More to ignore, Book 53.........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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New audio of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, obtained and reported on by The New York Times on Tuesday, reveals he expressed concern about far-right House Republicans inciting violence against other lawmakers in the aftermath of January 6, 2021.

In the audio, the California Republican repeatedly lamented the inflammatory comments made by some GOP lawmakers following the US Capitol attack -- a far different posture than his efforts to downplay Republicans' role in the insurrection.

On January 10, 2021, McCarthy urged Republican leaders on a private call to monitor the public statements of lawmakers, such as Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Matt Gaetz of Florida, and alert him of any potentially dangerous messages.

"The country is too crazy," McCarthy said, according to audio obtained by two New York Times reporters for their upcoming book, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future."

"I do not want to look back and think we caused something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don't want to play politics with any of that."

McCarthy did not respond to questions from reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday regarding the New York Times report. Asked if he was concerned it could hurt his chances of becoming speaker if Republicans win the House in the midterm elections, he said, "Nope.".........
 

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Newly obtained text messages and recent court filings fill in significant gaps about the key role a little-known Pennsylvania Republican congressman played at almost every turn in scheming to reverse or delay certification of the 2020 election.

The texts, which were among those selectively provided by Donald Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to the House select committee, show Rep. Scott Perry pushing to have the nation's top intelligence official investigate baseless conspiracy theories and working to replace the US acting attorney general with an acolyte willing to do Trump's bidding.

"From an Intel friend: DNI needs to task NSA to immediately seize and begin looking for international comms related to Dominion," Perry wrote to Meadows on November 12, just five days after the election was called for Joe Biden.

In the text, which has not been previously reported, Perry appears to be urging Meadows to get John Ratcliffe, then-Director of National Intelligence, to order the National Security Agency to investigate debunked claims that Dominion voting machines were hacked by China.

Perry, a five-term congressman, is a retired Brigadier General with nearly 40 years of military service, including flying combat missions in Iraq. Given his extensive background, he is likely familiar with the inner-workings of government intelligence.

Perry has thus far declined to voluntarily cooperate with the House select committee, and in a previous statement has called the committee illegitimate.

Perry on Tuesday refused to answer several questions from CNN at the Capitol about his texts to Meadows......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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PA-Sen: Dr. Mehmet Oz (R. NJ), "We cannot move on from the 2020 election"
poopdogcomedy

So the Republican candidates running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania had their first debate yesterday:

When the leading Republican candidates for Senate in Pennsylvania — the Trump-endorsed celebrity surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick, a former hedge fund executive — shared a debate stage for the first time on Monday night, they faced sharp attacks not only from each other but also from three other candidates vying to chip away at their polling lead.
With few substantive policy disagreements among the five candidates, attacks instead addressed how long each had lived in Pennsylvania (for Dr. Oz and Mr. McCormick, not much, recently); past commitments to other countries; and Dr. Oz’s statements during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic encouraging people to wear masks — now a verboten position among the Republican faithful.
Dr. Oz rarely failed to remind viewers that he had won an endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump, a victory he used to proclaim himself the true “America First” candidate in the race. His rivals disputed the designation.
“The reason Mehmet keeps talking about President Trump’s endorsement is because he can’t run on his own positions and his own record,” Mr. McCormick said. “The problem, doctor, is there’s no miracle cure for flip-flopping, and Pennsylvanians are seeing right through your phoniness and that’s what you’re dealing with and that’s why you’re not taking off in the polls.”

The latest public polls of the race, when taken together, show Dr. Oz and Mr. McCormick locked in a near tie for the lead ahead of the May 17 primary, a fact that was close to the minds of their rivals Monday.

And of course Trumpism was alive and well at last night’s debate:

One area where Oz and McCormick were in agreement was on the issue of the 2020 presidential election, which Trump has baselessly claimed was stolen from him in Pennsylvania. When asked if it was time to move on, both said no, with Oz saying, “I have discussed it with President Trump and we cannot move on. … We have to be serious about what happened in 2020, and we won’t be able to address that until we can really look under the hood.”
Another area of overlap was abortion, access to which has been severely restricted across the country by Republican-backed laws. Both Oz and McCormick said exceptions should be made when the life of the mother is in danger, but when asked directly, neither said that similar allowances should be made if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Both Oz, who moved from New Jersey to run for the seat, and McCormick, who moved from Connecticut, have been criticized for not being true Pennsylvanians. The Republican field also includes Carla Sands, a former Trump-appointed ambassador to Denmark, who moved from California to enter the race.

