More to ignore, Book 67.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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I thought the Jan. 6 committee wouldn’t matter. I was wrong.

....The committee’s hearings are exceeding expectations, because it is not behaving like a typical congressional committee. There is no grandstanding and no preening. There are no petty partisan squabbles. There is not even the disjointedness that normally occurs when a bunch of politicians are each given five minutes to question each witness. There is only the relentless march of evidence, all of it deeply incriminating to a certain former president who keeps insisting that he was robbed of his rightful election victory......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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The second hearing from the January 6 Committee was just as well choreographed as the first one, with an even greater reliance on Republican voices to make the case against Trump, including:
  • Bill Barr
  • Bill Stepien
  • Al Schmidt
  • Alex Cannon
  • Ivanka
  • Rudy Giuliani
  • Sidney Powell
  • Chris Stirewalt
  • Jason Miller
  • Ben Ginsberg
Here’s my live tweet of the hearing.

The presentation started by describing how Trump was told on election night that the news looked bad. The presentation ended by showing how those attacking the Capitol cited Trump’s lies to justify their actions.

Perhaps the most effective part of the hearing, however, was a video shown near the end that talked about how Trump monetized the Big Lie. He raised $250M telling lies about voter fraud.

Screen-Shot-2022-06-13-at-7.09.00-PM.png


Some of that money went to Mark Meadows’ “charity,” the Conservative Partnership Institute and even more went to Paul Manafort’s company, Event Strategies.

This is the kind of activity, fundraising making false claim, that got Steve Bannon charged with wire fraud and it’s the kind of scheme behind the investigation into Sidney Powell.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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January 6 committee postpones Wednesday hearing

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol has postponed its hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

The next hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, a member of the committee, told reporters that the reason for the rescheduling was due to "technical issues" and "not a big deal."

"It's just technical issues," she said. "You know the staff, putting together all the videos. You know doing, one, two, three, it was overwhelming. So we're trying to give them a little room."

Lofgren said Wednesday's hearing topic, which was focused on the Department of Justice, will get moved to another day, and Thursday will still focus on then-President Donald Trump's efforts to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to certify the election results.


The committee has been laying out its case for what it says is Trump's responsibility for the insurrection. Monday's hearing, the second of a series, prominently featured lengthy portions of former Attorney General William Barr's deposition with the committee, where he described in detail why Trump's fraud claims were "bogus" and why he has seen nothing since to convince him there was fraud.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Primary by primary, Trump's Big Lie is taking over the Republican Party
Laura Clawson

Buying into at least part of Donald Trump’s Big Lie is the Republican mainstream these days, as primary election results increasingly show. Candidate after candidate—including those winning a majority of Republican primaries held so far for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, lieutenant governor, and Congress—has said the 2020 election was rigged or stolen.

“District by district, state by state, voters in places that cast ballots through the end of May have chosen at least 108 candidates for statewide office or Congress who have repeated Trump’s lies,” a Washington Post analysis finds. The number climbs to 149 if you include those who haven’t directly said the 2020 election was stolen but have campaigned on the promise of cracking down on fraud—a buzzword for the “election was stolen” crowd—or making it harder to vote. Those 108 and 149 come out of well under 200 races.

Some of the election deniers are well-known for that position: gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and Senate nominee Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Senate nominee Ted Budd in North Carolina, Senate nominee Herschel Walker in Georgia, and more. Others have mostly flown under the radar to this point. But the big story is not any one Republican nominee who embraces Trump’s lies. It’s the vast number of them—the fact that this is a dominant position in the Republican Party.

There are some exceptions, of course. In Georgia, Trump directly targeted Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger over their refusal to embrace his lies and overturn the state’s election on his behalf. Both won their primaries. They were among 30 incumbents who refused to say the 2020 election was rigged, though two-thirds of those signed on to “election integrity” platforms designed to woo voters who believe that there was significant fraud or theft in 2020 by promising future action to make voting more difficult.

“In contrast, only 22 winning challengers or candidates for open seats refused to embrace the false election narrative or steered clear of ‘election integrity’ rhetoric,” the Post reports. If you’re a Republican incumbent you might be able to hang on without going full Trump, but if you’re looking for a first win, a way to make a name and win a following as a Republican these days, it’s virtually a requirement to insist that Donald Trump was the real winner of 2020 and argue that President Biden’s win should never have been certified.

