University of New Haven scholar Matthew Schmidt discusses the Russian war on Ukraine, and he makes a lot of sense: the Russian military ain't so hot, the Ukrainian military is very, very good, Vlad the Bad tried to win the war in the first week and doesn't seem prepared for failing in that, and yes he might use nukes on the battlefield in order to break the stalemate. Even so, Mr. Schmidt tells us Vlad the Bad is a rational actor, "following his own system of logic" where Russia is "the center of this geographic and cultural and spiritual space known as Eurasia," and Ukraine becoming more "Western" threatens that space. Where does it end? Likely with "the destruction of the Putinist regime," perhaps years from now.
Former Missouri half-term Governor Eric Greitens, now running for Senate, doubles down against his ex-wife's allegations of physical abuse (against both her and their children) in their custody battle, saying "truth will always prevail." He can ask Sean Parnell about that! Of course, Mr. Parnell had basically lost his custody battle when he bowed out of the Pennsylvania Senate race; the Greitens' battle isn't nearly as far along. But I can't help but think that that Eric Schmitt's $1.6 million fund-raising haul at Mar-a-Lago is more on his mind as he calculates all his denials -- and he calculates them to reach Trump votaries, who respond viscerally (and supportively!) to men who deny serious wrongdoing.
ProPublica finds the famous St. Jude's Children’s Research Hospital actually trying to muscle donors' families for bequests -- occasionally trying to get of children and other relatives disinherited in court! -- and that's a far more scathing indictment of their corporate character, I think, than their irregular-but-not-nonexistent support for parents visiting their kids. Says one person who actually beat St. Jude's in court over his father's estate: "Think of all the fees for lawyers that didn’t go to St. Jude, not one child, not one cancer patient." Maybe St. Jude's will respond that it's worth it because they get around double the national average in donations from wills and they use that money to keep massive medical bills from destroying families, but using probate as a weapon toward that end is evil, and anyway it should be civilization's aim to keep massive medical bills from destroying families, not St. Jude's.
When I hear that politicians like Blake Masters (running for Senate in Arizona) and J.D. Vance (running for same in Ohio) get their talking points from Tucker Carlson rather than Donald Trump, I question whether Mr. Carlson will ever have the same power as Mr. Trump, since Mr. Carlson projects neither the self-made myth or the tough-guy myth as well. And when I hear that all three gentlemen "sympathiz(e) with Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical worldview," I'd say Democrats have an easy retort, if they have the guts to use it: I'll take American values over Putin's anytime. I don't even care that they pretend to be economic populists, because so did Mr. Trump, and that did very little for us. (Hate to pile on, but if Blake Masters really can't imagine a liberal driving a logging truck, that's a failure of his imagination.)
In the wake of record-high gas prices, a Hart Research Associates/League of Conservation Voters/Climate Power poll finds that 87% of Americans think Congress should do something about oil corporation profiteering, with 80% specifically endorsing a windfall profits tax. 80% of the people support it, you say? You know what that means: Kyrsten Sinema will soon come out against it, because "bipartisanship"! And Joe Manchin will come out against it, because I just can't get there. But you know, folks like the Joker and the Penguin are playing the game like it's 2011, when that "we can't raise taxes on the rich because it'll hurt small businesses" lie still had a bit of cred; they now operate in a world where virtually everyone thinks oil corporations raised gas prices just because they could.
Finally, voting rights groups have sued a group that's named themselves the U.S. Election Integrity Plan for sending armed members into Black and Brown neighborhoods in Colorado to "question" them about their voting habits. Occasionally, they wear badges, pretend to be from "the county," accuse folks of voting illegally, and take photos of their houses, but I question the Bannon/Lindell axis's wisdom in choosing Colorado for this little adventure -- they're a lot more likely to run into armed liberals there than, say, Connecticut. I'm also bummed this is a civil suit, because I'd rather these clowns go to jail for a long, long time. I mean, c'mon, law and order, folks!