Here’s some more context:

The candidates’ loyalty to Trump was tested throughout the night. Moderators asked whether it was time for the GOP to move forward as Trump continues to talk about the 2020 election.

Oz said he had discussed the 2020 election with Trump and that “we cannot move on.” McCormick said it was a “tragedy” that most Republican voters in Pennsylvania didn’t believe in the integrity of the election.
Sands directed viewers to a film by far-right personality Dinesh D’Souza propping up election conspiracies. Barnette said the Republican Party should “absolutely not” move past the 2020 election.
Only Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer, zeroed in on the 2022 midterms in his answer.

“Unfortunately, Joe Biden’s the president,” he said, arguing that “Americans are going to stand up with one loud voice” in November and “we are going to have historic wins.”

And of course he’s coming back:

His public appearances becoming more frequent as the 2022 midterm elections approach, former President Donald Trump will hold a rally in Greensburg on May 6 to boost Dr. Mehmet Oz’s run for U.S. Senate.
Mr. Trump, who endorsed Mr. Oz earlier this month, will deliver remarks in support of the celebrity doctor at 8 p.m. at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds as part of his “Save America Rally.”
In recent weeks, these rallies have become a soundboard for the former president to discuss current events, President Joe Biden’s administration and his preferred candidates for offices across the country.

Several Republican candidates in both the Senate and Pennsylvania governor’s races have courted Mr. Trump’s support as the GOP continues to believe in the former president’s popularity among the party’s base.

Also, on the Governor’s race:

A Democratic candidate for state Senate seeks to join the legal effort to remove a Republican gubernatorial candidate’s name from next month’s primary ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol in Washington.
Dr. Calvin Clements, a retired veterinarian from Palmyra, on Monday filed a motion in U.S. Middle District Court to intervene in the suit brought by Jeffrey D. Hill of Muncy.
Clements’ filing contends conservative state Sen. Doug Mastriano is disqualified from seeking public office because of his efforts to overthrow the election of President Joe Biden.

Mastriano’s spreading of conspiracy theories about the conduct of the 2020 presidential election and his conduct during and after the insurrection meet the state’s definition of insurrection, he claims.

Clements, who is running in the district made up of Lebanon, northern Lancaster and parts of Berks County, says he is prepared to file his own complaint if denied permission to join Hill’s suit.

The two contend the 14th Amendment disqualifies Mastriano from being on the ballot because his alleged participation in an insurrection.

Clements’ complaint accuses Mastriano of lying when he claimed he did not cross police lines on Jan. 6.

While he did not enter the Capitol, his false statements about not crossing police lines do not shield him from removal from the ballot, he charges.

Just a friendly reminder of what we are up against.

The Democratic Primary is May 17th and you have to be a registered Democrat to vote in that primary. You have until May 2nd to register to vote. Click here to register to vote.

Health and Democracy are on the ballot this year and we need to get ready to keep Pennsylvania Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Fetterman, Shapiro and these Pennsylvania Democrats campaigns:
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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5ojbjang7lr411.jpg
 

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Meet the woman behind Libs of TikTok, secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine​

On March 8, a Twitter account called Libs of TikTok posted a video of a woman teaching sex education to children in Kentucky, calling the woman in the video a “predator.” The next evening, the same clip was featured on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News program, prompting the host to ask, “When did our public schools, any schools, become what are essentially grooming centers for gender identity radicals?”

Libs of TikTok reposts a steady stream of TikTok videos and social media posts, primarily from LGBTQ+ people, often including incendiary framing designed to generate outrage. Videos shared from the account quickly find their way to the most influential names in right-wing media. The account has emerged as a powerful force on the Internet, shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.....




 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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As Russia launched its invasion, the U.S. gave Ukrainian forces detailed intelligence about exactly when and where Russian missiles and bombs were intended to strike, prompting Ukraine to move air defenses and aircraft out of harm’s way, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.

That near real-time intelligence-sharing also paved the way for Ukraine to shoot down a Russian transport plane carrying hundreds of troops in the early days of the war, the officials say, helping repel a Russian assault on a key airport near Kyiv.

It was part of what American officials call a massive and unprecedented intelligence-sharing operation with a non-NATO partner that they say has played a crucial role in Ukraine’s success to date against the larger and better-equipped Russian military.

The details about the air defenses and the transport plane, which have not previously been reported, underscore why, two months into the war, officials assess that intelligence from U.S. spy agencies and the Pentagon has been an important factor in helping Ukraine thwart Russia’s effort to seize most of the country.......
 

