Quick Takes: Russia Warns Dissidents Not to Settle in England

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* This sounds like Putin telling dissidents, “Nice life you’ve got there, wouldn’t want to see anything happen to it.”

Russian state television has warned “traitors” and Kremlin critics that they should not settle in England because of an increased risk of dying in mysterious circumstances.

“Don’t choose England as a place to live. Whatever the reasons, whether you’re a professional traitor to the motherland or you just hate your country in your spare time, I repeat, no matter, don’t move to England,” the presenter Kirill Kleymenov said during a news programme on Channel One, state TV’s flagship station.

“Something is not right there. Maybe it’s the climate. But in recent years there have been too many strange incidents with a grave outcome. People get hanged, poisoned, they die in helicopter crashes and fall out of windows in industrial quantities,” Kleymenov said.

* Rep. Devin Nunes doesn’t seem to know much about how the justice system works. Here’s what he said at a private dinner last night hosted by the American Spectator:

“Now look at who Mueller has prosecuted at this point, and who is left to prosecute for collusion?” he wondered. “I mean, there’s no one left. [Former Trump campaign manager Paul] Manafort would be the obvious guy to think of that was colluding, right? If you could have gotten him on collusion, he would have been the obvious choice. Flynn, I mean, I knew Flynn very very well, and he is not a secret communist supporting Putin. So, they can’t get him on that. So who else do they have?”

I’ve got a tip for you congressman: Mueller hasn’t prosecuted anyone. He has negotiated plea deals and issued indictments, which is exactly how you build a case against your target.

* Yesterday the Senate passed a bill to roll back some of the regulations in the Dodd-Frank bill by a vote of 61-31. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who voted for the bill, was asked how she responded to some of the critiques Sen. Elizabeth Warren lodged against fellow Democrats who supported it.

I’d respond by saying she doesn’t live where I live. I live in rural America, and she could say this about big banks or Wall Street bailouts—that’s certainly not what my community banks believe in North Dakota. I think it’s really unfortunate that she has misled people regarding this bill…The reality is this is a bill that advantages and makes more competitive our Main Street lending institutions.

When asked whether Warren was attempting to rev up opposition on the left to bolster her credentials ahead of a possible presidential run, Heitkamp responded with this:

Unlike some people here, I never ascribe motivation to what people say. I’m assuming that Elizabeth feels strongly about this. She did during the discussions about this when we drafted the Democratic bill in the last Congress. This is no surprise to me that she’s in opposition. She and I see it differently. In fact, completely differently, and I think that’s a result of the perspective that I have coming from a rural community.

* This might be one of the most important take-aways from the Pennsylvania special election.

* A perfect example of white privilege is being able to say “no” to talking about white privilege.

The Oconomowoc Area School District is limiting discussions about social privilege after a Martin Luther King Day exercise that touched on the subject of white privilege set off a firestorm in that predominantly white community…

The Oconomowoc controversy erupted in January after a break-out session in which students were invited to fill out and discuss a “privilege aptitude test.” Created by the National Civil Rights Museum, the test is designed to illustrate the ways in which some groups enjoy advantages that others do not.

While some of the questions focused on race — for example, “When I go to a store, people believe I am trustworthy and I will not steal something” — others touched on privileges related to gender, physical ability and more.

The idea that skin color carries an advantage touched a nerve among some students and parents in the district, where almost 90% of the students are white. Several parents complained, fueled by conservative talk radio. Parents who supported the discussion also weighed in.

But Rindo quashed a proposal by a student club that focuses on equality to follow up with a “privilege walk” — similar to the exercises that have gone viral on social media — saying in an email that the district has to be “prudent and mindful of the context in which we live and work.

Here is what a “privilege walk” looks like:

* Finally, this video clip nails something we all know but aren’t always able to demonstrate so thoroughly.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.