1. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Ukraine says 30% of energy infrastructure hit by Russia’s missiles

    Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko, has told CNN that Russian missiles have hit roughly 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure since Monday.

    Halushchenko said:

    We send this message to our partners: we need to protect the sky. Russians they are not playing on some games on international laws. They don’t care about any kind of international agreements or conventions.

    He also told CNN that this was the first time since the start of war that Russia had “dramatically targeted” Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and that Ukraine was working to reconnect quickly from other sources.

    Russia’s defence ministry earlier confirmed that its troops were continuing long-range air strikes on Ukraine’s military and energy infrastructure. Reports suggested that six people were injured in a second Russian strike at the Ladyzhyn thermal power plant (LTPP) in Ukraine’s Vinnytsia region.

    Halushchenko’s comments come after some Nato countries and the UN have warned that Russia may be committing a war crime with its ongoing attack on civilian targets.

  2. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russian strikes have damaged hundreds of cultural sites, Zelenskiy says

    Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Russia’s military strikes have damaged hundreds of cultural sites around Ukraine, the AP reports.

    In a speech to Unesco, the Ukrainian president urged the UN cultural agency to expel Russia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Unesco World Heritage Committee [!!!]. Zelenskiy said Ukraine was nominating the Black Sea city of Odesa to be inscribed on the agency’s World Heritage list, AP reported. He also said that 540 “objects of cultural heritage, cultural institutions and religious buildings” have been destroyed or damaged since the start of Russia’s invasion in February. He added:

    Why are representatives of Russia still among you? What are they doing at Unesco?

    They’ve also engaged in widespread looting of cultural artifacts – see #385 in the previous chapter.

  3. says

    Rachel Maddow has a new podcast – “Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra”:

    Sitting members of Congress aiding and abetting a plot to overthrow the government. Insurrectionists criminally charged with plotting to end American democracy for good. Justice Department prosecutors under crushing political pressure. Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra is the all-but-forgotten true story of good, old-fashioned American extremism getting supercharged by proximity to power. When extremist elected officials get caught plotting against America with the violent ultra right, this is the story of the lengths they will go to… to cover their tracks. Follow now and join Rachel Maddow for the first two episodes on October 10th.

    There will be new ones every Monday for the next several weeks. I haven’t listened to the first two yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

    Here she is talking about it with Lawrence O’Donnell last night (YT link) – “‘I’ve Gone Too Far To Turn Back’: Maddow Reveals Threat To U.S. ‘Lost To History’.”

  4. says

    A dose of optimism – “‘This is the Last Winter’. – The War in Ukraine with General Ben Hodges – Episode 3” (YT link):

    The Renew Democracy Initiative brings you the third episode of our video series on the war in Ukraine in collaboration with New Debate and General Ben Hodges. Join General Hodges as he walks through what he believes to be a new phase of the war, the most recent updates on Ukraine’s counteroffensive, and the path forward. We offer an inside look into Russia’s deteriorating situation, the Kremlin’s use of sham referendums and mass mobilization, the importance of Western resolve during the upcoming winter, and whether or not Russia will use a nuclear weapon….

  5. says

    NBC News:

    The country’s third-largest freight rail workers union rejected a temporary agreement brokered by the Biden administration to avert a potentially crippling nationwide railroad strike, raising the possibility that one could occur next month.

  6. says

    NBC News:

    A NASA spacecraft successfully changed an asteroid’s orbit by intentionally smashing into it last month, agency officials confirmed Tuesday. NASA said data obtained over the past two weeks showed that the DART probe’s impact with a small, harmless space rock known as Dimorphos did manage to alter its trajectory.

  7. says

    Ian Bremmer responding to Musk’s denial:

    elon musk told me he had spoken with putin and the kremlin directly about ukraine. he also told me what the kremlin’s red lines were.

    i have been writing my weekly newsletter on geopolitics for 24 yrs.

    i write honestly without fear or favor and this week’s update was no different.

    i’ve long admired musk as a unique and world-changing entrepreneur [gag], which i’ve said publicly. he’s not a geopolitics expert.

  8. says

    Supreme Court Opens Door To Lawsuit Chaos In Pennsylvania Weeks Before Major Elections

    To hear them tell it, the Supreme Court justices are very concerned about injecting chaos into an election cycle by upending or approving changes to how voting operates just before people head to the polls.

    It’s called the Purcell principle, and it’s been cropping up a lot lately. See Justice Brett Kavanaugh in striking down a lower court order that the Alabama legislature must produce a replacement for its racially gerrymandered congressional maps well over three months before the primaries:

    “Late judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences for candidates, political parties, and voters, among others,” Kavanaugh wrote. “It is one thing for a State on its own to toy with its election laws close to a State’s elections. But it is quite another thing for a federal court to swoop in and re-do a State’s election laws in the period close to an election.” [Yeah … that’s because Kavanaugh likes the gerrymandered map that gives Republicans an edge in Alabama.]

    Such concern did not seem to influence the justice, or most of his colleagues, in their decision to nullify a lower court ruling from May with direct bearing on the upcoming elections.

    The majority on Tuesday voted to moot a ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that Pennsylvania absentee ballots missing a date from their outer envelopes must still be counted. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson would not have granted the writ of certiorari, per the order. [Yeah … that’s because the conservatives on the court like the fact that absentee ballots, which are used more often by Democratic Party voters, will now be more likely to NOT be counted in Pennsylvania.]

    The high court’s decision will fling wide the doors to lawsuits in the days before Pennsylvania hosts high-stakes Senate and gubernatorial elections. Based on prior behavior, and the fact that Pennsylvania Democrats voted by mail much more than their Republican counterparts did in the 2020 election, Republicans will likely try to block undated ballots from being counted, while Democrats will fight to have them included.

    David Ritter, a Republican who unsuccessfully ran for a spot on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas in 2021, requested that the justices nix the ruling. He lost his race by five votes after 257 absentee ballots without dates were counted.

    The appeals court reasoned this spring that since any date on the envelopes count, and that only undated ones are tossed out, requiring the date is a technicality that runs afoul of the “materiality provision” of the Civil Rights Act. [yep, that makes sense]

    Ritter appealed his case to the Supreme Court at the time in an emergency motion, but the majority declined to stop the ballot counting. Justice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, and urged that a petition for certiorari be filed to let the Court address the “very likely wrong” ruling of the Third Circuit.

    There was also a tangential fight over this issue during the Republican primaries when a narrowly trailing David McCormick sued in state court to have undated absentee ballots be counted, the better to catch opponent Mehmet Oz. A judge in that dispute ruled that the ballots should be counted, but much of the drama had already dissipated, as McCormick had conceded by that point.

    Oz will now face Democrat John Fetterman in November, one of the marquee races of the cycle that could determine Senate control.

    Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) is running against state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) for governor, another banner race not least because Mastriano supports the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump. In Pennsylvania, the governor appoints the secretary of state.

  9. says

    Followup to comment 13.

    Posted by readers of the article:

    The date on the outer envelope is just effing irrelevant if the ballot is received on a timely basis. I guess the next move for Sam, Clarence and the rest of the Gang of Six will be to simply invalidate any ballots for Dem candidates. We are getting close to that now.
    Once you take the ballot out of the envelope, you have no idea whether the envelope was dated or not (or even what date was provided, which is already apparently acknowledged to be irrelevant). If the ballot itself is valid, it’s absurd to discount it because it was housed in an undated bit of paper.
    The conservatives on the Supreme Court are pro-chaos.
    Absentee ballots were first used for the military during the American Civil War.

  10. says

    Satire written by Andy Borowitz:

    Claiming that he is the victim of an orchestrated campaign of “outrageous lies,” Herschel Walker has categorically denied ever playing football.

    Speaking at a rally in Atlanta, the candidate for the United States Senate lashed out at political enemies who, he alleged, have attempted to link him to the National Football League.

    “I have never—I repeat, never—played football in my life, and I will sue anyone who claims that I did,” he declared. “This is a new low.”

    His denial drew strong support from Senator Ted Cruz, who told reporters, “If Herschel Walker says that he never played football, we have to take him at his word. The people who are slinging this mud at him are the same crew who said that Donald Trump took home documents and I vacationed in Cancun.”

    Walker’s increasingly erratic statements have inspired calls for him to be examined by a doctor, a demand that he flatly refused. “I don’t need to see a doctor, but I’ll see Dr. Oz,” he said.

    New Yorker link

  11. says

    Oleksii Reznikov:

    4 additional HIMARS from our 🇺🇲 partners have arrived!
    I thank @POTUS Joe Biden @SecDef Lloyd Austin III & the American people.
    HIMARS time:good time for Ukrainians and bad time for the occupiers.
    Great news on the eve of #Ramstein 6, where I’m going tomorrow. There will be more.

  12. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile on Russian state TV: Apti Alaudinov, the commander of Ramzan Kadyrov’s Chechen detachment “Akhmat,” tells the new volunteers that they are in Ukraine to fight against gay parades.

