The World and Everything in It: September 21, 2022
On Washington Wednesday, Ukraine’s battlefield gains and U.S. aid; on World Tour, the latest international news; and a program in Wisconsin that aims to help people suffering from memory loss. Plus: commentary from Joel Belz, and the Wednesday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Ukraine launched a major counter offensive against Russia and regained some territory. Has the tide changed?
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Washington Wednesday.
Also today, WORLD Tour.
And a library that helps people living with dementia.
REICHARD: It’s Wednesday, September 21st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Now the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Fiona latest » AUDIO: [Rain]
Relentless rain and winds well over 100 miles per hour blasted the Turks and Caicos Islands Tuesday.
Hurricane Fiona slammed the British territory as a Category 3 storm after it devastated Puerto Rico.
Ernesto Morales with the National Weather Service:
MORALES: There’s a lot of lost houses. Roads are blocked because of the trees.
Fiona brought catastrophic flooding to Puerto Rico. One resident recorded the moment a swollen river swallowed a bridge and carried it downstream.
Most people are still without power.
The storm is expected to be a Category 4 hurricane as it approaches Bermuda on Friday.
Migrant transportation to sanctuary cities » Lawyers for migrants recently flown from Florida to the Massachusetts resort island of Martha’s Vineyard filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his transportation secretary.
DeSantis says the migrants signed up voluntarily for the flight. But the suit claims they were misled about their destination.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre complained Tuesday about more reported flights that may be taking migrants from Florida to President Biden’s home state of Delaware.
PIERRE: Our heads up did not come from Gov. DeSantis because his only goal, as he’s made it really clear, is to create chaos.
But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says the chaos stems from Biden’s immigration policies.
DESANTIS: He’s giving a false promise, the border’s open, luring these people to come here for political purposes, and then basically cutting these people loose and leaving them high and dry.
Republicans also accuse the White House of hypocrisy, pointing to the Biden administration’s release of migrants in small towns last year.
Immigration record » Meantime, the number of migrants crossing the U.S. southern border just set a new record. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.
KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: U.S. migrant encounters have now officially topped 2 million so far in the fiscal year for the first time.
That after border officials released new numbers for the month of August reporting more than 200,000 migrant encounters last month.
A record number of Venezuelans crossed the southern border in August, more than 25,000.
That makes Venezuelans the second-largest nationality after Mexicans among migrants attempting to enter the United States without authorization.
Department of Homeland Security data show that border officials have stopped nearly 80 people on the terrorist watch list at the southern border in the past year.
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.
Russia Ukraine referendum » Moscow’s handpicked officials in Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine are planning to vote this week to become part of Russia.
Kyiv and Western allies consider the votes to be a farce. U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken:
BLINKEN: None of this, the sham referenda, the potential mobilization of additional forces, is a show of strength. On the contrary, it’s a sign of weakness.
The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war by claiming it’s actually defending Russian territory.
United Nations » The UN General Assembly is meeting in person this week for the first time since the start of the pandemic. President Biden will address the assembly today. He’s expected to, among other things, declare continued, steadfast support for Ukraine.
Leaders will also hear a recorded address as soon as today from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Russia failed last week to stop the UN from giving Zeleneskyy permission to speak by video from Kyiv.
Zelenskyy had been slated to speak in person today.
Trump-special master conference » The independent legal expert tasked with reviewing documents the FBI seized from Donald Trump’s home met with lawyers from both sides for the first time yesterday. WORLD’s Anna Johansen Brown has that story.
ANNA JOHANSEN BROWN, REPORTER: The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was to sort out the next steps in the review process.
Special master Raymond Dearie signaled that he plans to work quickly.
Trump’s lawyers are resisting Dearie's inquiries about whether the seized records were declassified. They said that issue could be part of their defense in the event of an indictment.
But Dearie appeared unsatisfied with that answer.
He said if Trump's lawyers will not assert that the records have been declassified, and the Justice Department makes an acceptable case that they are still classified, then, he said, “as far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Anna Johansen Brown.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: has the tide turned in the war in Ukraine?
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 21st of September, 2022.
Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s Washington Wednesday.
Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on much these days, but they do agree on supporting Ukraine against the Russians.
The United States has contributed roughly $16 billion in military support to Ukraine along with other aid.
And Ukraine’s military has put it to effective use. In a recent counteroffensive Ukrainian forces have recaptured a lot of territory in the country’s east forcing a chaotic Russian retreat in some places.