The Post got these numbers by looking at primaries held through the end of May, and the situation is unlikely to improve from here. Primaries are coming up in Arizona and Wisconsin, both of which are hotbeds of election lies due directly to having been won narrowly by President Joe Biden.

It is past time for everyone, from the media to the occasional voter, to understand that this is the Republican Party: a group building its agenda around the lies of a sore loser, willing to jettison the basics of democracy, overturn elections, and engage in bloody insurrection to keep unearned power.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Team Trump: Jan. 6 committee hearings reveal Barr is a `shill' for `Marxist Democrats'
Charles Jay

Well this is certainly out of left field. Who would have guessed that former Attorney General Bill Barr was a “shill” for “Marxist Democrats.”

But that’s what Donald Trump’s spokesperson Liz Harrington posted on Trump’s Truth Social platform after Barr gave damning testimony about Trump becoming “detached from reality” after losing the November 2020 presidential election. Barr said he told Trump the voter-fraud claims being pushed by Team Giuliani were “bullshit.”

The former attorney general, in videotaped testimony aired at Monday’s hearing by the House Jan. 6 select committee, said that when he tried to tell Trump “how crazy some of these allegations were, there was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”

Barr debunked allegations pushed by Trump that there was widespread election fraud in Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta.


So how did Team Trump react to Barr’s damning testimony. Harrington posted this on Truth Social:

“’There’s no indication of fraud in Detroit” — Bill Barr, cowardly RINO and shill for the Marxist Democrats



Bill Barr aligned with Marxist Democrats! This must be the greatest subterfuge since British MI6 intelligence officer Kim Philby was unmasked as a Soviet agent.

I must admit that Bully Barr, as we called him in high school, sure had me fooled. He was a class ahead of me at the private Horace Mann School in The Bronx. Barr’s Class of 1967 yearbook entry described him as follows: “A staunch conservative on political issues, Bill often worked for the Republican Party.”

At the time, Barr was a staunch supporter of the Vietnam War. One classmate recalled getting into arguments with Barr: “He would say things like, ‘If you guys get your way, we will be living under the Communist flag in no time flat.”

I wrote about this in a diary back in October 2020 titled: “I Went to High School with William `Bully’ Barr and He Never Changed.”

Now Harrington has got me wondering whether Barr had deceived me all these years. How long has he been a shill for Marxists?

What did Barr mean when he advocated the unitary executive theory of nearly unfettered presidential authority over the executive branch of the U.S. government? Was his real intention paving the way for a Marxist dictatorship in the U.S.? He did call for increasing the U.S. incarceration rate as attorney general in President George H.W. Bush’s administration from 1991-1993.

And this master shill for Marxist Democrats sure had us fooled when he covered up past and present Republican scandals.

Barr thwarted Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh’s efforts to hold former defense secretary, Caspar Weinberger, and five other Reagan administration officials accountable for their roles in the Iran-Contra scandal. On Barr’s advice, Bush pardoned Weinberger and the other officials, in December 1992, a month before Bush left office.

Conservative columnist William Safire referred to Barr as “Cover-up-General Barr.” And such skills were in demand when Trump nominated Barr for a second stint as attorney general in 2019 as the Mueller investigation into Russia’s collusion with the Trump campaign.

Again we were deceived by this shill for Marxist Democrats who did everything possible to convince us that he was a champion and advocate for Trump.

Barr misrepresented the findings of the Mueller report and supported Trump’s claim that there was “spying” on his campaign. Barr went on to appoint John Durham as special council to investigate the origins of the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Barr outraged career prosecutors when he intervened in the criminal cases against Trump associates Michael Flynn and Roger Stone. The DOJ dismissed the criminal case against Flynn for lying to the FBI, and recommended a lower sentence for Stone who was convicted of lying to Congress and witness tampering. Trump pardoned both Stone and Flynn before leaving office.

So how did Barr become a “cowardly RINO” shill for “Marxist Democrats?” That came about when in early December 2020, when he told The Associated Press that he saw no evidence of widespread voter fraud. In his testimony to the House committee, Barr described Trump’s reaction when they met shortly after the AP article came out.

