More to ignore, Book 97....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Russia prepares for defense of Svatove as U.S. provides powerful new rockets

Mark Sumner

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This is that bridge at Staryi Saltiv, which once seemed so critical in the effort to reach Vovchansk. Turns out it wasn't needed.

Right now, Russian sources on Telegraph are evenly divided. Half of them are convinced that Russia is sending, or has already sent, massive reinforcements that will keep Lyman in Russian hands forever. You can take your pick on whether these are Wagner forces rushing in from Kreminna, or “tactical rescue teams” that have swooped down from Svatove, or four units of the “58th army” cruising down from the north to save the day; these folks are convinced that these forces already are, or soon will be, planting that Russian flag in Lyman forever.

The other half of Russian sources are busy reporting that Russian forces are already abandoning their last positions in Lyman, and describe heavy fighting near Zarichne as the Russian forces that formerly held Drobysheve, Yampil, and Lyman make a last-ditch effort at escape.

Here’s what we know for sure. This is Drobysheve:



This is Yampil.



The sources that have been most reliable in the past indicate that Russia is attempting to hold the road out of Lyman open with “all available resources.” That accounts for the heavy fighting at the intersection between Zarichne and Torske. But it seems far more likely those forces are holding the road open in an effort to get people out, than they are trying to get more people into a position that has become an obviously unsustainable deathtrap. Putting more men into Lyman would be nothing short of murdering them. Even for Russia, that would be next-level foolish.

If Russia is doing anything right now, it’s a salvage operation, in hopes of getting as much equipment out of Lyman as possible before it all ends up with a new Ukraine-themed paint job.

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Russians prepare to defend against expected attack on Svatove

What even more sources are talking about is: What comes next? And most Russian forces fear that what comes next is a Ukrainian move toward Svatove.

As things draw to a close in the Lyman area, Russia is reportedly reinforcing a number of towns to the northeast, in an attempt to prevent a Ukrainian advance on Svatove from the direction of Lyman. That includes hardening at least four towns—Pershotavneve, Serhiivka, Kovalivka, and Makiivka—which have been marked on the map with special “Russia is reinforcing here” squares. Whether these reinforcements are more real than the east-west line that Russia was supposedly building at Borova remains to be seen.

The problem for Russia in defending Svatove is that, while it can be reinforced and resupplied from many directions, it can also be attacked from almost any direction. If Russia reinforces that narrow highway running north past Zarinche, Ukraine might choose to move east to Kreminna, take that city, then move up the much nicer P66 highway. They might even decide, while they’re in the neighborhood, to take a look at Rubizhne, Lysychansk, and Severodonetsk.

That’s just the southern side of things. Over along the Oskil River to the north, Ukraine has been solidifying an expanding the bridgehead made at Kupyansk and Dvorichna (off map to the north). In the past few days, they’ve been systematically fighting off Russian attempts to roll back their gains in this area, while continuing to move down river. That includes liberating Kivsharivka, the third-largest city in Kharkiv Oblast east of the Oskil.

There are reports on Friday that Ukraine has already liberated Hlushkivka and Kolisnykivka, bringing this southward advance into the area directly across from Senkove. That places them just 15 kilometers north of Borova. Other Ukranian forces moving up the river from the south entered the south edge of Borova two days ago. As the area around Lyman gets cleaned up, expect Borova to get extra attention from both directions—and for Russia to once again be in a position of deciding not how to hold the city, but how best to get out.

There is a road running east out of Borova to Pershotavneve. As long as that remains open, Russia can extract its troops. But Lyman has demonstrated once again that Ukraine is able to maneuver to cut off lines of supply and communication. Borova likely has days, not weeks, before the garrison there has to surrender or flee.

With Borova clear, Ukraine can go … anywhere it wants, really. Russia may feel that Svatove is the obvious target, and since that is reportedly the site of most of the troops and equipment that Russia managed to pull out of Kharkiv in the face of the counteroffensive, taking Svatove would seem to be a very serious blow.

