More to ignore, Book 51..........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: All unquiet on the eastern front
Mark Sumner

Two days into what Ukrainian officials have officially labeled “the Battle of Donbas,” there are reports everywhere … though what they mean is difficult to interpret.

GOOD

Near Izyum, where Russian forces have been gathering over the last two weeks, and which was expected to be the northern end of a north-south pincer movement, Ukrainian forces have reportedly advanced from the west, retaking some of the small villages on the outskirts of the city. A similar story is coming from Mariink, a suburb of Donetsk, where Ukrainian forces have driven Russian troops from an area of the town they formally occupied.


Reports also continue to come out of Popanas and Rubizhne that a number of attempted Russian advances have been repulsed. Reports indicate that a number of vehicles have been damaged and drones shot down in these failed attempts.

The U.S. reportedly will deliver seven additional planeloads of weapons to Ukraine within the next day, with getting artillery systems to the front lines a high priority.

screencap.jpg

Area of activity in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.

BAD

Ukrainian forces have retreated from the town of Kreminna, stating that it offered a poor defensive position. Russian forces have reportedly occupied the town and Russian armored vehicles have moved rapidly to the west to at least partially occupy the town of Zarichne. These locations could potentially position Russia to push further west, so that—should those forces in Izyum actually move south—Slavyansk could portentially come under attack from multiple directions. Or Russia could move south from Kreminna with the intention of cutting off Rubizhne. In any case, word that Russia has taken any location is never good, even though this seems to have happened more as the result of Ukraine repositioning its forces rather than direct conflict.

In Mariupol, Russian forces continue to compress the area in which the approximately 1,000 remaining Ukrainian fighters are located. During the day on Tuesday, Russian forces captured what could be the last armored vehicles in control of the Ukrainian forces, as the troops retreated further into the maze of the Azovstal metal works. However, so far there doesn’t seem to be any sign that Russia is repositioning the forces they’ve held in Mariupol as they continue efforts to bomb Ukrainian resistance from its last stronghold.

Russia continues heavy shelling at locations all along the boundary of the area under their control.

MEDIUM

Near Kherson, Ukrainian forces are apparently advancing, but reports indicate that Russian troops have heavily mined the roads inside and outside the city. This is greatly slowing the Ukrainian advance, and attempts to remove mines will under enemy fire are always extremely difficult.

In a Pentagon briefing, U.S. officials indicated that they believe Russia’s efforts in the Donbas are concentrated at Izyum and at Donetsk. An additional two Battalion Tactical Groups reportedly entered Ukraine within the last day, and Russia is reportedly staging air support for the region out of both western Russian and eastern Belarus.

After days of near stasis, there does seem to be genuine movement, and we’re likely seeing the maximum exertion from Russia as they try to turn their isolated actions into something that approximates a coordinated effort. Why they are choosing to do this at this time, when the weather still restricts movements, likely results from political pressure to get something accomplished by May 9 than it does any change in conditions on the ground.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 · 3:53:56 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
In the Donbas, Russia is fighting very close to its own border, and often from positions it has occupied for 8 years. The Pentagon believes this will relieve some of the difficulties Russia has faced with logistics. There is also concern that the 11 BTGs currently in Mariupol could be redeployed in the next few days as the last holdouts are killed or forced to surrender.

There are also reports that Russia is deploying their own S-300 systems in the Donbas to protect against Ukrainian planes — though it’s unclear if these systems are effective against observation drones and loitering munitions.
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Tuesday, Apr 19, 2022 · 3:59:08 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Oddly enough, at the afternoon Pentagon briefing, DOD officials say that they do not believe that Russia’s major offensive is underway. This is, by their estimation, more softening up Ukrainian positions with shelling and continuing the probing attacks that Russia has conducted over the last month.

The Pentagon now estimates 78 BTGs in Donbas, though it’s unclear if all are at full strength.

Russian missile attacks have actually declined, with an average over the last few days of about 30 per day across Ukraine. However, because of bad weather limiting visibility, the Pentagon may have undercounted.







 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A millionaire Ukrainian business titan said he asked Ukraine’s army to bomb his own newly built home after his security webcam showed Russian troops were using it as a base.

During an interview with “Good Morning Britain” on Monday, Andrey Stavnitser recalled his disgust at seeing Russian soldiers using his estate west of the capital Kyiv to launch missile attacks and sort looted goods.

“I felt dirty looking at some guys walking inside my house,” said Stavnitser, who is now assisting with relief efforts from Lublin, Poland. He said the Russian soldiers had stripped his security staff naked and sent them into the woods.

It was “an obvious decision” to call for his estate to be reduced to rubble, he said.

“It’s not about money,” he added. “I want to do everything possible to help Ukraine win, because I think we are safeguarding Europe’s safety and it’s important to kick those bastards out of our land.”

“Good Morning Britain” showed aerial footage of Stavnitser’s home after the Ukrainian strike. Parts of the sprawling structure were reduced to rubble and Russian military equipment was scattered in the ruins.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Josh Hawley, terrorist sympathizer since the Oklahoma City bombing
Joan McCarter

Tuesday marks the 27th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, the violent attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that killed 168 people and injured 680 others. The domestic terror attack was carried about by two white supremacist, anti-government, right-wing extremists in the Michigan Militia.

As the nation reeled in horror at the specter of homegrown and deadly political terrorism, one teenager in Missouri decided to step up to defend the terrorists: 15-year-old Josh Hawley, who would go on to become a U.S. senator who is using his vaunted position to achieve the aims of those terrorists from the inside. Hawley wanted to explain the terrorists, and to defend the mindset of the militia movement that led the two men, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, to murder.

