More to ignore, Book 71.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Explosive testimony exposes GOP lawmakers as Jan. 6 probe presents evidence of 'political coup'
Brandi Buchman

rosendonogcmte.jpg


For its fifth hearing, the Jan. 6 committee unloaded grave evidence of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election by deploying pressure that reached into every branch of the U.S. government and was, evidence revealed on Thursday, advanced by a slew of sitting U.S. lawmakers who allegedly later sought pardons for their actions leading up to the insurrection.

More than two hours of testimony were delivered from a panel of Republicans and former members of the Department of Justice, including former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, his deputy Richard Donoghue, and Richard Engel, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel.

Each told the committee on Thursday that Trump tried to corrupt the DOJ by having the department’s leadership cosign on his lies about fraud in the 2020 election and, when the officials would not go along with a plan to have the department make an announcement it knew was verifiably false, Trump tried to install Jeffrey Clark, a lawyer and lackey first introduced to him by Rep. Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican.
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It was bombshell after bombshell during the hearing, led in large part by panel member and Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

But it might have been the deposition from former Trump White House counsel Eric Herschmann that put the finest of fine points on Trump and Clark’s gambit to have the DOJ throw its full weight behind what committee chair Bennie Thompson described as a “political coup” on Thursday.

When Clark went to Herschmann and revealed his plan—to install himself as attorney general so he could send off letters to swing state legislatures informing them the department had found evidence of fraud—Herschmann remarked:

“I said good,… ****ing a-hole… congratulations. You’ve just admitted your first step or act you’d take as attorney general would be committing a felony in violation of Rule 6 (c ).”

Herschmann added sarcastically to Clark: “You’re clearly the right candidate for this job.”

Clark, incidentally, had his Virginia home searched by authorities from the Department of Justice early Thursday morning. According to Russell Vought, a former Trump administration official, Clark was drawn out into the street in his pajamas as law enforcement seized his electronic devices. ABC News was first to report the development.

Though a White House lawyer told Clark he would be committing a felony if he went through with his plan and Rosen’s predecessor, Attorney General Bill Barr had repeatedly told Trump that allegations of widespread voter fraud were meritless, Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel described an increasingly desperate president clinging to fading power.



Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel’s focus stayed largely on calls and meetings that unfolded at the White House from mid-December through Jan. 6.

But it was a Jan. 3 meeting with Trump in the Oval Office that was a make-or-break moment.

Rosen said Trump called him “virtually every day” leading up to Jan. 3 and would complain directly that the Department of Justice wasn’t doing enough to look into fraud. Trump suggested appointing a special counsel to investigate wild conspiracy theories already debunked by the nation’s intelligence community and the DOJ. Trump had asked Rosen to hold press conferences and release statements anyway.

Video deposition from Trump’s attorney, Sidney Powell, that played Thursday corroborated this as she told investigators that Trump asked her directly to take up the special counsel role after Barr and Rosen refused to appoint one.

Donoghue said he tried to explain to Trump that only states could run their elections and the Department of Justice was not his “quality control.” But the message didn’t penetrate, no matter how methodical the DOJ leader’s descriptions.

“The DOJ declined all of these requests because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and laws as we understood them,” Rosen testified.

By the time Jan. 3 rolled around, much had already developed, some of it behind Rosen’s back and against his advice to Clark. Rosen warned him about meeting with members of the White House outside of the proper protocols dictated by DOJ and White House policy alike.

White House visitor logs newly showed on Thursday that Clark was hauled into the White House to meet Trump on Dec. 20 by Trump’s election fraud theory-peddling ally, Perry.

Perry, text messages to Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows showed, was eager to elevate Clark’s role at the DOJ.





“Mark, just checking in as time continues to count down. 11 days to 1/6 and 25 days to the inauguration. We gotta get going,” Perry wrote on Dec. 26.

Two days later, Clark would show Rosen and Donoghue the letter he wanted them to approve. When Donoghue looked at it, he said Thursday, it was “so extreme” he couldn’t wrap his head around it at first.

Rejected Draft Letter From ... by Daily Kos

“The person who drafted this lawsuit didn't really understand the law, or how the Supreme Court works or the Department of Justice," Engel said of the Clark letter.

Rosen warned Clark that his plan amounted to the DOJ meddling in the election of a U.S. president.

24 hours before the meeting on Jan. 3 in the Oval, Donoghue, Rosen, and Clark clashed again. Trump had just asked Donoghue on New Year’s Eve to seize voting machines. Meadows was firing off emails, trying to draw Clark higher and higher up the chain of command.



Tensions rose even higher when Clark told Rosen he was poised to replace him. At Trump’s request.

Rosen gathered his most trusted officials to prepare for a meeting with Trump. He would not be fired by his subordinate, he testified Thursday.

After speaking to a group of attorneys general at the department who vowed to resign if Trump went through with the plan to install Clark, Rosen, Donoghue, and Engel were finally ready.