On the other hand, both at Lyman and Balakliya, back at the start of the counteroffensive, Ukraine did not do the Russian thing of hurling themselves headlong at the most fortified position. They did the smart thing, bypassing Russia’s “hard point,” getting into the weakly protected backfield, and using quick, decisive actions to isolate and weaken the fortified position before returning to pick it up almost as an afterthought.


The same thing could happen with Svatove. Even if Ukraine makes this location its next target, don’t expect them to just roll up to the city and sit under Russian guns. Expect them to hit Russia where it’s weakest, and to take Svatove when it’s ready to fall.

However, softening up that city, or any other, may be made a lot easier by some crates of new ammo seen lingering in Ukraine.



Kos has talked about these munitions before. But it’s hard to get a sense of what an impact these weapons have on the battlefield. This isn’t the kind of rocket that’s designed to take out Russian bridges or Russian supply depots. It’s the kind that’s designed to take out Russians.

This is a weapon that is designed to clear enemy forces from an area greater than 100 meters by 100 meters with one shot. And it can be delivered with a range up to 90 kilometers. It doesn’t seem that Ukraine has so far used the M30A1 in action because otherwise, clusters of soldiers like those which were holding out in Lyman … probably wouldn’t exist.

What does this weapon mean for those who have pondered its use in Ukraine? It means that a full pod of these rockets on an M270 could do this.



Meanwhile, this is how Russia is using its few high-precision weapons.



Which of these weapons, and these uses, is more likely to win a war? Oh, and in the last few minutes as I’ve been writing this, reports have come in that both the remaining forces at Lyman and the forces trying to hold the road open are now surrounded.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Friday, Sep 30, 2022 · 3:35:28 PM EDT · kos
This is a good look at that one road that may or may not be in Ukrainian hands, but in any case, is an easy artillery target:



I’d hate to run that gauntlet. (Take “5K Russians” number with a grain of salt. The numbers I’ve seen are more like 2,000-3,500, but even those seem to be wild-ass guesses.)
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Friday, Sep 30, 2022 · 6:27:40 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
There are reports that Ukraine has liberated the small town of Terny.

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Ukrainain forces have reportedly gained a foothold across the Zherebets River.

This might not mean much tomorrow, but at the moment it’s both sitting along the main route by which Lyman might be relieved from the north, and it’s the first foothold for Ukraine on the eastern bank of the Zherebets River. That river is normally little more than a stream, but it’s swollen by all the rain that has fallen in the last two weeks, so it could have presented an obstacle to operations north of Lyman. Except, it seems, it didn’t.


It’s not clear if Ukraine now holds all of Terny, which is a rather spread out farming town, or just has that portion on the west. Either way, they should have control of the highway.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Friday, Sep 30, 2022 · 7:03:30 PM EDT · kos

Woah, the front has moved dramatically in this last day.




Russian military reporter WarGonzo also confirms. In a follow up tweet, someone translates, suggesting these are forces that have pulled back from Lyman area.

the (pro-)Russian guy in the video says that "guys" (Russians) accepted battle having no time to disembark/unload

To see where this is, here’s Mark’s last map:

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If Ukraine is hitting Kreminna, there’s a lot of yellow and red there that is now Ukrainian blue.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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'Unmoored by disarray': AP investigation reveals that Texas AG Ken Paxton's office is a corrupt mess

Aldous J Pennyfarthing

Less than a month and a half out from the November midterms, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton still holds a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent, civil rights attorney Rochelle Garza, despite a criminal indictment for securities fraud hanging over him like the Dull Cheese Knife of Damocles.

In fact, Paxton’s favored to win, after easily dispatching his top GOP opponent, George P. Bush—whose father, Jeb!, left the mighty Bush dynasty gawping like a beached carp shortly after he entered the “Puppet Show and Jeb Bush” phase of his presidential campaign.

You’d think someone like Paxton, who’s been under criminal indictment for seven years, would 1) not be the top law enforcement official of one of the nation’s largest states; 2) assiduously avoid further (alleged) lawbreaking; and 3) not hook hitch his wagon to an oily manatee fart with his own demonstrated penchant for perfidy.

