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Will Putin strike back at the US?



Do images still have the power to shock at a moment of violent upheaval in our politics? After January 6, Washington seems to be getting used to the previously unthinkable, and yet, even in an America reshaped by internal strife and a year of war in Europe, the pictures this week were stunning: drones blowing up over Red Square, in the home of Vladimir Putin. place of power. The Russian government immediately blamed Ukraine for this and, rather dramatically, given the murders it unleashes daily on its neighbor, irritatedly declared that the strike was an “assassination attempt” against Putin himself.

While rumors circulated that it was in fact a false flag operation by Russia itself to justify further atrocities in Ukraine, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday accused not only Ukraine but the United States of sending the drones because ” decisions on such actions and such terrorist attacks are carried out not in Kiev, but in Washington,” he added, “Kiev then does what it is told.” Both Ukraine and the United States were quick to deny this — “a lie, pure and simple,” a White House official said — though leaked U.S. intelligence documents suggest Ukraine had previously considered striking Putin’s capital and was persuaded to abstain Americans. Whoever was responsible, the high-visibility strike in the center of Moscow was indeed a big event, the first air attack on the Kremlin since the Luftwaffe bombed it in 1942. Few doubted that the consequences were not far off.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine more than fourteen months ago continues to reshape American foreign policy in astonishing ways. Washington under President Joe Biden has done so much to help Ukraine, but in such incremental steps that it’s easy to forget that the United States is now effectively waging a proxy war against Russia with its weapons, targeting, intelligence and more. help providing decisive support to keep Ukraine in the fight. On the day of the attack on the Kremlin, the Pentagon issued a new round of US aid worth up to $300 million, including 155mm. Howitzers, aircraft missiles Hydra-70, TOWING Rockets, artillery and mortar shells. Backed by all these weapons from the West, there is hope and expectation that Kyiv forces will launch a major counteroffensive in the coming months to push Russia out of the roughly seventeen percent of Ukrainian territory it has managed to capture. But when? And how successful? Will these successes be enough to force Russia and Ukraine to start peace talks?

Meanwhile, the costs imposed on Russia for its catastrophic invasion are already enormous and measured in tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Russian victims. In a high-profile public statement this week, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the Russian military has lost about 20,000 dead and 80,000 wounded in the past few months alone, many of them in battles for the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. . This is more than the number of American casualties in the decisive Battle of the Bulge in World War II. It is striking that the Biden administration clearly made a calculated decision to release this declassified information. Given Russia’s initial insistence that this was just a “special military operation,” releasing these appallingly high death tolls seems like a powerful form of information warfare.

The reality is that we have yet to see a major Russian retaliation against America and other allies for their part in ensuring that Ukraine can continue to fight. How would it look? Unless drones are flying over the US Capitol, there are many frightening scenarios, from outright terrorist attacks to large-scale cyberattacks and strikes against Western supply lines to Ukraine. Only this week NATO warned that Russia could try to “destroy the life of the West” by targeting submarine cables that help power everything from Internet access to power. Even before the invasion of Ukraine, Russia carried out targeted murders and poisonings on western soil in recent years; imagine an extended campaign of assassinations and mayhem away from the theater of war. Putin’s isolated, armed and totalitarian Russia still has the potential to wreak havoc on those he blames for his own disastrous decisions. What will this mean for the future if the world faces the long-term prospect of Russia joining North Korea and Iran on the list of outlaws?

For much of the past year, Russia’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons in response to Western support for Ukraine understandably dominated discussions about the dangers of escalation. “Every day they supply Ukraine with foreign weapons brings a nuclear apocalypse closer,” Dmitry Medvedev, a former Russian president who sounded especially hysterical in the war, said in March. (This week, Medvedev said Russia should respond to drone launches at the Kremlin by “physically removing” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.) there are endless debates about what actions might provoke such a response: will Ukraine force an all-out offensive to retake the Crimean peninsula, will Russia use nuclear weapons? Or the prospect of actually losing the war?

However, in some ways these concerns overshadow discussion of other, more likely threats from Russia. Seeing images of a fireball over the Kremlin this week made me realize that, especially when the Kremlin was quick to blame the United States. Consider the upcoming US presidential election in 2024, which may decide not only the trajectory of democracy in America, but also the fate of Russia and Ukraine. Russia has intervened without hesitation in American politics before; Many forget that, according to the Mueller Report, the Russian intelligence campaign to influence the 2016 U.S. election began with the Kremlin’s anger at what it saw as America’s role in toppling the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine in 2014. Now that Russia has intervened in an existential war against Ukraine, and the United States is firmly on Ukraine’s side today, Putin has much more incentive this time around.

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California Indemnity Task Force to Vote Formal Apology



OAKLAND, California. — The California Reparations Task Force is due to wrap up its first-in-the-nation work on Saturday, voting on recommendations for a formal apology for the state’s role in perpetuating the legacy of slavery and discrimination that has kept black residents from living free for decades.