    Host Olga Skabeeva wishes all of them the best of luck.

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  13. raven says

    Decaf Dorsey 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 @thewiretwo

    US Ambassador to NATO says long-range missiles and air defense system on the agenda tomorrow

    I tried to confirm this tweet since I have no idea who Decaf Dorsey is.

    There is a NATO meeting tomorrow and the air defense systems for Ukraine will be on the agenda.
    A major problem here is that the USA doesn’t have a lot of spare air defense systems laying around. We’ve already sent a lot of them to Ukraine.
    AFAICT, the Patriot systems are large, complicated, and run around $1 billion each. (I checked and that is the price.)

    I couldn’t confirm if long range missiles will be on the agenda.
    IMO, sooner or later they will become necessary and we will start sending them.
    There is no reason why Russia gets to send missiles into Ukraine while Ukraine doesn’t get to send missiles back. This is war and having rules for one side and different rules for the other side isn’t going to work.

  14. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile on Russian state TV: pundits and lawmakers discuss how Moscow could best exploit Elon Musk and his proposals.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. The overt cynicism continues to amaze me. I start to think “Did they forget they’re on TV?” Also, they’re openly discussing what use to make of Musk. How is he not offended and infuriated by this? He’s tweeting memes about escaping from the mainstream media while these laughing war criminals debate plans to exploit him on state television.

  15. raven says

    Oliver Carroll @olliecarroll

    Also: Ukrainian officials told me Musk turned down request to use Starlink over Crimea. They would not tell me for what purpose. As I also wrote —
    later expanded on it— Ukrainians started experiencing problems w Starlink shortly before Musk’s strange Twitter foray

    Musk is restricting Ukraine in using his Starlink system. After the USA paid for it.
    Which makes the Starlink a lot less useful and makes Musk an unreliable supplier.

    The more I’ve seen of Musk, the less I like him, the less I trust him, and the less I respect him. About what you expect from some guy who has 8 kids by three different women.
    I will never buy anything from any of his companies on that basis.

  16. raven says

    Tweet Conversation
    NEXTA @nexta_tv
    ❗️Zelenskyy proposed to deploy peacekeepers on the #Ukranian border with #Belarus.

    He stated this during his speech at the #G7 summit.

    Smart move.

    But who wants to be peacekeepers if the Russians/Belarusians just decide to invade anyway? That just makes them the first victims.

    (I’ll just repeat what I wrote in the last thread.)

    Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has called for an international monitoring mission on the Ukraine-Belarus border.

    Sounds like a great idea.

    Just park some NATO troops near the Ukraine Belarus border and say they are just having a cookout and sing along.

    What are the Belarusians going to do? Bomb them? With what? And why?
    They are cooking hotdogs on Ukrainian territory.

    The Polish and Baltics would jump at the chance.
    These people have suffered from centuries of Russian misrule and genocide and they finally have reached a point where they don’t have to put up with Russian mass murders, deportations, disappearances, cultural suppression, discrimination, and slave labor.

    And, they aren’t going back to all that.

  17. raven says

    The US is speeding up the shipment of two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine, the White House said.

    President Joe Biden had pledged to support Kyiv’s air defences in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday, following a wave of devastating Russian missile attacks on cities across Ukraine.

    The US has approved sending Ukraine a total of eight NASAMS air defences so far, with two expected to be delivered soon and six more sent over a longer time frame.

    That will help but not completely.
    Ukraine is a big place and it would take a lot of air defenses to cover even all the important places.

    Plus, as several military experts have pointed out, these systems can’t stop everything. Some missiles will still get through.

    Really, IMO, the only thing to do is give Ukraine long range weapons and let the Russians worry about stopping them. This is war and fair is fair.

  18. raven says

    NEWS October 12, 2022
    Russia-Ukraine updates: Moscow makes arrests made in Crimea bridge blast

    Russia’s FSB security service have said Ukrainian intelligence services orchestrated an attack on the key transport link. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy has called for an “air shield.” DW has the latest.

    Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, and its director, Kyrylo Budanov, was behind Saturday’s explosion on the Kerch Bridge.

    The FSB said on Wednesday it had detained five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia over the blast that caused massive damage to the Kerch Bridge that links Russia to Crimea.

    Ukraine’s interior minister spokesman Andriy Yusov dismissed the allegations as “nonsense.”

    Dramatic footage of the explosion showed a truck exploding as it crossed he bridge. The bridge partially collapsed, but one section for cars remains intact. The bridge is a strategic supply and logistics artery for Russian forces in Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region.

    DW correspondent Killian Bayer said the Russian investigation determined 22,000 kilograms (48,000 lbs.) of explosive was transported to the site of the explosion via Bulgaria, Armenia and Georgia among plastic wrapped wooden pallets.

    “We should be careful with this information, as it seems they have conducted their investigation very quickly,” Bayer added.

    Ukraine has not officially confirmed its involvement in the blast, but some Ukrainian officials have celebrated the damage.

    Russia claims to have arrested 8 people for the Kerch bridge attack.
    They also claim it was a truck bomb with 24 tons of explosive.
    Claim that… “transported to the site of the explosion via Bulgaria, Armenia and Georgia among plastic wrapped wooden pallets.”

    A lot of this doesn’t add up.
    As has been discussed at length, it isn’t even for sure that it was a truck bomb.
    The theory that it was a sea drone does make sense.
    How do you transport 24 tons of explosives through 3 countries, two of them in the West, without anyone noticing?

    We might know more later or not.
    Most people automatically distrust anything Russia does or says.

  19. raven says

    Zaporizhzhia NPP is completely left without power again after the recent mass missile strikes by Russia, one of which hit a distribution station. The Russians do not allow a passage of convoys with fuel for backup generators, which leads to emergency situation and could lead to a nuclear disaster.…

    Reports are the Zaporizhzhia NPP is without power and running on diesel generators for cooling. Again.

    IIRC, these reactors have been shut down now. They still need cooling for a week or month to prevent a core meltdown due to residual heat generation.
    I have no idea what the status of the cores are.

    It is ominous because the diesel generators are the last line of cooling power. If they fail that is it.
    That is what happened in Japan at Fukushima.

    I’ll be very surprised if Russia doesn’t blow up these reactors.
    They are so far into the Dark Side of their war right now that one more major war crime isn’t going to make any difference.

  20. Reginald Selkirk says

    It is ominous because the diesel generators are the last line of cooling power. If they fail that is it.
    That is what happened in Japan at Fukushima.

    Since Three Mile Island, all nuclear plants of that sort are required to have backup generators. They had one at Fukushima. The generator and diesel fuel were kept in the basement, where they were flooded out by the tsunami.

  21. Reginald Selkirk says

    A Twin Cities man is reading the Bible with ‘Muslim goggles’ and deepening ties with Christians

    Despite their theological differences, Tamim says he decided to dive into the sacred text of his Christian neighbors and friends so he could better understand them. He says his project, which he calls “The Bible Through Muslim Goggles,” has made him a better friend, and a better Muslim…

    I guess he didn’t notice that the whole thing was a crock of shit.

  22. Reginald Selkirk says

    Won’t be missed.

    Former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard says she is leaving the Democratic Party

    “I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic party,” she said on an episode of her podcast. “It’s now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers, driven by cowardly wokeness…”
    Gabbard additionally accused the party of “stoking anti-white racism,” being contemptuous toward religion and police and driving the country closer to nuclear war…

  23. says

    Here’s a link to today’s Guardian Ukraine liveblog. From there:

    A crowdfunding appeal that was launched after Russian attacks on cities across the country on Monday has raised $9.6m (£8.7m) in 24 hours for the purchase of kamikaze drones for the Ukrainian armed forces.

    An initial 50 Ram II drones, unmanned aerial vehicles with a 3kg explosive payload, designed and built by Ukrainian companies, will be bought with the money, along with three control stations.

    Further munitions would be secured over the coming days, said Serhiy Prytula, who organised the initiative.

    He said: “They wanted to scare us but we united even more. Remember: never infuriate Ukrainians. Never. The people have donated for the revenge, so we will ensure the revenge happens.”

    Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, told G7 leaders on Tuesday via video conference that Russia had used a variety of munitions to strike Ukrainian cities over the previous two days, killing 20 people.

    “The enemy has used more than 100 cruise missiles, dozens of different drones, including Iranian Shaheds,” he said. “And every 10 minutes I receive a message about the enemy’s use of Iranian Shaheds.”

    We reported yesterday that children’s doctor Oksana Leontieva was among those killed by Russian missile strikes on Kyiv earlier this week. [see #472 in the previous chapter]

    Leontieva was on her way to work on Monday morning after dropping her son at kindergarten when a Russian missile hit the Ukrainian capital.

    Now her father, Gregory, has told German newspaper Bild that her death has left her five-year-old son an orphan after his father recently died as well.