At the meeting on Jan. 3, they told the 45th president in no uncertain terms that Clark had no experience conducting criminal investigations and that it was, in Donoghue’s words, “impossible,” “absurd” and bound to fail if Trump went through with it.

Clark, Donoghue said in front of everyone in the room, was “incompetent” and if Trump insisted on replacing Rosen there would be mass resignations and no one would pay a lick of attention to his voter fraud claims.

Instead, Donoghue remarked, all anyone would think about is how Trump “went through two attorneys general in two weeks” until they found whatever rube they could to sign off on Clark’s letter to state legislatures demanding fake electors be appointed and fraud investigated.

White House attorney Pat Cipollone was present. He called the letter a “murder-suicide pact.”

With an awkward air filling the room, Trump relented. In part.

What would they do with Clark if he didn’t replace Rosen? Would Donoghue fire him?

Donoghue explained to Trump he didn’t have the authority since Clark was Senate-confirmed. It would have to be Trump’s call.

Trump did not fire Clark.

Donoghue, Engel, and Rosen would not speak to Trump on Jan. 6.

On Jan. 11, 2021, less than a weeks after the insurrection was quelled and the Capitol found itself standing, albeit battered and newly deluged by National Guardsmen and security fencing, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama sprang to action.

Brooks was seeking a pardon for himself and other members of Congress who helped stoke Trump’s lies about election fraud. It was pre-emptive for all members of the House and Senate who voted to reject the Electoral College certification of Biden’s win in Pennsylvania and Arizona.

John McEntee, Trump’s former head of personnel, testified to the committee that Trump hinted at a “blanket pardon for the Jan. 6 thing.”

Brooks’s email—subject line “Pardons”—requested one for Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida.

Meadows’ aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified that others, like Rep. Perry, Louis Gohmert of Texas and Andy Biggs of Arizona also asked for pardons. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Hutchinson said, inquired about one to the White House Counsel’s office.



Kinzinger remarked Thursday: “The only reason I know to ask for a pardon is because you think you’ve committed a crime.”

The lawmakers have issued swift denials, with Brooks claiming that he only asked for a pardon because he feared a punitive “Socialist Democrat” majority hellbent on prosecuting Trump’s allies.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The European Union approves Ukraine as a candidate for membership. Zelenskyy reacts.
Mark Lippman

Zelensky-reacts-to-EU-approval.png

President Zelenskyy reacts to EU approval of Ukraine's application for candidate status

The decision came at the end of an all-day summit attended by the EU’s 27 heads of state with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participating remotely.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council made the announcement. Candidate status was also approved for Moldova.



In an emotional address following the decision, Zelenskyy thanked each of the EU’s 27 member states and their leaders, individually, starting with the Baltic countries:

“Lithuania stands for us. Thank you, Mr. President! . . . Latvia stands for us. Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister! . . . Estonia stands for us. Thank you, Mrs. Prime Minister Kallas!,” and he continued until all were named. → www.president.gov.ua/...

Zelensky also graciously thanked Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament,: “You were the first to support Ukraine's candidate status the day after our application,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council: “dear Charles,” and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission: “dear Ursula, I am grateful to you both . . .”

Zelensky went on to say:

“Today you have adopted one of the most important decisions for Ukraine in all 30 years of independence of our state.

However, I believe this decision is not only for Ukraine. This is the biggest step towards strengthening Europe that could be taken right now, in our time and in such difficult conditions, when the Russian war is testing our ability to preserve freedom and unity.” → www.president.gov.ua/…




 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Ukrainian 'pocket' south of Lysychansk folds as fighting continues in Severodonetsk
Mark Sumner

On Wednesday, I started an update on the situation south of Severodonetsk several times, and each time I updated a map, or wrote several paragraphs of text, I found myself having to change that information well before it was ready to publish. Things haven’t settled down much since then, so consider this an update likely soon to be an outdate.

On Monday, Russia broke through the lines at Toshkivka, then rapidly advanced to Myrna Dolyna just a few kilometers from the Ukrainian strong point at Lysychansk. Not only did that action set up a potentially important confrontation that could tell the future of Ukraine’s eastern salient, it left Ukrainian forces at Zolote in a “pocket” with rapidly closing Russian control on both sides. By Tuesday there were reports that Ukrainian forces were streaming out of the pocket, leaving only a token forces to hold back Russian advances and secure an orderly withdrawal.



So when I started writing on Wednesday, I intended to describe exactly that situation—Russian forces moving into Zolote and folding up the remaining area of Ukrainian control and Ukrainian forces moving north into Lysychansk and west toward Slovyansk. Only as I was writing, Russian forces moved again, capturing more villages and suburbs around Lysychansk, and apparently forcing unprepared Ukrainian forces to flee from Bila Hora, right on the southern edge of the city.