Here to help us understand Ukraine’s battlefield gains and the role of U.S. support going forward is John Hardie. He’s an expert on Russian foreign and security policy and U.S. policy toward Russia. He’s with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
REICHARD: John, good morning!
JOHN HARDIE, GUEST: Good morning. Great to be with you.
REICHARD: Well, let’s start with this major counteroffensive. Has the tide turned and how significant are Ukraine’s gains in recent weeks?
HARDIE: Well, they’re certainly significant. Ukraine took back most of Kharkiv Oblast, the territory that was occupied by the Russians. They did it by, essentially, mounting, massing a considerable force near a town called Balakliya and breaking through very thinly defended Russian lines and then pushing up to a key logistics hub in a town called Kup'yans'k, which basically forced the Russians to withdraw all their forces, pushing southward toward Slovyansk. This is one of the last key cities in the Donetsk Oblast. So, they’re very significant gains. I would call this a turning point in the war. There’s a lot of hard fighting left to do but it’s clear that the correlation of forces is trending in Ukraine’s favor, whereas the Russians are suffering with an increasingly severe manpower problem.
REICHARD: Vladimir Putin has been reluctant to call this a war (as opposed to a “special military operation) and fully mobilize conscripts and reserve forces. Is that Putin’s next move? What’ll it mean if he does?
HARDIE: Well, it could be. I mean, we’ve seen just as recently as yesterday, new legislation in the Douma that would impose penalties for basically refusing to go along with that. So, that could be laying the groundwork for some kind of mobilization decision. It could also just be, depending on how the law is applied, it could be trying to address Russia’s current problem with at least thousands of soldiers who are refusing to continue fighting. So, Putin could avail himself of an option to conduct some kind of mobilization. A more practical, immediate-term solution would be to deploy conscripts en masse. Earlier in the war, Russia deployed some small number of conscripts which they were not supposed to do because conscripts were not supposed to fight abroad except in some dire circumstances. And remember, as you just said, this is billed as a special military operation, not a war. So, at this point, Putin could say, “Ok, this is a war. I’m going to deploy conscripts,” which would make available some tens of thousands of conscripts in the ground forces. And then in the coming months, he could conduct some sort of partial mobilization where you call up additional personnel, probably starting with folks in key specialty areas where the Russians might be short. But both of these measures would come with big significant domestic stability risks, because they'd be very unpopular and I suspect Putin knows that, which is why the Kremlin thus far has been emphatic in saying any sort of mobilization is not on the table.
REICHARD: The Pentagon’s intelligence chief said this week that Russian forces are not capable of achieving Putin’s original goals. Remind us, what were Putin’s original goals and what does he now hope to achieve by continuing this war?
HARDIE: Right, so Putin’s overall goal is to reverse Ukraine’s drift or escape from Russia, Russia's sphere of influence, and Putin wants to reverse that and basically dominate Ukraine. That's his ultimate goal. The way he's gonna do that or try to do that was by overthrowing the government in Kyiv and installing a puppet regime.So that was the initial objective before the war began. He quickly realized that that wasn't going to happen. And he's sort of pared back his military objectives to taking the rest of the Donbass. But again, the ultimate goal I don't think has changed. I think the Intelligence Committee would probably agree with that. So, yeah, in terms of in terms of Putin's initial military goal, that obviously wasn't accomplished. Taking the rest of Donbass, that probably will not be accomplished either. In fact, the Kharkiv Oblast counteroffensive, which was so successful, has probably put the nail in that coffin. The Russian forces that were arrayed, pushing southward towards Slovyansk were really key to that effort and without that prong pushing southward, I don't really see it happening.
REICHARD: In a military sense now, what support from the United States and NATO allies has had the most impact, would you say?
HARDIE: Well, I think it has evolved throughout the war. Early on, we saw things like javelins, stingers played a big role, those are still definitely important. But you know, during the second phase of this operation, when the focus shifted to the east, it was much more artillery-centric. Artillery definitely played an important part in the first phase, but in the second phase, artillery was really the way that Russia was making any gains at all is by just massing really, really enormous rates of artillery fire, and then sort of inching forward. And so the Ukrainians had to be able to withstand and counter that. In the third phase, I think as Ukraine has tried to go on a counter offensive, they've done a couple of things really well with Western support. One is use HIMARS and other long range precision strike capabilities to degrade Russian logistics, command and control, air defenses, other high value targets of that nature. And they've also used Western armored vehicles, etcetera, protected mobility platforms to be able to move around on the battlefield and conduct these counter offenses
REICHARD: Ukraine’s been asking for fighter jets ever since this war started. Is the United States going to supply those or not?