“He said, ‘This is killing me. You didn’t have to say this,’” Barr said Trump yelled at him. “‘You must have said this because you hate Trump. You hate Trump.’”


And that’s all it took to make Bill Barr, a life-long ultra-right conservative, a shill for Marxist Democrats in Trump’s mind. Barr finally drew the line over going along with a lie too far and decided to cover his ass by agreeing to testify.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ex-NFL Coach Unironically Tells Current NFL Coach to STFU Because "There Weren't Deaths" on Jan. 6
GrafZeppelin127

We’ve already added Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio to the seemingly-endless list of people who either can’t tell the difference between (a.) an actual riot that threatened to disrupt a Constitutional process, kidnap, harm and/or murder elected officials, overturn a lawful, free and fair election, and effectively end American democracy, based on pure fiction and wishful thinking; and (b.) anecdotal instances of property damage incidental to otherwise-peaceful protests (that were not, in fact, “riots”) against real, actual, genuine injustice; or, believe that (b.) is actually worse, a graver offense against common decency and a greater threat to Our Way Of Life™, than (a.).

We already know that Del Rio’s boss, head coach Ron Rivera, fined Del Rio $100,000 and in doing so, properly called (a.) an “act of domestic terrorism,” further stating:

A group of citizens attempted to overturn the results of a free and fair election, and as a result, lives were lost and the Capitol building was damaged.

Now, it appears that ex-NFL head coach Jeff Fisher (exiled from the established league and now coaching in the rebooted USFL) has chimed in, according to Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation blog for the Commanders, saying that Rivera should really STFU about it because

it's not true. There were not deaths, like he mentioned...there weren't deaths, and he put that in his statement...just tell the truth and if you don't know it then keep your mouth shut.

The author of the post, one David Harrison, apparently did not bother to confirm that Fisher was correct about this, let alone mention to his readers that he might not be, instead proceeding to Both Sides® the comment into oblivion:

In situations like this one, there are a lot of opinions from all angles and points of view.
So many that observations each side claims as fact are often disputed along with the philosophical differences that divide the groups.

For the record:

Four people died on the day of the attack, and one Capitol Police officer who fought against the rioters died the next day. Four officers have since taken their own lives and 140 others were injured.

I think Del Rio, Fisher and Harrison all need to STFU.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Jan. 6 probe may not issue a criminal referral and here's why that may not matter
Brandi Buchman

With two hearings under its belt already and one more coming up this week, the Jan. 6 committee is chugging along, full steam ahead, as it presents its findings on former President Donald Trump’s attempted coup following his defeat to now-President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

On Monday, the committee began laying out detailed evidence of Trump’s push to overturn the results despite the credible data routinely presented to him by high-ranking officials proving he lost.

Witnesses to this scheme testified about those efforts to defraud the public. As Monday’s hearing came to its close, the committee raised the matter of whether the former president was liable for other crimes connected to a fundraising campaign that generated $250 million for a legal defense fund leading nowhere.

Committee chairman Bennie Thompson and vicechair Liz Cheney jolted the news cycle after the hearing with a pair of conflicting announcements about the probe’s path ahead.

Thompson told reporters the committee would not issue a criminal referral for Trump or anyone else it has investigated because that, he said, is the work of the United States Department of Justice. In response, vicechair Liz Cheney issued a statement saying a conclusion on issuing criminal referrals had not yet been reached.

“We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time,” she said.

While this division is notable for a committee that has been largely unified in most steps it has taken publicly, in truth, whether the select committees issues a criminal referral or not, there are still other essential elements at play: The nation’s top cop on the beat, Attorney General Merrick Garland, is watching and so too are throngs of federal prosecutors flanking him.

“I am watching, and I will be watching all the hearings, and I can assure you that there are Jan. 6 prosecutors watching all of the hearings,” Garland said Monday.



This, if the comments section of any news site on earth is to be considered, is cold comfort to some and no comfort to others.

But the Department of Justice is very rarely about the business of making Americans comfortable. The Department of Justice is about the business of investigating crimes and indicting people involved in those crimes. To start.

During the Trump administration, the lines between the department and Congress were blurred to put it lightly.

In fact, at the upcoming hearing this week, the committee is expected to demonstrate how Justice Department officials under Trump were targeted and pressured by the 45th president and his cronies to go along with a scheme announcing voter fraud in key election battleground states where there was none.

