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

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Jan. 6 committee set to make its case public with prime-time hearings​

....The hearings mark the culmination of an inquiry that has involved more than 1,000 interviews and reviews of more than 125,000 records. Taken together, the work represents the most comprehensive record yet of the deadly assault, and which panel members have come to believe stands out as only the most visible evidence of a broader plot to undermine American democracy — one that emanated from the White House.

To tell that story, the committee will draw on testimony from administration insiders, including a previously obscure aide who has given the committee a detailed reconstruction of meetings and movements in the West Wing. The committee also has video recordings of interviews with Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, that some inside the process believe will make for gripping television.

But the end result of the committee’s efforts remains an open question. Public opinions about Jan. 6 and about former president Donald Trump have long since hardened into competing blocs, making it difficult to break through, even with prime-time programming. The committee also has been bedeviled by a lack of cooperation from some Republicans — including some of those closest to Trump — leaving potential gaps in the evidence and an apparent deficit of high-profile figures willing to take the witness stand......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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......Now the nine-member committee, Cheney included, have a different – and arguably more difficult – job to do. They must let the American people into their deliberations, share with them key facts and exhibits, grill witnesses in front of them, and through it all begin to build a compelling narrative of how ferociously Trump attempted to subvert the 2020 election – and how close he came to succeeding.

“It’s important that we tell the American public, to the best we are able, exactly what happened,” said Zoe Lofgren, a congresswoman from California who is among the seven Democratic members of the committee. “The public need to understand the stakes for our system of government, and we need to devise potential changes in legislation or procedures to protect ourselves in future.”

In an interview with the Guardian, Lofgren was hesitant to get into details of the investigation. But asked whether she has been surprised by the breadth and depth of the plot to overturn the 2020 election and the extent to which it was organized, she replied: “The short answer is yes.”........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Major Republican donors, including some that have contributed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaigns, joined other conservative Texans in signing an open letter supporting congressional action to increase gun restrictions in response to the mass shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead last week.

The letter, which is expected to run as a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Sunday, endorses the creation of red flag laws, expanding background checks and raising the age to purchase a gun to 21. More than 250 self-declared gun enthusiasts signed it. [...]

The letter was paid for by Todd Maclin, a former senior executive at J.P. Morgan Chase who now runs the Dallas-based finance firm Maclin Management. Maclin said he is a conservative gun owner who has been stirred to action by the shooting in Uvalde. [...]

Maclin said the group is focusing on federal legislation, which he believes is the best avenue to passing gun safety laws and ensuring they are applied uniformly across the country. He declined to comment on the state response to the shooting or gun legislation, except to say that he hopes any federal plan led by Cornyn and passed with conservative support would be embraced by state governments.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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EVER SINCE RUSSIAN forces started their all-out invasion in February, Ukraine has been hailed as an exemplar of how to defend against violent tyranny on the 21st-century battlefield. The country spun up an “IT Army” of volunteer hackers to take down Russian websites, used the Starlink satellite internet system to maintain communications as its own infrastructure was being destroyed, and launched a social media blitzkrieg to win support from around the world.

By contrast, Russia’s leaders, despite having a far more powerful traditional army, have been stuck in the obsolete strategic thinking of the previous century. They were seemingly unprepared for the powerful, precise, Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones that Ukraine has used to decimate Russian tanks and ships. Russian cybersecurity systems were frail too: Hackers who had signed up for the IT Army told me how they were continually launching distributed denial of service attacks against Russian websites, as well as posting pro-Ukrainian propaganda and news on sites Russia had not yet censored. These hackers weren’t master cyber warriors with black ops training, but teenagers and twentysomethings in bedrooms and living rooms around the world. With Google searches and WikiHow articles, they learned the art of basic hacking in a few days. With a few weeks of practice, they said, they were able to punch through Russia’s weak defenses and its vast cloak of wartime censorship.

So when I arrived in Ukraine in March, I wanted to understand how technology was reshaping war. I spoke to soldiers about how the use of drones had upended the balance of power with Russia. I talked to hackers about their successes and failures. And as the conflict wore on, I began to hear from Ukrainians about how their experience of the war has morphed from an intense and enthusiastic defense of the nation into long stretches of eerie silence, punctuated by moments of joy, fear, or panic with each new announcement of a Ukrainian or Russian advance.

Finally, in mid May, I met Volodymyr Zelensky at the presidential palace in Kyiv. The comedian-turned-president who has captivated global attention and successfully guilted world leaders into rallying behind his country did not look like the confident, charismatic person we’re used to seeing on TV and social media. He appeared exhausted and haggard, his hands jittery and his eyes sunken. He seemed deeply anxious and uncertain. And yet, as he answered my questions about the state of the war, the world’s reaction to it, and the role technology had played in helping Ukraine resist the Russian military machine, his answers became lyrical, interspersed with a spontaneous smile or a tartly comic retort—a Zelensky trademark.

In this wide-ranging interview, which has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity, Zelensky called on Big Tech to do more to pull out of Russia, praised Elon Musk’s Starlink, and explained why modern leaders have to appeal to the distracted social media generation. “We just live in another time, no longer the time of postmen,” he said.