But if the past several years have shown us anything, it’s that Republican politicians can be as criminal, corrupt, incompetent, and slovenly as they want, and if anything, their voters will reward them for it.

A new Associated Press deep dive into Paxton’s AG office reveals a litany of serious problems that should give all Texas voters pause—even those who currently find themselves trapped in a weird personality cult led by a mediocre reality TV host.

Associated Press:

[A]s Paxton seeks to fend off legal troubles and win a third term as Texas’ top law enforcement official, his agency has come unmoored by disarray behind the scenes, with seasoned lawyers quitting over practices they say aim to slant legal work, reward loyalists and drum out dissent.
An Associated Press investigation found Paxton and his deputies have sought to turn cases to political advantage or push a broader political agenda, including staff screenings of a debunked film questioning the 2020 election. Adding to the unrest was the secretive firing of a Paxton supporter less than two months into his job as an agency advisor after he tried to make a point by displaying child pornography in a meeting.

Most alarmingly, the AP report notes that Paxton’s staff was recently forced to drop human trafficking and sexual assault cases because—no kidding—they misplaced one of the victims.

Eight people were indicted last year in a series of cases collectively referred to as “Operation Fallen Angel.” The indictments stemmed from allegations that the accused had forced teenage girls to “exchange sexual contact for crystal methamphetamine.” Six of the accused are now free because of the AG office’s errors, while one is being held on other charges and another died in jail.

“It’s absolutely broken. It’s just broken. You don’t do it this way,” Republican District Attorney Dusty Boyd, who handed the case over to Paxton’s office, told the AP. “I made the mistake of trusting them that they would come in and do a good job.”

Boyd claimed staff turnover in Paxton’s human trafficking unit contributed to the dysfunction, which led to four cases being dropped because they were “unable to locate the victim.”


“For Pete’s sake, you’re the AG’s office. You can’t find the victim?” said Boyd. “The culture is broken.”

In addition, the AP report notes:
  • A prosecutor quit in January after his supervisors tried to get him to withhold evidence in a murder case.
  • Another attorney resigned in March, in part over “growing hostility toward LGBTQ employees.”
  • In 2020, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into Paxton, over accusations that he’d abused his office to help a wealthy donor who’d employed a woman with whom Paxton had had an extramarital affair. Eight of Paxton’s top deputies quit or were fired after bringing the case to the FBI.
  • After that mass exodus, Paxton hired an attorney who’d donated $10,000 to help him fight his overripe indictment, as well as a former ice cream company owner named Tom Kelly Gleason whose father contributed $50,000 to Paxton's legal defense fund.
  • Gleason was fired less than two months after joining Paxton’s team because he displayed child sexual abuse videos during a work presentation. Three sources told the AP that “Gleason displayed the video—which one of them described as showing a man raping a small child—in a misguided effort to underscore agency investigators’ difficult work. It was met with outrage and caused the meeting to quickly dissolve.” One source noted that Paxton’s top deputy, Brent Webster, told other staff members not to talk about the incident.
  • Another Paxton employee, Bill Turner, said he quit after he was asked not to turn over evidence to the defense in a murder prosecution. “We had a difference of opinion on the ethical obligations of a prosecutor and I didn’t feel like I could continue working in that environment,” said Turner.
  • Paxton has also been accused of abusing his office for his own political benefit. In a resignation letter, Assistant Attorney General Jason Scully-Clemmons accused the AG’s office of “directing prosecutors to prioritize political considerations.” Other sources the AP talked to said that prior to the March primaries, Amber Platt, another Paxton deputy, “convened a meeting to ask about upcoming cases that would help Paxton’s reelection prospects.”
  • In May, Jonathan White, chief of the election fraud section of the AG’s Special Prosecutions Division, invited his employees to a screening of 2000 Mules, convicted felon Dinesh D’Souza’s goofy film that elevates thoroughly debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. Astute readers will recall that Paxton himself aided Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn a free and fair election, filing a risible “equal protection” case that the Supreme Court ultimately refused to consider.
Meanwhile, the office appears to be understaffed, with the number of assistant attorneys general in the criminal prosecutions division down more than 25% from two years ago. The group that deals with financial and white-collar crime was cut by more than half.