“Many of the people populating these movements are not radical, right-wing, pro-assault weapons freaks as they were originally stereotyped,” Hawley wrote. “Dismissed by the media and treated with disdain by their elected leaders, these citizens come together and form groups that often draw more media fire as anti-government hate gatherings.”

He described these militia members as “Feeling alienated from their government and the rest of society.” That alienation, he said, leads them to “become disenchanted and slip into talks of ‘conspiracy theories’ about how the federal government is out to get them.” And by the way, he continued, the Los Angeles police detective whose racism was exposed during the OJ Simpson trial, Mark Fuhrman, should be called a racist. “In this politically correct society, derogatory labels such as ‘racist’ are widely misused, and our ability to have open debate is eroding,” he wrote.

Seems like 15-year-old Josh Hawley has a lot in common with Sen. Josh Hawley, the man who raised his fist in solidarity with the terrorists who swarmed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, leading to the deaths of five people......
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Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who backed former President Donald Trump's voter-fraud claims following the 2020 election, defended militia members in a column after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, when he was 15 years old, The Kansas City Star reported.

The Star reported that following the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Hawley wrote a column for his hometown paper, The Lexington News, in which he warned against calling antigovernment militia members domestic terrorists........

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Major Russian offensive now underway, even as Ukraine recaptures towns elsewhere
Hunter

After a day filled with mostly rumor and confusion, we finally know a bit more about how the newest of Russia's major offensives is unfolding. It is a major attack; it is not the sort of highly coordinated and overwhelming campaign that Russia still insists it could pull off but which outside experts now believe is beyond the nation’s command competence. But it is a major threat, and Russia has been able to take some new ground already.

On the other hand, Ukraine has also been able to rout Russians elsewhere, as they have been doing the entire war. Russia remains overextended, reliant on long supply lines and battalions already battered in earlier fighting. It's simply too early to say how this latest offensive will play out.

Russian attacks appear to be concentrated on areas with Ukrainian defenses that have had years to prepare, with the most likely goal being the encirclement of several eastern cities southeast of captured Izyum so that they can then be obliterated by Russian artillery strikes. Previous speculation that Russia would attempt an absurd operation to encircle the entire eastern front are, so far, not coming to pass. While it seems curious for Russia to engage in battles in the places where Ukraine's defenses are the strongest—especially considering Russia's poor results when encountering actual Ukrainian troops, rather than just bombing civilian neighborhoods from afar—the Pentagon suspects attacking from these long-static positions are Russia's way of avoiding the logistical challenges that have plagued its more far-ranging advances.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Donald Trump attempted a coup on 6 January 2021 as he tried to salvage his doomed presidency, and that will be a central focus of forthcoming public hearings of the special House panel investigating events surrounding the insurrection at the US Capitol, the congressman Jamie Raskin has said.

Raskin is a prominent Democrat on the committee and also led the House efforts when Trump was impeached for a historic second time, in 2021, accused of inciting the storming of the US Capitol by his extremist supporters who were trying to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.

“This was a coup organized by the president against the vice-president and against the Congress in order to overturn the 2020 presidential election,” Raskin said in an interview with the Guardian, Reuters news agency and the Climate One radio program.

Public hearings by the bipartisan special committee investigating January 6 and related actions by Trump and his White House team and other allies, chaired by the Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, are expected next month.

“We’re going to tell the whole story of everything that happened. There was a violent insurrection and an attempted coup and we were saved by Mike Pence’s refusal to go along with that plan,” said Raskin.

He was referring to Trump’s vice-president, who went ahead in his role of overseeing the certification of Biden’s win, which was delayed until the early hours of the following day after Pence and other lawmakers, staff and journalists ended up running for their lives as rioters stormed the building, shortly after Trump held a rally near the White House exhorting his supporters to “fight like hell”.

The November 2020 presidential election was deemed by experts at the local, state and federal level to have been “the most secure” in American history, with Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr also concluding that December that the result was accurate.

Raskin told the Guardian, however, that the panel’s hearings would demonstrate to the American public the actions Trump, and the cohort who went along with his efforts, took to overturn the election result.

If the attack on the Capitol had succeeded in preventing the certification of Biden as the incoming president, Raskin asserted that “Trump was prepared to seize the presidency and likely to invoke the insurrection act and declare martial law”.

The insurrection resulted in death and injury to law enforcement and Raskin said that in addition to Pence’s stance against Trump’s demands, the democratic process that day was also saved by “the valor and the bravery of our officers who stood strong against the attempt to just overrun the whole process”.

After a broad criminal investigation, about 800 people have been charged with crimes committed in relation to the Capitol attack.

Raskin said: “We don’t have a lot of experience with coups in our own country and we think of a coup as something that takes place against a president.”

However, January 6 was not what is typically regarded as a coup because it did not involve the military or another faction in society attacking the head of the government.

“It’s what the political scientists call a self-coup … It’s a president fearful of defeat, overthrowing the constitutional process,” Raskin said.

The Maryland congressman is also looking at the bigger, interrelated picture of American democracy and the climate crisis.

“We’ve got to save the democracy in order to save the climate and save our species,” he told the Guardian, Reuters and Climate One in the interview, as part of the Covering Climate Now media collaboration.

Extremist groups were part of the insurrection and have been an outsize, renewed influence on political and social division in the US in recent years.

Raskin said: “We’re never going to be able to successfully deal with climate change if we’re spending all our time fighting the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers and Ku Klux Klan, and the Aryan nations and all of Steve Bannon’s alt-right nonsense.”
 

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