Soon after that came word that Ukraine had waged a surprising defense, repulsing a Russian attack, not at Zolote, but all the way down at Katerynivka. That was several kilometers to the south, at what had been the very tip of Ukrainian-held territory for weeks. The assumption going into Tuesday was that Ukraine had long cleared out of town. Only nope.

Then came word that Ukraine had advanced to the edge of Toshkivka, the same town where Russia had made the critical breakthrough days earlier, and was once again disputing control of the town. This was happening even as Russia was advancing north of Toshkivka.

If all this sounds like chaos … it certainly seemed like chaos.


However, in the last few hours sources have indicated that the purpose of the counterattack on Toshkivka was not to try and retake the town, but only to redirect Russian attention while the remaining forces escaped from Katerynivka and Zolote. Hopefully that worked, as both villages have now been overrun. As of Noon ET, Zolote was in Russian control and the remainder of the pocket was swiftly vanishing as Russian forces closed from both sides.

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Zolote pocket is closing.

Looking at this map, there’s a lot of red in areas that was under Ukrainian control last week, and every day the area in dispute seems to be getting replaced by more Russian occupation. In spite of increased artillery fire into Russian positions and frequent reports of heavy losses on the Russian side, they are continuing to advance.

On the other hand, as kos has pointed out several times, the area under discussion is a tiny part of what’s already just a small piece of the Russian invasion. To secure Lysychansk, Russia is going to have to assault Ukrainian-held positions at the top of a line of bluffs and steep hills. Even if they take it, forcing Ukraine to remove its remaining forces from Severodonetsk in the process, that’s still just a small slice off the area that Russia needs to capture if it really wants to hold the Donbas.

And the truth is that, three weeks after Russia was reportedly using “all its power” to capture Severondonetsk, and almost a month after Kadyrov’s Chechen forces put out their TikTok video pretending to be strolling through a cheerfully occupied city, fighting in Severodonetsk continues. Not only do Ukrainian forces still control much of the industrial area on the northwest side of the city, they are still contesting Russian advances in the south and in a string of suburbs. Ukraine may have lost three M777s at Lysychansk, but areas well to the south, north, and east of Severodonetsk are still being hit from somewhere.

The battle of Severodonetsk has had an incredible cost for Ukraine, but as kos has also pointed out, there are arguments that the cost has been worth it. That Russia still hasn’t taken the city almost six weeks after entering the Severodonetsk and making its capture job one … that alone has value.
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While some M777s may have been taken out, more are coming. And they brought friends.



Where that picture is located isn’t clear, but the ridge in the background indicates that this isn’t the absolutely flat ground west of Kherson. It seems likely that some of these HIMARS systems are, or soon will be, adding some fire power to the defense of that eastern salient. Meanwhile, Russia continues to pile up forces around Lyman, looking for a place to establish a crossing, but all too aware of what happened at Bilohorivka. In fact, in the last day it looks like Russian troops have been moving northwest out of Lyman, headed for the bridge at Yatskivka right across from Izyum. That puts them over 20km west of Lyman and 60km west of where they tried to force the river last time. They’ve apparently decided that pontoons may not be in their wheelhouse.
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CNBC today is saying the “fearsome climax as battle for Severodonetsk and Lysychansk enters last phase.” But based on what we’ve seen so far, it is never too late for Ukraine to turn the tables. However, there does seem to be one group that may have reached its expiration point.

The Chechen social media warriors made the mistake of believing the headlines the last time Ukraine was said to be withdrawing from Severodonetsk.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Senate on Thursday night passed a bipartisan bill to address gun violence that amounts to the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades.

The final vote was 65 to 33 with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in support of the measure, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the most contentious policy issues in the country. The bill will next go to the House for a vote before it can be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

The bipartisan gun deal includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs and incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.


It also makes significant changes to the process when someone ages 18 to 21 goes to buy a firearm and closes the so-called boyfriend loophole, a victory for Democrats, who have long fought for that......
 

Lion8286

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Biden approval rating falls for fourth straight week, Marbles. Told you Biden is a disaster.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says fake electors came from Pennsylvania lawmaker Mike Kelly​

CBS Pittsburgh - 3h ago

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In Tuesday's January 6 Committee hearing, it was revealed that Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson's chief of staff attempted to hand fake elector votes to Vice President Mike Pence ahead of the joint session of the United States Congress.


On Thursday on a news talk radio station in Milwaukee, Johnson alleged his staff was given those votes by Congressman Mike Kelly, who represents parts of Butler and Lawrence counties.

In a statement, Kelly's office said Johnson's allegations are "patently false." The statement added that the two have not spoken for years and Kelly has no knowledge of Johnson's claims related to the election.

