- The Washington Times
Wednesday, June 1, 2022

NEWS AND OPINION:

Such interesting but hair-raising times we live in.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not caught Finland unprepared,” advised a Reuters news agency report posted by Arctic Today.


“Even the Santa Claus theme park in his ‘hometown’ in the snowy north is ready to stand down its elves and revert to its original function — an emergency bomb shelter in case of attack,” the report said.

The Santa Claus Village — located in the Lapland city of Rovaniemi — draws thousands of visitors each year who wander the “secret” underground corridors to discover Santa’s post office, an elf school, Christmas tree and other holiday favorites.

“Its main purpose, however, is far from festive. Carved into a hill, the shelter is equipped to withstand bombings or a chemical or nuclear attack and could house 3,600 people. It has camping beds, first aid kits and even equipment to dig a tunnel back to the surface in case the construction collapses. A separate well provides water, although people would need to bring their own food,” the report said.

“In the event of a crisis, Rovaniemi residents will be protected here,” noted Tapio Hietakangas, Rovaniemi’s chief of security.

The Santa theme park and bomb shelter is just one of 50,000 similar sites in Finland, all constructed after the nation engaged in “The Winter War” following a Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939.

“Normally housing swimming pools, sports centers or parking garages during peacetime, this vast network has become part of everyday life across Finland. They can be converted into emergency housing for some 80% of its 5.5 million population within hours should military action spill over the 810-mile Finland-Russia border or even in case of a nuclear plant disaster in Russia. Warehouses have stores of food, fuel and drugs,” the Reuters report said.

PENCE WATCH

The presidential campaign trail is already busy in New Hampshire.

“He may have been campaigning in one of the most pro-choice states, governed by a pro-choice GOP governor, but former Vice President Mike Pence did not hold back on his old-time religion Republicanism while on the Granite State stump,” reported the New Hampshire Journal.

“At every appearance during his recent day in New Hampshire, the likely 2024 presidential candidate reminded the GOP crowds that, ‘I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican — and in that order,’” the Journal said, noting that Mr. Pence also praised a predecessor.

“In the 48 months after the 2016 election, the Trump/Pence administration achieved the lowest unemployment, the highest household income, the most energy production, the most pro-American trade deals, the most secure border, and the strongest military in the history of the world. We created 7 million jobs, cut taxes and regulations, and became a net energy exporter for the first time, and we reduced illegal immigration by 90%,” the former veep advised the crowd.

MONICA LEWINSKY HAS A SAY

Former White House intern and anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky offers her take on the bout between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, which finally ended Wednesday with a judgment favoring Mr. Depp.

“Because the trial has also been available live on our TV screens, we think, subconsciously, that we have a right to look and watch. To judge. To comment,” she wrote in an essay for Vanity Fair.

“This blurring of public figures and private lives can do a number on us — as bystanders, as an audience. We end up being torn between our parasocial relationships with celebrities (we identify with them; we pretend that, gee, we actually know them) and our need to see public personalities taken down a notch or two — and taken down publicly — so as to make our wounded selves feel better in comparison. As Aldous Huxley put it in ‘Brave New World,’ we are hooked on soma, a drug that we think is making us feel better but is actually numbing us. Huxley, of course, wouldn’t blame us as we go about braving our new world of COVID variants, monkeypox, Ukraine, politics, and mass murders,” Ms. Lewinsky continued.

“And courtroom porn does just the trick,” she said.

THE GOP ON PATROL

The Republican Party continues to monitor the porous southern U.S. border, with an eye on “gotaways” — those illegal immigrants who dodge law enforcement agents and enter the U.S.

“There were 1,652 known gotaways in the Del Rio, Texas, sector last weekend, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. The Department of Homeland Security has no idea who they are, where they’re going or if they’re a security threat to the United States,” points out Torunn Sinclair, spokesperson for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“An estimated 600,000 gotaways have evaded Border Patrol and entered the U.S. illegally since President Biden took office,” she continued.

“The U.S.-Mexico border is not safe or secure — and President Biden isn’t doing a thing about it,” Ms. Sinclair concluded.

FOXIFIED

During the week of May 23-29, Fox News bested its rivals for the 67th consecutive week, drawing 2.2 million primetime viewers. In comparison, MSNBC attracted 1 million viewers and CNN just 742,000. In addition, Fox News also aired 89 of the top 100 cable news telecasts for the week.

Among the standouts: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the most popular cable news program of the week with an average of 3.5 million viewers per night, followed by “The Five” in second place with 3,339,000.

Late night talk show “Gutfeld!” averaged 2 million viewers per night, beating broadcast rivals ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on ABC (1.6 million) and NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” (1.3 million).

POLL DU JOUR

• 77% of U.S. adults say the overall economic outlook in the U.S. is “getting worse.”

• 46% say current economic conditions in the U.S. are “poor.”

• 39% say the conditions are “only fair.”

• 13% say the conditions are “good.”

• 1% say they are “excellent.”

SOURCE: A Gallup poll of 1,007 U.S. adults conducted May 2-22.

• Helpful information to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.


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