HARDIE: Well, it's a great question. If we did, I think it would be something that wouldn't necessarily impact the war within the coming months. This would probably be a year or longer sort of conversation. And one legitimate concern is even after we train up the pilots, we'd probably have to put American contractors in Ukraine to service the planes. So I understand hesitancy to do that. I think, in general, some of the Biden administration's concerns throughout the war about provoking Russia is probably unfounded and too cautious. But in this case, I understand the concern about risking the lives of Americans. So, we'll see. I think we definitely should continue to explore that option, but there are some legitimate obstacles.
REICHARD: Final question. In your view, what’s the most important thing most people don’t know about what’s happening in Ukraine right now?
HARDIE: Well, I think I'd say one thing I don't know is what Putin is going to do going forward regarding the mobilization question that we discussed. To me that's really the key question, because, Russia, as I mentioned before, is very short on manpower. They're having to spread increasingly thin forces across the battlefield, which results in situations like we just saw in Kharkiv, where they just don't have the forces to defend against Ukrainian counter offenses. Meanwhile, Ukraine is using western military aid to equip additional forces. So, really, the trend there is going in Ukraine's favor. This will be a bigger problem for Russia, as a lot of the personnel that they've signed up on short term contracts as sort of stop-gap solution throughout the war, you know, those contracts will expire. So some of them might want to take the money and run so to speak. So this manpower issue is going to be increasingly salient. And I think Putin is sort of caught between a rock and a hard place of military reality versus domestic political risks. And I, for one, don't know how he's gonna address it all right.
REICHARD: John Hardie is with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. John, thanks so much for your time!
HARDIE: Alright. Thank you.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: WORLD Tour with Onize Ohikere, our reporter in Africa.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Lebanon bank heists— We kickoff today in Lebanon.
AUDIO: [Crowd cheering]
A knife-wielding man and his son stormed a bank in the town of Ghaziyeh, demanding funds he had deposited. Banks across the country recorded five such heists in a single day last week. Lebanon’s currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value. To cope with the crisis, banks stopped customers from accessing their funds.
The spate of armed attacks came two days after a woman identified as Sali Hafiz made off with $13,000. Hafiz said she needed the funds for her sister’s cancer treatment. Her actions drew quick support and praise on social media.
AUDIO: [Bank employees talking]
Lebanon’s public prosecutor told police to arrest those involved. Financial lenders launched a three-day closure ending today due to the attacks.
Spanish rescue— We head over to the Mediterranean, where a Spanish rescue ship picked up nearly 400 migrants in 24 hours.
AUDIO: [Ongoing rescue]
Open Arms rescued 294 people from an overcrowded barge south of Malta before dawn on Sunday. They had drifted for four days, and many were suffering from dehydration. In an earlier operation, Open Arms picked up 59 migrants from an oil platform in Tunisian waters.
Spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said the rescue crew found the body of one migrant who was shot and killed by smugglers. The crew rescued another 19 people from a rubber dinghy off the Libyan coast.
More than 1,600 migrants have died along the dangerous central Mediterranean route this year.
U.S. Armenia visit— Next, to Armenia.
AUDIO: [Cheering Nancy Pelosi]
Hundreds of cheering Armenians gathered Sunday in the capital city to welcome U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She is the highest-ranking U.S. official ever to visit the country.
Pelosi blamed Azerbaijan for initiating the latest clash between the warring neighbors. More than 200 people were killed in the fighting. A U.S.-brokered ceasefire is still holding.
PELOSI: The democracy of Armenia is of value to us in America and in our relationships with other countries in the mix here, we should be using our influence, our leverage, showing that Armenian democracy and sovereignty is a priority.
Ahead of her statement, Pelosi tearfully laid flowers at a hilltop memorial for the more than one million Armenians killed in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
China factory— We wrap up today in China.
AUDIO: [Machines working]
Hundreds of workers wearing orange T-shirts hunched over sewing machines in a factory south of Shanghai.
Less than two hours after Queen Elizabeth the Second died, the factory began receiving a flurry of orders. So workers set aside other jobs and began pulling 14-hour days to meet the demand for British-themed flags.
They range from eight to 59 inches and sell for a dollar each. The factory’s general manager said workers made about 500,000 flags in the first week.
That’s it for this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Deanna Mae Garvin says she’s never received this much attention in her nearly 80 years of life.
But now the Ohio grandma has gone viral after her performance inside a Goodwill thrift store.
