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Politics Briefing: 'Indecision' of Ukrainian allies tests Zelensky's patience – The Globe and Mail




Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, along with legislators in the United States and Europe, has called on national leaders to follow through on pre-invasion promises of unprecedented economic consequences for Russian President Vladimir Putin if he attacked Ukraine.

As Russian forces attacked Kyiv, Mr. Zelensky called for the West to exclude Russia from SWIFT, impose an oil embargo, revoke travel visas for Russians and recall ambassadors. The President chided “the indecision of politicians” in a video message, saying Ukraine’s allies “must act without delay.”

“This is not just Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, this is the beginning of the war against Europe. Against the unity of Europe. Against the elementary human rights of Europe. Against all co-existence rules on the continent,” Mr. Zelensky said. “But we do not see in full what you are going to do. How are you going to protect yourself when you help us so slowly in Ukraine?”

Adrian Morrow reports on the mounting pressure on the West to take stronger measures against Russia.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. Today’s briefing is brought to you by Ian and Janice Dickson. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.



FINAL MOMENTS OF UKRAINIAN BORDER GUARDS’ FIERCE STAND AGAINST RUSSIA BECOMES RALLYING CRY: A defiant last stand by a small group of Ukrainian border guards defending a Black Sea outpost has become a new rallying cry for a country under attack by Russian forces – and those in Russia who oppose the war. Story here.

EUROPEANS RUSH TO POLISH-UKRAINIAN BORDER TO PICK UP FAMILY OR LEND A HELPING HAND: As Marek Mahdal watched news reports of Russian air strikes pounding Ukraine, he didn’t feel he could sit at home in Prague and do nothing. Story here.

TURKEY SAYS IT CANNOT STOP RETURNING RUSSIAN WARSHIPS FROM ACCESSING BLACK SEA: Turkey cannot stop Russian warships accessing the Black Sea via its straits, as Ukraine has requested, because of a clause in an international pact that allows vessels to return to their home base, the Turkish foreign minister said on Friday. Story here.

CHINA BLAMES U.S., NATO FOR PROVOKING PUTIN, BUT BEIJING WARY OF SUPPORT FOR INVASION: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine this week shocked the world, even after months of sabre-rattling by Moscow, but China in particular seems to have been wrong-footed by the unprovoked attack. Story here.

AFGHAN REFUGEES STUCK IN UKRAINE WITH NO EXIT IN SIGHT: Afghan refugees who fled to Ukraine after the Taliban takeover of their home country are terrified that they have once again found themselves in a war zone, with no obvious exit. Story here.

UPDATES: Watch here for the latest updates on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.


SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have a chance to push an increasingly divided Supreme Court to the left with the retirement in September of Justice Michael Moldaver, a Stephen Harper appointee. Justice Moldaver’s retirement date was announced on Thursday. Story here.

DOCUMENTS SHOW TRUDEAU WARNED OF ISSUES LINKED TO ‘BUILD BACK BETTER’ PLEDGE: Newly released documents show Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was given warnings about the complexity of plans to “build back better” from the pandemic that could lead to economic uncertainty. Story here.

TORIES RULE OUT MAKEUP OF EMERGENCIES ACT COMMITTEE: The Official Opposition Conservatives have rejected the proposed makeup of a new oversight committee that will review the government’s decision to invoke special powers under the Emergencies Act. Story here.


TODAY IN THE COMMONS: The House is adjourned until Feb. 28, 2022, at 11:00 a.m.

Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre announced his national campaign co-chairs on Twitter: Conservative MP Tim Uppal, former foreign minister John Baird, Senator Leo Housakos and former fisheries minister Gail Shea.

The National Gallery of Canada is reopening its doors this Saturday, February 26.

THE DECIBEL – On Friday’s edition of The Globe and Mail’s daily news podcast, David MacAndrew Clarke, who worked as a railway porter for CPR in the late 1960s, talks about what it was like working on the train and how his father and the generation of older porters, almost exclusively Black men, before him dealt with discrimination and fought to make the job better. Plus, Marsha Greene and Arnold Pinnock of the creative team from the new CBC show, The Porter talk about unearthing this sometimes forgotten history and what it was like turning it into a drama for a wider audience. The Decibel is here.


