More to ignore, Book 74.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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The Big Lie will not die - NPR tracks influencers criss-crossing the country to spread it
xaxnar

NPR’s All Things Considered ran a disturbing story June 30, 2022:


On a quiet Tuesday night in Howard County, Md., dozens of people gather in a community center and listen to Seth Keshel's 10-point plan.

"Captain K," as he's known in election fraud circles, is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, and he is walking through his go-to presentation: comparisons of vote totals from the past few election cycles, which he falsely claims prove President Biden's win in 2020 was illegitimate. His 10-point plan to "true election integrity" includes banning all early voting and requiring all American voters to re-register.

The next night, more than a thousand miles away in Minneapolis, in a small building across from a popular garden shop, roughly 60 people wait for David Clements to take the stage.

Clements, professorial in a tan blazer with a graying beard and unruly curly hair, begins his presentation with a prayer. Then he goes to the slideshow.

The audience, which appears to be all white and mostly middle-aged, occasionally gasps as he shows charts and graphs, which he claims contain evidence of widespread election fraud.

NPR has been investigating this grassroots effort which has been going under the radar. Along with Keshel and Clements, they also looked at Mike (My Pillow) Lindell and Douglas Frank. There’s a map at the link which shows sessions they’ve been holding across America from January 6, 2021 to June 30, 2022.

ElectionDenierMapNPR.jpg

The map tracks events based on social media posts for the four persons investigated for this story; the actually tally may be higher, and the map does not include meetings and events off the record.

NPR tracked Keshel and Clements, as well as Douglas Frank, who misleadingly claims to have discovered a secret algorithm that swings vote totals across the U.S. (his methodology has been widely debunked by voting experts), and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.
The scale of their movements paints a portrait of an election denial movement that has evolved into a nationwide force, beyond just swing states — and despite the Jan. 6 Committee's investigation and efforts by voting officials at every level to combat disinformation. NPR's investigation is the first such effort to document the scope of these influencers.
"It's an existential threat to American democracy," said Franita Tolson, an elections expert at the University of Southern California. "If the numbers get big enough, it's unclear whether we will survive it."

Their efforts are not limited to proselytizing the general public:

NPR found that over the past year and a half, the men met or appeared with at least 78 elected officials at the federal, state and local levels — many of whom will have a role in how future elections are run and certified.
At least two secretaries of state, two U.S. senators, 10 U.S. representatives, two state attorneys general and two lieutenant governors met or appeared with the figures NPR tracked. More than three dozen members of state legislatures, many of whom have introduced legislation in their states that would affect how Americans cast ballots, have also appeared at events with them.

NPR reports that their efforts are taking a toll on election officials. It is leading to threats and general paranoia about elections among hundreds of thousands of people who have absorbed their messaging. Efforts to counter it are difficult to implement. As Terry Pratchett noted in “The Truth”, a Lie can go halfway around the world while the Truth is still putting on its boots.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, says they're using election fraud as a vehicle to advance themselves.
"There's no shortage of ability to access the truth about our election system, yet there seems to be a proliferation of people willing to lie about it," Benson said. "I think it's logical to conclude that they know better. And that they're knowingly spreading misinformation ... to win elections, to raise money, to gain attention and celebrity."

The NPR investigation has been following this for some time:

Monika Evstatieva, Barbara Van Woerkom, Barrie Hardymon and Meg Anderson of NPR's Investigations team contributed reporting to this story. NPR's Nick Underwood contributed to the data visualizations.

You can listen to the original broadcast version at the link: it takes about 8 minutes.

The intro isn’t included in the transcript, and provides context. It’s also worth listening to hear the emotional overtones that the transcript doesn’t convey, while the pictures at the link flesh out the verbal descriptions.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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.....The communications show how quickly Meadows moved to find evidence of fraud after it was evident Trump would lose the election, an effort that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection said in recent hearings was central to the former president’s plan to stay in power.

The late-night exchange began with a text message from Meadows to Barr.

“I don’t know how valid or who would be the best person to investigate but I thought you should be made aware of this. Tom Fitton tweeted it out and it is likely to get some attention,” Meadows wrote Barr at 10:44 p.m. Fitton is president of Judicial Watch, a right-wing activist organization that has perpetuated unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Lysychansk played its part and it's time for Ukraine to leave … for now
Mark Sumner

Perched on high ground across the river from the larger city of Severodonetsk, the town of Lysychansk has played a critical role over the last two months of the battle in eastern Ukraine. When Russian forces pressed into Severodonetsk in May, they seemed to think taking the city would be a cakewalk. Not only did Russia almost immediately claim to have control over that city, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s TikTok brigade even issued a video, filmed who knows where, that claimed to show the residents of Severodonetsk greeting their Russian occupiers with “hugs and kisses.”

But when Russian forces actually strolled into Severodonesk over the next few days, they got a big surprise. They got their warm hug. From massed artillery. Within days, more than two-thirds of Severodonetsk was back in Ukrainian control.