But he acknowledged that the war has taken its toll on Ukrainians and is deeply personal to him. So I asked: Did he have any regrets? Would he have done anything differently? He answered, flatly: “I think this question should be asked of the Russian president.”......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Gallitzin State Forest, 6/5/22

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Liz Cheney: The House Jan. 6 committee has uncovered a 'broad,' 'well-organized' conspiracy
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

While it’s clear that Rep. Liz Cheney has inherited her father’s black, bloodless knot of a heart—and likely stored it in the Cheney family bunker next to his bespoke baboon-heart Pez dispenser—at least that creaky simulacrum of a human organ beats to the rhythm of democracy and freedom.

Of all the ways Donald John Trump has assailed my delicate sensibilities over the past seven years—including by making me associate McDonald’s with something arguably worse than hog slaughterhouses and creeping insulin resistance—forcing me to side with Liz Cheney is perhaps the most unforgivable.

And yet there she stands, nearly alone among her ex-compatriots in the Quisling Q Party, advocating for democracy and the rule of law. It would be sad if it weren’t so ****ing appalling.

So yes, Liz, we’re with you. And let’s hope you’re right that the findings of the House Jan. 6 committee—which begins public hearings on Thursday—will rouse this sleepy nation from its complacency in time to preserve this republic.

In a Sunday interview with CBS News’ Robert Costa, Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, expressed confidence that ordinary citizens will pay close attention to the committee’s revelations, despite the GOP’s efforts to shove them down the memory hole like so many White House papers down a low-flow loo.

CBS News:

CBS News' Robert Costa asked the committee's vice chair, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, “Are you confident that what you have found as a committee will somehow grab the American people by the lapels and say, ‘Wake up: You have to pay attention’?”
“I am,” she replied, calling the insurrection “an ongoing threat.”
“You know, we are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened,” Cheney said. “We are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that caused the attack. And so, people must pay attention. People must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don't defend it.”

Yes, I agree that people must pay attention. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels like folks are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic after it’s already cracked in half and expectorated Billy Zane like a sodden wad of circus peanut. In my estimation, people aren’t paying nearly as much attention as they should, what with all those spine-chilling, graduate-level critical race theory lesson plans coming to a preschool near you.

But the urgent question that remains is will they pay attention? And will Republicans in particular be able to see even a glimmer of light through their ochre-hued hate goggles?

Well, they might—but don’t expect any help from the high suzerains of the Trumputin Party:

CHENEY: “We have too many people now in the Republican Party who are not taking their responsibilities seriously, and who have pledged their allegiance and loyalty to Donald Trump. I mean, it is fundamentally antithetical, it is contrary to everything conservatives believe, to embrace a personality cult. And yet, that is what so many in my party are doing today.”
COSTA: “Is the Republican Party a personality cult?”
CHENEY: “I think that large segments of it have certainly become that.”
COSTA: “A cult?”

CHENEY: “Yeah. I mean, I think there is absolutely a cult of personality around Donald Trump. And I think that, you know, the majority of Republicans across the country don't want to see our system unravel. They understand how important it is to protect and defend the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, after digging for the truth about the Jan. 6 insurrection, Cheney is convinced it was far more than a spontaneous uprising spurred on by a dusting of reckless rhetoric:

CHENEY: “Let me say it this way: I have not learned anything that has made me less concerned.”
COSTA: “Well, what's made you more concerned?”
CHENEY “Well, I think the extent, the expanse, how broad this multi-pronged effort was.”
COSTA: “Was it a conspiracy?”
CHENEY: “I think certainly—I mean, look, if you look at the court filings …”
COSTA: “But do you believe it was a conspiracy?”

CHENEY: “I do. It is extremely broad. It's extremely well-organized. It's really chilling.”

Of course, Cheney appears to harbor no illusions about her own party’s craven response to Trump’s shitty, slow-rolling coup:

COSTA: “Is this moment a moral test for the Republican Party?”
CHENEY: “Absolutely. No question. And right now, we’re failing. You know, in my state, the state party chairman is a member of the Oath Keepers. He was here on January 6. He was here with a walkie-talkie in his hand on January 6. That is a mortal threat. And it is a moral test. We can't fail that moral test. But there are too many right now in my party who are failing it.”

Godspeed, Liz. And I sure as shit hope you’re right about these hearings inspiring people to stand up and take this seriously. Because this could be our last real chance to nip American fascism in the bud.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Sunday, Jun 5, 2022 · 12:01:53 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Russia appears to be gathering forces in an attempt to cross the Siverskyi Donets River. For the last two days, it has been driving at the village of Raihorodok.

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Izyum Area update


It’s possible that the village of Sosnova has already been completely occupied by Russia, though this is not yet confirmed. Ukrainian forces apparently did not contest this position.

On Saturday, Russia claimed to have captured Dovhen'ke, but Ukraine says that assault was repulsed. Russia is continuing to attack Studenok, but Ukraine still holds it as of a few hours ago.

At Raihorodok, some Ukrainian forces — like the tank in the video below — have repositioned to hills on the south side of the river, but there doesn’t seem to be any sign that Ukraine is abandoning this position.

 

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