That didn’t ultimately end up happening because the people targeted at the DOJ by those yes-men observed the separation of powers.

The separation of powers, if just the last five years have taught Americans anything, is one of the most crucial elements underpinning a society that fancies itself a democracy, not an autocracy.

The committee has strived to respect the boundaries between itself and the DOJ for months and even as members waded through huge amounts of information posing equally huge amounts of potential criminal liability.

In short, the committee has said: It can investigate, and it can legislate, but it cannot prosecute.

A criminal referral, even if the committee issued one, would be symbolic at this point and even superfluous given what the probe has already established in court.

U.S. District Judge David Carter’s issued an opinion this March after reviewing a trove of communications between Trump and attorney John Eastman. Carter found the former president and Eastman were “more likely than not” engaged in a corrupt attempt to obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, and that “their campaign was not confined to the ivory tower—it was a coup in search of legal theory.”

Judge David Carter Ruling_T... by Daily Kos

The committee has already said, both in court and now in its hearings this month, that Trump may have committed crimes.

If the committee went ahead with issuing a referral, it wouldn’t be worth, in practical effect, much more than the paper it was printed on.

In April, committee member Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat,
explained it to Politico:

”A referral doesn’t mean anything. It has no legal weight whatsoever and I’m pretty sure the Department of Justice has read [Judge Carter’s] opinion, so they don’t need us to tell them it exists,” she said.

The “criminal referral” that the committee could send would effectively be a list of recommendations for actions to be taken by the Department based on their findings. This “referral” wouldn’t have any force in effect because the Department of Justice is the entity that decides whether charges should be brought, regardless of where it receives the allegations from.

It might give people who are still outraged about Jan. 6, and the wreckage Trump left in his wake a good, warm, fuzzy feeling, perhaps, but these people are also missing part of the very unsexy trick here.

Criminal charges do not hinge on whether investigators on the committee vote on a piece of paper that states something along the lines of “The Jan. 6 committee thinks the Department of Justice should indict former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection, defrauding the federal government, obstructing a congressional proceeding and committing wire fraud,” for example.

Would it be historic? Certainly.

But history is being made right now, and every time the committee airs a hearing. Every time the committee has won a lawsuit in its fight for transparency into a deadly attack, it has made history. The panel has exposed already the inner workings of a plot they allege was orchestrated by the former president.

They allege it. Just like prosecutors at the DOJ would initially allege it before the matter went to a judge or jury who would determine a verdict.

President Joe Biden has sided with transparency and has thus far expressed an unwavering commitment to getting to the bottom of the insurrection and letting congress do its work.

The committee has kept its nose clean as it has navigated ceaseless attacks and spin from opponents. The committee’s responses to that spin have overwhelmingly if not entirely been delivered eloquently while a stack of legal rulings from federal courts backing them up sits within arms reach.

It may seem strange after watching Trump and members of his administration treat all three branches of government as a personal playground. But if Americans can put their justifiable cynicism down for long enough to consider the facts before them, they may better understand why the committee has, for now, taken this tack.

Why Cheney would appear to conflict with Thompson on issuing a referral that is technically symbolic is unclear. The speculation behind that is an issue unto itself.

But can we consider for a moment that Cheney is still a Republican who has bet her career and her reputation in many powerful Republican circles on the committee’s work and her role in it?

For casual consumers of the probe in her constituency, a statement from the chairman saying a criminal referral is not likely might really twist things up for a person already pushing and testing their political limits, dynasty political family or no.

Making the case about Jan. 6 to the public is one thing.

Making the case to the Department of Justice is quite another.

The committee will keep making its case with a hearing on June 16 at 1 PM ET.

A hearing originally scheduled for June 15 was postponed Tuesday. Lofgren told MSNBC that it was “no big deal” and the panel’s staff needed a bit more time to put together video exhibits.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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UH-OH: FOX News Senior Political Analyst Says January 6th Hearings Could Help GOP By Thumping Trump
News Corpse

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection incited by Donald Trump has so far conducted two sessions that have already produced devastating evidence of criminal malfeasance by the twice-impeached, former reality TV game show host. And while Fox News refused to air the first session live, They did succumb to pressure and covered the second session.

