant new DA to act—or wait until he’s replaced.

      Law enforcement in New York has five years from the date of an alleged crime to officially file charges for most felonies, but under New York law § 30.10(4)(a)(i), that clock stops for up to five more years when a defendant is outside the state. That 10-year grace period means Trump’s time in the White House and his post-presidential political exile at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida may be gifting prosecutors much-needed extra time.

      • quixote says:

        To be blunt, the only reason not to charge The Orange Thing based on the mountain of already available evidence is corruption. This new DA has got something going on which makes him want to drop charges. “Hesitant” is a misspelling of venal. And mission accomplished: now everything is delayed for another set of dog’s years while the Thing gets to continue corrupting the country.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I’m with you. The new DA has to be corrupt. The three top prosecutors and the previous DA all wanted to charge Trump and the Grand Jury was ready to do it.

  4. dakinikat says:

    He died from complications of MS.

    • NW Luna says:

      I had to look up who he was! I’m so out of touch at recognizing celebrities. Wikipedia has that he didn’t have MS but rather muscular dystrophy type 2. They’re both neuro-degenerative diseases.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s so sad.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He apparently died of tachardia related to his muscular dystrophy type two.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Thanks for discussing the Corrina Cohn article. I’m shocked but happy that WaPo published it. Unfortunately there are a growing number of de-transitioners, because of the problems Cohn writes about. Most kids and young persons with what’s called gender dysphoria are lesbian, gay, or bi. Society should let these kids be to live with their growing and changing bodies and emotions. Certainly offer emotional support and encourage questioning, especially of gender stereotypes, but not push them to transition with false promises of it being a cure-all. Don’t trans away the gay! And what kid going through puberty isn’t uncomfortable with at least some part of their body?

    That diagram with the gendered brain is funny. I’d put “personality” there instead. There is no innate gendered brain or gendered soul. Humans are not clownfish; we can’t change sex, and gender = stereotypes. Personalities are myriad.

    BTW Cohn is on Twitter. Send him a message of support; he’s getting targeted for being ‘transphobic’ when he’s being reasonable and honest.

    • quixote says:

      I wondered for years why every other liberation movement struggled for decades to get any recognition, but male-to-female TransRightsActivists seemed to change the definition of acceptable thought in a couple of years. If not months.

      And then it hit me. They’re justifying sexist stereotypes as a progressive thing. The *only* source of support for all of that.

      No wonder the good old patriarchy breathed a sigh of relief and grabbed it with both fists.