More to ignore, Book 63........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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FUQk5yZWAAEASZH1
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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J. Michael Luttig, a former federal judge and lawyer who advised former Vice President Mike Pence, is expected to testify in the Jan. 6 select committee's public hearings this month, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The committee, which has until now been interviewing witnesses behind closed doors, has revealed little about its plans for the public hearings set to begin next week.

  • The desire to showcase Luttig — a judge lionized within the conservative legal movement — matches what sources have described as the committee's strategy to reach as broad an audience as possible, including conservatives.
The big picture: Luttig, who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, was a key behind-the-scenes figure in the lead up to Jan. 6. He furnished Pence with the legal argument the vice president used to publicly reject Trump's unconstitutional order to overturn President Biden's victory.

What we're watching: Axios understands the committee has been discussing formally inviting Luttig to testify, but official invitations have not been sent.

  • Luttig is expected to describe his view of the stakes of Jan. 6 and his argument that American democracy is at a crossroads.
  • He'll then answer questions, many of which are likely to be centered on the technicalities of the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 — the statute that Trump hoped Pence would violate to reverse his 2020 election loss.
  • The Jan. 6 committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The upcoming public hearings, spread across two weeks, will mark the first time the committee has had an opportunity to reveal the complete findings of its months-long investigation into the breach of the Capitol.
  • Committee sources told Axios they want to tell a story of Jan. 6 in such a way that the American people understand the gravity of what happened — and the role former President Trump and his associates played in ginning up the mob that tried to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.
  • The committee has not announced the roster of witnesses for the hearings.
What he's saying: "January 6 was never about a stolen election or even about actual voting fraud," Luttig wrote in a CNN op-ed in April.
  • "It was always and only about an election that Trump lost fair and square, under legislatively promulgated election rules in a handful of swing states that he and other Republicans contend were unlawfully changed."
  • In that piece and other op-eds, Luttig warns that Trump's efforts to decertify elections remain a threat to democracy.
  • "Trump and his allies and supporters in Congress and the states began readying their failed 2020 plan to overturn the 2024 presidential election later that very same day, and they have been unabashedly readying that plan ever since, in plain view to the American public."
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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....."We've got to go to non-negotiated price. We've got to go to 100 percent online. There's no inventory (at dealerships), it goes directly to the customer. And 100 percent remote pickup and delivery," Farley said while speaking at a conference in New York.

One of Tesla's most popular innovations was to eschew traditional dealerships and sell its products directly to customers. But traditional manufacturers like Ford are usually prohibited from selling their products directly to customers, a legacy of fears over vertical integration written into state laws during the early 20th century. As such, Ford's franchised dealers will almost certainly still have a role to play.........
 

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) vetoed a budget item for a new practice facility for the Tampa Bay Rays over the team’s recent tweets about gun control.

The Florida Republican signed his state’s new budget Thursday for the coming fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

NPR in Tampa Bay reported,

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a record $109.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that will begin July 1, but vetoes included funds for a Pasco sports complex and an H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center facility in Pasco County.
Pointing to a need to further brace the state against a potential recession, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued $3.13 billion in vetoes Thursday as he signed a record $109.9 billion budget for the fiscal year that will begin July 1.

Among items vetoed were funds to build the Rays’ $35 million practice facility. Outick reported DeSantis blocked the allocation after the team tweeted about recent mass shootings across the country.

Bobby Burack of Outkick wrote,

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans to veto a $35 million legislation for a Pasco County facility that’s earmarked for the Tampa Bay Rays’ spring training, OutKick has learned.
DeSantis’s decision is in response to the Rays politicizing recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde ahead of a matchup with the Yankees in May.

The report cited a tweet from the team from May 26 that asked for donations to the gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Navarro indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress
Brandi Buchman

PeterNavarro.jpg


A federal grand jury has indicted Peter Navarro, former President Donald Trump’s onetime trade adviser, after his failure to cooperate with a subpoena issued to him by the Jan. 6 committee this February.

Navarro hit the press junket hard to shill his memoirs months before the subpoena rolled in and in that book, Navarro discussed a strategy he cooked up with Trump’s onetime adviser Steve Bannon to stop or delay the certification of Electoral College votes by Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

They called it the ‘Green Bay Sweep,’ and according to Navarro, its aim was not to “overturn” the election but rather, the plan was to have such a sweeping number of challenges to the certification launched by Trump’s Republican allies in the House and Senate that it would “put the certification of the election on ice for at least another several weeks,” he wrote in his book, In Trump Time.

Navarro faces two charges in the indictment: one count for failure to produce records to the committee as demanded in the subpoena and another count for failure to appear for testimony.

Incidentally, his indictment is similar to the one that was brought against Bannon—his fellow ‘Green Bay Sweep’ strategist—in November. Bannon’s trial is expected to begin this summer. As for Navarro, according to the Department of Justice, he must make his first appearance in a federal court in Washington, D.C., on Friday at 2:30 P.M. ET.

NBC News reported that Navarro was taken into custody on Friday.