She stopped in to buy a karaoke machine for her frequent performances at nursing homes and she asked an employee for help. He agreed, but he asked for a song in exchange.
So she went with one of her favorites: “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
A customer quickly grabbed his phone to record.
SCHUERFRANZ: She’s just having a great time, and I thought this is wonderful! I mean, what a spirit!’
This is John Schuerfranz, he posted his video to Facebook, and it quickly went viral.
Garvin told TV station WLWT that she loves to sing. But above all, she loves to share her love for the Lord.
GARVIN: Without Him, I don’t think I could do all of this.
It’s The World and Everything in It.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 21st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
Coming next on The World and Everything in It: losing memories, and making them.
September is World Alzheimer’s Month. More than 55 million people around the world suffer from some kind of dementia. That’s a group of diseases that affect brain functions like memory and decision-making. Alzheimer’s is one in that group.
EICHER: There’s no cure for it, but there are ways to help. WORLD Associate Correspondent Koryn Koch visited one program in Wisconsin that helps those suffering memory loss.
AUDIO: Do you want decaf or regular? Decaf? And do you want black? Cream? Okay…
KORYN KOCH, REPORTER: Don’t walk into the library Memory Cafe expecting a cappuccino or croissant. They do have coffee there, but you’re more likely to get a fun fidget toy, a crossword puzzle, or a blast from the past. You see, a Memory Café isn’t about coffee.
HOUNSLOW: A Memory Cafe is a social activity for people living with dementia and their caregiver to come and it's designed to help the two of them bond together.
That’s Suzanne Hounslow. She runs the outreach for disabilities program at the Whitewater, Wisconsin library. That includes running the library’s Memory Café.
HOUNSLOW: …and today we’re going to do the theme, take me out to the ballgame! So, who has been to a ballgame?
One of the obvious goals of the memory café is to bring back memories for people suffering from dementia. There are many things that can help, from pictures and stories to old uniforms and baseballs. Music is especially important.
HOUNSLOW: We always try to do something with music for at least part of the program. Music tends to bring back a lot of memories and even people that didn't sing or play an instrument will often respond to the music by swaying or just keeping time a bit.
Today’s theme is baseball, so “Take me out to the ballgame” is an obvious choice.
AUDIO: So you’re gonna sing with me now, even though you don’t have any beer? - yeah… -yeah?
Today, there are only four or five attendees, plus a few staff members and the guest speaker. The staff and attendees tease each other and threaten to throw baseballs around the library.
CONVERSATION: We are not allowed to throw these, alright? I’ve been warned. So if I pass them around, yall, hold them in your hand and nicely pass them to the next person, alright? … - so can I throw it at Tanya? - yes - no! - you’d better hold on to that - you guys are naughty!
The program isn’t just about memories, though. It’s about serving a demographic that often finds itself with nowhere else to go. Angela Meyers is a library consultant. She coordinates the Memory Cafe program at libraries across Wisconsin. Meyers believes having a place to go is one of the main appeals of the program.
MEYERS: …and that's something that people really seem to have grabbed a hold of is coming to our memory cafes to be with other people, which helps with social isolation, which often happens with people living with memory loss.
In fact, that’s exactly why Suzanne Hounslow wanted to bring the Memory Café to her town.
HOUNSLOW: Living with memory loss is incredibly isolating both for the person affected and the person taking care of them. There tend to be limitations on the types of things that they can do and where people are going to be understanding of any behaviors that might come up that are related to memory loss and the anxiety that that brings.
And it’s not just the attendees who enjoy the time at the library— the staff do as well.
HOUNSLOW: I had one gentleman who mistook me for one of his relatives and continued to call me by her name and hold my hand through most of it and wanted me to sit with him and I just went with it and was right there with him. And when I stood up to speak to introduce the next musician who was going to play, he stood up with me and helped me do it and then he kept patting my hand and telling me I did such a good job. And he was so proud of me. So that was that was very sweet.
Angela Meyers says her job isn’t hard.
MEYERS: It's just you know, being kind, being a good listener, being empathetic. Just you know, being there for people and being patient is what's most important.
But although Meyers enjoys the work, running the Memory Cafe is not all fun and games.
MEYERS: Probably the biggest challenge our group faces is that oftentimes people might not hear of our Memory Cafes until they're further along in their disease. So maybe they've only been able to attend a handful of our Memory Cafes before it's not a good fit for them anymore.
As the disease progresses, it gets more difficult to be out and about, so helping people find the program at the right time is a struggle.