    He added:

    Oksana had called the hospital in the morning because the kindergarten couldn’t take her son due to warnings of a possible attack. In the end, they did take Grischa … and she went to work.

    Gregory said the boy had not yet been told his mother had died. Gregory said:

    For now he thinks she is at work and working very hard. We will tell him today or tomorrow.

    The doctor’s funeral is due to be held later this week.

  24. StevoR says

    Poem by (I presume) Rudy Francisco seen on fb today but thought worth sharing here :

    She asks me to kill the spider.
    Instead I get the most
    peaceful weapons I can find.

    I take a cup and a napkin,
    I catch the spider, put it outside
    and allow it to walk away.

    If I am ever caught in the wrong place
    at the wrong time, just being alive
    and not bothering anyone

    I hope I am greeted
    with the same kind
    of mercy.


    Punctuation, capitalisation and spacing all original – I think and hope. Any typos are no doubt mine.

  25. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russia has depleted a significant proportion of its precision-guided ammunition in its invasion of Ukraine, according to a senior Nato official.

    Reuters quotes the official as saying that Moscow’s industry cannot produce all kinds of ammunition and weapon systems due to western sanctions.

  26. says

    Guardian – “WHO chief urges immediate action to tackle ‘devastating’ long Covid”:

    Long Covid is “devastating” the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of people, and wreaking havoc on health systems and economies, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned as he urged countries to launch “immediate” and “sustained” efforts to tackle the “very serious” crisis.

    The world has never been in a better position to end the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is also “very clear” that many of those infected by the virus, which first emerged in China in late 2019, are still experiencing “prolonged suffering”, the WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

    Covid has killed almost 6.5 million people and infected more than 600 million. The WHO estimates that 10% to 20% of survivors have been left with mid- and long-term symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness and cognitive dysfunction. Women are more likely to suffer from the condition.

    With the absence of evidence about how best to treat it, long Covid is turning people’s lives upside down, and many face “often lengthy” and “frustrating” waits for support or guidance, Tedros said. The large numbers of those cruelly affected by the long tail of Covid is also having a dangerous impact on health systems and economies still reeling from waves of infections.

    “While the pandemic has changed dramatically due to the introduction of many lifesaving tools, and there is light at the end of the tunnel, the impact of long Covid for all countries is very serious and needs immediate and sustained action equivalent to its scale,” Tedros said, writing for the Guardian.

    Countries must now “seriously ramp up” both research into the condition and access to care for those affected if they are to “minimise the suffering” of their populations and protect their health systems and workforces.

    “Early in the pandemic, it was important for overwhelmed health systems to focus all of their life saving efforts on Covid-19 patients presenting with acute infection,” he said. “However, it is critical for governments to invest long-term in their health system and workers and make a plan now for dealing with long Covid.

    “This plan should encompass: providing immediate access to antivirals to patients at high risk of serious disease, investing in research and sharing new tools and knowledge as they’re identified to prevent, detect and treat patients more effectively. It also means supporting patients’ physical and mental health as well as providing financial support for those who are unable to work.”

    The intervention from the head of the UN agency comes as the Guardian launches a major new global series on the condition, Living with long Covid….

    More at the link.

  27. says

    George Monbiot in the Guardian – “I’m part of the ‘anti-growth coalition’ Liz Truss loves to hate – and I’m proud of it “:

    As a founder member of the anti-growth coalition, I’m delighted to discover how fast it has, ahem, been growing. From small beginnings on the political margins, our grouping, according to the prime minister, now ranges across most political parties, the trade unions, remainers, media pundits, in fact just about everyone in the UK who isn’t a swivel-eyed neoliberal headbanger.

    For many years, a small band of us “voices of decline” and “enemies of enterprise” who “don’t understand aspiration” have been trying to point out that increments in gross domestic product do not equate to increments in happiness. We have argued that no one wins the human race. We have sought to explain that what mainstream economists call progress is what ecologists call planetary ruin. We’ve contended that infinite growth on a finite planet is a recipe for catastrophe. I hope Liz Truss is right to claim that so many people now accept our arguments.

    Even if this coalition is not yet as broad as she suggests, she seems determined to widen it. Her plans to rip down planning controls, to cut public services, deregulate business, crush protests, unleash exploitation and destroy economic security, all in the name of boosting the rate of economic growth, could scarcely be better calculated to reveal the difference between GDP and prosperity….

  28. says

    GOP plan to cut Social Security, Medicare in 2023 comes into view

    Republicans not only intend to push Social Security and Medicare cuts, they also have a plan to force the Biden White House to accept them.

    Democrats have spent much of the year warning voters that Republicans will seek cuts to Social Security and Medicare if put in power, and an amazing number of GOP officials and candidates have bolstered the claims. What’s new this week, however, is Republicans signaling how they intend to pursue their goal.

    It was two weeks ago when President Joe Biden warned the public that Social Security and Medicare would end up on “the chopping block” if Republicans have their way, and the rhetoric hardly seemed outlandish. In recent months, there’s been no shortage of prominent GOP voices — from Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson to New Hampshire’s Don Bolduc to Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia — who’ve bolstered Biden’s claims.

    But for many voters, the warnings may not seem overly alarming. After all, there’s a Democratic White House. Even if Republicans enjoyed congressional majorities, and they were somehow able to pass a bill to cut Medicare and Social Security, the president would veto it and the public would be protected. So there’s no real cause for concern, right?

    Wrong. Bloomberg Government published a striking report yesterday sketching out GOP officials’ plans to work around a veto threat and force Biden to accept cuts to the popular social insurance programs.

    Social Security and Medicare eligibility changes, spending caps, and safety-net work requirements are among the top priorities for key House Republicans who want to use next year’s debt-limit deadline to extract concessions from Democrats. The four Republicans interested in serving as House Budget Committee chairman in the next Congress said in interviews that next year’s deadline to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is a point of leverage if their party can win control of the House in the November midterm elections.

    In theory, GOP lawmakers could pursue their goals through the American legislative process. They could propose cuts to Social Security and Medicare, move the bill through committee, hold a floor debate, try to make the case for their plan’s merits, hope to persuade stakeholders and the public, and make an effort to pass their bill.

    In practice, Republicans assume — correctly — that the American legislative process wouldn’t help them achieve their goals, because their priorities are regressive and deeply unpopular. So they’re settling on a new plan: circumvent their country’s existing system and get what they want by creating a hostage crisis.

    For those who remember what happened after the 2010 midterm elections, the rough sketch of the GOP strategy will seem familiar: Republicans will tell the White House that they’ll refuse to address the debt ceiling unless Biden agrees to cut Social Security and Medicare. If the Democratic president balks, Republicans will allow the United States to default on its obligations and crash the economy on purpose.

    This is, of course, precisely what a GOP-led House threatened in 2011 — when an official from the Obama White House said dealing with far-right Republicans was like “negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest.”

    Let’s not forget that as recently as four years ago, Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate, and the House, and they could’ve pursued cuts to social insurance programs like Medicare and Social Security if they’d wanted to. But they didn’t.

    Instead, they waited for a Democratic president, whom they hope to extort into giving them the cuts they want.

    […] Republicans not only intend to demand Social Security and Medicare cuts, they have a radical plan to achieve their goals that puts both our economy and the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy.

    Many Americans intend to support GOP candidates this year because of concerns about the economy. What those voters don’t seem to realize is a Republican majority would likely pursue a hostage strategy that could make the economy spectacularly worse.

  29. says

    […] the National Archives felt compelled to once again assure the public that Trump has no idea what he’s talking about it. The written statement, issued yesterday, read:

    The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in accordance with the Presidential Records Act, assumed physical and legal custody of the Presidential records from the administrations of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, when those Presidents left office. NARA securely moved these records to temporary facilities that NARA leased from the General Services Administration (GSA), near the locations of the future Presidential Libraries that former Presidents built for NARA. All such temporary facilities met strict archival and security standards, and have been managed and staffed exclusively by NARA employees. Reports that indicate or imply that those Presidential records were in the possession of the former Presidents or their representatives, after they left office, or that the records were housed in substandard conditions, are false and misleading.

    In other words, the Archives wants the public to know that Trump’s lie includes two parts. First, the Republican has insisted that his predecessors had their own documents, which isn’t true, since NARA maintained control of the materials.

    And second, while Trump expects people to believe his predecessors’ records were kept at unsecured locations, NARA explained that this is also wrong. […]


    So now NARA is debunking Trump’s lies.