Navarro told reporters earlier this week that he received a grand jury subpoena tied to January 6. He clarified that it was separate from the subpoena first sent by the committee. The 72-year-old vehemently argued that executive privilege invoked by Trump barred him from testifying. But there is no evidence to date that Trump asserted privilege over Navarro. The committee has indicated Trump did not invoke privilege over Navarro.

The grand jury subpoena notably zeroed in on the 45th president by name, ultimately asking Navarro for “all documents relating to the subpoena dated Feb. 9, 2022, that you received from the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including but not limited to any communications with former President Trump and/or his counsel or representatives."

The former trade adviser has been a vocal critic of the committee’s work and has referred to investigators as “domestic terrorists” running “a partisan witch hunt.”

He had multiple opportunities to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. He was allowed to ask for more time to produce records so long as he could explain why. And if there were privilege issues, per the committee, Navarro could have created a list explaining which documents he would want to be shielded and why.

Instead, according to the seven-page indictment, Navarro opted to ignore the probe, resting on specious executive privilege claims instead.

“My hands are tied,” Navarro allegedly wrote in an email to the committee this spring.

Navarro Indictment by Daily Kos on Scribd

This back and forth went on for a matter of days, with the committee informing Navarro they could limit questions to his public remarks but his deposition, then scheduled for March 2, was mandatory under the subpoena.

He never showed.

Per the DOJ, each count carries a max sentence of up to one year in jail plus a fine of up to $100,000.

This story is developing.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate cooperating with Jan. 6 probe
Brandi Buchman

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who once helped organize charter buses to ferry former president Donald Trump’s supporters to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, is cooperating with investigators probing the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Politico was first to report the development Thursday, citing a letter obtained from Mastriano’s attorney, Timothy Parlatore, responding to the committee’s subpoena that was delivered in March. The committee first issued a letter to Mastriano that the subpoena was forthcoming in February.

Between comments to Daily Kos that almost exclusively centered on his own opinions about the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation overall and its chairman, Bennie Thompson, Parlatore told Daily Kos Friday that Mastriano is willing to cooperate with the investigation because “he has nothing to hide.”

“He has done nothing wrong, he has nothing to hide and he was happy to meet with the FBI and cooperate and provide all of the information he had,” Parlatore said.

He added: “The bottom line here is this committee is not conducting an investigation. This is just political theater and Sen. Mastriano has nothing to hide, that’s why he’s provided documents and will meet whenever they schedule a meeting. But the reality is, as with all of these witnesses, this is just a fishing expedition; what they’re hoping for is they want Trump supporters to not comply so they can have this appearance of non-compliance.”

The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 individuals since its probe began and witnesses have overwhelmingly complied. The panel has publicly subpoenaed no less than 100 people and investigators have received more than 10,000 pages of documents, securing many records through voluntary cooperation or through court rulings that recognized the committee’s legitimacy as a legislative and investigatory body.

Public hearings kick off June 9.

.........
Mastriano is not charged with any crimes and he has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The FBI interview last year was sparked, reportedly, when photos of Mastriano in Washington on Jan. 6 began to circulate online.

Former Pennsylvania state representative Rick Saccone posted photos and videos of himself on Facebook on Jan. 6 from Washington including one photo with Mastriano.

In one post from Saccone at 4:34 PM, the former Republican lawmaker wrote: “We are storming the Capitol. Our vanguard has broken thru the barricades. We will save this nation. Are u with me?” [Abbreviation original]



After the insurrection at the Capitol died down on Jan. 6, Mastriano released a statement condemning the violence as “unacceptable and un-American.” Later that same day, according to the Pittsburgh City Paper, Mastriano issued a statement saying that he and his wife left the rally in D.C. when “it was apparent this was no longer a peaceful protest.”

“As a military veteran and retired colonel, I do not nor would I ever condone the violence we saw today. I join with all patriotic Americans in condemning what occurred in the Capitol. My position on lawlessness is equally as clear. When it was apparent that this was no longer a peaceful protest, my wife and I left the area and made our way out of the area. At no point did we enter the Capitol building, walk on the Capitol steps or go beyond police lines."

Online sleuths who have helped identify various Jan. 6 defendants for authorities, also turned up a video last August that raised questions about Mastriano’s accounting of the events that day, including whether or not he breached any restricted area



The materials Mastriano has now provided to the committee include records tied to the busses he arranged for Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 as well as a letter he submitted to the DOJ littered with bunk claims of fraud in the 2020 election, CNN reported.

The buses were charged to his state senate campaign in December 2020 and totaled approximately $3,354. Mastriano also posted a Facebook event that December selling tickets for seats on the bus, according to the American Independent.

Mastriano ardently defended Trump’s baseless election fraud conspiracy theories and was in regular contact with Trump” as the 45th president pushed to overturn his defeat to now President Joe Biden. The Trump ally was also scheduled to speak at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on Jan. 6.

AP20315542867284.jpg

Pennsylvania state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, speaks to supporters of President Donald Trump as they demonstrate outside the Pennsylvania State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Harrisburg, Pa., after Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump to become 46th president of the United States.

The gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania regularly promoted election fraud conspiracy theory and called for “alternate” electors for Trump to be installed in Pennsylvania, even going so far as sponsoring a resolution that would have undone the certification altogether, overturned existing state election laws, and authorized the GOP-dominated state legislature to select electors of their choice. That resolution ultimately failed to pass.



The Jan. 6 committee also wanted to question Mastriano about his visit to Arizona in November 2021 when he and two other Pennsylvania lawmakers attended a review of an election audit in Maricopa County, Arizona. That audit (and others) ultimately determined there were no abnormalities in ballot tabulations.

Other documents Mastriano has provided to the committee, per the letter from his attorney, include his social media posts and other communications.

But those were already public.

When the Jan. 6 committee made its request to the Pennsylvania Republican, as noted by Politico, it “specifically said he didn’t need to send any materials related to official actions” he undertook as a state senator at that time.

Whether the committee will now push for other documents remains to be seen. A spokesman for the probe declined to comment Friday.

The far-right election denier won the GOP’s nomination for the gubernatorial spot in Pennsylvania just two weeks ago.

He took extreme anti-choice positions on abortion during primary debates in April, including saying that he didn't want to “give way for exceptions” to abortion, i.e. rape, incest, or if the life of the pregnant person was under threat.

As the primary grew closer, however, Mastriano removed once highly-visible language from his website that opposed abortion, including a link that took visitors to his page to a site that summed up abortion as “unimaginable brutality.”

The scrubbing of his site was reported by The American Independent.

Last month, Mastriano told reporters at New Castle News that “babies deserve a right to life whether it is conceived in incest, rape, or whether there are concerns otherwise for the mom.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: As Russia focuses on a single city, Ukraine makes moves near Kharkiv and Kherson
kos

Today is the 100th day of war.

Today I’ll follow up on Mark’s on-the-ground update from yesterday, as all three major fronts (Kharkiv in the northeast, Donbas on the east, and Kherson in the south) have suddenly lit up.

Most notably, after feigning a fighting retreat of Severodonetsk—a city way out on a salient, isolated and exposed to assault from multiple sides—Ukraine’s defenders unexpectedly stiffened up, halted the Russian advance, and perhaps even retook some ground. Some claim Ukraine laid a trap modeled after the Russian defeat in Grozny during the first Chechen war, where rebels famously lured Russian troops into the city center before trapping and massacring a whole lot of them.

I and many others have spent the last week commenting about the folly of defending Severodonetsk when Ukraine can fall back behind the river and hold a much more defensible (and higher elevation) line at Lysychansk. (Here’s just one of those stories.) But for whatever reason, despite horrific losses in the Donbas front (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 80-100 Ukrainian dead every day, and another 500 injured), Ukraine has decided this city utterly lacking in strategic value is worth the blood.

Still, what the decision lacks in any obvious strategic value, it definitely makes up in unimaginable valor and bravery. In a war that has created so many icons like the Azovstal defenders, Severodonetsk may very well bid for legendary status.

My guess is that as long as Ukraine disproportionately bleeds Russian forces, they’ll continue the defense and help stall Russian advances elsewhere. But this is not a place for a final last stand. Ukraine doesn’t intend another Mariupol. At some point, the remaining defenders will cross the last bridge standing (which Russia has left intact because it wants those defenders out), blow that bridge, and Russia can disperse that mass of forces back to the Izyum and Popasna pockets.

Meanwhile, NASA FIRMS satellite imagery has lit up around both Kherson and Kharkiv as Ukrainian forces make new moves on Russia’s under-resources fronts. The imagery is designed to track forest fires, but turns out it’s a wonderful tool for tracking the front lines of a bloody war.


Kharkiv

My brother took NASA FIRMS fire data and overlaid them over Nathan Ruser’s maps with yellow dots to give us some idea of what is happening on the ground.


kharkiv.jpeg


Just a few days ago, Mark was wondering whether Ukrainian forces east of Staryi Saltiv had been withdrawn. Things had gotten that quiet, with no evidence of any activity or presence. That changed yesterday as fires showed up all along both sides of the Donets River.

Generally speaking, fires in a city indicate that Ukraine has control. Russia’s one and only tactic is to try and flatten anywhere Ukrainian troops are present with artillery, before trying to occupy the rubble with their infantry. If any defenders survive, oops, too bad. That's what cannon fodder is for. Time to call in more artillery!

The two fires on both side of the Staryi Saltiv bridge can be easily explained—Russia is targeting Ukrainian supply routes to the east bank. But the other four are all in supposedly Russian-held territory. The evidence strongly suggests that Ukraine is making headway, and Russia is shelling Ukrainian troops before they have a chance to dig in and establish defensive positions.

There is a caveat—you can see a road running down from Starytsia to Buhaivka, before it hits the bridge on the eastern bank opposite Staryi Saltiv. Those fires could be Ukrainian artillery hitting supply routes and convoys. Hitting an ammo truck could shine brightly enough for NASA to pick it up. The fog of war is thick. What we do know is that things are picking up in a place that had otherwise been recently quiet.

