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Walk Off Thoughts

Democrats Should Do Something

Molly Jung-Fast writes about the need for Democrats to do something in the wake of the recent gun massacres.

In her Wait, What? newsletter, she quotes Pennsylvania Democratic Senate nominee John Fetterman making an essential observation:

“At a time when the other side has basically declared war on reality, and is willing to lie about something as fundamental as who won an election, it’s important that Democrats not only call out the BS, but take a stand and don’t back down from a fight. When the stakes are this high, we need more Democrats who are clear and confident about what we believe, refuse to apologize for it, and don’t run away scared every time Republicans call us names.”

I’d love it if Democrats started fighting. Results can’t be guaranteed, but it would be great if we could see some fight and passion from our elected leaders.

Nuclear Weapons Planning

Tom Nichols explains in his Peacefield newsletter how the United States has lost so much of its nuclear weapon planning capacity since the end of the Cold War. This is a real challenge now that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has at least rhetorically put their use on the table during his Ukrainian invasion.

As Nichols explains:

The fall of the Soviet Union changed many things, but in nuclear matters it changed almost nothing. The missiles and their warheads remained where they were. They continue to wait in silent service. The crews in silos, submarines, and bombers now consist of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who built the first nuclear weapons and created the plans for their use. And yet for years we have conducted international politics as if we have somehow solved the problem of nuclear war.

Of course, we haven’t. If we ever see more peaceful times again, we shouldn’t again mistake ignoring these issues. Hopefully, we can survive the inevitable escalations or mistakes that a crisis such as the current one will create.

An Example of Disinformation’s Power

Don Moynihan examines how a fake news story became a viral conservative hit in his latest Can We Still Govern? substack.

A network of partisan conservative websites pushed a story that falsely claimed that a school district was going to require teachers to adjust their grading scales to account for the ethnicity of their students.

Moynihan examines how the story spread, the organizations behind that, and some of the famous people who spread the lie without checking its veracity. As Moynihan writes:

“When you give the benefit of the doubt to partisan fake news rather than professional educators, it is hard to take the whole “I’m here to defend education” bit too seriously.”

Ukraine Prepares for World Cup Qualifiers

Grant Wahl interviews the Guardian’s Nick Ames to discuss the Ukrainian Men’s National Soccer Team’s preparations for Wednesday’s World Cup playoff against Scotland.

As you can imagine, preparations have been difficult since Russia’s invasion in February. Ames has been following the Ukrainian team as they have prepared in Slovenia the past few weeks. Is soccer meaningful when one’s country is facing extermination? As Ames tells Wahl:

So it is important. And I think also it’s important to remember that what Russia is trying to do in Ukraine is erase Ukrainian culture, no more, no less, really. I think I said it in my piece from Slovenia. And I think as you and I both know, Grant, from our travel: What is an international football team, if not an expression, a representation of a culture, of a country’s hope, of a country’s ambition, of how a country expresses itself and everything around it? So I think that is all tied into what the feeling was in the camp.

If Ukraine can beat Scotland and then Wales, they will face the United States in the first game of the World Cup’s group stage in November.

I’m glad they will be able to try.

Guns vs. Children

In his latest Puck newsletter, Baratunde Thurston frames the choice our nation has made as gun violence continues to kill so many people.

When given the choice, we have decided to get rid of children rather than guns. We’ve absurdly interpreted the Constitution to defend this madness while forgetting that the Constitution can be changed while dead children cannot be brought back to life.

We can choose a better outcome. We should ask ourselves why our society refuses to do so.

We Should Assume the Police Are Lying

The Uvalde Elementary School Massacre is the latest example of the police lying to the public about their activities.

Aaron Rupar examines how the story the police told changed dramatically as their lies were exposed as the facts came to light. As Rupar writes:

The lesson here, as my friend Alexandria Neason wrote better than I can, is that police departments lie, primarily to make themselves look like necessary servants of an endangered public. Allowing them to self-justify off the record is, at this point, inexcusable.

Rupar explores how what the police said about the imaginary school resource officer, the mythical Border Patrol agent, the nonexistent body armor, and the children who weren’t dead yet were lies designed to make law enforcement appear to be the heroes.

After all of these incidents, law enforcement has lost the benefit of the doubt.