More to ignore, Book 61........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Biden visits Uvalde while GOP repeats talking points: Defend AR-15s, blame lacking 'moral values'
Lauren Sue

Texas Governor Greg Abbott was booed on Sunday when he made his way to a memorial that President Joe Biden attended outside of the elementary school where two teachers and 19 students were killed in Uvalde, Texas. Cries of “we need help,” “we need change” and “our children don’t deserve this,” could be heard from the crowd.

Those cries, that criticism, is well deserved after years of GOP inaction on gun control. Ben Gonzales, of Uvalde, told USA Today that he isn't a gun activist or gun control advocate. "I own firearms to protect my home. But there needs to (be) somewhere in the middle where we can meet and make a change,” he said.

Republicans have been repeating the same weak explanations and theories in light of recent mass shootings as they have in those of earlier years, none providing actual federal action to prevent such tragedies.



GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw, of Texas told CNN's Dana Bash that “it's hard not to see how someone doesn't get fired” after it took border patrol to do the job of local police. They had refused for more than an hour to enter the room where children were being massacred. My question for Crenshaw and the countless Republicans like him looking practically everywhere to assign blame but their inaction on gun control is: Which GOP elected officials should voters fire first?

In his interview with Bash, Crenshaw made apparent his opposition to any federal law that would take guns out of the hands of those at risk of harming themselves or others. He deemed what’s known as a red flag law as enforcing the law before its “been broken.”



Crenshaw also made a point in saying that he knows not to judge the person who has to respond in real time to a tragedy like the one that happened un Uvalde but that it "does seem clear that protocols were not followed."

"This isn't a training problem. We have very clear training doctrine on this," Crenshaw said. "The situation changes for a barricaded shooter if there are innocents inside. You have to put away your sense of self-preservation and go through that door.

“The training clearly states you might get shot, but the guy behind you might be able to get in and save innocent people.”

Just to summarize so far: According to Crenshaw, guns aren’t the problem and police training isn’t the problem.

Still, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Sunday that it will be reviewing law enforcement's response to the shooting and publishing a report of its findings.

“At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a news release. “The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events.”

While Democrats have been pushing for gun reform for decades to try to stop officers from even having to make such difficult decisions, Republicans seem to believe they already have the answer—do next to nothing.



Crenshaw used part of his interview with Bash to contend AR-15s aren’t weapons of war. “Having been to war and having used many many weapons of war, I don't really classify these rifles as weapons of war,” he said. “We use them, (...) but they’re more our self defense weapon.”



Rep. Mo. Brooks told “Fox News Sunday” that back in his day they didn’t have mass shootings but today they’re much more common, he thinks because of a decline in “moral values” and “respect for human life.”

“There are many times when I went to school with a shotgun in my car,” he said. “Why? Because I just got through duck hunting. There are other teenagers my age at that point in time that also brought their weapons to school, and they had been hunters too (...).”



Brooks’ claim of a past moral superiority failed to account for the fact that back in his day Black people were massacred and had been massacred for centuries but their lives weren’t viewed as worthy enough to account for.

The History Channel actually questioned whether 1968 should be considered the bloodiest year in politics, but keep talking that talk, Brooks.

Just keep talking and avoid any action to actually save lives—the GOP mantra.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: Ukraine launches legit three-pronged Kherson counter-offensive
kos

FT1dDWwXoAAMITY.jpeg

A Ukrainian soldier operates a drone, somewhere over a battlefield.

My war coverage is anchored by one simple tenet: don't expect Russia to do something it has never proven able to accomplish. Someday, Russia might get its shit together, but in three months of war, betting against Russia has always paid off.

We may soon be able to add the Popasna salient to that list of Russian failures. That breakthrough on the eastern front was supposed to collapse Ukrainian defenses in the area, leading to the encirclement of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Almost two weeks later, Russia hasn’t been able to extend more than 15 kilometers from the town. Here’s the last eight days of progress:

pop.jpg


Ukraine withdrew its forces south of Popasna to avoid encirclement, so that chunk of red looks good for Russia. But … that’s it. It’s been several days since Russia has even attempted to move. Ukraine General Staff says that “in the Bakhmut direction, russian [sic] occupiers are regrouping for a further offensive.” That was the same language used when Russia was stuck around Kyiv, and the same language when Russia got stuck around Izyum. “Regrouping for a further offensive.”