Also, this happened:



While the map has changed slowly, there has been fierce fighting in the region as Russia attempts to push Ukraine back from the border. The invaders want Kharkiv back in artillery range, and their own Belgorod out of Ukrainian range. And Russia is spooked enough about those small but steady gains that it has begun digging defensive lines at Kupiansk, Russia’s most important logistical hub for its entire northeastern war effort. (Also, the impending arrival of MLRS and HIMARS might have something to do with that.)

Kherson

Ukraine has launched a three-pronged counter-offensive north of Kherson, in Ukraine’s southern front. Much like in Kharkiv, Ukraine seems to be moving slowly and deliberately, lacking the strength to fully collapse Russian lines, but pushing them methodically back. Here’s yesterday’s FIRMS fire location near the Davydid Brid section of the front lines.


Kherson.jpeg


Up in the northeastern quadrant of this map, you see the Ukrainian push out of its bridgehead on the eastern bank of the Inhulets River. Those fires match up perfectly with territory Ruser has marked as contested. Ukrainian forces are likely under fierce artillery barrage in territory we’ve seen time and time again as inhospitable for anyone on the attack—flat, open, lacking cover. The same thing happens anytime Russia makes any headway in the area (click that link and see for yourself). It will be difficult for Ukraine to hold that ground, much less advance, without seriously degrading Russia’s artillery capabilities.

But there are indications that Ukraine is less interested in advancing than in cutting that road south of Davydid Brid. Russian forces on the approaches toward Kryvyi Rih north of here depend on that road for supplies. If Ukraine can cut that supply route, it could very well force a Russian retreat from the north.

Moving on down the map, we see fires on Ukrainian held territory on the road to Snihurivka (upper-middle of the map, with the arrow pointing right). Weirdly, the map labels the tiny settlement of Pavlivka while omitting the much-larger Snihurivka (pop. 12,000) directly to its west on the other side of the Inhulets. These fires confirm reports of Ukrainian forces advancing on Snihurivka, while the fire inside Snihurivka itself is evidence of otherwise sketchy rumors that Ukraine has gotten a foothold in the town.

That last fire, on the bottom left, is perfectly matched to the location of a Russian advance in open space. That one is most likely Ukrainian artillery making life miserable for advancing Russians, because no matter the side, that’s the story of the Kherson front.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Friday, Jun 3, 2022 · 12:26:28 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Unlike other MLRS, a TOS-1 thermobaric launcher has a short range. And what happens when other artillery outranges you? This happens.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: On day 100, Ukraine is still defying the odds—and so are Daily Kos readers
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1400822378.jpg

Ukrainian children playing outside burned and shelled apartment buildings in Borodianka. June 3, 2022.

This is Day 100 of the illegal and unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. Or, as Euromaidan Press put it, this is day 100 of an 8-year war that has been going on for centuries.

Going into this war, advisers inside the Kremlin were genuinely predicting to Vladimir Putin that Russian forces would be inside Kyiv in no more than three days, that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would flee the nation before the first Russian tank crossed the border, and that Russia would have no problem at all installing a puppet regime that would surrender to Russia before breaking Ukraine into bite-sized pieces.

It’s starting to look as if those guys might have been slightly off.

On Thursday, President Zelenskyy said that Russia now controls about 20% of Ukraine. Whenever we’re looking at maps of the country, it’s very easy to concentrate on the red areas—the areas that are occupied by Russian forces. But this seems like a much better day to look at all the yellow on this map from Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000).

screencap.jpg

Yellow areas show the territory recaptured by Ukraine

There’s a huge amount of area around Kyiv, taken back in a battle that cost Russia over 10,000 soldiers and thousands of vehicles. There’s the area in the southwest, where Russia’s area of control once ran far north of Mykolaiv as they searched for a way to get at Odesa. There’s the area by Kharkiv, which Russia held even after retreating from the cities of Sumy and Chernihiv, but is now falling to Ukrainian advances. There are areas all over the east and south where Russia was momentarily successful, only to find that latest advance or salient beaten back by Ukrainian forces.

Russia may now hold about 20% of Ukraine. But it once held a lot more. Then it lost ground. It can lose again.

On day 100, Oryx verifies that Russia has lost 4,214 pieces of equipment, including 751 tanks. That’s an average of over 42 vehicles, including 7 tanks, a day. And these are minimum numbers—only the equipment whose loss can be verified by photos or video released to the public. The real numbers are higher; we just don’t know by how much.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense estimates that Russia has lost 32,000 soldiers killed in 100 days. That’s 320 a day.

The Ukrainian government estimates that 1,014 villages and towns have now been recaptured from Russia. That’s more than 10 a day. Actually, it’s a lot more once you realize that the recapturing of lost ground didn’t start until weeks into the invasion.

We don’t often mention it in these updates, but Russia’s economy also continues to suffer as a direct result of Putin’s illegal invasion. On Thursday, the European Union added still more Russian companies and Russian oligarchs to their sanctions list and, most importantly, moved ahead with a plan to phase out imports of Russian oil and natural gas into Europe (with a few exceptions, namely Hungary under Orban). This week, Ireland joined several other nations that recognize Putin’s efforts in Ukraine as genocide. The diplomatic isolation and economic damage Putin has generated with this war will be felt in Russia for generations.

