The Russo-Ukrainian War Thread (FKA Political Thread)

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Chris

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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Donald Trump defended embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday, saying he stands with the Louisiana Republican as one of the former president’s loyal allies in Congress targets Johnson for removal.

It was the first time that Trump has addressed the roiling effort to oust Johnson from his position by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Johnson and Trump appeared at a news conference together just hours after the House passed an extension of key intelligence-gathering legislation — which the hard right had thwarted earlier in the week as a warning shot to the speaker.
 

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Six people have been killed and several others injured, including a nine-month-old baby, in a mass stabbing at a busy shopping mall in Sydney, Australian police said.

Police were called to Westfield Bondi Junction on Saturday afternoon local time following reports of multiple people stabbed. Witnesses described scene of panic with some forced to hide in shops as the attack unfolded.
 
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Yep if it's true that Iran is also getting involved, you can almost guarantee US intervention and military operations.
 

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Israel vows to ‘exact a price’ after unprecedented Iranian attack while world leaders call for restraint

Israel pledged that it will “exact a price” from Iran as the country weighs its response to an unprecedented overnight barrage of drone and missile strikes while facing international pressure to de-escalate.

The overnight attack – which saw Tehran launch a series of strikes at Israel over a five-hour period – threatens to tip the crisis in the Middle East into an untempered regional war.


Israel’s war cabinet has been authorized to respond to the attack and met on Sunday, with one of its members, Benny Gantz, saying the “event is not over.”

He cited the need to “build a regional coalition and exact a price from Iran, in a way and at a time that suits us.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant earlier said Israel had “thwarted this attack in a way that is unparalleled” but added “we must be prepared for every scenario.” In his first comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we have intercepted, we have contained. Together we shall win.”

An Israeli official separately told CNN that Israel will respond to Iran’s attack, but the scope of that attack has yet to be decided. The official said Israel is yet to determine whether to try and “break all the dishes” or do something more measured.

But Israel is being urged by Western allies to de-escalate an intensely fraught situation on Sunday and close, at least for now, a weeks-long chapter of uncertainty and confrontation that had spiraled out of Israel’s war with Hamas that has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza and caused a humanitarian disaster in the enclave.


Iran’s retaliatory attack had been anticipated since a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic complex in Syria earlier this month, and finally came late on Saturday when over 300 projectiles – including around 170 drones and over 120 ballistic missiles – were fired toward Israeli soil. Israeli authorities said “99%” were intercepted with help from allies including the US, the UK and France. The only injury reported was a 7-year-old girl who was seriously wounded by shrapnel.

The reprisals brought years of clandestine conflict between the countries into the open, and marked the first time the Islamic Republic had launched a direct assault on Israel from its soil.

Israel and Iran have long been rivals, but tensions escalated in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, which left about 1,200 people dead. Iran backs a web of proxies across the Middle East that have frequently clashed with Israel since the attacks.

Iran says next attack could be ‘much bigger’​

On Sunday, Iran said a “new equation” in its adversarial relationship with Israel had been opened, and warned of a “much bigger” assault on the country should Netanyahu decide on a tit-for-tat attack.

“We have decided to create a new equation, which is that if from now on the Zionist regime attacks our interests, assets, personalities, and citizens, anywhere, and at any point we will retaliate against them,” the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami told Iranian state TV. The “Zionist regime” is a term Iran uses to refer to Israel.

Earlier Sardar Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, said: “If the Zionist regime responds, our next operation will be much bigger.”

Iran’s attacks targeted the Israeli airbase from which, it said, the strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus was launched from. Iranian ballistic missiles that reached Israel fell on the airbase located in southern Israel, and caused only light structural damage, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.


Bagheri said that from Iran’s perspective, the military operation against Israel “has concluded.” But he emphasized that Iranian armed forces remain on high alert and are prepared to “act if necessary,” according to an interview on state IRINN TV on Sunday.

Those warnings came as Western nations urged Israel to descend from the brink of open warfare with its foe.

After the attack, US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Netanyahu, and made clear that the US would not participate in any offensive operations against Iran, a senior White House administration official told CNN.

Biden told Netanyahu he should consider the events of Saturday night a “win” as Iran’s attacks had been largely unsuccessful, and instead demonstrated Israel’s “remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks.”
Biden has meanwhile reiterated that the US’s commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies remains “ironclad.”