The revelations of Trump's anti-American sedition disclosed so far include that many of his closest White House and campaign staffers tried in vain to coax him off the ledge of crazy election fraud claims that he knew were not true. His Attorney General, Bill Barr, called such claims "bullshit." And both documents and testimony exposed Trump's financial corruption wherein he repeatedly lied to his gullible cult followers in order to fleece them for donations that he said were intended for an "Election Defense Fund" that never actually existed.

Unsurprisingly, most of the post-hearing commentary on Fox News was stridently hostile toward the Committee, its members, and its mission. Their primetime roster of Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, all either disparaged or belittled the proceedings. However, there were a couple of uncharacteristically honest moments that managed to slither out from the avalanche of Trump-fluffing propaganda. One of those moments came when Fox's Senior Political Analyst, Brit Hume, told anchor Bret Baier that...

"What strikes me about this, Bret, is that if they succeed ? either by damaging him or staining him such that he is either unable for legal or political reasons to run again ? they might end up finding out that they’ve done the Republican Party a great service. Because I think a great many Republicans think they can’t win with Trump at the head of the ticket again.

"They’re afraid of his supporters and don’t want to come out against him directly. But they’d like him to go away. If the effect of this committee is to make his possible candidacy go away, I think a great many Republicans would privately be very glad."



That's a rare admission by someone on Fox News that Trump is actually an albatross around the red neck of a Republican Party that both hates and fears him. Hume is also conceding that Trump could be guilty of crimes that would forestall his becoming a candidate in 2024. And he is confirming that a significant faction of the GOP believe that Trump would lose - again - were he to be the Party's nominee.

There is a reasonable argument to be made that Hume is right that dumping Trump would would be a boon to the GOP in 2024. However, that is not by any any stretch of the imagination a foregone conclusion. First of of all, it presumes that a different nominee would be less schizoid that Trump. And judging by their bench (Ron DeSantis, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, etc.), that's a highly speculative presumption. Secondly, whatever non-Trump candidate would replace him would suffer from the fact that Trump's disciples might tend to stay home if their messiah isn't on the ballot.

Furthermore, the hearings now in progress have the potential to do serious damage to more than just Trump. The entire Republican Party has been shown to be complicit in his illicit behavior. And a great deal of that is being played out on television via these hearings, which have garnered huge ratings with an audience exceeding 20 million.

In addition to Hume's remarks, the Fox news audience was also treated to the opinion of Democratic consultant and Fox News contributor, Marie Harf, who said that...

"The testimony this morning paints a picture of a president who is hearing from all his top advisers - not all, many of his top advisers, the 'normal team,' as Bill Stepien called them - that his claims were outrageous. They were B.S. They were not based in any fact. And yet he went out to his supporters and told them they were true, encouraged them, lit this match. Encouraged people to believe these BS allegations. He asked them for money to help in his legal cases. He gave them a false sense of hope, and that culminated, as I think the Committee will get to, in what we saw on January 6th.

"So let's take a step back from the process, from the inside baseball, who's on the Committee and who isn't. We saw a portrait of a president today who was increasingly at odds with reality. And that's according to his own advisers, including people like Bill Barr."



It will take a lot more of this type of truthful commentary to deprogram the brainwashed Fox News viewers. But the fact that these views are getting aired on Fox is validation of the Democrats decision to hold these hearings and to hold Trump and his cronies to account for their crimes. And they have only just begun.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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MTG touts climate change 'benefits' while bizarrely claiming no one can see Jan. 6 video footage
Aldous J Pennyfarthing

You may not have heard of Right Side Broadcasting Network, and if that’s the case—congratulations! You live a rich, full life unadulterated by brain weevils. Obviously, you’re not part of the network’s target demographic, which appears to consist almost entirely of Scott Baio getting shambolically drunk on Boone’s Farm.

But what the network lacks in gravitas it more than makes up for in goofy-ass displays of meretricious nonsense. Enter the ever-benighted Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia’s modest contribution to our slow-rolling apocalypse.

In a recent interview with RSBN’s Brian Glenn, Greene was so gobsmackingly weird, for a moment I thought my Jewish space LASIK surgery was making me hallucinate.



And in case you haven’t been waterboarded recently, here’s the full hour-plus interview.

So how does one respond to this?