AAYNCOK.img
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, ending abortion rights for millions
Joan McCarter

For half a century, the radical right has fought to reclaim state control over the the uterus of every person in this country capable of getting pregnant. They succeeded Friday in a 6-3 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that ends federal protections of abortion rights. With the decision, 13 states—Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming—automatically banned abortion with trigger laws their extremist governors and legislatures put in place waiting for this decision.

"The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” the Court’s extremist majority ruled. Whereas the right for citizens to carry weapons of war around in public, posing a very real threat to actual living human beings outside the womb cannot be decided by the states, according to these same radicals in their gun decision Thursday.

In anticipation of that, providers in some state have already halted abortion care. Blue states are scrambling to provide systems of care across state borders. So some states do indeed get to decide and continue to protect reproductive rights.

The decision, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, largely tracks with the draft majority opinion leaked in May. In it, Alito completely repudiates the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and the subsequent decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 ruling that upheld the right to an abortion but changed the standard for litigating restrictions on the right, establishing the standard of undue burden in deciding what restrictions would be allowed. From that moment on, it’s been Republican state after Republican state chipping away at abortion by ever more creatively stretching the boundaries of “under burden.” Waiting periods, mandatory vaginal ultrasounds, counseling, medical facility requirements, parental consent—the patriarchal states went crazy trying to figure out how creatively they could punish pregnant people.

That this is not at all about sanctity of life, has never been about the sanctity of life, is right there in black and white in Alito’s decision. In his draft opinion, he included a side trip into the distant past, praising 17th century English jurist Matthew Hale, who had at least two women executed for witchcraft and who created the premise that husbands cannot be prosecuted for raping their wives. Alito approvingly quoted Hale in the draft, writing: “Two treatises by Sir Matthew Hale likewise described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a ‘great crime’ and a ‘great misprision.’”

The “quickening” is defined by Alito in his draft as “the first felt movement of the fetus in the womb, which usually occurs between the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy,” but Hale argued that even before that movement, abortion was homicide. “Hale wrote that if a physician gave a woman ‘with child’ a ‘potion’ to cause an abortion, and the woman died, it was ‘murder’ because the potion was given ‘unlawfully to destroy her child within her.’”

While that particularly reference, soundly pilloried by legal experts and every well-grounded 21st century thinking person was left out of the final decision by Alito, that was the mindset with which Alito and the extremist majority approached the question: the mindset of a 17th century jurist who was pretty far out even for his own day, writing a century before the American Revolution and the drafting of the U.S. Constitution, upon which the Supreme Court has been happily spitting during this session.

This ruling, as Kerry Eleveld wrote when the draft was leaked in May, “opens the floodgates” from “contraception to LGBTQ rights.” That’s because it “intrinsically calls into question other unenumerated rights the Supreme Court has conferred on Americans, such as the right to privacy, raise children, use contraception, or marry the person of their choosing regardless of the color of their skin or their gender.” That is the path this illegitimate, extremist Supreme Court has put the nation on, one that would roll back at least a century’s worth of progress in American life.

Don’t expect the newly unleashed rabid right to stop at banning abortion, either. They’re already planning what comes next, the punishment for people having abortions: “mandatory psychiatric custody.”



That’s coming not from the fringes of the Republican establishment, because you can’t define a “fringe” anymore—they’re all in it. It’s coming from a senior research fellow and director of the DeVos Center at the Heritage Foundation, one of the leading (if such a thing exists) think tanks of the right.

It’s clear that this Supreme Court, even with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson added next term, is not going to protect this fundamental right. It’s also clear from the Jackson hearings and from red state actions that they’re not going to stop at abortion. They’re aiming for marriage equality, for contraception—hell, they’ve even started talking about the states banning interracial marriage.

There’s just one solution: Expand the court so that the Trump-packed three, plus insurrectionist Thomas and extreme ideologue Alito, can’t rocket us back to a pre-civil rights America.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Friday, Jun 24, 2022 · 10:23:12 AM EDT · Joan McCarter
In a solo concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas goes after contraception and LGTBQ rights: “in future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Because any substantive due process decision is ‘demonstrably erroneous,’ [...] we have a duty to ‘correct the error’ established in those precedents,” he writes.
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Friday, Jun 24, 2022 · 10:24:30 AM EDT · Joan McCarter
In dissent, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan respond: “Whatever the exact scope of the coming laws, one result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”
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Friday, Jun 24, 2022 · 10:26:22 AM EDT · Joan McCarter

Alito obnoxiously pretends Thomas didn't write what Thomas wrote: "Finally, the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. [...] But we have stated unequivocally that “[n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: U.S. doubles HIMARS order for Ukraine as the first four get deployed
kos

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Ukrainian combat medics, somewhere on the front lines

The U.S. has announced the next tranche of its weekly flow of military aid:

• Four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems;


• 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition;

• 18 tactical vehicles to tow 155mm artillery;

• 1,200 grenade launchers;

• 2,000 machine guns;

• 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats;


• Spare parts and other equipment.