Ukraine has also suffered losses. Those losses have been tremendous. They’ve lost lives, equipment, 40% of their economy, and whole cities to Russia’s bloody destruction and theft. But they are still on their feet. 50+ embassies are back up and working in Kyiv months after most of the world thought it was lost. The possibility that Ukraine could actually win this war, not in the sense of a partisan underground, striking back at an occupying government, but in the form of an actual military victory over Russia in the field, has gone from unthinkable to almost undeniable.

It’s been an amazing 100 days. It’s been difficult and heartbreaking, especially when dealing with the utter destruction in places like Mariupol, the mass deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russian labor camps, and the mass graves in places like Bucha. But it’s also been defiant, surprising, and uplifting, especially when witnessing the continued determination and spirit of the Ukrainian people in unimaginable conditions.

However, according to Axios, something else has happened in the last 100 days. Something that seems all too predictable: Americans are tuning out the war.




Let me say this is not happening here. At Daily Kos, the attention level given Ukraine updates continues to be high. Frankly, there have been several times when we discussed cutting back on the frequency of the updates, giving them less time and attention, and maybe doing something more like a summary every few days.

The reason that hasn’t happened is that the Daily Kos community has continued to show unbroken interest. The Ukraine updates are, almost without exception, some of the most viewed and most commented on articles each day. We continue to scan Russian Telegram accounts, and follow the action village by village, detail the effectiveness of various military systems, and update all those darn maps—because 100 days in, you’re still eagerly following the plight of a poor, determined country fighting to prevent a militaristic dictator at the head of the world’s second-largest army from swallowing up their nation.

100 days in, you’re still interested. That’s also amazing. Stay tuned for further developments.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: No shortage of action on every front
Mark Sumner

As kos talked about this morning, after a couple of weeks in which Ukrainian troops seemed to be catching their breath, the Kharkiv counteroffensive is back in business. On Thursday, Ukrainian forces captured the town of Vesele, which had not only been a long-time hard point for the Russian line, but was also one of the sites from which Russia was firing artillery into the city of Kharkiv.

screencap.jpg

Ukraine is once again whittling down the Russian-occupied area above Kharkiv.

In addition to Vesele, Ukraine captured a pair of small villages nearby and has begun to press toward the town of Neskuchne to the north. If Ukraine can take this town, they’ll help end what has become Russia’s favorite hobby in the area—making runs at retaking the town of Ternova.

Immediately following the capture of Vesele, it seemed that Russia was trying to counter this move by pushing south out of Lyptsi, but a day later the flow of traffic seems to have reversed. Along with reports that Ukraine already holds the east and south of Lyptsi, more forces seem to be pushing toward that area and spreading to the west to hammer Russian positions at the village of Velyki Prokhody. All of this should help reduce the daily rain of no-reason-but-hate shells that Russia has been lobbing into the city.

Meanwhile, on the eastern edge of this theater, Rubizhne continues to be in dispute. So does everything on the east side of the river. Those east side locations aren’t so much in dispute in the “active combat” sense as in the “very little news” sense. However, there has been artillery fire all the way up north of Buhaivka and down by Khotimlya. That seems to be enough to suggest that Ukrainian forces are still across the river and still making trouble. Telegram is not full of the terrified “they’re coming for Vovchansk!” messages that were seen on the day after Ukraine managed to get forces across from Staryi Saltiv, but there does seem to be some action going on. There even seems to be some action underway all the way up by the bridge site east of Starytsya. Though the forces involved have been described as “platoon-sized,” this is another one of those “How did Ukraine get
there?” situations.



screencap.jpg

Multiple actions underway east of Izyum

When it comes to what’s going on in the Izyum area, the answer is: What isn’t? On the far east of Ukrainian control, the unlikely defense of Severodonetsk continues, with jaw-dropping results. On Thursday morning, the mayor of the town announced that Russia was in control of Severedonetsk. Then Ukraine launched a counterattack that included discussion of the whole city being a trap for overconfident Russian forces. By some estimates, only about 30% of the city is now under Russian control.

On Friday, Ukraine reportedly controls a majority of Severodonetsk, including the city center, and has been continuing to gain ground. In addition, Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian forces out of adjacent villages and put a large area back into dispute. The push back into the city center seems to have included forces from the Ukrainian Foreign Legion.



If things start to turn sour in Severodonestk, Ukraine can always retreat across the bridge to Lysychansk, but at the moment holding Severodonestk seems to represent great symbolic value and a genuine military win. How much damage they’re actually doing to Russian forces in this location is going to take some time to figure out, but it's never good to be the army that had been moving forward, then finds itself going into reverse.

Meanwhile on the west side of this area, around the actual town of Izyum, things are getting heated in all directions. On the east, the pocket of Ukrainian control that used to extend up to the town of Oskil has largely collapsed and Russia is now pressing in from all sides, using a reported 22 BTGs with the goal of taking out Ukrainian forces and anything that remains of Ukrainian positions on the north side of the river.