For one thing, there is video footage of the attack—including lots of Capitol security footage—and it’s definitely viewable to anyone who cares to look at it. For instance, there’s this NBC News video from Trump’s second impeachment, helpfully titled “Impeachment Managers Show New Graphic Security Footage Of Capitol Riot”:



Meanwhile, Greene is also convinced that humans aren’t actually hurting the planet by burning fossil fuels—we’re enhancing it! Think of it as our new, improved operating system, Earth 2.0—only without all the usual bugs. No, really. There will be no bugs. They can’t possibly survive what’s coming. Earth 2.0 will be a fungus-and-lungfish paradise, which gives MTG a fighting chance, come to think of it.



Uh huh. People do die in the cold, and those deaths are strongly correlated with both climate change and Ted Cruz wearing flip-flops in airports. Meanwhile, plenty of people also die in the heat, but never mind those jabronis.

In January 2021—with a big assist from our worst-ever president—Georgia was kind enough to gift us two Democratic U.S. senators. They also gave us this moist, quavering mound of peach tree-dish detritus.

Do better, Georgia. You can start by making wiser choices this November.
 

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Ukraine update: As Russia surges toward Slovyansk, Ukraine moves on Izyum
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1241304657.jpg


There’s no way around it. In spite of taking heavy losses. In spite of an artillery exchange that at the moment seems to seriously favor Ukraine. In spite of bad organization, bad logistics, bad leadership, bad training, and bad maintenance … Russia is still putting enough forces into place in eastern Ukraine to slowly grind their way toward the objective of capturing critical sites in Luhansk and Donetsk.

Ukrainian troops have achieved fantastic things in pushing back Russian forces from Kharkiv. That effort isn’t just notable because it’s liberated dozens of Ukrainian towns and villages, but because pushing back Russian forces has greatly decreased the number of shells and missiles landing in Kharkiv each day, purely for the purpose of causing civilian casualties.

However, after an exciting and rapid initial push in the area, things have gone slowly for Ukraine. Some important locations have been recaptured in the past two weeks—especially Vesele—which help remove Russian artillery positions that were aimed at the city, but on June 14 Ukrainian troops are still engaged in trying to dislodge Russian forces from Lyptsi, a town they’ve been actively trying to capture since the first week of May.

At this point, Russian forces in the Kharkiv area are dug in to fortified positions and supported from across the border by both artillery and aircraft. Clearing Russia from that remaining strip above Kharkiv is going to take the one thing Ukraine needs everywhere—not more American artillery: more Ukrainian forces. The Ukrainian army is reportedly training as many as three new brigades using a combination of Ukrainian volunteers, foreign volunteers, and called-up reserves. Those troops, who have reportedly been trained to operate many of the new systems donated by NATO countries, are by far the most valuable resource Ukraine has to deploy.


screencap.jpg

NASA FIRMS Fire Map, Severodonetsk Area

This is the NASA FIRMS Fire Map for the Severodonetsk area as of noon ET. Those hot spots falling in areas thought to be under the control of Ukrainian forces have been recolored blue. Everything else on this map is being dropped on Russian occupation forces. As has been true for almost two weeks, not only are more shells falling on Russian-controlled territory than on the heads of Ukrainian forces, most of what is being directed at Ukrainian positions are those advanced positions in the city of Severodonetsk. When it comes to delivering counterbattery fire striking targets on the other sides of these towns and cities, Ukraine seems to be way ahead.

Still … see paragraph 1. It’s not enough. Russia has not taken all of Severodonetsk, but it has held off any attempted counterattack. Even more importantly, Russia is capturing more territory west of Severodonetsk, threatening both Ukraine’s ability to deliver those artillery shots and to safely supply, or withdraw, their forces.

Russian movements in the area seem to have proceeded in three stages. First there was the direct movement to Severodonetsk, which involved taking a string of neighboring positions, including the town of Rubizhne. When that effort became stagnated at the last step, Russia moved to capturing other positions on the occupied side of the Silverskyi Donets River. That effort has been more successful, with only the area around Ozerne and Severodonetsk still reported to be in dispute. Now Russia has begun moving down from that long-standing position at Izyum, attacking villages to the south and moving to join up with other Russian forces across the river.