  30. says

    Ukraine update: Russia can’t maintain terrorist missile barrage, and their supporters are pissed

    Battlefields are loud, but in the sense of movement, the Ukrainian front lines have been stable. Russians are happy to dig new fortifications and weird WWII-style straight trenches, and Ukraine is happy to let HIMARS and Excalibur precision-guided artillery shells degrade Russian artillery, command and control, and logistics in the rear. Unseasonably wet weather and the return of the famous mud isn’t helping. In other words, we’re back to “shaping the battlefield.” [video at the link]

    With the front lines temporarily stabilized, Russian Telegram sources like Rybar are back to inventing fantastical claims of glorious advances, multitudes of HIMARS rockets shot down by air defenses, and lots and lots of supposedly dead Ukrainians. Yesterday they were busy celebrating a supposed Russian counteroffensive out of Kreminna that was retaking lost territory toward Lyman. None of it was true, of course, pure nonsense. Pro-Russian Telegram [is] busy celebrating Monday morning’s terrorist missile attacks.

    Along with Russian leadership, Russian Telegram has surrendered any notion of winning on the conventional battlefield. Rybar teamed up with state television network RT to make a list of Ukrainian electrical substations, because heaven forbid they actually hit military targets in, you know, a war. They think that freezing Ukrainians this winter from lack of power (along with Ukraine’s European allies) will somehow deliver their elusive victory. At the very least, people will suffer, and Russia is happiest when others are suffering.

    Yet that initial Monday celebration has started to turn sour. Here’s Rybar:

    Russian Armed Forces strikes on the energy system of Ukraine: What conclusions can be drawn from the results of the strikes?

    The attack targeted the main thermal power plants and combined heat-electricity plants, as well as substations with a voltage level of 330 kV.

    Not a single strike was directed at 750kV facilities, much less nuclear or hydroelectric power plants. This clearly demonstrates that the raid was not aimed at total destruction of the whole power system, but at causing limited damage to it.

    Even so, a massive missile attack by the Russian Armed Forces left regions and cities with millions of people without electricity for half a day. It showed the vulnerability of Ukraine’s energy system to Russian attacks, and the inability of air defenses to repel such attacks.

    There is this recurring thread in all of pro-Russian telegram and even state TV that somehow, Russia is holding back, that it is pulling its punches, that it is taking it easy on Ukraine. In a different threat, Rybar claimed that the missile attacks were “relatively humane and hardly affected any critical infrastructure.” We can laugh at the notion, but Russians really believe the propaganda of their own greatness and effectiveness, and can’t fathom that their military is a paper tiger incapable of delivering the kind of nation-crushing blow they believe possible.

    Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) sources estimate that Russia spent $600-800 million on their attack, which to their own admission only knocked out power for half a day, so they think Russia held back. Yet despite Ukraine’s admitted vulnerability to such attacks, Russia’s problem is that they simply lack the missiles to sustain that level of attack. And as is obvious to Russian nationalists, anything less than a sustained assault is essentially an empty gesture.

    We will say it again: if the goal is to overload the power system of Ukraine for a prolonged panic among the population, to lower the morale and psychological state of the AFU and to win on the battlefield, then such actions must be repeated.

    Another popular channel, Veterans Notes with 280,000 subscribers, is similarly annoyed at the lack of Russian follow through.

    If what happened today (I mean the strikes on the ukroreich) was a one-time action, and I believe that this was the case, then this will not give the desired effect. The infrastructure of the Nazis must be knocked out non-stop for at least a month. When all electrical substations, bridges, communications and other vital infrastructure are destroyed, then we can talk about any significant success. The enemy must lose any opportunity to have access to modern means of transportation and logistics, as well as life in normal comfortable conditions. Shells should be carried to the front by carts and wagons, wagons should be carried along the remaining railway tracks by steam locomotives, and electricity and gas should generally become the subject of study only in history textbooks.

    The popular Russian Telegram channel Turn on the Z War, with 575,000 subscribers, responded to news that Australia would increase its supply of weapons to Ukraine by throwing up its hands in frustration.

    This is what many sane people have been talking about today. If our strikes were just another bunch of crap warnings, then we only helped the Ukrainians with the supply of new weapons. If our blows are constant for at least two weeks, they are fucked.

    Rather than cow Ukraine into submission and terrify Ukraine’s allies into backing off, Russia’s actions embolden its allies to increase support, crossing previous limits on such aid (which are currently no long-range ATACMS rockets, no NATO-standard tanks, and no NATO-standard aircraft). I’m betting that by the end of the week, Ukraine gets its ATACMS. NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels today Wednesday and Thursday, and they ain’t meeting with Ukraine’s defense minister to maintain the status quo or simply offer winter gear. Russia is quaking at the prospect. [Tweet at the link]

    As we know, nothing betrays Russian panic than when they make nuclear threats—something they’ve regularly done from the start of the war.

    Rather than the sustained onslaught those Russian nationalists demanded, Russia’s missile barrage had already lost steam by Tuesday, relying on its plentiful and cheap S-300 air-defense rockets, set to ground attack mode, and its increasing supply of cheap Iranian suicide drones. The former don’t have the range to penetrate deep into Ukrainian territory, and the latter lack the punch and have proven vulnerable to air defenses, depending on volume to allow a handful to slip through. Both weapons can kill civilians and demolish playgrounds, but Russia simply doesn’t have large stocks of its expensive heavy-hitting missiles to hit and seriously damage actual critical infrastructure targets. If they had those weapons, they would use them.

    If Putin hoped his performative terrorist temper tantrum would get his nationalist critics off his back, the gesture has already backfired. The ghouls didn’t want a one-time HULK SMASH strike, they want the systemic elimination of Ukraine’s infrastructure and the ability of its citizens to lead their lives. They want a giant pile of blood-stained rubble, punishing the insolent subhumans who refuse to bow to Russian greatness.

    [tweeted by Barry McCaffrey] Horrific insight into the medieval mindset of the Russian criminal leadership. A religious theme of extermination of “Satanist Ukrainians”. This has become an incredible struggle of survival for the Ukrainian people. Vital we stand with them……….[which is a response to this tweet from Julia Davis] Pavel Gubarev, Russia’s “DPR” figure in Donetsk, states their intent towards Ukrainians: “We aren’t coming to kill you, but to convince you. But if you don’t want to be convinced, we’ll kill you. We’ll kill as many as we have to: 1 million, 5 million, or exterminate all of you.” [video at the link]

    [In the video Pavel Gubarev also uses phrases like “devil’s spawn” and “Hitler 2.0” to describe Ukrainians. It’s really toxic hate propaganda.]

    Putin’s little temper tantrum may have killed a bunch of people, but it had very little lasting effect on the nation of Ukraine, and it’s obvious for everyone to see. [Tweet and images at the link]

    So what happens now? Russia is in reactive mode, its forces cowering in terror inside trenches as they await Ukraine’s next move (or worse, its next HIMARS strike). Its strategic rocket forces lack the weaponry to deliver the infrastructure blows Russia’s bloodthirsty nationalist community demands. Winter is coming, and while NATO works to deliver the cold-weather gear Ukrainian forces will need, Russia is still trying to figure out who stole 1.5 million winter coats they thought they had available. And Ukraine’s NATO allies have the excuse, or call it a moral impetus, to finally deliver long-distance ATACMS rockets to finish off the damaged Kerch bridge and hit Russian military infrastructure even deeper inside Russian-held territory. Heck, throw in NATO-standard modern battle tanks and F16s in the mix. We’re already placing long-term orders for Ukraine’s future needs, it’s time to go all-in.

    [Tweet and video of a female Ukrainian rifleman being reunited with her children, and being interviewed. Her husband is also working to defend Ukraine.] Slavic culture can be racist, sexist, and homophobic. This war is shattering those “isms” in Ukraine. [Great tweets with videos at the link]

    There’s a long way to go in Ukraine, but the progress is real. So much so, that it’s become a Russian talking point. [tweet and video to which SC referred in comment 18] […]

    🇷🇺60-66k KIA
    🇷🇺112-124k WIA

    🇺🇦35-38k KIA
    🇺🇦55-60k WIA
    Grim numbers.

    🇨🇦Canada is donating 500,000 winter uniforms to 🇺🇦

    […] Russia needed a pick-me-up after the doom of the previous weeks (Kharkiv, Kherson, Kerch), so they put on a bloody spectacle. But now people realize it was all for show

    Russia is destroying their entire society over this stupid war.

    The independent Russian media outlet Verstka (“Layout”) has published a noteworthy piece on the devastating effect that mobilisation is having on Russia’s schools. Thousands of teachers have been conscripted or have fled, bringing schools to the edge of collapse.

  31. says

    A real Medicare recipient explains why he stays away from Medicare Advantage (Part C) like a plague.
    [Video at the link]

    Health insurance corporations are investing millions in selling Medicare Advantage (MA) to Americans of Medicare age. That is your dollar spent indirectly to promote health insurance that taxpayers pay for, while corporate executives and shareholders skim a large percentage of your tax dollars as profits. The advertising has been very successful as by next year, over 50% of Medicare-eligible Americans will succumb to the high-pressure sales tactics as they opt-in to a detrimental form of Medicare.