Sure, Russia may eventually get their shit together and finally prove me wrong, but I just don’t see how Russia pushes past that 15 km ring around Popasna. Remember, the further out they push, the longer the supply lines get, and the less protection those vanguard forces get from its artillery. The range of a Russian howitzer? 16 kilometers. It’s no coincidence that Russia’s offensive has stalled at the edge of its artillery range. Russian troops can only advance when artillery flattens defenses. And if that artillery is moved up closer to the front line, it makes it easier for Ukraine’s longer-range artillery and drones to find and destroy them. Ergo, they get stuck.

So let’s go back to this brilliant Reddit meme:

FSnrTQYakAAZV_X.jpeg


This meme was posted the first few days of May, when Russia really thought it could push from the Izyum salient down to Horlivka area in one massive, hundreds-of-kilometers-long sweep. The joke was that “by June, their goals will shrunk even further.” Thing is, it’s still May, and those June arrows are already obsolete. Russia has been unable to cross the Donets River near Lyman and Lysychansk, for the northern prong, and the southern prong at Popasna is dead in the water. So what’s left?

Russia’s mighty army, the second-best in their own estimation, failed to conquer Kyiv, failed to conquer Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv despite being on their border. They failed their broad encirclement of the entire Donbas region, a smaller encirclement of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, and the smallest encirclement of Lysychanks and Severodonetsk. What’s left is a direct assault on Severodonetsk against a resupplied and reinforced Ukrainian garrison. Past few days I’ve questioned the wisdom in defending the city here, here, and here. But Ukrainian General Staff likely shares my underlying philosophy—don't expect Russia to do something it has never proven able to accomplish. As of now, Russia has taken only two large cities—Kherson via bribe and treason, and Mariupol after 2 ½ months of siege, cut off from all resupply. There’s a rational reason to believe Russia will struggle at Severodonetsk.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the southern Kherson front is picking up steam. General Staff announced that Russian troops have withdrawn from Mykolaivka after suffering “significant losses.” That city lies south of Kryvyi Rih at the administrative border of Kherson (the top-right arrow in this map below).


kher.png


You can see the dashed outline of Kherson Oblast’s administrative borders on the map. I spent several months mocking what appeared to be an under-resourced attempt to reach Kryvyi Rih, but in hindsight, it’s now obvious that Russia was only interested in claiming full control of Kherson’s borders, aiming to annex it into Russia proper.

The middle arrow is the attack around Davydiv Brid, where Ukraine appears to have advanced around 9 kilometers south. This middle prong threatens supply lines for those Russian troops in north Kherson oblast, further pressuring them to fall back.

Finally, there’s fighting in Snihurivka, the bottom-left arrow on the map above. Snihurivka was briefly in Ukrainian hands after its first counter-offensive in the war back on March 17. You might recall, Russia was trying to get to Odesa, but Mykolaiv was an impenetrable fortress, so Russian forces worked their way up the Southern Bug river, trying to route around it.

A logical person might think, “If Russia couldn’t take Mykolaiv, a city of 500,000, what made them think they could take Odesa, a city of 1 million, but with a few extra hundred kilometers of supply lines?” Turns out, Russia couldn’t even get past the town of Voznesensk, population 34,000, where territorial defense forces and farmers shredded elite Russian airborne forces.


map.jpg


After Voznesensk, Ukrainian forces pushed Russia back 120 kilometers (75 miles), the first time Ukraine proved it could retake lost territory. Ukrainian forces got as far as Posad-Pokrovsikote and Snihurivka, until overwhelming Russian artillery halted the advance. Soon after, Russia retook Snihurivka in its push to secure the Kherson administrative borders. Back in March, Ukraine simply didn’t have the artillery resources it has today, and so was unable to press its advantage.

The territory in this region is flat and open, with little cover for advancing forces.

Two hundred American-donated M113s currently on a ship enroute from the United States will prove hugely valuable in advancing amidst these artillery barrages. In fact, the brand-new Ukrainian tank brigade likely part of this offensive boasts 70 Dutch M113 variants (along with 100 Polish-donated T-72s). No armored vehicle will survive a direct artillery hit, but those are rare without guided artillery shells (of which Russia has none). The key is to protect from flying shrapnel, which these vehicles do.