The pressure on Studenok and nearby villages is tremendous, and reports are that some Ukrainian positions in this area have been abandoned, with forces taking up positions on the south bank of the river. Many locations on the south side are bolstered not just by the natural defense of the river, but by hills that provide superior firing positions. This whole pocket between Izyum and Lyman could easily flip to Russian control in the next few days—assuming Russia can keep things together—but this would be more in the nature of a relocation of Ukrainian forces rather than a large loss.

Finally, even as Ukrainian forces continue to nip away along the south and west of the Izyum area, Russian forces have reportedly spread out into the woods west of the city, where Ukrainian forces had been staging hit and run raids for the last month, and retaken a couple of tiny crossroads. It looks like a fair amount of area, but only because there’s really next to nothing there. And Russian forces in the area don’t exactly have the best opinion of their leadership.



FUU0SlRXwAAdC5A


FUU0S4mWYAA26xP

............
screencap.jpg

Ukrainian forces continue counteroffensive, moving forces into an area south of Davydiv Brid.

Honestly, there’s not a lot new to report over near Kherson. The Ukrainian forces that crossed the Inhulets River near Davydiv Brid have spread out to establish what seems to be a significant beachhead on the east side, and more forces have reportedly crossed into the area, but the focus over the last day seems to have been more about securing that position than continuing the advance. Fighting continues at both Snihurivka to the south and Vysokopillya to the north. Both of these locations were significant positions from which Russia was directing other operations in the area, so taking them could be disruptive over a large region. But it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. There is word that Ukraine has reached a series of villages and towns south of Davydiv Brid, but no definitive word that they are in control of these locations.

In the Zaporizhzhia area, that supposed new Russian column has yet to arrive. However, there has been some shelling near Verkhnia, south of Zaporizhzhia on the east bank of the Dnieper River. So maybe those 1960 vintage T-62 tanks are on their way.
 

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Peach Tree Dish of Liberty Must Be Refreshed From Time to Time With the Ravings of Idiots
ShowerCap

98AAB07A-294F-45F9-859C-F93560027460.jpeg


Scanning through the week’s insanity, I’m overwhelmed with unanswerable questions. Why do we live like this? Does it truly have to be this way? And wait, does this mean John Hinckley’s room is available? Because I could use the peace and quiet............
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Can you believe it’s already been 100 days of shirtless rodeo clown savagery in Ukraine? What do you even get a genocidal dipshit for the anniversary of his biggest ****up? I’d suggest a war crimes trial, but maybe a gift card? To one of the hundreds of companies he chased out of Russia with his mad thirst for blood?........
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Here at home, you could hardly sleep for the howling lamentations of Cult45, when their sad, cut-rate, diet, caffeine-free-with-extra-carcinogens Bob Mueller turned out to be exactly as incompetent as every other subpar creep they worship. Having faceplanted so pathetically in his frivolous prosecution of Some Guy Nobody’s Heard Of, what hope remains, I ask you, that John Durham is capable of bringing Hillary Clinton to justice for all the baby faces she’s noshed upon?........
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And the Michael Flynn unmasking kerfuffle fizzled out, too, so there’s definitely no joy in Wingnut Mudville tonight. I almost feel bad, but when your dominant personality trait is “easily deceived,” you have to expect this sort of thing.........
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Meanwhile, legal difficulties keep mounting for Turd Reich figures like Jared Kushner and Peter Navarro, further evidence of the American justice system’s unfair bias against prosecuting imaginary crimes in favor of real ones..........
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In defiance of all odds, I have somehow not yet lost my life in one of the 230-and-counting mass shootings that have taken place in the United States in 2022, but the day is young, I suppose. Before this paragraph ends, seven of you out there reading this will perish in some hail of AR-15 fire or other. Condolences to your loved ones.

(In addition, by the time any survivors arrive at this sentence, police officials in Uvalde, TX, will have changed their self-exonerating bullshit story no fewer than nineteen additional times.)

Because Oklahoma Republicans, in their wisdom, made it illegal to inconvenience a homicidal maniac in the slightest way, one of the nation’s many shitbag losers was once again able to procure a machine designed to expediently slaughter as many human beings as possible, and around three hours later, he used it to shoot up a hospital.

“Say, I’m looking to murder my doctor, and everyone who happens to be near my doctor, ideally before my current fit of rage subsides. Got anything for that?”

“But of course, sir! I’d offer to wrap it, but it’s clear you’re in a hurry!”

Of course, no amount of senseless suffering will force those responsible for the nation’s surge in child funerals to abandon their fanaticism. In fact, considering the predilection for insider trading in Yertle’s caucus of sociopaths, I’d hardly be surprised to learn that, say, Richard Burr held a substantial stake in some kiddie coffin manufacturer.

Given their commitment to doing absolutely ****ing nothing to stop these preventable tragedies, you’d think Republicans would be swimming in free time, (in addition to the blood, of course) but the pious, theatrical gaslighting required to keep a white resentment cult in a state of perpetual sputtering rage is surprisingly labor-intensive.