    This article’s intent is not to scold those who succumbed to the MA salesforce from the various insurance companies. They’ve invested much to get you. It is hard to resist free health club membership, a few free lunches, and eye, teeth, and hearing coverage. Many poor or financially strapped Medicare recipients could not get all that coverage for free with traditional Medicare. Senator Bernie Sanders and other Progressives have been fighting to include dental, hearing, and vision coverage in traditional Medicare. Still, too many politicians, Republicans and Democrats alike are on the take and block the legislation.

    Health insurance lobbyists pay off politicians to cripple traditional Medicare to give Medicare Advantage the facade of better coverage. It costs the taxpayers much more than it would if it was all managed by traditional Medicare instead of the privatized Medicare Advantage. Private insurance must pay marketing costs, duplicate database and administrative expenses, exorbitant executive salaries, and shareholder dividends. Traditional Medicare has none of those costs. It is mathematically impossible for MA to be more efficient or less expensive than Traditional Medicare. And those additional costs don’t even consider the outright fraud that plagues the private corporations that swindle taxpayers.

    Recently, I wrote the article “ Get Medicare! No to Medicare Advantage. It’s perfume-covered doo-doo that’ll bankrupt or kill you,” which presents the case against Medicare Advantage. It includes experts who understand that it is a fraud on the American Taxpayer and, at times, the patients it claims to serve. Please read it. It is well worth it with two start interviews included.

    Thom Hartmann, the host of the Thom Hartmann Show, wrote one of the definitive books on our healthcare system. The book, “The Hidden History of American Healthcare: Why Sickness Bankrupts You and Makes Others Insanely Rich” is a must-read.

    I want to be very clear. The continued growth of Medicare Advantage will further destroy our healthcare system. If you think our privatized health insurance is expensive, exploitative, terrible, and inefficient, Medicare Advantage will worsen it. I leave the article “ ‘Straight Up Fraud’: Data Confirms Private Insurers Use Medicare Advantage to Steal Billions “ with you from Common Dreams.

    Amost every major player in the industry has been accused of fraud by a whistleblower or the U.S. government. In addition, the vast majority are engaged in rampant upcoding or exaggerating patients’ illnesses in order to reap more money from taxpayers-something they do while refusing to provide necessary care for tens of thousands each year.

    Please do your due diligence.

    The article includes a lot of embedded links.

  32. says

    Tucker Edited Out Kanye’s Deranged Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories In Interview

    There’s quite a bit Fox News host Tucker Carlson didn’t want his viewers to see when he was giving Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, the spotlight on his show for two days last week […]. More specifically, Ye was spouting the following unhinged conspiracy theories about Jewish people:

    Planned Parenthood was created with the KKK “to control the Jew population,” and by that he means Black people, who “really are” Jewish, according to the rapper. [JFC!]

    He’d prefer his kids to learn about Hanukkah than about Kwanzaa because “it will come with some financial engineering.” He didn’t expand on that one, but I think we all know what he means there.

    And all that came before the rapper posted the deranged tweet about going “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE” that got him temporarily locked out of Twitter. That could explain Carlson’s mysterious silence about the tweet on Monday night.

  33. says

    Herschel Walker just now [yesterday, October 11]: “I’ve been telling this little story about this bull out in the field with six cows, and three of them are pregnant… so you know he’s got something going on”
    Video at the link.


    […] The hits just keep coming for Georgia GOP Senate nominee Herschel Walker and his abortion scandal: The woman who came forward alleging that Walker had paid for her to get an abortion in 2009 told the Washington Post in a new report that she had to twist the ex-NFL player’s arm to pay for the procedure–even though he wanted her to have it.

    The woman is the mother of one of Walker’s children, and he had tried to pressure her into aborting that pregnancy too in 2011, according to the New York Times. She chose not to.

    The GOP Senate candidate now admits he knows the woman who came forward about the abortion after claiming he had no idea who she was. Walker still denies her account, though (also, he still hasn’t sued the Daily Beast for defamation like he said he would). […]

  34. says


    Should a Black man with schizophrenia who murdered his white ex-wife in the throes of a psychotic delusion be put to death by a jury in which multiple members expressed vehement opposition to interracial marriage?

    Clearly not, right?

    And if his lawyers failed to object to or question those jurors in depth about their beliefs, that is classic ineffective assistance of counsel?


    Well, not on Mitch McConnell’s Supreme Court where the six conservative Supreme Court justices bared their filthy, racist asses yesterday for us all to see. Here’s the dissent from denial of certiorari penned by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Warning: It is very upsetting.

    In 2004, Andre Lee Thomas, a Black man who suffered from lifelong, documented mental illness, murdered his white ex-wife Laura Boren, their four-year-old son Andre, and her one-year-old daughter. Using three separate knives because he didn’t want to mix their blood, he removed their hearts from their bodies. He then stabbed himself in the chest and lay down waiting to die. When the wound did not prove fatal, he left the scene with his family’s hearts in his pockets.

    Thomas immediately confessed to the crimes and was originally committed to a mental hospital for psychosis. But later the state decided that he’d been temporarily insane due to consuming large quantities of cough syrup and charged Thomas with capital murder. While in jail, he removed one of his own eyes. Years later he removed the other and ate it.

    At trial, Thomas was represented by two court-appointed lawyers, one of whom was suffering from pancreatic cancer while the other had never tried a capital case. They failed to object for cause to any of the four jurors who expressed opposition to interracial marriage, including the one who “opined that such relationships were against God’s will and that people ‘should stay with [their] Blood Line.’” In fact, they concluded voir dire with unused peremptory strikes — that is, chances to strike a juror for no cause given.

    During the penalty phase, prosecutors called three white women and a Hispanic woman with whom Thomas had sought romantic relationships as witnesses, demanding that he be put to death lest he later be paroled from a life sentence, and “Are you going to take the risk about [Thomas] asking your daughter out, or your granddaughter out?”

    The racism was gross, and unsubtle. And it worked.

    The jury sentenced Thomas to death in 2005, and yesterday, the six conservative justices said that was perfectly fine, rejecting his ineffective assistance of counsel claim as well as allegations of jury bias.

    God bless Justice Sotomayor for calling out the absolute bullshit of this argument:

    There is no doubt that the facts of this case make out the “constitutionally significant likelihood” under which specific questioning is required. This is a capital case involving interracial violence where three seated jurors and an alternate expressed prejudicial views. Had defense counsel requested individual voir dire of the three prospective jurors, it would have been reversible error for the trial judge to deny that request. See id., at 36 (plurality opinion); id., at 36–37 (majority opinion). Counsel’s failure to do so was constitutionally ineffective.

    She also points out that Thomas’s trial counsel submitted two conflicting affidavits: one when he filed a habeas petition, in which they attested that their failure to question jurors about racial bias “was not intentional,” and one on behalf of the state’s opposition to Thomas’s appeal, in which they falsely claimed to have questioned the jurors sufficiently to suss out bias and to have refrained from further interrogation for fear of alienating the panel.

    Trial counsel’s unusual, subsequently filed affidavits on behalf of the State are contradicted by the record: Trial counsel claims to have questioned the potential jurors who declared opposition to interracial marriage, but the record shows that counsel did not ask any questions at all related to interracial marriage of three of the four who expressed opposition. That alone demonstrates ineffectiveness. There are numerous ways to broach sensitive but necessary subjects during voir dire without invoking the ire of jurors.

    It is no doubt true that there may sometimes be strategic reasons not to examine jurors for racial bias, but counsel cited none here. To the contrary, the hostility the jurors expressed in their questionnaires strongly suggested that their presence would infect the proceedings with racial bias. Counsel’s subsequent affidavits therefore “resembl[e] more a post hoc rationalization of counsel’s conduct than an accurate description of their” strategic decisions during voir dire.

    “No jury deciding whether to recommend a death sentence should be tainted by potential racial biases that could infect its deliberations or decision, particularly where the case involved an interracial crime,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. Because that is apparently a thing which has to be said in the year 2022.

    “It is ultimately the duty of the courts ‘to confront racial animus in the justice system,’” she went on, citing a 2017 holding that evidence of racial animus by a juror was grounds for a new trial.

    That responsibility requires courts, including this one, vigilantly to safeguard the fairness of criminal trials by ensuring that jurors do not harbor, or at the very least could put aside, racially biased sentiments. To address these “most grave and serious statements of racial bias” is “to ensure that our legal system remains capable of coming ever closer to the promise of equal treatment under the law that is so central to a functioning democracy.”

    When we say that the rule of law is under attack, we don’t just mean a bunch of goons descending on Congress screaming to “Hang Mike Pence.” We mean that our court system is captured by rank partisans who enforce structural racism by allowing the state to execute a Black man, despite clear evidence of juror bias and ineffective counsel.

    And for the foreseeable future, we are stuck with this fucking disaster. But not forever, assuming we can hold the line at the ballot box. […]

    And PS: Jury duty sucks. But if you don’t sit on those juries, the racists will.

  35. says

    Followup, of sorts, to comment 47.