Oh, and Paxton has also been running away from process servers like a low-rent Josh Hawley.

Sadly, that brimming barrel of bad deeds is unlikely to sway Texas voters, who, after all, have elected Sen. Ted Cruz twice. But that doesn’t mean he’s a shoo-in! The election is still close, and Garza could use the help if she’s going to roust this (alleged) lawbreaker from his roost.

Let’s do what we can to put this old steer out to pasture as he waits another eternity for justice to finally find him. If the law doesn’t punish him, maybe the voters finally will.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The One With James Madison’s Flute

ShowerCap

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Friends, knowing what’s in store for you in the paragraphs to come….well, I hope you like white grievance, cuz you’re getting a heapin’ helpin’ of it tonight. The lunch lady is dispensing softboi whinging with an industrial-grade scoop this week. Plop. Plop. Plop. I apologize in advance.......
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The general consensus, amongst the least impressive specimens in circulation anyway, is that Our Culture Is Being Destroyed Because A Successful Black Woman Was Permitted to Touch This Flute Not One of Us Had Ever Heard Of Until Two Minutes Ago. Many a fit was pitched. MANY.

Somehow they’ve convinced themselves that when they melt down publicly over stuff like this, they’re merely blowing the faintest of dog whistles, ever so gently, rather than yelping like a Junior Klansman who got his robes caught in the rusty old lawnmower he was listlessly dry-humping.

Listening to Ben Shapiro whine about Lizzo playing James Madison’s flute is like being locked in a sauna with a fifty gallon drum filled with spoiled vanilla pudding that shrieks somehow. Why does anyone choose to live this way? Isn’t it exhausting? Don’t you just irritate the living shit out of yourself? See, the reason we know your culture sucks is that you’re incapable of emotionally navigating extremely minor, completely inconsequential changes to the world around you.

You don’t need to set your hair on fire every time they change the box butter comes in, y’know. You don’t need to show up armed to drag queen bingo. And if Mr. Potato Head happens to “go woke,” you always have the option of simply shrugging and moving on with your life, which I would argue is the only sensible response to fluctuations in the volatile world of potato toy branding.

It would almost be funny, were the wingnut media bubble not so liberally seasoned with voices like Roger “Let’s Get Right to the Violence” Stone’s. It’s a nifty little assembly line they’ve put together; the Shapiros and Hannitys rile ‘em up, out-and-out maniacs like Mike Flynn give ‘em a radicalizing shove with mad tirades about war-declaring governors, and before you know it, you’ve got Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and various ancillary asshats running about, rioting and firing nail guns......
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You see a lotta headlines n’ thinkpieces these days, in our sickly, Cillizzafied, political press, about the profane competition taking place between Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott, as they vie for squeals of glee from the bloodthirsty MAGA mob.

I’m told Kayleigh McEnany has pitched hosting a game show, as a lead-in to Tucker Carlson’s White Power Hour, where Republican governors construct dueling obstacle courses (at taxpayer expense, of course) for asylum seekers to cross, while staffers hurl slurs from the stands. It’ll be like American Ninja Warrior, only a little…y’know…Nazier.

‘Course, the Dotard’s mostly mad because these wannabes keep stealing his best ideas, though in his version, the federal government would deliberately transport “rapists and murderers” to “liberal cities” in order to “destabilize” them, which strikes me as a rather odd thing for a fellow to want to do to a country he’s president of, but I suppose the world looks different through spite-tinted glasses.