All of this makes it sound a lot “cleaner” than it has been. Russia has failed over, and over, and over in efforts to capture even small positions. And a premature push to the river resulted in a triple disaster that saw whole BTGs blasted apart on the river bank. As it has everywhere since the invasion began, Russia continues to employ “probing by fire” — also known as sending troops forward until they get shot. Then sending more forces forward so you can tell where the bullets are originating. Then sending more troops forward.


In the last day, the Russian advance from Izyum has reportedly reached the town of Bohorodychne on the west bank of the river. Some reports have Russia completely occupying this town, while others have the fighting still underway. But it does seem likely that Russia is about to occupy both sides of the river in the bend that includes both Bohorodychne and Tetyanivka. Assuming they can repair or replace the bridge in this area, that would allow them to move forces across the river at a point about 20km south of their current crossing point.

All of this positions Russian to mass its forces for an assault on the positions they regard as the real prize in the area: Slovyansk and neighboring Kramatorsk.

However, there is something else going on …

screencap.jpg

Izyum Area

The area immediately west of Izyum is heavily wooded and crisscrossed by a series of logging roads. There are only a few settlements in the area. At one point, Russia was using this area to camp some of the 20+ BTGs that were deployed around Izyum. Ukrainian forces carried out a series of hit-and-run raids, attacking these forces without the apparent goal of taking and holding territory.

Now many of those BTGs are involved in the push south, and Ukraine seems to see an opportunity. On Monday, it captured the villages of Zavody and Spivakivka in this wooded area. In just the last hour as this article was being prepared on Tuesday, reports came in that Ukrainian forces had also completely occupied the village of Prudonetske—next stop, Izyum. In addition, a pair of Russian Ka-52 helicopters were reportedly shot down in the area as Ukrainian forces pressed to the outskirts of the city. (Note: Though the reports about Prudonetske are coming from multiple sources that have proven reliable in the past, consider this largely unconfirmed; even so, I’ve updated the map to reflect this change.)

At both Kherson and Izyum, Ukrainian forces now hold a village just 10km from the city proper. However, Russia has been heavily mining and fortifying the area around Kherson. This does not seem to be true at Izyum. There are reports on Tuesday that Russia’s latest attempts at moving southeast out of Izyum have failed, with more reports of heavy losses.

Ukraine has continued to hold on in Severodonetsk, and there’s no doubt that they have absolutely mauled various Russian units attempting to occupy that city from positions across the river in Lysychansk. But what they need only slightly less than those new brigades reportedly training in the west is a big win. Retaking Izyum would be a huge win. This one looks possible.

The biggest issue is that this wooded area is by its nature difficult to hold. There are roads traveling in all directions. What made it so easy for Ukraine to stick-and-move in this area earlier could make it very difficult for them to hold it as a base for an assault on the city.


KHERSON​

There were multiple reports on Tuesday morning that Ukrainian forces had taken the town of Kyselivka and moved rapidly down the highway to attack Russian forces at Chornobaivka, right on the outskirts of Kherson. However, most of these reports seem to track back to a single source and there is absolutely zero chatter about this on Russian Telegram accounts. While it would be nice to believe, consider this Extremely Sketchy.

RUSSIAN STUFF BLOWING UP THEATER​


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Tuesday, Jun 14, 2022 · 9:22:00 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
There are reports tonight of a major advance by Ukrainian forces in the southern part of the Kherson area. If these reports are accurate, several villages and towns that were previously marked as “in dispute” are now liberated by Ukraine and the line of Russian occupation is pushed back better than a three kilometers along a line of over 20km.

Amazing if true, and being reported by several usually reliable sources. However, it’s also been disputed in at least one area of the line. Specifically there are numerous reports that Ukrainian forces had taken Kyselivka and made a rapid advance along that line. This claim is disputed by sources that are usually verified by “boots on the ground,” so I’ve left them off this map.

Consider this a “prototype” map. This whole area may look very different the next time it appears on screen.

screencap.jpg


This map moves the line of Russian control back significantly. 3-4km. It also places Olexsandrivka and Pravdyne in Ukrainian control, as well as placing a number of previously Russian-occupied settlements in dispute. Technically, if the settlement statuses are accurate, the line of Russian occupation should be even farther back. And I’ll do that … if this is confirmed in the morning.