    Midterm election news, as summarized by Steve Benen:

    * There’s a lot of fresh polling in Georgia’s U.S. Senate race, with an Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey showing Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock narrowly ahead of Republican Herschel Walker, 48% to 46%. A new Quinnipiac poll, meanwhile, found Warnock up by seven, 52% to 45%, while an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Georgia News Collaborative poll showed the incumbent ahead by three, 46% to 43%.

    * As for Georgia’s gubernatorial race, the same data showed incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp leading former Democratic state Sen. Stacey Abrams by five points (Emerson), one point (Quinnipiac), and 10 points (AJC).

    * Speaking of Georgia, Walker appeared at a campaign event yesterday alongside GOP Sens. Rick Scott and Tom Cotton, and the candidate told a weird parable about a bull. No one seems to know what it was supposed to mean.

    I think I know what Hershel Walker’s story about the bull means: Walker is the bull, and the fact that he got three cows pregnant means that he “has something going on.” He’s proud of it. Also, Walker seems to think he has been “cut up.” Also, Walker is a homophobe and considers himself a patriot. Also, might be a parable about fathering children and then abandoning their mothers?

    Here’s the anecdote:

    And they’ve been saying, “Something is better somewhere else.” And I’m here to tell you it’s not. So, I been telling this little story about this bull out in the field with six cows, and three of them are pregnant. So, you know he got something goin’ on. But all he cared about is keep his nose against the fence, looking at three other cows that didn’t belong to him. Now all he had to do is eat grass. But no, no, no. He thought something was better somewhere else.

    So, he decided, “I want to get over there.” So one day, he measured that fence up, and he said, “I think I can jump this.” So that day came where he got back. And as he got back and as he took off runnin’, he dove over that fence, and his belly got cut up under the bottom. But as he made it onto the other side, he shook it off and got so excited about it. And he ran to the top of that hill, but when he got up there, he realized they were bulls too.

    So what I’m telling you don’t think something is better somewhere else. This is the greatest country in the world today.”

  36. blf says

    The Nasa/JPL Mars helicopter Ingenuity is still flying, recently completing its 33rd flight. After the 29th flight in mid-June, it basically hibernated during the Martian winter, resuming flying with a short 30th flight in mid-August to check its condition (that 30th flight was very similar to its very 1st flight).

    On the latest (33rd) flight, a small bit of debris was seen falling away from one of its legs and floating back down to the surface. As far as I am aware, it’s unknown what that was, or even if it was part of the helicopter (there’s no anomalous data in the telemetry).

    It was only spotted by the black-and-white navigation camera, so it’s unclear if it was a LGM or not.👾

    Ingenuity has been so successful the Mars Sample Return mission (to collect the samples being gathered by the Perseverance rover and return them to Earth) has been re-designed: Instead of a sample collecting rover to fetch the samples cached on the surface, there will be two helicopters to collect those samples, and Perseverance itself will deliver additional samples cached on-board to the return mission. MSR is currently planned for launch in 2028.

  37. says

    Despite ‘death wish’ rhetoric, McConnell won’t respond to Trump

    Donald Trump said Mitch McConnell has a “death wish” and made racist comments about his wife. What does the GOP senator have to say in response? Nothing.

    With increasing frequency, Donald Trump urges Senate Republicans to replace Sen. Mitch McConnell as their leader. The Kentucky lawmaker doesn’t generally comment on the partisan appeals, but he did tell CNN in a new interview, “I have the votes.”

    In other words, the former president can huff and puff all he wants, but as far as McConnell is concerned, the posturing is irrelevant: The Senate GOP leader has the necessary support from his members to keep his job.

    That might very well be true, but it’s not the only thing Trump has said lately about the longtime senator. In fact, it was nearly two weeks ago when the former president said McConnell “has a DEATH WISH” for disagreeing with Trump’s legislative strategies. In the same message on his Twitter-like platform, Trump added a racist shot at former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao: “Must immediately seek help and advise from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!”

    And on this, McConnell had nothing to say. CNN reported yesterday that McConnell “did not want to respond” to the former president’s offensive rhetoric. The report added:

    With less than a month to the midterms, the GOP leader knows full well that a back-and-forth with the former President could distract the party’s focus at a crucial time. And for McConnell, he says he’s not concerned that a growing number of Republicans act like Trump rather than hew to the traditional GOP orthodoxy espoused by the likes of Rep. Liz Cheney, who lost her Wyoming primary this year after her battle over Trump’s “stolen” election lies. His only goal, he said, is winning elections.

    “I don’t have a litmus test,” McConnell said when asked if he wants a party more in line with Trump or with Cheney. “I’m for people that get the Republican nomination, and for winning, because if we win, we get to decide what the agenda is, and [Democrats] don’t.”

    Or put another way, even now, knowing everything he now knows, after the former president went after his own wife, McConnell is still open to supporting a Trump comeback bid.

    It’s not surprising, but maybe it should be.

    […] It was during Trump’s first year in the White House that the new president looked to McConnell as someone who would simply take orders and make Trump’s problems go away. When the senator tried to explain how government worked, a “profane shouting match” soon followed.

    But it was after Trump’s defeat that the relationship collapsed. McConnell had the audacity to accept the results of his own country’s elections and criticize Trump for failing to do the same, at which point the former president started condemning the GOP leader as a corrupt “hack.”

    Things seemed to culminate on Feb. 13 of last year, in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s second impeachment trial, when McConnell delivered memorable floor remarks, condemning Trump’s “disgraceful dereliction of duty” on Jan. 6. The Senate minority leader added, “There is no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day. No question about it.”

    In the same speech, McConnell called out Trump for his “crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole … orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.”

    The Kentucky senator went on to raise the prospect of Trump facing civil and/or criminal penalties for his obvious misconduct.

    Two weeks later, McConnell appeared on Fox News and was asked whether he’d support Trump’s 2024 candidacy, if the former president again ran as the Republican nominee.

    “Absolutely,” McConnell replied.

    Earlier this year, Axios’ Jonathan Swan tried to explore this further, asking about McConnell’s “moral red lines.” The Senate minority leader didn’t seem to appreciate the line of inquiry.

    “As a Republican leader of the Senate, it should not be a front-page headline that I will support the Republican nominee for president,” said McConnell, who added: “I think I have an obligation to support the nominee of my party, and I will.”

    When Swan pressed on, asking if there’s anything Trump could possibly do that would cause the senator to withhold his support for the former president, McConnell, appearing visibly frustrated, said: “I don’t get to pick the Republican nominee for president. They’re elected by the Republican voters.”

    In other words, asked about his “moral red lines,” the Kentuckian conceded that such lines effectively do not exist, at least insofar as electoral politics is concerned.

    His comments to CNN dovetail nicely with his remarks from April. McConnell is “for people that get the Republican nomination, and for winning.” If that means supporting a presidential candidate who instigated an insurrectionist attack on his country’s seat of government, made racist comments about his wife, and made directed vaguely threatening comments about the senator personally, so be it.

    McConnell doesn’t have “a litmus test.” His list of concerns starts and ends with the Republican Party’s pursuit of power.

    Okay then. There are no moral red lines. The only goal is to stay in power.

  38. says

    Jan. 6 Hearing Will Focus On New Secret Service Docs Showing Trump Was Warned About Violence

    The Secret Service handed over a trove of electronic communications surrounding the January 6 insurrection to the House select committee ahead of the panel’s likely final hearing on Thursday, which will reportedly reveal more evidence of what President Trump knew about the violence that day and when he knew it.

    The panel intends to highlight findings from over a million pages of records recently handed over by the Secret Service to illustrate that the former president was not only warned about the violence as it was unfolding that day, but that he also helped stoke it, despite being aware of the risk […]

    The committee will reportedly share new video footage to corroborate previous accounts of that day, including that of former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, who testified back in June that Trump was briefed that his supporters were preparing for violence.

    While the Secret Service records will be a key feature of Thursday’s hearing, obtaining data from the agency has been a news cycle of its own. As has been previously reported, over the course of its investigation the congressional committee has asked several federal agencies, including the Secret Service, to turn over all written correspondences that were sent on or around January 6, 2021. But in response to the requests, several agencies admitted that they’d deleted all the text messages from that day in either planned data transfers or as part of standard protocol for outgoing employees. Experts can’t agree if the lack of oversight was part of a cover-up or just negligence, but they do agree that the messages shouldn’t have been deleted.

    The Secret Service in particular has taken steps to prevent future slip-ups and meet Congress’s demands. This week, the Secret Service shared over one million pages’ worth of written correspondences, including information that the committee didn’t request—excluding, of course, the text messages.

    “We have and continue to fully cooperate with the Jan. 6 select committee,” Secret Service spokesperson Steve Kopek told NBC News. “While no additional text messages were recovered, we have provided a significant level of details from emails, radio transmissions, Microsoft Teams chat messages and exhibits that address aspects of planning, operations and communications surrounding Jan. 6.”