The nine-member committee, first convened almost two years ago, is expected to finally approve an impressive list of ambitious proposals at a meeting in Oakland, which will then be put into the hands of state legislators.

Recommendations range from creating a new agency to provide services to the descendants of enslaved people, to individual calculations of what the state owes residents for decades of harm such as excessive policing and housing discrimination.

“An apology and admission of wrongdoing alone will not be satisfactory for redress,” said Chris Lodgson, organizer of the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, a redress advocacy group.

The apology prepared by the Legislative Assembly should “include condemnation of the most heinous barbarities” committed in the name of the state, according to a draft recommendation to be voted on.

Such a list could include censorship by a former governor of California. Peter Hardeman Burnett, the state’s first elected leader and white supremacist who encouraged laws to exclude blacks from California

Although California entered the union as a free state, it has not enacted laws to provide such freedom, the bill says. Under the draft, the state Supreme Court enacted the federal Fugitive Slave Act, which permitted the capture and return of fugitive enslaved people until the official end of enslavement in 1865.

“By participating in these horrors, California has further perpetuated the harm that African Americans have experienced by instilling racial prejudice in society through segregation, state and private discrimination, and unequal distribution of state and federal funding,” the project says.

The task force can vote for the state to publicly apologize and admit responsibility for past mistakes in the presence of people whose ancestors were enslaved. The confession may be communicated by descendants recounting the injustices they have faced and include a promise that California will not repeat the same mistakes.

The statement would follow the state’s apology for placing Japanese Americans in internment camps during World War II and perpetuating the violence and mistreatment of Native Americans.

Saturday’s meeting marks a defining moment in a long struggle by local, state, and federal governments to offer compensation for policies that have resulted in over-control of black neighborhoods, housing discrimination, health disparities, and other harms. But the proposals are far from being implemented by the state.

“There is not the slightest chance that many of these recommendations will be accepted due to inflationary impact,” said Roy L. Brooks, a professor and indemnity specialist at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Papers outlining recommendations to a task force of economists have previously shown that the state could owe more than $800 billion, more than 2.5 times its annual budget, for excessive police, disproportionate imprisonment and housing discrimination against blacks.

The score dropped sharply in the latest draft report released by the task force, which did not respond to email and telephone requests for comment on the reduction.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a former Democratic Assemblyman, drafted legislation in 2020 to create a task force. The goal was to explore proposals for how California could offer compensation for harm done to the descendants of enslaved people under the bill. He did not recommend reparations in lieu of the federal government’s proposals.

The task force had previously voted to limit damages to descendants of enslaved or formerly enslaved blacks who were in the country by the end of the 19th century.

The California team’s work has received nationwide attention, and remedial efforts elsewhere have met with mixed results.

Evanston, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, housing vouchers were offered to black residents, but few took advantage of the program. New York State’s latest bill to study reparations has been passed by the State Assembly, but the State Senate has yet to vote on the measure. A multi-year proposal to create a commission to study federal reparations for African Americans has stalled in Congress.

Mary Frances Berry, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote a book about a former slave girl’s struggle for redress, said the California task force’s efforts “should be encouraging.”

“The fact that California has gone so far as to give a yes to the reparations question should … have an impact on people in other parts of the country,” she said.


Sophie Austin is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues. Follow Austin on Twitter: @sophieadanna

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No more gas stoves? New York City bans natural gas in new buildings.



New York is the first state to ban natural gas from most new buildings. Climate advocates praise the move as groundbreaking, but opponents criticize it as overbearing.

This is part of the state’s larger plan to achieve zero energy emissions by 2050. Supporters hope other states will join.

However, while most Empire State residents agree that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the right thing to do, gas stove aficionados are reluctant to give up open flames. Critics say the plan would be too costly for needy consumers, could strain the state’s power grid and fail to address the severity of New York’s unusually cold winters.

Why did we write this

Does the responsibility lie in acting quickly to reduce natural gas emissions, or in being careful about the impact of energy mandates on consumers and the grid?

Natural gas is widely used to generate electricity here and throughout the country. It burns cleaner than fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but can pollute the environment just as badly as coal. depending on how much methane leaks from production to delivery. V new law instead calls for energy efficient heat pumps.

in 2021, slightly more than half According to the US Energy Information Administration, some of New York City’s electricity comes from environmentally friendly sources such as nuclear power and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydropower, and geothermal pumps. The state’s goal is to generate 70% emission-free electricity by 2030 and 100% by 2040. In addition to helping to tackle climate change, supporters say that the growth of green energy will create jobs, improve indoor and outdoor air quality, and lower utility bills.

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A fire rages at a Shell chemical plant in Texas.



Firefighters fight a huge fire at a Shell chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas that appears to have been caused by an explosion.

No deaths have been reported, but several employees are “undergoing medical examination as a precautionary measure” after “exposure to the product,” according to Deer Park’s Office of Emergency Management.

Shell said the cause of the fire is under investigation.

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