Private meetings. The Prime Minister participated in the NATO Leaders Meeting to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The Prime Minister is scheduled to participate in a virtual celebration to mark the end of Black History Month hosted by Marci Ien, the minister for women and gender equality and youth.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh meets with Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley and is scheduled to meet with William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Capital, the head of the Global Magnitsky Justice Campaign to discuss the current situation in Ukraine.

No schedule released for other party leaders.


Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on whether allies are willing to bear the high cost of making Vladimir Putin pay: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau insisted, more than once, that Mr. Putin can’t be allowed to benefit from invasion – and it should be obvious that Canada has every interest in uniting with other democracies to make Mr. Putin pay. Canada’s conundrum is that it doesn’t have a lot of ways to materially contribute to that effort, or means to exact costs. Mr. Trudeau admitted that Canada doesn’t have a lot of business with Russia to cut off, and even less since 2014, when Canada imposed sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The Canadian government’s role on Thursday was as cheerleader for global order and unity among allies, many of whom would have to sacrifice more.”

Kelly Cryderman (The Globe and Mail) on how oil’s grip on Alberta’s finances will linger, at least for the time being:Alberta says its push to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil and gas is bearing fruit. The province’s latest budget forecasts that corporate and personal taxes will make up an increasing portion of government revenues by 2025. But in the near term, at least, oil will continue to hold its grip on the Alberta’s finances – for the good and bad. In fact, the budget released on Thursday shows the province’s finances for the coming year will become even more sensitive to swings in North American pricing for oil.”

Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on how Jean Charest would bring much-needed adult supervision to the federal Tories: Mr. Charest, who came close to running for the Tory leadership in 2020, is under no illusions about the uphill battle he would face to win the leadership of a federal party that is quite unlike the one he led before being drafted to take the helm of the federalist Quebec Liberals in the wake of the 1995 sovereignty referendum. He would need to recruit thousands of new Tories, and that would take time and money. Still, this is hardly Mr. Charest’s first rodeo. And among the list of potential leadership rivals, there is no one with his political talent, stature and experience. His mere participation would up the ante for a party in dire need of adult supervision.”

Timothy Garton Ash (Special to The Globe and Mail) on how the West needs to support the Ukrainians – for their sake and ours: “Why do we always make the same mistake? Oh, that’s only trouble in the Balkans, we say – and then an assassination in Sarajevo sparks the First World War. Oh, Adolf Hitler’s threat to Czechoslovakia is “a quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing” – and then we find ourselves in the Second World War. Oh, Joseph Stalin’s rape of distant Poland after 1945 is none of our business – and soon enough we have the Cold War. Now we have done it again, not waking up until it is too late to the full implications of Vladimir Putin’s seizure of Crimea in 2014. And so, on Feb. 24, 2022 – a date that will go straight into the history books – we stand here again, clothed in nothing but the shreds of our lost illusions.”

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Politics Podcast: Who Will Win The GOP’s Senate Primary In Pennsylvania? – FiveThirtyEight





Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky, Idaho and Oregon are holding primary elections on Tuesday. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew discusses the the most anticipated contests — the Keystone State’s Republican Senate and gubernatorial races — and previews other races we’re watching, including the Republican gubernatorial primary in Idaho, where the lieutenant governor is challenging the sitting governor for the GOP nomination, and the Republican primary for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, where Rep. Madison Cawthorn is facing seven challengers from his own party after revelations of numerous scandals.

The team also looks at FiveThirtyEight’s latest collaboration with Ipsos, in which Americans are asked about the issues they care about the most in the run-up to the midterms. The first poll is all about inflation.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast is recorded Mondays and Thursdays. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

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'Replacement' conspiracies driving gunmen creep into mainstream politics – CNN



(CNN)Critics are drawing parallels between the pattern of racist gunmen citing fears of a conspiracy to “replace” Whites with rhetoric pushed on Fox and by some Republican politicians.

The mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday was not the first such event in recent years in which a White gunman, who allegedly posted a White supremacist manifesto online, targeted the Black or immigrant community.
It’s not the second. Or the third.
Overtly racist lone gunmen motivated by such hate have, in recent years, targeted a Black church in South Carolina, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and immigrants at a Walmart in El Paso. Read CNN’s report.
Some apparently drew inspiration from a shooting by a White man in New Zealand who targeted mosques, killing 51, and published his own manifesto about “The Great Replacement.”
Now, Buffalo.
Get the latest on:
  • The Buffalo shooting and the victims: 10 people were killed at a supermarket and authorities say it was hate crime. The gunman exchanged fire with and killed an armed security guard.
  • The shooter: The suspect is 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who traveled from another New York county hours away and livestreamed the attack on the social media platform Twitch.
“Replacement theory” motivation — According to a 180-page document posted online, attributed to Gendron, he was fixated on what’s known as “replacement theory” — the idea that Whites are being slowly and intentionally replaced by minorities and immigrants.
Variations on this basic idea — that Whites are being replaced by some sort of minority-driven conspiracy — have made their way into more than just the musings of gunmen.
The Fox and GOP version of replacement theory. Critics say it is dangerously close to xenophobic rhetoric finding its way into the mainstream of American politics.
Rep. Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, pointed the finger squarely at her party’s leadership Monday morning, saying it has “enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism. History has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse. @GOP leaders must renounce and reject these views and those who hold them.”
And after the shooting in Buffalo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican who has split with his party by criticizing former President Donald Trump, tried to make a connection between an old Facebook ad published by Rep. Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, and replacement theory.
“Did you know: @EliseStefanik pushes white replacement theory? The #3 in the house GOP,” Kinzinger said on Twitter, linking to media coverage that the congresswoman’s Facebook ads received in 2021, including a critical editorial from a local newspaper.
The Facebook ads from her campaign last September suggested Democrats wanted to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants to create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.
CNN has reached out to Stefanik about Kinzinger’s comment.
Replacement pattern. That ad is part of a larger narrative.
Tucker Carlson, the Fox host, has pushed the idea that Democrats want to import new voters to dilute the votes of other Americans, presumably Whites like him.
Trump biographer Michael D’Antonio and City University of New York media studies professor James Cohen wrote a CNN opinion piece last year about how the concept of replacement theory has festered in US politics for decades, but has recently become easy to decode in segments on Carlson’s show and in remarks by lawmakers. Read more.
CNN’s Chris Cillizza has documented how the concept of replacement theory has been mentioned by lawmakers like GOP Rep. Scott Perry, who said this at a House Foreign Affairs Committee meeting in April of 2021:
“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in reference to the number of people trying to enter the country at the United States’ southern border.
“Uncomfortably” close. This is not to say Perry’s comment, Carlson’s broadcasts or Stefanik’s ad are the same as what’s represented in the writings, allegedly from Gendron or other gunmen. They’re not. But it is also impossible to deny certain parallels in the language.
“This tension, this frustration, this fear sits not that far from our mainstream politics,” journalist Wesley Lowery said on CNN’s Inside Politics Sunday.
“One thing is unquestionably true,” he added. “Very often the rhetoric in our politics sits uncomfortably close to the rhetoric that these kind of terrorists espouse.”
Pledges to fight racism. But how? President Joe Biden, who is headed to Buffalo on Tuesday, pledged to fight racism.
“Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America,” he said in a statement on Saturday. “Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism.”
Race is enmeshed in US politics. Political rhetoric often feeds replacement fears by highlighting racial divides that are enmeshed in American life and politics.
The issue of immigration will loom over this fall’s midterm elections as Biden struggles with how to end Trump-era immigration policy that has kept US borders largely closed.
The related issues of voting rights and election security often pit GOP-led states like Georgia, Texas and Florida against big cities with their large minority populations.
Seeking accountability from social media companies. Democratic politicians like New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued Sunday that social media companies should bear some responsibility.
“This spreads like a virus,” Hochul told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” She said CEOs of social media companies must look a their policies and do more to take racist content down.
“They have to be able to identify when information like this — the second it hits the platform, it needs to be taken down, because this is spreading like wildfire.”
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla who has been in the process of buying Twitter, has said he would go in the opposite direction. He’s a self-described free speech absolutist and would allow more, not less, speech online.
Buffalo and gun laws. The gun control debate has shown us that even tragic shooting after tragic shooting will lead to very little concrete action so long as a minority of senators, locked together, can stop any legislation
New York already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and Hochul said she would look to close loopholes in state law that she said allowed magazines like the one apparently used in Buffalo across state lines.
Separately, Bash asked Pelosi if Democrats should place higher priority on passing gun safety measures like a stricter background check proposal passed by the House that was stalled in the Senate. Pelosi argued the math makes passing such bills a challenge.
“The fact is the 60-vote majority in the Senate is an obstacle to doing any, many good things, unfortunately, and again, we are not going away until the job is done,” Pelosi said.