Look at that, more HIMARS. All the people hyperventilating last week that four wasn’t enough … are now complaining that four isn’t enough. It doesn’t help when Ukrainian “military experts” are spinning fiction:


If we are talking about the Western-made M-270 and M-142, getting 300 is quite realistic. The public archives of Lockheed Martin for 2015 show that in the US, more than 1300 MLRS systems were produced, including 850 M-270 units. So I am not so sure about the data of the experts who claimed an insufficient number (600 MLRS) in the US. I have not verified these numbers at the US warehouses, of course. In addition, almost every NATO country and the US partners outside the NATO bloc have the M-270 and M-142 MLRS systems in service. We can get 300 MLRS systems if each partner country provides four units.

LOL, okay. First of all, “almost every NATO country and the US partners outside NATO bloc” do not have M270s or HIMARS. Two NATO countries field HIMARS—the United States and Romania. Seven NATO countries have MLRS—France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Turkey, UK, US, plus Finland. There are 30 countries in NATO.

300 divided by four is 75. So he thinks there are 75 countries with HIMARS and M270 MLRS. The real number is 16). And as I’ve repeatedly noted, the issue isn’t launchers. Given their range and the size of the front, you could literally park a single unit in the three operational zones (Kharkiv, Donbas, Kherson) and fire a continuous stream of rockets as long as supply lines support it, and the launchers don’t break down.

But believe it or not, I’m not as frustrated this time, because thanks to Gens. Ben Hodges and Mark Hertling, people are finally starting to get it. So we now get conversations like this:



My message is getting through! The “2.5 tons” is the tell that someone read my story on the topic, and it’s permeating the Twitterverse. As Ukraine develops new supply systems to keep these hungry beasts fed, more will likely arrive. But ultimately, Ukraine won’t need so many. Twenty-seven or so (three batteries, one for each theater), constantly supplied, will be more than enough, even assuming a significant portion are down at any moment for maintenance issues. (The M270s are a maintenance nightmare, so I’m really hoping the HIMARS are more dependable). As long as replacement units are made available for the inevitable combat losses, Ukraine will have itself dramatically upgrade artillery capabilities.

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A single HIMARS’ range on the Donbas front

People also underestimate the last bullet point, “spare parts and other equipment.” That includes the things that keep all this stuff working, and is literally as important as fuel and ammunition. If you’re wondering whether “105mm munitions” is a typo, it is not. New Zealand and the UK are both sending these mini L119 howitzers to Ukraine, and the U.S. is chipping in some ammo for them. We can all question the wisdom of saddling Ukraine’s logistical chain with yet another caliber round to shuttle to the front, but I wouldn’t be surprised if these guns are tasked to territorial defense, freeing up bigger guns for the front.

Finally, “18 coastal and riverine patrol boats” seems … weird. Such boats would be no match for Russia’s navy and anti-ship missiles, and deploying them will be tough with the Bosphorus closed to military traffic (at Ukraine’s request, remember). Ukraine requested them for a reason, prioritizing them over other needs. I wonder what that reason is.

Ironically, HIMARS will be even better positioned to strike Russian forces as that Severodonetsk/Lysychansk pockets gets rolled up by Russia.

FV-Z6rMX0AArLtP


Ukraine has lost at least two, likely three M777 Howitzers by moving them up to Lysychansk to aid in the defense of Severodonetsk. That’s the problem with that pocket—it’s hard to supply and support with artillery. With more compact front lines, HIMARS can roam the triangle between Sloviansk/Kramatorsk, Sivers’k, and Bakhmut, blasting the shit out of anything trying to approach those cities.

Ukraine announced that the first HIMARS are already operational in country. Honestly, I wish they’d shut up about it, even hold back video of the first strikes. Why give Russia advance notice to start hunting these down? But Ukraine seems eager to show these off for both morale purposes, and to prove their worth as they lobby for more.

Meanwhile, I was blown away by this video:



Ukraine has been successfully pounding Russian supply depots well behind enemy lines with these Tochka-Us, like this apocalyptic hellscape caught on video.

Ukraine had around 500 of these ballistic missiles before the war, and it’s amazing that 1) Ukraine still has these after four months of war; and 2) Russia still can’t hunt these down. They had all that time to prepare for this war. Years. Russians blend in culturally and linguistically in Ukraine, and they had plenty of Ukrainian sympathizers who could’ve done the work for them. They couldn’t have shadowed these missile units pre-invasion, ready to transmit targeting data for the first wave of cruise missiles on February 24? Units like these have a home base and barracks. They were likely sitting ducks, as President Vladymyr Zelenskyy refused to preemptively act on President Joe Biden’s warnings of an imminent Russian attack in order to avoid panic.