    One of the Secret Service documents handed over to the panel reportedly shows that between 1:30 and 2:00 p.m. ET that day, Secret Service supervisor Ronald L. Rowe emailed Bobby Engel, then head of Trump’s security detail, warning him that the protest was becoming unruly and anxiously enquired about whether Trump still planned to go to the Capitol. He then urged Engel to call him.

    During her public testimony, Hutchinson provided her under oath account of what she witnessed and heard from others about Trump’s behavior that day. Most notably, she told the panel that then-White House Deputy Chief of Staff Anthony Ornato relayed a story to her in which Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent after he was told they wouldn’t take him to the riot as it unfolded.

    But some anonymous Secret Service sources have since tried to poke holes in her story, telling the Washington Post and other news outlets that Ornato and Bobby Engel, former leader of Trump’s security detail, have disputed that any altercation occurred in the vehicle. Neither Ornato nor Engel have confirmed or denied the account up until this point.

    MSNBC will carry the January 6 committee hearing live tomorrow. The network will also have a panel discussion before the hearing starts, and after it ends.

    CBS News will broadcast the hearing as a special report at 1 pm Eastern Time.

    PBS will also air the hearing, as will CNN an C-SPAN.

  39. raven says

    According to this article, Russia is now facing a teacher shortage.
    No surprise as they called up 300,000-1 million and ca. 1/2 million men fled the country.

    Their education system was already failing anyway.
    They gutted it and hollowed it out a decade or so ago because education costs money and they didn’t see the need for educated people in a state based on selling oil and gas. And educated people can be a problem for a country run like Russia.

    ‘Entire subjects are being cut’ Russia’s schools are hemorrhaging teachers as they flee mobilization — Meduza stories
    11:46 pm, October 11, 2022 Source: Verstka Edited for length

    Artyom Geodakyan / TASS
    In the three weeks since it began, Russia’s mobilization campaign has kneecapped the country’s education system. A new investigation from the independent media outlet Verstka found that Russian teachers, who aren’t exempt from the draft, are going into hiding and fleeing the country in droves. Private schools, many of which saw a spike in enrollment this year as families scrambled to avoid the “patriotic” curriculum implemented in public schools this fall, are facing closure.

    According to Andrey, he’s far from the only one getting out of dodge: 80 percent of the teachers at the school where he works intend to leave in the near future, while all of the school’s on-staff tutors plan to emigrate (or go into hiding) if they haven’t already. As a result, administrators are discussing either relocating the school or closing it altogether.

    To make matters worse, he said, more students enrolled in the school than usual this year; with “patriotism lessons” and other political messaging on the rise in public schools, the demand for private ones is up.

    Nobody is safe
    Russia’s mobilization orders don’t discriminate based on merit: even some of the country’s most “decorated” teachers are being drafted.

    ‘Counter to the interests of the Motherland’
    Yury Varlamov, head of a Russian teacher’s union called Uchitel, told Verstka that in some schools, the teacher shortage has reached a crisis point: there’s simply nobody to teach the students.

    “In many schools, up to 100–120 hours of instruction are unfilled each week — there’s nobody to replace [the teachers who have left]. In some cases, entire subjects are being cut from the schedule. The overall picture is still unclear, but what is clear is that it’s not going to be a happy one,” said Varlamov.

    A similar appeal was published in the comments of State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin’s Telegram channel, where students from Moscow’s School No. 1788 asked for a draft exemption for their math and computer science teacher, Aidar Akhmetshin. The message ended with the words, “We fully agree with and support the decision of the President of the Russian Federation, but we believe removing the school’s teaching staff from the educational and IT preparation process runs counter to the interests of our Motherland.”

    ‘A catastrophic shortage’
    In early August, Russian Education Minister Sergey Kravtsov reported that the country’s schools were ready for the start of the new school year — and that “as many of the vacancies as possible have been filled.” According to the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), however, about 3 percent of Russia’s teaching positions are currently vacant.

    “Teachers really are greatly needed by our schools, by our children,” Lantratova said. “We have a catastrophic shortage of them, especially men. Male teachers are worth their weight in gold!”

  40. says

    Russia begins repairs to Kerch Bridge; massive traffic jam for ferry crossing

    Repairs have begun on the Kerch Bridge between Crimea and Russia.

    I have no idea how long it’ll take to fix it, but I have no doubt that it’ll be a rush job and you’d be taking your life into your hands to cross it. [Tweets about the repairs, and images showing the work being done are available at the link. There’s also a video showing damage to load-bearing structures.]

    Meanwhile, Russia is making shit up about the truck that is believed to have delivered the bomb. [See raven’s comment #28]

    [Oliver Alexander tweeted] I can also independently confirm that both the truck and driver from this document are alive and well.

    It appears that no Russian officials x-rayed the suspected truck at any time and have resorted to using a random x-ray and bill of lading on file to provide “proof”.

    They needed an X-ray and Bill of Lading from a similar truck to hide their incompetence and the overall lack of security checks at the bridge.

    They then just seem to have picked this one at random to share as “proof” and hoped no one paid to close attention to the details [Images available at the link]

    Hmmm. Maybe this is why they are so anxious to start repairs: [Tweet and video of about 900 trucks in line for the ferry crossing in Crimea.]

  41. says

    Judge rules Trump must sit for deposition in rape accuser’s lawsuit next week

    This is good news. Schadenfreude moment.

    A federal judge has denied former President Trump’s motion to pause the proceedings of a defamation suit against him from a woman who has accused him of rape while appeals over the case play out, setting him up for a deposition next week.

    U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled on Wednesday that Trump’s argument did not meet the legal threshold required for a stay to be issued. Trump has been pushing for the United States to be substituted in E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit against him because the comments Trump made denying her claim and criticizing her happened while he was president.

    Carroll has accused Trump of raping her at a Manhattan department store in the 1990s. Trump has countered by accusing Carroll of lying and making remarks criticizing her appearance.

    Trump requested that proceedings in the defamation case that Carroll filed in response be paused while the D.C. Court of Appeals weighs whether Trump was acting in his official capacity as president when he criticized Carroll, but Kaplan ruled that Trump has not demonstrated a likelihood to succeed on the merits of his argument.

    Kaplan wrote in his ruling that the court could rule either way on the question, but Trump did not give a reason for him to conclude that the ruling will be in his favor.

    He also found that Trump failed to show a meaningful threat of irreparable injury if a stay is not put in place.

    Trump had argued that he should have immunity from the suit under the Westfall Act, which protects government employees from civil lawsuits if they are acting in their capacity as government officials. But the question as to whether Trump was acting in his capacity as president is unresolved.

    Kaplan also found that a stay would cause irreparable injury to Carroll. He said Trump appears to be attempting to delay the case as much as possible, and 20 months have already passed from when Kaplan initially denied Trump’s motion to substitute the United States for him in the lawsuit.

    “The defendant should not be permitted to run out the clock on the plaintiff’s attempt to gain a remedy for what allegedly was a serious wrong,” Kaplan said.

    Roberta Kaplan, Carroll’s attorney, said in a statement that they are pleased with the ruling against Trump’s requested stay. Roberta Kaplan said they also look forward to filing a lawsuit against Trump under New York’s Adult Survivors Act, a law that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed in May to create a one-year window for those who experienced sexual assault to file civil lawsuits against abusers regardless of when the abuse happened.

    That window will open in late November. [snipped claims from Trump’s attorney that the case is baseless.]

  42. says

    New Yorkers open homes to bused migrants

    The city’s shelter system is at capacity.

    While New York City officials work to provide resources and shelter for the influx of migrants bused to the city, some organizations and volunteers have taken matters into their own hands to help migrants who are left to sleep in the streets.

    Individual volunteers are opening their homes to migrants because the city’s shelter system is jam-packed, forcing some migrants out on the street without any resources or shelter.

    Long before the first busloads of migrants arrived in New York, the city was already in the throes of a housing crisis.

    A slew of post-pandemic evictions had left many families homeless and sleeping in shelters.

    On Friday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency that said the city’s shelter system is close to 100 percent occupied after the recent influx of migrants.

    The city says at least 17,000 migrants have arrived since May.

    “We do everything we can in the most loving manner to ensure people have a safe space,” said Arianda Phillips, an organizer with South Bronx Mutual Aid.

    Phillip’s organization helps people find housing, food and clothes. When the first migrant bus arrived, she jumped into action to help.

    “They don’t have warm clothing, and they’re, you know, in T-shirts and shorts. And the shelter system is not providing them with sufficient food, we hear every single day,” Phillips said
    Phillips said some migrants have been turned away from shelters because of overcrowding, and families with children have been separated.

    “So, for example, if they didn’t have a marriage certificate or something to prove familial relationships, they are often separated in the shelter systems,” Phillips said.

    She helps those migrants find sanctuary in churches and, more recently, in people’s homes.