Showing some of the domestic pressure Netanyahu faces, two hardline government ministers called for a firm response. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for a retaliation that “resonates throughout the Middle East,” while National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said Israel should “go crazy.”


Calls for restraint have also been made across the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, a major regional rival to Iran, stressed the importance of “preventing any further exacerbation” of the crisis, while Qatar, which enjoys close economic relations with Iran, expressed “profound concern.” The United Arab Emirates warned of “new levels of instability” if the episode was not closed.

Iran had vowed to retaliate after accusing Israel of bombing its diplomatic complex in Syria earlier this month.

The airstrike destroyed the consulate building in the capital Damascus, killing at least seven officials including Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, Iran’s foreign ministry said at the time.

Zahedi, a former commander of the IRGC’s ground forces, air force, and the deputy commander of its operations, was the most high-profile Iranian target killed since then-US President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020.

This is a developing story and has been updated.

Welp, off to war we go I guess.
 

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  • Donald Trump is in a New York courtroom as his criminal hush money trial is underway. Trump is the first former president in US history to go on trial for criminal charges. The judge rejected Trump's request to recuse himself from the trial ahead and jury selection will begin soon.
  • The jury selection process: Jury selection will continue until a panel of 12 New Yorkers and six alternates are seated. Prospective jurors will be vetted through questions that could signal political views.
  • About the case: The Manhattan district attorney charged Trump last year with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for his alleged role in a hush money scheme to silence his alleged mistresses before the 2016 election. Trump has pleaded not guilty and has denied the affairs. Get up to speed on the case here.
  • What's at stake: This is only one of four criminal cases Trump faces while being the presumptive 2024 GOP nominee. It may be the only case to face a jury before the election, and he could face jail time if convicted. Track the criminal cases here.
 

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The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it will not hear Mckesson v. Doe. The decision not to hear Mckesson leaves in place a lower court decision that effectively eliminated the right to organize a mass protest in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Under that lower court decision, a protest organizer faces potentially ruinous financial consequences if a single attendee at a mass protest commits an illegal act.

It is possible that this outcome will be temporary. The Court did not embrace the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s decision attacking the First Amendment right to protest, but it did not reverse it either. That means that, at least for now, the Fifth Circuit’s decision is the law in much of the American South.

For the past several years, the Fifth Circuit has engaged in a crusade against DeRay Mckesson, a prominent figure within the Black Lives Matter movement who organized a protest near a Baton Rouge police station in 2016.

The facts of the Mckesson case are, unfortunately, quite tragic. Mckesson helped organize the Baton Rouge protest following the fatal police shooting of Alton Sterling. During that protest, an unknown individual threw a rock or similar object at a police officer, the plaintiff in the Mckesson case who is identified only as “Officer John Doe.” Sadly, the officer was struck in the face and, according to one court, suffered “injuries to his teeth, jaw, brain, and head.”

Everyone agrees that this rock was not thrown by Mckesson, however. And the Supreme Court held in NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware (1982) that protest leaders cannot be held liable for the violent actions of a protest participant, absent unusual circumstances that are not present in the Mckesson case — such as if Mckesson had “authorized, directed, or ratified” the decision to throw the rock.

Indeed, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor points out in a brief opinion accompanying the Court’s decision not to hear Mckesson, the Court recently reaffirmed the strong First Amendment protections enjoyed by people like Mckesson in Counterman v. Colorado (2023). That decision held that the First Amendment “precludes punishment” for inciting violent action “unless the speaker’s words were ‘intended’ (not just likely) to produce imminent disorder.”

The reason Claiborne protects protest organizers should be obvious. No one who organizes a mass event attended by thousands of people can possibly control the actions of all those attendees, regardless of whether the event is a political protest, a music concert, or the Super Bowl. So, if protest organizers can be sanctioned for the illegal action of any protest attendee, no one in their right mind would ever organize a political protest again.

Indeed, as Fifth Circuit Judge Don Willett, who dissented from his court’s Mckesson decision, warned in one of his dissents, his court’s decision would make protest organizers liable for “the unlawful acts of counter-protesters and agitators.” So, under the Fifth Circuit’s rule, a Ku Klux Klansman could sabotage the Black Lives Matter movement simply by showing up at its protests and throwing stones.

The Fifth Circuit’s Mckesson decision is obviously wrong

Like Mckesson, Claiborne involved a racial justice protest that included some violent participants. In the mid-1960s, the NAACP launched a boycott of white merchants in Claiborne County, Mississippi. At least according to the state supreme court, some participants in this boycott “engaged in acts of physical force and violence against the persons and property of certain customers and prospective customers” of these white businesses.