At my MLRS unit back in the late 80s, early 90s, we assumed the Soviets were keeping an eye on us, ready to strike us within the first hours of any Warsaw Pact invasion. Heck, our post had signs with directions on where to find motor pools for the artillery, armor, engineering, and MLRS units. It’s impossible to hide a unit’s permanent home. Russia should’ve had all this mapped out, ready to strike at the very start of the war while Ukraine was scrambling to disperse its units to the field.

stupid.jpg


I’m writing this at midnight pacific, for morning publishing. And just as I was signing off, I saw this:

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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I Hope Ruth Bader Ginsburg Haunts the Sh*t Out of These *ssholes
ShowerCap

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So, I was feeling kinda judgy about the latest cynical serving of Jurassic Product, you know, “you honestly expect me to believe they’d keep making dinosaurs after five movies’ worth of T-rex rampages” kind of stuff, but then I gave a moment’s passing thought to American society’s capacity/willingness to learn from history’s mistakes, and I didn’t feel so fancy anymore.......
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So, a theocrat, a drunken mediocrity and an insurrectionists’ spouse walk into a bar. Excuse me, not a bar, I meant “the Supreme Court,” where the illegitimately installed operatives of a tyrannical minority continue incinerating the Constitution with their purloined blowtorch. Yeah, the evil ****s went and did it. I suppose you don’t go to all the trouble of stealing that sort of power without plans to abuse it.

Anyway, in accordance with the dictates of our dominionist overlords, all members of the gender which shall henceforth be referred to as “broodmare” must provide a permission slip, certifying completion of all domestic chores, before reading this blog, signed by a male guardian/owner. Sorry, I don’t make the rules, the most malicious zealots alive do.

Of course, it’s not all medieval regression at the Supreme Court; while women lose rights by the bushel, guns gain new privileges every day. Yes, still dripping blood from Uvalde and Sandy Hook, they strut obscenely to and fro, squawking about how much they value the lives of children. Anyway, looking forward to 2028’s Gaetz-Greitens Act, formally enfranchising the nation’s firearms.

Oh, and more fun, American taxpayers are now obligated to fund any wingnut indoctrination camp masquerading as a “religious school.” I’m starting to understand why this ideology has trouble attracting an electoral majority.

Of course, even this radical assault on human rights and the will of the people isn’t enough for Clarence Thomas, who’s already getting new boots made for the next set of necks.

****ing hell, and that’s just the SCOTUS beat........
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The week started innocently enough, with a more-laughable-than-usual deployment of the right-wing nutjobosphere’s clunky, sputtering, faux outrage machine, in service to the, let’s call it “questionable” legal theory that a briefly detained Stephen Colbert film crew is somehow morally and legally equivalent to a certain hate-crazed mob that inflicted 140 casualties on Capitol law enforcement. And that seems silly, yes, but remember, there’s always a fifty-fifty chance Chuck Todd’ll platform your horseshit as a completely valid point of view.

But then the Republican Party of the Revanchist Shithole Called Texas had to go and make things scary. They’re not ****ing around down there, folks. And can I just say, I’m honestly surprised that Texas Log Cabin Republicans thought the state GOP convention, in the summer of 2022, would be a safe space. Physically. This is not 2015. It’s not even 2020.

No, it’s Openly Menace Dan Crenshaw and His Staff in the Halls time now, folks. When DAN CRENSHAW isn’t crazy enough for your roving gang of thugs, gun control was needed yesterday.

Which brings us to John Cornyn, another fella who was lucky to get out of that Klan rally alive. Hey, looks like we’re actually going to get a new federal gun control law, how ‘bout that? And yeah, John, how ‘bout how quickly the throng turned on you? Like lightning, wasn’t it? For your grudging, meager efforts to finally, FINALLY do as little as humanly possible to stem the flow of little kids’ blood pooling on the floor of the U.S. Senate?

Outside of the bubbling undercurrent of potential street violence, and gosh, won’t that be fun to normalize, the rest of the convention was…well, equally appalling. Fealty sworn to known lies and unapologetic bigotry. Democracy is for cucks,stuff like that. Starting to get 1939 MSG vibes from GOP gatherings, which I don’t love.

Anyway, to all the Texas Republicans who suddenly understand how it feels to have your life threatened by this hate mob y’all built, (and armed, that was smart; real long-term thinkers, conservative lawmakers) you are welcome to pick up a bucket and start fighting this fire any damn day now...........
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Because Eric “Violent Sex Criminal” Greitens might just ride that terrifying There’s Only One Real Pro-Political Violence Candidate in This Race And His Name is Me ad all the way to Washington, even as Herschel Walker twists a life of lies and abuse into ever more and more evangelical adulation. This is, as Shakespeare so famously said, some deeply ****ed-up shit........
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Y’know what? Somebody in Congress should investigate this stuff, especially the way it exploded in a sloppy, premature, frankly embarrassing orgasm of loser white boy terrorism last January. Hang on, I’m receiving a note…oh right, the hearings!