It’s not that any of the indignant gibberish needs to make sense; quite the contrary, logic is filthy elitism you cuck; it’s just that fresh nonsense must constantly be generated, as each new atrocity further exposes the bloody, lunatic sham of right wing gun policy.

And Uvalde completely obliterated the myth of the Good Guy With His Holy Gun, as surely as if Jesus came back just to taint-punt Wayne LaPierre into the sun. There’s no cover left, just a pack of hyperventilating nutjobs who would happily send ten million children to early graves rather than surrender a single bullet.

So they pile their indecency onto shoulders already burdened with grief; their predictably foul shrieking about false flags, the demented decrepitude of their attempts to blame abortion or weed or oh let’s say Moe, and above all else, their unshakable resolve to guaran-damn-tee this shit happens again and again and again.

Ignored in all their wild-eyed plans to force children to crawl into classrooms via pet doors, each guarded by an entire platoon, is the helpful example set by the non-batshit, civilized world, where
GUN CONTROL ****ING WORKS.

Ah well, you can lead a Republican to reality, but you can’t make him…waitasec, what am I saying? You categorically cannot lead a Republican to reality, he’ll die with ivermectin dribbling down his chin first........
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You sort of want some revered television journalist to sit Marjorie Taylor Greene down, in some overdecorated room, and have her walk us, slowly and in great detail, through the no doubt complex workings of the “peach tree dish.” How, precisely, does Bill Gates turn the peach trees into fake meat? What is the role of the dish in this process? Can it be any dish, or does it have to be one a colony of flesh-eating bacteria used to gain access to your cranium? People have a right to know this shit.

Especially since Marj used the extra attention generated by this latest episode of Lookit This Idiot to proffer her views on the issues of the day, such as, “Christian nationalism is rad, actually, and also, disagreeing with me makes you a terrorist, " for example.

…and Kevin McCarthy can’t wait to get this fascist twit back onto her congressional committees, which goes a long way towards explaining how he finds himself the subject of articles asking why more people don’t openly discuss his deficient intellect. (I confess, I assumed everyone did. And more or less constantly.).......
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Well, J.D. Vance and Paul Gosar are coming for your porno, ya filthy preverts, and don’t they seem like a pair of sexually healthy humans who should definitely be in charge of what people are allowed to wank to? You know Gosar uses some Cronenbergian apparatus involving terrifying, orifice-specific dentistry tools, and of course J.D. requires lubricant aid, in the form of his own tears, shed whilst contemplating the tattered, shit-stained remnants of his soul.......
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Good gravy, you know you’re emitting trench-warfare-level, banned-under-the-Geneva-Conventions loserstink when Herschel Walker, with his distressingly radical platform matched by a disturbing personal history of abuse, distances himself from your pathetic grifter ass.......
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Are we 100% sure Doug Mastriano is real, and not, like, six MAGA hats in a trench coat? He’s a busy little beaver either way, complying with investigations into his insurrectionist shenanigans by both the FBI and the January 6th committee, yet still making time to spout the craziest goddamn shit you will ever hear in your ****ing life.

For example: Doug’s not a Nazi for working day and night to remove your constitutional right to elect non-Doug candidates, but
you're a Nazi for wanting to keep your children alive. What a nifty little trick that is!

Now, Dougie certainly seems like the sort of fellow who knows his way around a peach tree dish, but if it sounds like he wants to take away a bunch of your rights, that’s only because he does! But don’t worry, God sent him!

You know, I don’t think a governorship is such a good fit for this guy. Given the Mastriano: For a Post-Democracy Pennsylvania! theme dominating his campaign. Nope, not the sort of fellow you’d want running such an enormous swing state, ideally. May I respectfully recommend Josh Shapiro?........

I suppose it’s only natural for a vindictive, regressive minority to target the machinery of democracy; it’s much harder to steal folks’ rights when they possess the power to replace you with someone who won’t.

And they’re really going for it, friends. There’s an organized effort underway to seize control of the nation’s election infrastructure in order to smash it to bits with bats and tire irons. That’s Bannonism, and if that happens to hit your ear as faintly rhyming with “rash schism,” well, I’m sure it’s just a trick of the wind.

Mastriano’s a big part of the movement. So’s Rayla Campbell, a maniac seeking the powers of the Massachusetts secretary of state’s office because she thinks Kindergarten teachers have taken to spicing up the ABC’s with fellatio tricks n’ tips from Cosmopolitan..........
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And yes, the Deposed Dotard’s Big Lie brigade got whooped in Georgia last week, and yes, that’s fantastic, but the primaries are a long way from over, campers........
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And if this is all somehow too subtle for anyone, if anybody out there is still in denial about how many stanzas deep we are in that First They Came For poem, here’s a little article, which attracted distressingly little attention if you ask me, about the proto-Brownshirt Proud Boys infiltrating the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County. Why yes, the same Proud Boys that keep pleading guilty to great big felonies committed during the Capitol Riot, why do you ask?.......