Indeed, one of the organizers of this boycott did far more to encourage violence than Mckesson is accused of in his case. Charles Evers, a local NAACP leader, allegedly said in a speech to boycott supporters that “if we catch any of you going in any of them racist stores, we’re gonna break your damn neck.”

But the Supreme Court held that this “emotionally charged rhetoric ... did not transcend the bounds of protected speech.” It ruled that courts must use “extreme care” before imposing liability on a political figure of any kind. And it held that a protest leader may only be held liable for a protest participant’s actions in very limited circumstances:

There are three separate theories that might justify holding Evers liable for the unlawful conduct of others. First, a finding that he authorized, directed, or ratified specific tortious activity would justify holding him responsible for the consequences of that activity. Second, a finding that his public speeches were likely to incite lawless action could justify holding him liable for unlawful conduct that in fact followed within a reasonable period. Third, the speeches might be taken as evidence that Evers gave other specific instructions to carry out violent acts or threats.

The Fifth Circuit conceded, in a 2019 opinion, that Officer Doe “has not pled facts that would allow a jury to conclude that Mckesson colluded with the unknown assailant to attack Officer Doe, knew of the attack and ratified it, or agreed with other named persons that attacking the police was one of the goals of the demonstration.” So that should have been the end of the case.

Instead, in its most recent opinion in this case, the Fifth Circuit concluded that Claiborne’s “three separate theories that might justify” holding a protest leader liable are a non-exhaustive list, and that the MAGA-infused court is allowed to create new exceptions to the First Amendment. It then ruled that the First Amendment does not apply “where a defendant creates unreasonably dangerous conditions, and where his creation of those conditions causes a plaintiff to sustain injuries.”

And what, exactly, were the “unreasonably dangerous conditions” created by the Mckesson-led protest in Baton Rouge? The Fifth Circuit faulted Mckesson for organizing “the protest to begin in front of the police station, obstructing access to the building,” for failing to “dissuade” protesters who allegedly stole water bottles from a grocery store, and for leading “the assembled protest onto a public highway, in violation of Louisiana criminal law.”


Needless to say, the idea that the First Amendment recedes the moment a mass protest violates a traffic law is quite novel. And it is impossible to reconcile with pretty much the entire history of mass civil rights protests in the United States.

In fairness, the Court’s decision to leave the Fifth Circuit’s attack on the First Amendment in place could be temporary. As Sotomayor writes in her Mckesson opinion, when the Court announces that it will not hear a particular case it “expresses no view about the merits.” The Court could still restore the First Amendment right to protest in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas in a future case.

For the time being, however, the Fifth Circuit’s Mckesson decision remains good law in those three states. And that means that anyone who organizes a political protest within the Fifth Circuit risks catastrophic financial liability.
Lmao what a fucking crock of shit.
 

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Making protesting harder/punishable/illegal is what Dictators do.
 

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So what's mean for the orange mans klan rallies?
 

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The Biden administration unveiled a final mining rule Tuesday that imposes federal limits on silica dust, a carcinogen that threatens miners digging up everything from coal to metals like copper and zinc.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration’s regulations limit the amount of silica dust that workers can inhale during a shift, according to a fact sheet the agency released. Current restrictions on silica exposure are tied to the agency’s coal dust limits.
 

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Bob Graham, the former Florida governor and U.S. senator who ushered in the state’s era of school-competency testing, crafted the foundation for its modern environmental policies and grappled with the mass influx of Cubans fleeing across the Straits of Florida in the early 1980s, died Tuesday night, according to his family. He was 87.
 

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Judge Merchan says Juror 2 contacted the court and said she had concerns about her ability to be fair and impartial. This is the oncology nurse from the Upper East Side.

Speaking in court, she says she “definitely has concerns now” about what has been reported about her publicly.

She says she had friends, colleagues and family conveying to her that she had been identified as a potential juror.
 

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Washington CNN —

The United States slapped new sanctions Thursday on 16 people and two entities associated with Iran’s drone program as it looks to punish Tehran for last weekend’s attack on Israel.

The sanctions target executives of an engine manufacturer that supplies Iran’s Shahad-131 drones, which were used in the onslaught, as well as companies that service the engines and individuals associated with providing the drones to Iranian proxy forces throughout the Middle East.