Actually, Bennie and the Jets’re doing a damn fine job. They understand the assignment, and they’re weaving a concise, compelling, emotionally impactful narrative. And holy crud, it’s lookin’ more and more like they’re actually reaching some changeable minds! I thought we were just about out of those, y’know?

‘Course, all the mountains of damning, irrefutable evidence certainly didn’t hurt the cause. Hindsight is 20/20, but I admit I never appreciated the way the first 44-or-so Presidents declined the opportunity to spend the transition period pursuing increasingly outlandish schemes to cling to power. Especially considering history has more or less proven Italian satellites cost Martin Van Buren reelection.

Yes, on one level, this was a bungling wad of dumbasses, lurching haphazardly about, trying stupid, stupid shit that was never going to ****ing work, but it was still quite a bit fashier than you’d like to see from the White House. Ideally. Not to seem critical or anything.

Quite a lot of eager little brownshirts in the Freedumb Caucus, too, now that I think of it…Biggs, Brooks, Greene, Jordan, Gohmert, Gosar, Perry, all groveling for pardons after their treacherous machinations collapsed…bonus audacity points to Matt “Oh, And Leave Some Blank Space So I Can Write In A Few Sex Crimes Later” Gaetz.

And Ron Johnson can pretend to be on the phone with his Canadian girlfriend all he likes, he’s still been caught red-handed participating in a conspiracy to overturn a free and fair election, but hey, at least it’s been a couple weeks since he found any wacky new Covid conspiracy theories to uncritically parrot.

Well, Jeffrey Clark finally received his overdue federal law enforcement raid, no doubt uncovering the nude Jon McNaughton portrait he had commissioned back when he believed he had the Attorney General’s salary to look forward to. Much has been made of Jeffrey’s manifest unfitness for the post, as though that wasn’t the whole reason Pumpkin Spice Pol Pot wanted him in the first place. “Sure, the resume’s a little thin, but I just find the way he goes, ‘whatever you require, Mein Führer’ endearing, don’t you?”

I guess I could spend the decades it would take to untangle the twisted ethical logic behind Rusty Bowers’ “Well, he asked me to violate my oath and my faith and tried to end democracy in America, but HECK YEAH I’d vote for him again!” stance, but **** it, that’s Rusty’s therapist’s job. I’m tired.........
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Noted lynch mob target Michael Pence figured this was the appropriate week to feebly wheeze that Joe Biden is the dishonestest fellow to e’er sully the Oval with his rank untruthfulhood and lying liarpants, and Mike, my dude, while I appreciate that you still need to run face-first into this windmill a couple more times before you understand your completely obvious place in MAGA history, there is only one major political party in this country that does not actively seek your death, and I just think you should be nicer to us is all.

Because we are nowhere near done with stories of th’Base’s steadily increasing fondness for violence, and threats of violence. The hearings spent a whole day on that shit, because the Republican Party just incites that much terrorism.

So I’ll take “Recent Death Threats to United States Congressmen” for $200, Alex.

“This Iraq-veteran-slash-death-cult-apostate’s wife received an anonymous letter threatening the life of their 5-month-old child”

Who is Adam Kinzinger. Same category, $400.

“This former Presidential candidate received a homophobic death threat immediately (****ing IMMEDIATELY) after being targeted on Twitter, with debunked conspiracy theories for good measure, by Marjorie Taylor Greene

Who is Eric Swalwell. I hope the readers don’t expect to me to take this bit any further, Alex, but I think it worked up to this point. This has been fun, we should do it again.........
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Apparently it’s just now occurring to Off-Brand Orbán, here in the inevitable aftermath of Kevin McCarthy’s the-****-were-you-thinking, Gym-Jordan-or-nuthin’ “strategy" concerning the January 6th commission, that the wannabe Speaker might be not be so great at leadering. All MAGA political operations are like that snake story, only with “idiot” instead of “snake,” have you noticed that?......
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I cringed so hard my forearms snapped, watching Lindsey Graham, clearly shell-shocked by the enormity of Everything He’s Done, tremblingly praise his deposed master for…his ability to instill fear. Jeeeeeeeezus. Boot polish makers must put an addictive chemical in their shit, exactly like cigarettes, but it’s only dudes like Lindsey Graham who ever find out about it.