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 10:16:23 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Not clear exactly which vehicles are involved here. It’s odd that Canada is only sending 8, and from the way they’re described, it seems as if these may be brand new vehicles still to be manufactured. Roshel currently builds the Senator APC, so that’s the most likely vehicle here.




 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: When political goals trump military ones
kos

As noted this morning, Russia went from attacking in too many axes during the war’s first season, to …. attacking in too many axes in this second phase.

Right now, Russia is attempting to advance toward:
  • Mykolaiv
  • Kryvyi Rih
  • Zaprozhzhia
  • Sievierodonetsk
  • Slovyansk/Kramatorsk
  • South, east, west, and northwest of Izyum (seriously)
  • Pushing out from Donetsk
  • Mariupol

Well, you can add Moldova to the list, as a series of Russian false-flags are laying the foundational groundwork to declare the breakaway region of Transnistria an independent nation, like Russia did with the two “republics” in the Donbas—Luhansk and Donetsk. Once done, Russia can justify yet another invasion, because this one is clearly going so well.

This lack of focus is truly hampering Russia’s war effort. Take a look at the Izyum salient, one of the rare corners of Ukraine where Russia seems to be getting its shit together. In today’s update, the Institute for the Study of War, the authors note that Russia seems to be getting its shit together:

Russian forces have adopted a sounder pattern of operational movement in eastern Ukraine, at least along the line from Izyum to Rubizhne. Russian troops are pushing down multiple roughly parallel roads within supporting distance of one another, allowing them to bring more combat power to bear than their previous practice had supported.

Rubizhne is to the east of Izyum, and it’s true, Russia seems to be making slow (bloody) progress southward. But take a look at where Russia gained territory today—it’s northwest of Izyum!



Here is Russia, finally moving and taking ground, and they decide to splinter off part of their force to make a move
in an entirely different direction. There’s no strategic road or rail in that direction, no lines of communication to cut. Those forces are now forming a new salient exposed to artillery and ambushes from Ukrainian forces to its west. Are they trying to push Ukrainian artillery out of range of the main supply lines north of Izyum? Maybe, but that line can easily be hit further north, and like everything else this war, this push is unlikely to be fully resourced to both hold this territory, and keep pushing. And by diluting the invading force, Ukrainian defenders have an easier time eliminating them.

And that’s not all! There are two additional pushes from the Izyum salient—one to the east, toward Slovyansk, which makes total sense. If it’s successful, it would connect to Russian forces to the east and Izyum would no longer be a salient, dependent on those exposed supply lines.

But there is another push, this one to the southwest, toward Barvinkove.

The objective of the Russian advance toward Barvinkove is not immediately obvious, as it leads Russian troops further away from their comrades pushing on Slovyansk. The road continues southeast from Barvinkove to the Donetsk Oblast boundary, however, and it is possible that Russian forces from the Izyum axis are meant to take up positions along much of the boundary to support claims that Russia has “secured the borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” even if the Russians have not actually secured the entire oblast itself.

Russia has irrationally pushed toward Kryvyi Rih down south, seemingly because it’s Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s home town. This seems to be a similar situation—a move based on political calculations, rather than sound military strategy. The best way to “secure the border of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” would be to destroy all Ukrainian defenders in those oblasts. But if Vladimir Putin want to park some troops on a border hamlet to declare victory, who will dissuade him of the notion? So Russia’s formidable formation splinters even further.

Same with Russians dying trying to storm the Ukrainian-held fortress at the massive Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol. Russia’s best bet would be to contain those Ukrainians as best as possible, and divert the rest of the forces elsewhere to the front. Putin even claimed that was the plan. But Russian forces haven’t left Mariupol in meaningful numbers and haven’t stopped assaulting the plant. Putin wants full control of the city for his May 9 victory parade, no matter the cost in lives. (Most are Chechen or Donbas conscripts anyway, so Putin cares even
less.)

And what the hell are those sudden provocations in Moldova? Russia thinks more war is justified, given the current state of his armed forces? If you think Ukraine’s supply lines are stretched, just imagine trying to resupply forces in yet another country, with no port access for ocean resupply, and airspace contested by Ukrainian defenses. As Kamil Galeev has repeatedly written, Putin (and any Russian leader) derives domestic credibility by promising empire. He was never going to stop at Ukraine, and he wouldn’t stop at Moldova. Georgia can’t be feeling so great. And even supposed ally Kazakhstan canceled its own May 9 celebration, apparently to keep forces available for a possible Russian invasion. How can you trust the neighbor who keeps saying your independence from the Soviet Union was illegal

Meanwhile, down south:



I keep describing this area as a tug-of-war in a mudpile, with the two countries trading territory on a near-daily basis. The terrain is flat, open, and unforgiving for exposed forces. Anyone pokes their nose too far outside of home base, and artillery pushes them back. I mean, look at it, the only cover in sight are some cherry blossoms!