Anyway, you can’t get anywhere in Republican politics anymore without performative cruelty to the nonwhite. You can see the panic in Glenn Youngkin’s eyes as he tremblingly protests “Virginia is a border state,” which it absolutely isn’t. If Virginia were a border state, Glenn would have his own migrants to traffic, but he doesn’t, which is why he’s all pouty in the first place.......
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Now, Doug Mastriano is a fully post-dog whistle Republican candidate, unashamedly embracing professional anti-Semites like Andrew Torba and Jack Posobiec, as well as Christian nationalists like Lance Wallnau, all while daydreaming of prosecuting women for murder over abortions. Pennsylvania voters seem decidedly unenthusiastic about the prospect of being governed by their embarrassing racist uncle who got the whole family banned for life from Chili’s, thank god.

Arizona’s Kari Lake brings a lot more media savvy to many of the same terrifying ideas, so she’s polling better than Doug, which isn’t awesome. Is this an awkward time to mention that she hired an admitted heroin dealer to work on her campaign? And not just any heroin dealer, but one who plotted the assassination of an FBI informant?

But it’s John Fetterman who’s SOFT ON CRIME he’s got SCARY TATTOOS because he’s in a GANG just like THOSE PEOPLE did I mention they let a BLACK LADY play JAMES MADISON’S FLUTE?........
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Ted Cruz thought he might gin up a little attention for himself by being the lone vote on the Senate Rules Committee against the electoral count reform bill, but as such a well-known asshole, his braying faded into the background, as per usual. Sure is cute watchin’ the lil’ fella try, though!......
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By now, I’m sure you’re well acquainted with that familiar trope of the omnipresent Turd Reich tell-all genre: the “he was even weirder and dumber and racister than you knew” anecdote, something about Donald Trump trying to stick his finger in the King of Thailand’s ear, or the time he locked himself in a West Wing bathroom and, fearing starvation, devoured eleven rolls of toilet paper before the locksmith arrived, eight minutes later. Anyway, Maggie Haberman’s book was always gonna be the Oops! All Berries version of that.

We got new details this week about that almost incomprehensibly pathetic 2019 incident where the government tried to hide a whole-ass destroyer from President Shithead on an overseas trip, because he was feuding in his mind with the dead guy whose name was on the side of the boat, and I guess if I were in the market for a personality to build a cult around, I would rule out the debilitatingly insecure ones right off the bat.......
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Juggling both law and order as only a Republican attorney general can, Ken Paxton fled a subpoena server in a truck driven by his state Senator wife, probably straight to Aileen Cannon’s house.

I gotta get me one of them Judge Cannons, by the way. Looks pretty handy, owning your own, personal, private, federal judge…’specially one so willing to accept custom orders on short notice. “The law is whatever your tenth-rate strip mall legal team needs it to be, Mr. Trump, sir!” You could throw quite a party with power like that..........
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I guess Ginni Thomas professed her sincere, religious belief in the Big Lie to the January 6th commission, which triggers the constitutional right to overthrow the government, as every pigtailed schoolchild knows. Pretty cool this loon was texting Q shit to the President’s Chief of Staff during an attempted autogolpe, huh?

Speaking of SCOTUS, it’s always delightful when Sammy Alito adds his gasbag wail to the cacophony of wingnut grousing, isn’t it? Look, either take the speech rights, too, or learn to deal with criticism of your theocrat tyranny, you preening taintblister........
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Sometimes I wonder how we fell so far down this shitty, shitty rabbit hole…then I see something like Chuck Todd “interviewing” Congresswoman Nancy Mace about her party’s intention to impeach President Biden, without it ever once occurring to either one to mention a potential justification for such an extreme measure, and…I get it. I mean, I weep uncontrollably for an hour or two, but I get it........
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So, Mike Lee says it’s “overreach” for the FBI to arrest a “Catholic father of seven” accused of twice assaulting a 72-year-old abortion clinic volunteer, because Mike Lee’s political and religious beliefs align more closely with the attacker than the victim in this instance, and golly, what a fun, healthy, not-at-all-semi-fascist standard that is! Apropos of nothing, please enjoy this link to Evan McMullin’s campaign site........
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J.R. Majewski, who you’ll remember from last week’s tale of stolen valor, may not be particularly good at lying, but you gotta give him an E for effort. This time next week, he’ll be claiming he led the Bin Laden raid, only the deep state won’t let anybody know. For any Republican strategists out there, this is another really useful cautionary tale about the dangers of selecting candidates based on the game show hosts they paint on their lawn.......
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Apparently, in the red states, if you’re really good at football, they let you steal millions of dollars from the poor now. Yeah, they just snatch the money away from the neediest and most vulnerable, and deliver it (by horse-drawn carriage no doubt) directly to wealthiest people they can find. Keep electing Republicans, Mississippi, it’s really working out........
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Hey, party at my place in seven months when the fashy new government installed in Italy’s low-turnout election this week collapses. Get it out of your system, kids........
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The young men of Vlad Putin’s reborn Soviet Empire seem curiously uninterested in their glorious leader’s gracious invitation to get puréed by HIMARS in Ukraine, and are instead fleeing their homeland in droves, fancy that.