Oh look, Michael Avenatti is going to prison, that’s welcome news, though I must take this moment to remind everyone that I called dibs on Hinckley’s cell.
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Surely somewhere there’s a hole deep and dark enough that none of this insanity could reach me, but until I find it, I suppose I shall have to make do with a beer or six. Well, congratulations to everyone who made it all the way to the bottom without getting shot by a teenager! Keep your head down and maybe we’ll all be around to do this again next week*!
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* No promises.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
105,934
18,601
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A whiny Peter Navarro complains to a judge that his arrest by the FBI hurt his feelings
TheCriticalMind

Peter Navarro, architect of the “Green Bay Sweep” scheme to overturn the 2020 election, chose to ignore a subpoena to testify before the House Committee investigating the attempted J6 coup. A federal grand jury indicted him on contempt of Congress charges. Today, he was arrested and handcuffed by the FBI while boarding a plane. And they threw him in jail. He was unhappy because the FBI had not respected this “distinguished" public servant. He complained to the Judge in U.S. District Court for DC.

“I actually live right next to FBI. Literally right next to FBI. What did they do? Let me get all the way to the airport. Board the plane. Come at me. Put me in handcuffs. Put me in a jail cell. I was more than willing to find modus vivendi.”
Adding, “Who ARE these people? This is not America. I was a distinguished civil servant for 4 years. NO ONE questioned my ethics. And they are treating me in this fashion”

Poor baby. However, Navarro chose not to mention that last week, when the FBI had served him with a subpoena at his house, he bitched and moaned that they had been too “loud”. This arrogant little man thinks the law does not apply to him. And that his previous job should shield him from the consequences of his actions.

Equally laughable is his suggestion that he was a “distinguished” public servant for four years. While a Judge might consider who you are and your contributions to society as part of sentencing, those considerations are irrelevant to whether and how the FBI arrests you.

As for “distinguished”, I challenge Navarro to find a person in the street who can identify a single thing he did besides pissing off his workmates. I would be surprised if many people even knew his job title or responsibilities.

We should not be surprised at Navarro’s whining. He is not a well-regarded man — either for his ability or temperament. As a report in Mother Jones puts it

“Dubbed “Trump’s looniest economic adviser” by the Wall Street-focused Dealbreaker, Navarro is an academic who famously made up a fake expert to quote in his books. A five-time failed political candidate in San Diego, Navarro is widely known there “as a nut,” says one veteran California GOP political consultant. Navarro’s views on trade are considered so fringy that, for years, reporters covering him have been trying unsuccessfully to find a credible source who may agree with him.”

However, while others think he is a loon, Navarro is a legend in his own mind. He publicly butted heads with Dr. Fauci over the administration’s COVID policy. He wrote — without authorization, and after he was told not to — an op-ed in USA Today attacking Fauci, writing,

“He has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on”.

When John Berman later asked him on CNN why people should listen to him rather than a highly-trained and immensely experienced expert in epidemiology, Navarro was smug.

“My qualifications, in terms of looking at the science, is that I’m a social scientist. I have a Ph.D. And I understand how to read statistical studies, whether it’s in medicine, the law, economics, or whatever.”

People who claim to be experts in everything are never experts in anything. (You can use Navarro’s ex-boss as another example.)

Most people who know Navarro despise him. In an article by the Washington Post — based on the observations of 28 Trump administration staffers — Navarro is ripped for being a bad-tempered, incompetent asshole. His performance was so bad that in 2018 John Kelly, then chief of staff, ordered an investigation of his workplace conduct. Kelly told Navarro,

“If it’s worse than what I’m hearing, you’re gone. “If it’s as bad as what I’m hearing, I don’t know. You may be gone.”

Ultimately, all Navarro received from the administration was an informal reprimand.

Navarro is a bully who routinely exploded at his assistants while scheming to undermine other senior White House officials. Young women were a favorite target of his verbal abuse. Many called him habitually disrespectful. And he would assign professional women to act as note-takers during policy meetings rather than allowing them to participate.

Unsurprisingly, from someone with such an inflated opinion of his worth, he sucked at his job. His poor performance led the White House to freeze him out of the administration's negotiations with the Chinese, despite his supposed expertise in trade policy. Nonetheless, because Trump approved his aggressive monomania, he was named to head up the White House effort to increase pandemic supplies

His performance was so dismal the SEC investigated his award of a $765 million federal loan to fund the launch of a new pharmaceutical division at Kodak - a company with no pharmaceutical experience.


And the Democrats on a House Oversight and Reform subcommittee concluded that Navarro was responsible for wasting more than $500 million by overpaying for ventilators manufactured by Philips. Navarro agreed to pay almost five times more per unit than the Obama administration had, accepting the manufacturer’s opening bid without bargaining.

A congressional investigator said of Navarro's posturing versus performance,

“There’s this public bravado. But in private they roll over and just get pushed around by these companies

And that is the way it always is with bullies. They will whine to judges and pick on people who cannot defend themselves. They think they walk on water when they cannot even swim.