And there’s another tough thing about the memory café. The people who come are older and their health isn’t great. There’s always the possibility of loss.
MEYERS: If the persons living with memory loss pass, that is often just difficult news to hear after we've gotten to know people.
But nobody at the Memory Café seems to dwell on their losses, whether it’s of memories or friends.
CONVERSATION: - I gotta watch out for you too now, oh my gosh! - we have fun don’t we? - that’s right - we do have fun, we do, but, you know, people like her, you watch out for her for me, okay? In case I get too busy and she get’s too rowdy. You let me know.
MEYERS: ...as soon as we open the door to the Memory Cafe, everything else goes to the wayside… it's a time to come together and just visit with other people and have a good time and possibly work on a project together.
Small as the Whitewater Memory Café may be, Suzanne Hounslow hopes it sends a message.
HOUNSLOW: Having a Memory Cafe at the library also helps educate the public in general, that people with memory loss still have value and still are part of our community. And we want them included and we want them out where they can experience things that make them happy.
Reporting for World, I’m Koryn Koch in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 21st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. WORLD Founder Joel Belz has written commentary for WORLD Magazine for more than 35 years. This summer, we began airing some of his classic columns. This week, we resume that series.
His topic today couldn’t be more relevant: the rising cost of the roof over your head.
REICHARD: In January of this year, one survey showed that American households spend 37% of their income on housing. That’s down a few points from the stats you’ll hear Joel cite in this commentary from the late 1980s. But not much.
And while the times change, many things don’t, including the very human desire for more than we need.
JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: Economists Frank Levy and Richard Michael have calculated that in 1949, it took just 14% of an average 30 year old man's paycheck to make the payments on an average home. By 1985, the figure was 44%. That's the kind of comparison that grabs your attention. And in the process makes you feel a little sorry for yourself, or at least for your children.
Robert Kuttner proposed a point in the New Republic, and quoting Levy and Michael, “by suggesting that a family home is fast becoming a luxury available only to the wealthy, or to those who inherited enough money from their parents to buy a house for themselves.”
I believe Kutner, while making an intriguing point, misses a more important one. The point he misses is that while the relative cost of housing may indeed have increased dramatically since 1949, something else has increased even more dramatically–our expectations of what life owes us. Most of us clearly arrived at young adulthood, assuming some kind of inalienable right to three bedrooms, two baths, a garbage disposal, and at least one fireplace. No, that's not a caricature. It is literally what peer pressure has led us to expect of life.
My point here has little to do with the price of houses either now or 40 years ago. It has instead to do with society's inability to defer the gratification of its desires. We Christians are in this regard virtually indistinguishable from the society we live in. And by blending in with our surroundings, we have missed a strategic opportunity for witness to a key element of the gospel.
Make no mistake here. This is not another call to simple living, at least not on a permanent basis. The guilt I suggest we ought to feel has less to do with enjoying the good things God has made than it does with the timing in which we are privileged to enjoy them. Like the world around us, we Christians tend to assume early enjoyment is our prerogative. But Christians of all people should understand that the MasterCard mentality is not the way to master life.
The pattern Jesus established was one of differing desires, not because the fulfillment of desire is wrong, but he said because my time has not yet come. Most of us think our time has come just five minutes after the desire first pops into our minds. Yet few concepts are more central to a Christian way of thinking than the ideal of deferring a present desire, in the confidence that something richer lies down the road. It is a constant and unrelenting theme of Scripture. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,” Jesus said, “it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Deferral now, rich reward later.
He understood the concept perfectly in his obedience to the death on the cross as of course the key to his and our own future glory. The theme permeates our lives. Train now, win the game later. Pull the weeds now. Enjoy the sweet corn later. Skip the dessert now. Enjoy a trim waistline later. The principle is everywhere. Except in our consumer consciousness.
The problem isn't that too few of us have inherited money from our parents to buy the houses of the style in which we have become accustomed to live. The problem is our impatience with living in a slightly lesser style. It would be a great thing if Christians could teach such a lesson to the world. But before we can teach it persuasively, we'll probably have to learn it for ourselves.
REICHARD: That’s WORLD founder Joel Belz, reading a version of his commentary titled “Deferring Our Desires” from his book, Consider These Things. The commentary originally appeared in the May 11, 1987 issue of WORLD Magazine.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Washington state’s ban on so-called conversion therapy for children. We’ll talk to WORLD legal correspondent Steve West about where things stand.
Plus, taking the theological temperature of the American church.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
Jesus said: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45 ESV)
Go now in grace and peace.
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