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Ukraine’s Memory Wars
Plus, What Matters About Ginni Thomas’s Texts.
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CHARLIE SYKES: 9 Things You Need to Know About Ginni's Texts. 🔐
HANNAH YOEST: Race Day: The Full Monty.
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CATHY YOUNG: Ukraine’s Memory Wars.
Today’s war in Ukraine has a prehistory going back centuries, to when more westward-oriented and European Slavic states diverged from eastward-looking, autocratic Muscovite Russia. But no part of that history is more contentious than the events of World War II, when a large portion of Ukrainian combatants did not fight for the Soviet Army against the Wehrmacht but for Ukrainian nationalist forces whose relationship to the Germans was a mix of conflict, coexistence, and collaboration. Pro-Western Ukrainians tend to lionize those groups’ leaders—at least, whitewashed versions thereof—as national heroes.
Take the case of Stepan Bandera, for whom there are streets named in Kyiv and Lviv. For most Russians, “Banderovite” (often rendered as “Banderite” in English) is still synonymous, as it was in Soviet rhetoric, with “fascist thug”—so the celebration of Bandera feeds right into the “Ukrainian Nazis” trope. For many Ukrainians, it’s a much more complicated story. They point out that Bandera, the head of the political wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), was arrested by the Nazis in July 1941, shortly after the German invasion of the USSR, for advocating Ukrainian independence; he was held in a concentration camp in solitary confinement until September 1944, when things were going so badly for the Germans on the Eastern front that they were trying to recruit help anywhere they could. His two brothers died in Auschwitz. (The victim narratives usually leave out the fact that Bandera had worked with German military intelligence before the invasion.)
AMANDA CARPENTER: What Matters About Ginni Thomas’s Texts.
Given the revelation of Mrs. Thomas’s direct communications with the White House chief of staff lobbying on specific legal matters relating to Jan. 6th, an explanation seems warranted.
Why, exactly, did Justice Thomas believe that White House communications related to Jan. 6th deserved to be shielded? Was this a constitutional decision or a personal one? This is a legitimate question.
It is important to note that the only reason these communications were publicly revealed is that they were among the thousands of messages Meadows turned over to the committee. Meaning: They were not in the tranche of documents the National Archives provided the committee.
But did Justice Thomas know where his wife’s text messages with the White House chief of staff would turn up? Did he know that they would not be part of the National Archives material? This brings us close to the core question: What knowledge did Justice Thomas have about his wife’s activities related to Jan. 6th, particularly related to legal challenges to the election that were extremely likely to come before the Supreme Court?
Ginni Thomas was all-in for a coup and locking Biden up at Gitmo. And after Trump’s back-stabbing, Mo Brooks now sounds like he’s ready to talk to the January 6 committee. It was a week of jackassery and jerkitude — Mona Charen joins Charlie Sykes on the weekend podcast to break it all down.
The Washington Post’s Charles Lane joins the group to mull whether Putin is intimidating the West with nuclear threats and if so, how to respond? Also, the KBJ hearings reveal a GOP deep into “jackassery.”
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SONNY BUNCH: ‘The Lost City’ Review.
Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, and Brad Pitt are all featured players in The Lost City. But who is the biggest star in the movie?
I’ll give you a moment to consider. Is it Bullock, whose range runs the gamut from hit actioners like Speed to Oscar bait like The Blind Side to comedies like The Heat? Channing Tatum, whose work with Steven Soderbergh and the Coens have helped critics and viewers alike see him as more than a pair of washboard abs best known for the dancing series Step Up and the meta comedy 21 Jump Street? Or Brad Pitt, whose global appeal helps get financially dodgy but artistically important movies like 12 Years a Slave produced?
Settled on an answer? That’s right, the biggest star in The Lost City is … Daniel Radcliffe?
GEORGE THOMAS: The Constitution at War With Itself.
In the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln cast the nation as “conceived in liberty” and “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In doing so, he drew on the Declaration of Independence, dating the founding of the nation to 1776, and not to the Constitution of 1787. The relationship between the principles put forward in the Declaration and the Constitution’s compromise with slavery has long vexed America. We have too often treated the compromise with slavery as a minor detail; in much of our public discussion about the founding, the “peculiar institution” is seen as deeply problematic but we gloss over the fact that it took a civil war, costing hundreds of thousands of American lives, to wash away America’s “original sin.” And we also gloss over the fact that it took the Civil War Amendments to recast the Constitution, making it “worthy of the saving.” Americans tend to treat the Constitution written in 1787 and set in motion in 1789 as the same Constitution we currently live under in 2022, as if slavery, civil war, and a second founding were just a few rough patches in an otherwise placid journey.
Noah Feldman’s The Broken Constitution eloquently and powerfully forces us to face these too often neglected questions. As Feldman tells it, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address foreshadows the creation of a second Constitution—a better Constitution that places the moral principles of the Declaration at its heart. But to fully apprehend Lincoln’s refounding, we need to understand that Lincoln broke the original Constitution; yet we so live in the world remade by Lincoln that we have trouble glimpsing this fundamental rupture in our constitutional past, which cannot be neatly captured by singular dates like 1619 and 1776.
Happy Friday! And it’s a happier Friday for me because, despite being a Friday in Lent, I can eat meat. Had I known this earlier, I would have been smoking a brisket!
Fortenberry convicted… The Nebraska Republican was found guilty of three felony counts of lying to federal agents about an illegal campaign donation.
Be Kind, Cleveland! Unbeknownst to me, my home town is trying to come the “kindest place in the country.” Not to be a pessimist, but until our sports woes are solved, this seems… unlikely?
If Ginni Thomas’s texts don’t shock you… Nothing will, argues Matt Lewis: “Trump’s refusal to accept that he lost—enabled by conservative elites like Ginni Thomas—is a festering wound on American democracy. Be outraged about it, or don’t act outraged about anything.”
Barring the Details… Gabriel Schoenfeld writes: “In his memoirs, former Attorney General William Barr reveals himself to be a skilled lawyer and a confirmed toady.”
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