Snihurivika, to the north of Kherson was Russian occupied soon after the fall of Kherson. Then Ukraine took it in their big offensive that pushed Russia out from the Mykolaiv area and ended Russia’s designs on Odesa. Then Russia grabbed it back a couple of weeks ago. And here we are today, with Ukraine just outside the town once again. Meanwhile, to the west of Kherson, Russia pushed Ukraine out of Oleksandrivka again for what must be the third time. Don’t worry! Ukraine will pound the town into dust with artillery, Russia will retreat, Ukraine will move in, and the cycle will begin once again.

Of course, you might wonder, “why is Russia devoting resources to retaking the approaches to Mykolaiv, when it’s supposed to be focusing on the Donbas region, but also pushing toward Kryvyi Rih and threatening Moldova?”

Yes. Exactly.
Why?

As usual, none of it makes sense.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 10:33:33 PM EDT · kos
Plot twist! Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko might actually be the smart one.




Turns out, Putin needs Lukashenko more than the other way around.

TTM note: The usual long thread has the usual great info.....

 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 10:42:22 PM EDT · kos
Those Ukrainians in the trenches above in Kherson region are lucky that Russia is so corrupt and incompetent, that they can’t do air fuses, that would explode above the ground, showering those trenches with shrapnel. The amazing story in this thread:





 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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....Still, there was no reason for Putin to act so long as Donald Trump was president. Putin saw Trump weakening NATO by bashing it verbally, questioning whether the United States should honor Article 5, and reportedly flirting with the idea of withdrawing completely. If NATO might self-destruct, then there was no need for Putin to act to prevent Ukraine from joining it.

Putin had to change his calculus after Trump’s defeat in 2020. Joe Biden took steps to reassure allies of the U.S. commitment to NATO. Although there was nothing in NATO’s official statements to suggest that Ukraine could or would obtain membership at a definite point in time, the change in the U.S. attitude towards the alliance, combined with Zelensky’s support for membership, meant that the Ukraine problem became more acute. The timing might appear to be coincidental, but just a few months after Biden took office, the Russian military build-up began on Ukraine’s borders. This development fits with Putin’s penchant for planning carefully before taking action. It also suggests that Putin may already have made the decision to invade.......
 

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Marine veteran Trevor Reed released from Russian prison as part of prisoner exchange

Trevor Reed, a former Marine from Texas who had been held in a Russian prison, has been released as part of an international prisoner exchange, according to statements from the White House and Russia's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

"Today, we welcome home Trevor Reed and celebrate his return to the family that missed him dearly," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "Trevor, a former U.S. Marine, is free from Russian detention. I heard in the voices of Trevor’s parents how much they’ve worried about his health and missed his presence. And I was delighted to be able to share with them the good news about Trevor’s freedom."

Reed was exchanged for Russian pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, a convicted drug trafficker, Russian officials said. Entering into negotiations with Russian officials for Reed’s release “required difficult decisions that I do not take lightly,” Biden said.

“His safe return is a testament to the priority my Administration places on bringing home Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained abroad," he said. "We won’t stop until Paul Whelan and others join Trevor in the loving arms of family and friends."


This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....At each stage of this conflict, there has been criticism of Biden from across the spectrum. At various points he’s been criticized for:

  • Not sending MiG-29 fighters to Ukraine.
  • Not imposing a No Fly Zone.
  • Not sending enough offensive weaponry.
But Biden’s challenge at each point has been to titrate the minimum-force necessary to achieve our objectives—because keeping that force as small as possible kept the risks of Putin escalating the conflict as small as possible.

And at each moment Biden has been correct. Again: Look at the facts on the ground. Kyiv is free. A quarter of the Russian forces are out of action. The Russian economy is contracting at a fantastic rate. There has been no escalation of the conflict.

Think of this as the diplomatic and military equivalent of Just-in-Time Theory. And Biden’s team has executed it with tremendous success. A level of success that just about no one—including me—thought would be possible in the weeks leading up to the invasion.

I’ll say it again: The single biggest American foreign policy success since the fall of the Berlin Wall.1

And yet the American people disapprove......