The situation at Snihurivka is unclear, with some Ukrainian social media sources claiming it’s been re-liberated, while Russian ones admit only to ongoing combat. I’d guess the latter until we get official confirmation or photographic evidence to the contrary.


If Ukraine can break through those defensive lines, it’s a 50 kilometer sprint down to Beryslav and Kozatske, just across the river from Nova Kakhovka, the main source of water for the entire Crimean peninsula. Kozatske is a reported location for one of those Nazi-esque “filtration camps” holding ~4,000 men from Mariupol. This pocket has immense value for Ukraine, both politically and strategically.

Wishing you all a reflective Memorial Day.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Monday, May 30, 2022 · 2:22:45 PM EDT · kos



People had interpreted the Biden statement as “no MLRS for Ukraine.” Seemed clear that he meant no ATACMS missiles, which could be launched from MLRS/HIMARS launchers and have a range of nearly 200 miles. The United States has already given Ukraine weapons that can reach Russia. The two countries border each other. A hand grenade can reach Russia.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FEARFUL TRUMP Attacks Georgia DA Probing His 'PERFECT' Phone Call that Threatened Election Officials
News Corpse

Donald Trump may be the most transparent politician in the modern history of the United States. That isn't because he is forthright or sincere, and certainly not because he is honest. Trump is as far removed from those traits as is humanely possible.

However, Trump can be unintentionally candid on occasion due to his uninhibited ego, his unfiltered ignorance, and his utter inability to comprehend what he actually says. A good example of that was on display Monday when Trump posted a message to his failing social media site, TRUTH Social. Trump's "truth" was framed as an attack on District Attorney Fani Willis of Fulton County, Georgia. But instead it revealed just how frightened he is of Willis and her investigation. Trump whined that...

"The young, ambitious, Radical Left 'Prosecutor" from Georgia, who is presiding over one of the most Crime Ridden and Corrupt places in the USA, Fulton County, has put together a Grand Jury to investigate an absolutely "PERFECT" phone call to the Secretary of State. Many lawyers, from both sides, were knowingly on the call. I also assumed it was taped. I called to fight a Rigged and Stolen Election, and they go after me instead of the people that Rigged and Stole it. God Bless America."

It's cute that Trump went out of his way to remind everyone of his "perfect" phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wherein he committed the extortion that led to his first impeachment. But more to the point, Trump is flagrantly lying about the phone call that he made to Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, and other election officials and lawyers, who he threatened in order to coerce them into altering the election results. As Trump notes, the entire call was recorded.

But if Trump is telling the truth about knowing that the call was being taped, he's even dumber than we thought. Because it would be extraordinarily stupid to say on a recorded line that "All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes." And it would be even more idiotic to descend into mob boss behavior by overtly threatening to prosecute Raffensperger, saying...

“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan [Germany], your lawyer. That’s a big risk. They are shredding ballots in my opinion, based on what I’ve heard. And they are removing machinery, and they’re moving it as fast as they can. Both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen, and you are letting it happen. You know, I’m notifying you that you’re letting it happen."

So Trump was officially giving notice to these Georgia officials that he intends to hold them criminally liable for the fake offenses he is accusing them of. That notice was clearly meant to scare them into submission. And by his own admission, his demands to overturn the election were based entirely on rumors and “what I’ve heard.”

Now that Trump is facing justice for his criminal acts, he is lashing out frantically and incoherently. He is undoubtedly spooked by the news that a special grand jury was seated Monday in Willis' probe. And she said that her office is also looking into the fake Electoral College certifications that Trump's team contrived in an effort to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election. As reported by CNN, Willis said that...

"'We're going to look at anything connected with interference with the 2020 election. I've allowed that to be a broad scope, not just the (former) President's phone call that you played there but other things that indicate that there may have been interference with that election, to include fake electorates.'"

As the evidence of Trump's guilt piles up, he is exposing his fear. He can't help it. And he actually thinks that his hysterical ravings are helpful to his dire legal circumstances. But the truth is that he is just making himself appear more feeble, frightened, and guilty. And in that respect, Trump could not be more transparent.
 

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