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Ukraine won the 2022 Eurovision because of politics – The Washington Post



Even before this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, commentators claimed that if Ukraine took home the trophy, it would not be for the quality of its folk-rap entry, “Stefania.” Instead, it would be a sign of European support for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

The Eurovision Song Contest allows countries to enter songs — but also to vote for the songs entered by other countries (each country nominates a jury of representatives to vote on its behalf). Several country representatives didn’t exactly try to hide their sympathy for the Ukrainian cause. When Poland’s representatives were asked for their jury vote, they mentioned “artistic creativity” — but also the bravery of Ukrainian fighters.

And it’s true: Ukraine’s victory on Saturday was political. This doesn’t make it unusual. Eurovision has always been about politics, even if the European Broadcasting Union (the organization that runs Eurovision) sometimes claims the opposite.

Past Eurovision songs have taken aim at Russia

In the past, Russia’s neighbors have weaponized Eurovision songs to retaliate against Russian actions. In 2007, Ukraine submitted a song called “Dancing Lasha Tumbai.” In Ukrainian, the pronunciation sounds very much like “Russia Goodbye.” After Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, that country tried the same trick with a song called “We Don’t Wanna Put In” — coincidentally pronounced in the song like “we don’t want a Putin.” It didn’t work; the entry was promptly disqualified. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukraine’s entry was a song about the Soviet deportation of Crimean Tatars. The song, entitled “1944,” also won the contest.

An analysis of voting patterns demonstrates that Russia, too, has engaged in Eurovision politics. Since Russia first entered the contest in 1994, its entry has frequently finished in the top five. Is that due to the quality of its entrants? Maybe, but many watchers also have noted how Russia almost always collects “douze points” (12 points: the maximum) from Belarus and other allies. This year, Russia was banned from participating.

Not all of the politics is about Russia’s actions

So, would Eurovision be apolitical if Russia’s ban from the contest became permanent? Hardly. While many of the recent political scandals have involved Russia, it’s not the only country that sparks controversy.

Israel’s participation in Eurovision means that many Arab countries do not participate, even though Libya, Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan are all eligible. Morocco’s first and only appearance in the contest was in a year Israel did not participate. In 2005, Lebanon withdrew rather than broadcast the Israeli entry.

Nor have Western European nations avoided politics. 1974’s Eurovision might be best known for introducing the world to ABBA. The Portuguese entry was more politically consequential: It served as a signal for coup plotters to begin the overthrow of Portugal’s authoritarian regime. Nor was that all; Italy censored its own entry that year, for fear that listening to “Sì” too many times would influence voters to vote “sì” (yes) in a referendum the next month to make divorce legal.

Eurovision has been political from the start

None of this is entirely surprising. Eurovision — and the European Broadcasting Union — was founded in the aftermath of World War II. The aim was to promote European cooperation. If it gave European nations a way to compete without guns and bombs, that was all to the good. There are worse ways for nations to vie for supremacy than with song and dance.

Given these foundations, it is safe to say that “Stefania” is not undermining any proud vision of political neutrality in Eurovision. It is very likely that Ukraine did win because of the Russian invasion — but it will be neither the first nor the last time that Eurovision expresses politics through the medium of a song contest. The solidarity that other European countries have expressed with Ukraine, and their implicit condemnation of Russia’s invasion, is not out of keeping with the contest’s political beginnings.

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