For whatever audience remained, Poots went ahead with his sad, petulant, completely illegal annexation ceremony, held at the Moscow branch of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, where he ranted like some incel trying to get Don Jr’s attention on Truth Social. It was all very impressive. Superpower shit. Truly.

(Man, imagine all the weird, weird shit Putin’s saying to Russian Maggie Haberman right now.).......
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Anyway, in the time it took you to scroll through this silliness, I’ve sold 783 “Ashli Babbitt Died For James Madison’s Flute” bumper stickers to the Don’t Fauci My Florida email list I bought off DeSantis. Rube-bilking is a growth industry, and daddy needs beer money.

I’ll see y’all in a week. You stay safe out there, there’re roving gangs of clowns trying to force-feed “rainbow fentanyl” to your kids, y’know.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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DOJ Asking For Expedited Appeal Of Judge Cannon's Latest Pro-Trump Ruling.

Merlin196357

Even though the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals gave the DOJ the green light to look at those 100 classified documents, it appears that Judge Cannon’s latest ruling giving Trump more time to delay review of the other nearly 11,000 government documents is also holding up DOJ’s investigation. And the DOJ is tired of Judge Cannon’s pro-Trump rulings and wants the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to step in. It’s a bit complicated, and I do not completely understand it all. But DOJ investigators need those unclassified documents in order to understand how Trump got his hands on the classified documents and their storage.

It appears that Trump made such a damn mess that DOJ wants to work backwards from the jumble, and they need the rest of the pieces of this government documents jigsaw puzzle Trump created to sort this all out.

In a 15-page filing asking a federal appeals court to speed its consideration of the issue, prosecutors complained the “special master” review prevents DOJ from accessing thousands of non-classified records recovered from the former president’s estate.
While those documents don’t present the same urgent national security concerns as the smaller volume of classified materials DOJ successfully fought to regain access to earlier this month, Justice Department officials said the continued blockade on non-classified materials had slowed investigators’ efforts to determine how some of the classified records were transferred to Mar-a-Lago and whether any of them were improperly accessed.

“The government is … unable to examine records that were commingled with materials bearing classification markings, including records that may shed light on, for example, how the materials bearing classification markings were transferred to Plaintiff’s residence, how they were stored, and who may have accessed them,” DOJ officials, including counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt, wrote in the filing with the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “The records not marked as classified may also constitute evidence of potential [obstruction] and [concealment or removal of government records].”

If I recall correctly, it’s why Trump’s passports were ceased. The passports were in the same desk that some of the classified documents were in. The proximity of his passports with the stolen documents are evidence of Trump’s obstruction.

And yes, the DOJ is fed up with Cannon’s bullshit:


“Based on the district court’s orders thus far, the government is barred from accessing all of the materials except those with classification markings recovered in August pursuant to a lawful search warrant — and it may continue to be barred from doing so until mid-December or later,” the officials wrote as they asked the appeals court to weigh in promptly on the legal issues, including Trump’s claims of executive privilege.
“Absent such resolution by this Court, the special master proceedings could result in prolonged litigation, including through seriatim appeals to the district court from reports and recommendations and other rulings issued by the special master,” the prosecutors wrote.

Which is what Trump wants, and Judge Cannon has delivered on.