Yeah, Lindsepher, when a fascist gets a taste of real power, and tries to seize more, the first thing he does is, he goes looking for a few weak men. Donald Trump found you. And how lucky he was in the finding, and how unlucky the rest of us. Don’t worry, history won’t forgetcha, and someday very soon, a weaselly character actor might just win an Academy Award for playing you. I hope you live to see it. Sincerely..........
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The newest Republican Representative is already lying to cover up her history of spreading Q shit, and with distressing ease and comfort, I might add. Oh, and congressional candidate Jerone Davison hired Austin “Baby Q” Steinbart to run his campaign…who is “Baby Q,” you ask? Well, that is quite a tale. A tale that involves time travel, a prison sentence, and, ahem, a “synthetic penis.” Soon, “moderate” Republicans will be the ones who just believe in Pizzagate, maybe a Jewish space laser or two, scoffing haughtily at the Lizard People Made Me Dry Hump That Mailbox Caucus..........
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Well, I’ve gotta head out, throw up some fencing to fend off the velociraptors that’re surely on their way. You stay safe out there. I, uh, hope nobody takes any more of your rights away.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,404
18,484
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Ukraine Update: The inevitable happens, as Ukraine quits Severodonetsk
kos

Military historians will someday debate the wisdom of defending Severodonetsk. I debated the pros and cons with myself. Regardless of that final judgement, the battle is over. Ukraine withdrew the last of its forces across the river overnight, ceding yet another worthless pile of rubble to the Russian invaders. Hopefully, the cost to defend it was worth it.



That’s some real “thousand-yard stare” stuff, there. It was time. Here’s video of them using rafts and ropes to get across the river.


The front line now moves to Lysychansk, with Russian forces pushing on its southern edge up from Popasna.

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I’ve written about the defense of Lysychansk here. In short, that southern approach is high ground. Click that link for the Google Street view, and you can pan around to explore the area. But it looks like this:

High.png


Russian forces will need to drive that road, with plenty of urban and natural cover for ambushes, while Ukrainian forces use the high ground to rain fire. And with HIMARS long-range rocket artillery already in theater, as well as M777 howitzers, attempts to suppress those Ukrainian high-ground positions with artillery will be under serious counter-battery danger. Meanwhile, Russia is being shredded on its approach north from Popasna, paying for each advanced kilometer in blood. And that’s just getting to Lysychansk’s southern edge.

Like Severodonetsk, Lysychansk isn’t even strategically important to Ukraine. Russia would claim a propaganda victory in conquering Luhansk Oblast, but from a strategic standpoint, Ukraine’s defense of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk are most important—they are the gateway to the rest of the Donbas.

Unlike Severodonetsk, I do believe there’s a chance Ukraine can hold Lysychansk, but what’s most important is that Ukraine keep degrading Russian forces, whittling away at their combat power so that come August-September, there won’t be much left when Ukraine launches its promised counter-attack.

There are signs that Russia is already thinning itself to the point that it cannot hold much of its territory. Quite unexpectedly, perhaps even to Ukraine itself, the home team is rolling back Russian forces in southern Donbas.



Here’s the entire Donbas front, for context, with Lysychansk on the top right, and this newly liberated territory bottom center. It’s also a great way to get perspective to just how little Russia has advanced the past six weeks attempting to snip that tiny corner of Ukrainian-held territory around Severodonetsk.

con.png


From a land-mass perspective, Ukraine may have just gained as much land down there west of Donetsk, as Russia has gained north of Popasna.

Now, for all the shit I’ve given Russia for its inability to mass or focus its attacks, I’m loathe to give Ukraine a pass given counteroffensives around Kharkiv, Kherson, Izyum, and now south Donbas. How much more effective would Ukraine be if it massed some of this offensive firepower in a single region.

Maybe these advances are opportunistic, as Russia syphons forces away to support both the Popasna advance and Kherson’s defense. Both of those fronts have received reinforcements, and they had to come from somewhere. Henry Schlottman’s last heat map nearly two weeks ago certainly suggests an empty front.



Then again, this news hints at something more than just opportunistic localized tactical advances:



These are the heroes of Chernihiv, single-handedly holding off the Russian hordes at the border city northeast of Kyiv the first six weeks of the war, halting one of the prongs Russia needed to surround the capital. Now rested, instead of reinforcing Lysychansk, or Kharkiv, or Kherson, or Izyum, they’ve been sent to this corner of the war. It is quite the curious situation.

Unless Mariupol is the target, this territory has little strategic value for Ukraine. Ukrainian forces are still around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from that ill-fated port city, and Russia would certainly react fiercely if Ukraine seriously threatened it. Why commit critical armor to this front, when Kherson is the more valuable immediate prize?

Speaking of, something is brewing in Kherson, but there is an information blackout from Ukraine General Staff other than to say that they are “advancing.” Some sources claimed to have video of Ukrainian forces entering Kherson city, but that was ridiculous. Ukraine is still 10-15 kilometers away at the closest points, and the last confirmed progress I saw was further north, pushing Russians further back from Kryvyi Rih area. Here:

myk.png


It sure would be nice to have the First Battalion of the First Tank Brigade helping push Russia out of Kherson Oblast. I really hope Ukraine doesn’t go down the same misbegotten path as Russia did, spreading combat power too thin and attacking in too many directions.
 
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