Over the following month, Ukraine surrendered the city block by block as Russia brought more and more forces into the area. Ukrainian forces finally withdrew from Severodonetsk in the last week of June, but they did so in an orderly fashion, getting troops back across the river and leaving little behind in terms of arms or other equipment. Ukraine lost the city, but it wasn’t a rout. Both the damage that Russian took in trying to capture Severodonetsk and the careful way in which Ukraine was able to get civilians and military forces out ahead of the final Russian advance, were thanks to the guns looking down from Lysychansk.

screencap.jpg

Ukrainian forces have begun withdrawing from Lysychansk

With steep hills along the south and sharp bluffs facing the river, Lysychansk was the perfect place to host Ukraine’s long guns, including M777 howitzers freshly arrived from the United States. From that position, artillery could not just fire down on Russian forces attempting to move along the city’s streets, it could “reach out and touch” Russia’s own heavy weaponry several kilometers north and west of the city.


Lysychansk’s position, far out on the end of the Ukrainian salient in the Luhansk, made it possible to fire at forces across the river to the north, or approaching from Popasna to the south. Even though a reported three M777s were lost, every day the NASA FIRMS maps gave the same report—Lysychansk was dealing out a lot more damage than it was receiving. From Lysychansk, Ukraine was able to repeatedly hit Russian batteries operating on the far side of Rubizhne and around Kreminna to the north. The toll of those guns is unlikely to ever be known. But it was high.

However, the same thing that made Lysychansk such a valuable position—how it juts out in an area surrounded by Russian control on three sides—is now making it extremely vulnerable.

Along the east side of the town, the Siverski Donets River runs hard against a series of high bluffs, making any approach from Severodonestk difficult. On the south end of the city are steep hills, some wooded, some clustered with buildings, which made that approach difficult. Both woods and buildings created locations that were tailor-made for ambushes, and the hills were already guaranteed to slow an advance long enough to bring in more withering artillery fire.

However, over the last month, Russia has occupied over 1,500 square kilometers in Ukraine. A sizable part of that gain came when Russian forces pushed through the Ukrainian defensive line at Toshkiva and moved swiftly to capture a series of towns and villages south and southwest of Lysychansnk. Over the weekend, Russian forces moved up those steep hills on the south side, bringing the fight to the streets of the city. At the same time, Russian forces appear to have crossed the river to the north and are pressing down toward Novodruzhesk.

Most critically, Russian forces have been fighting it out with Ukrainian troops in the oil refinery and associated plants at Verkhnokamyanka, southwest of Lysychansk. From this position, Russian troops are threatening to move into the city along a major highway, and could cut off any forces still holding the southern approach. Lysychansk is in a vice and, good artillery position it may be, it’s not worth the cost of remaining.

On Thursday, Ukrainian forces appeared to be doing the reasonable thing and withdrawing from the area. Reports are that heavy equipment has been moving west along the road past Bilhorivka (site of that Russian river crossing disaster). Both artillery and troops are reportedly digging in near Siversk, about 20km west of Lysychansk.

This makes sense, as Siversk is almost directly north of Bakhmut, where Ukrainian troops have been pushing back attempted Russian advances for over a month. Bakhmut is a critical junction for both highways and rail. Most of the supplies that had gone to Lysychansk and Severdonetsk flowed through there. Now Bakhmut and Siversk look to be Ukraine’s new line of defense in the east.

Russia’s real targets in the area are the cities of Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, located about 30km west of that Siversk-Bakhmut line. There’s not just a highway between Siversk and Bakhmut, but a still functioning rail line. For now, at least, men and materiel can move swiftly along that line. There’s no large river or line of bluffs to fall back behind. However, there is a range of hills that looms up on the west side of both Siversk and Bakhmut. Don’t be surprised if Ukrainian guns move to the top of those hills while Ukrainian troops dig in to protect the towns below.

So far, Russian forces attempting to approach Slovyansk and Kramatorsk along the western route, from the Russian concentration of units at Izyum, have been pushed back again and again around Dolyna, about 20km to the northwest. That’s likely to remain the critical position on the western edge, as there’s no other great line of approach unless Russia intends to go back to square one and attempt a much larger swing to the west.


As Ukrainian forces pull back from Lysychansk and reform along the new line, what has been an incredibly punishing artillery war could become even worse, with both sides firing into much more concentrated positions. So far as Luhansk goes, that slice between Dolyna on one side, and Siversk-Bakhmut on the other, is the whole ball game for Russian ambitions.

Ukraine has new weapons on hand, including HIMARS and other MLRS, as well as a collection of artillery rolled in by NATO members. Russia has been losing forces at a tremendous rate, and there have been talks of depleted battle groups and waning morale stretching back weeks. The test ahead is going to be tremendous … but Lysychansk has played its part.

Ukraine will see it again—when its forces are going the other way.