Editorial: Short takes on censors in Russia and a foolish governor in Florida | Editorial

By the Editorial Board

Good food, but about that invasion. . .

Russian President Vladimir Putin is so desperate to erase critical national commentary on his leadership and his invasion of Ukraine that he has ordered police to arrest thousands of protesters while his censors regularly sift through posts print, TV and Internet to ensure that only articles praising Putin appear. This helps explain why Russian soldiers would have been surprised when attacked in Ukraine, as state-controlled media in Moscow portrays the Ukrainian people as welcoming Russian troops with rose petals and cookies.

According to Reuters, to circumvent Russian censors in hopes of communicating the truth to the Russian public, astute netizens have started embedding critical commentary into what might otherwise seem innocuous posts such as restaurant reviews.

A Moscow seafood restaurant review said: “The deployment of troops to Ukraine is a war, not a special operation. The Russian army is killing children and civilians!!!! »

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Another said: “The place was nice! However, Putin spoiled our mood by invading Ukraine. Stand up against your dictator, stop killing innocent people! Your government is lying to you.

Some dissidents have even urged people to post text comments on Google Maps, which appear in the notes whenever users click on something they’re interested in. The idea is to create so many such posts that the censors cannot follow. Or, better yet, that they will give up and allow Russians to read what is really going on to change.

It’s all the West’s fault, say socialists

Democratic Socialists of America last week blamed the actions of the United States and NATO for helping to trigger the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Socialists condemned Russian actions while calling on the United States to withdraw from NATO and “end the imperialist expansionism that paved the way for this conflict.” Law.

The group describes itself as the largest socialist organization in America with 92,000 members, including Representative Cori Bush of St. Louis. The current serving members remained silent on the statement, though Bush criticized the Biden administration’s sanctions on Russia.

Other Democrats condemned the statement. White House Rapid Response Director Mike Gwin called the group’s remark ‘shameful’ and urged socialists to re-evaluate why they ‘labeled the deaths of dozens of Ukrainians seeking democracy and freedoms fundamentals in 2014 of “coup d’etat”.

Sleep well

Talk about hospitality. Airbnb says it will temporarily house up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees for free. The company said Monday it was stepping up an effort similar to one it has undertaken since providing relief housing after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The program is run by an affiliated nonprofit, Airbnb.org. The residential offer, for a maximum of 14 days, will be funded by Airbnb and contributions to the organization’s refugee fund, as well as by the hosts themselves.

As reported by The Washington Post, the company is working with the governments of countries close to Ukraine to determine the best locations for free stay services. Although the specific countries and cities have not been announced, the company has already spoken with Hungary, Poland, Romania and Germany.

Since the massive Russian onslaught (which experts at Fox News and others on the right said was not going to happen) began last week, more than a million Ukrainians have fled. Anyone interested in donating to Airbnb’s hosting effort can go to www.airbnb.org/get-involved.

Take off that stupid mask, kid

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spoke at an event at the University of South Florida to highlight some smart stuff, only to sound dumber than ever. The event was to highlight a $20 million investment in new cybersecurity and computer training programs for middle school, high school and college students. Once on stage, DeSantis told the group of high school students standing behind him, “You don’t have to wear those masks. Please remove them. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. We have to stop with this Covid theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but it’s ridiculous.

After the event, Hillsborough School District Superintendent Addison Davis released a statement saying, “It is the choice of the student and parents to protect their health in a manner they deem most appropriate. We are proud of how our students represented themselves and our school district. »

The day after DeSantis reprimanded high school students, his campaign sent out a fundraising letter.

You’re welcome, Governor

More than 18,000 Missouri businesses were recently affected by a computer glitch at the state’s tax processing agency. Perhaps Gov. Mike Parson should charge those who discovered the problem with “hacking.” For those who missed the story of Parson’s bizarre attacks on Post-Dispatch reporter Josh Renaud, it goes like this: Reviewing publicly available state personnel files online, Renaud found that the Teachers’ social security numbers were accessible in the source code of the website – a serious error. . Renaud alerted the state and refrained from publishing a story until the problem could be fixed.

Yet, instead of thanking Renaud, Parson publicly and repeatedly accused him of criminal data “hacking”. Even after the Missouri Highway Patrol confirmed it was the state’s fault, and even after Parson was unable to get a prosecutor to prosecute him, he has yet to issue an apology.

The episode exposed weaknesses in Missouri’s outdated data systems, including the one that has now prompted the state Department of Revenue to tell thousands of businesses they will have to resubmit their tax payments “due to a technical error”.

Maybe the governor thinks it’s also Renaud’s fault.

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