    “Each sanctuary space is likely doing its best […]

    Melanie Van Orden invited six migrants to stay at her home in Brooklyn. “I think it’s just part of my humanity. […]

    “The vast majority of people coming here are just like you and me. They’re good kindhearted people fleeing from an unlivable situation to save their own lives,” she said.

    Van Orden said that before the men left, they made sure to clean up, leaving her space in immaculate condition.

    While there are many more volunteers out there like Van Orden, often they choose to move in silence to help the migrants to safety.

    Good photos of the migrants that stayed with Melanie Van Orden and other volunteers are available at the link.

  43. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Ukraine makes gains near Kherson as allies provide air defences

    Ukraine’s army boasted of territorial gains near the strategically vital southern city of Kherson on Wednesday as Nato allies delivered new air defence systems in the wake of Russia’s recent missile attacks across the country.

    After 48 hours of Ukrainian cities coming under heavy fire, the government in Kyiv could celebrate positive news from both the frontlines and its diplomatic efforts to secure ground-to-air systems.

    Five settlements in the Beryslav district in the north-east of the Kherson region – Novovasylivka, Novogrygorivka, Nova Kamyanka, Tryfonivka, Chervone – were said to have been taken from Russian forces over the day.

    Kherson was the first city to fall to Russia following the invasion on 24 February and it is a crucial strategic and symbolic target for Ukraine’s southern counterattack.

    Meanwhile, Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, lauded the arrival of the first of four Iris-T defence systems from Germany and an “expedited” delivery of sophisticated National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (Nasams) from the US.

    “A new era of air defence has begun in Ukraine,” Reznikov tweeted.

    Iris-Ts from Germany are already here. Nasams are coming. This is only the beginning. And we need more.

    Canada’s defence minister, Anita Anand, has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine, which includes ammunition, communications equipment, winter clothing, armoured vehicles and artillery.

    Some $15m (£9.8m) in winter clothing and $15.2 (£9.9m) in howitzer ammunition make up the bulk of the latest military assistance package, Anand announced as she sat down with her Nato counterparts in Brussels.

    Canada also will provide another $15.3m (£10m) worth of the high-tech cameras the Ukrainians have been using on their drones, along with more satellite communication services.

    More than 50 countries gathered for a meeting at Nato headquarters to promise more weapons, including air defences, for Ukraine after Russia launched its most intense missile strikes across the country since the war began….

  44. says

    Reuters – “France to deliver anti-air systems to Ukraine in coming weeks – Macron”:

    France will deliver radar and air defence systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks, in particular to help Ukraine prote[c]t itself from drone and missile attacks, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

    Speaking in an interview on France 2 television, Macron did not give any details on what type of anti-aircraft missiles or how many would be delivered.

    A wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities this week has raised the stakes, with Kyiv demanding its partners provide more supplies, including air defence systems – something Paris has been unwilling to do so far.

    “This is a new phase of bombing coming from land, sea, air and drones against essential infrastructure and civilians,” Macron said, adding that radar and anti-air missiles would be delivered in the coming weeks to “protect the country from drone and missile attacks.”

    Paris has previously supplied Mistral shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine. A source aware of the matter said Paris would provide Crotale short-range anti-air missiles, which are used to intercept low-flying missiles and aircraft….

  45. says

    AJ – “UN condemns Russia’s move to annex parts of Ukraine”:

    The United Nations General Assembly has voted to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine and urged countries not to recognise the move.

    In Wednesday’s vote, three-quarters of the 193-member General Assembly — 143 countries — backed a resolution that also reaffirmed the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

    “It’s amazing,” Ukraine’s UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told reporters after the vote, as he stood next to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield who said the result showed Russia could not intimidate the world.

    Four countries joined Russia in voting against the resolution — Syria, Nicaragua, North Korea and Belarus. Another 35 countries abstained from the vote, including China, India, South Africa and Pakistan, and the rest did not vote.

    The result is the strongest rebuke to Russia from the General Assembly of the four resolutions it has approved since Russian troops invaded Ukraine on February 24.

    Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the General Assembly ahead of the vote that the resolution was “politicised and openly provocative”, adding that it “could destroy any and all efforts in favour of a diplomatic solution to the crisis”.

    The UN move echoes what happened in 2014 after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea. The General Assembly then adopted a resolution declaring the referendum invalid with 100 votes in favour, 11 against and 58 formal abstentions.

    The US and other Western countries lobbied ahead of Wednesday’s vote. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken convened a virtual meeting on Tuesday with diplomats from more than 100 countries.

    They won dozens more votes than compared with the 2014 result, and improved on the 141 countries who voted to denounce Russia and demand it withdraw its troops from Ukraine within a week of its February 24 invasion.

  46. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile on Russian TV: everyone was rejoicing about the latest strikes against Ukraine, but some demanded more, complaining there wasn’t enough devastation. Irritated State Duma member complained that they ruined the fun for tens of millions of Russians.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. I missed this one earlier today. I didn’t think it was possible for them to get more deranged, but they are. They not only show the clip of the girl screaming as she’s almost hit by a blast but add the sound of her scream into other clips of strikes on civilian targets.

  47. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    UK to supply air defence missiles to Ukraine.

    U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the U.K. will deliver AMRAAM missiles to Ukraine.

    “Russia’s latest indiscriminate strikes on civilian areas in Ukraine warrant further support to those seeking to defend their nation. So today I have authorized the supply of AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine,” Wallace said, the Guardian reports.

    “These weapons will help Ukraine defend its skies from attacks and strengthen their overall missile defense alongside the U.S. NASAMS,” he added.

  48. Reginald Selkirk says

    False calls about active school shooters are rising. Behind them is a strange pattern

    But as the number of these reports swelled over time, Conley said she began to discern some very strange patterns — including the possibility that the calls may have come from overseas, and perhaps specifically from Africa.
    “The scale and the timeline of the events is highly, highly unusual,” she said. “The calls are consistent. They are coordinated. They are grouped state-by-state and district-by-district, and they’re also sustained. So somebody is putting significant effort to keep these going.” …
    In audio obtained by NPR of some calls in Ohio and one call in Minnesota, the person reporting an active shooting breathes heavily and follows a nearly identical narrative. He identifies himself as a student at the school, although he sounds like an adult male. He also speaks with a heavy accent…
    Evans said that the calls in his state were all made directly to schools or to non-emergency dispatch lines, rather than to 911. He said they appeared to be coming from Internet-based phone numbers, which either originated in or were routed through foreign countries through a VPN connection…
    In Louisiana, where at least five schools received false calls about bomb threats on April 21, one local report said that investigators had linked the IP address of the caller to Ethiopia. More recently, a report from Minnesota cited Alexandria Police Chief Scott Kent saying that he believed the calls made in September to schools in his state were linked to an IP address in Ethiopia. Kent did not respond to interview requests.

  49. Reginald Selkirk says

    GOP Senate Nominee Adam Laxalt’s Family Endorses His Democratic Opponent

    The hits just keep on coming for Nevada’s Republican Senate nominee, Adam Laxalt. The state’s Trump-endorsed former attorney general was part of a viral news story last week for being one of the beneficiaries at a National Republican Senatorial Committee fundraiser—the one where Mehmet Oz spoke in front of one of Hitler’s cars.
    Now, the Nevada Independent reports that 14 members of the Laxalt family have endorsed his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. The paper obtained a letter from the group, which doesn’t mention Laxalt or his Senate campaign, but praises Masto, who also served as attorney general of the state…

  50. raven says

    Doesn’t look like the recent Russian mobilization is going very well.

    Details: The General Staff explained that low morale among the recently arrived reinforcements, numerous acts of desertion by the recently conscripted soldiers, and refusal to carry out orders are among the reasons for the decision to suspend offensive operations.

    The recently mobilized people don’t want to be there and are aware that they are just cannon fodder. They are poorly equipped and untrained. They know the Ukrainians will kill a lot of them and that they are fighting for no good reason.

    This seems like a rare instance when the Russian commanders made a smart decision.

    Russian forces receive orders to suspend offensive operations on several fronts – General Staff report


    Russian forces have begun to receive orders from top military leaders to suspend offensive operations on several fronts – in particular, in Donetsk Oblast.

    Source: General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on Facebook, information as of 06:00 on 13 October

    Details: The General Staff explained that low morale among the recently arrived reinforcements, numerous acts of desertion by the recently conscripted soldiers, and refusal to carry out orders are among the reasons for the decision to suspend offensive operations.

    Ukrainian units struck three S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems and their crews near Tokmak in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Wounded Russian soldiers have been taken to a local hospital. Up to 150 Russian soldiers have been killed as a result of Ukrainian forces’ precision attacks in the vicinity of Tokarivka in Kherson Oblast.

    The Russians carried out 3 missile strikes and 21 airstrikes, as well as around 104 attacks using multiple-launch rocket systems [MLRS].

    More than 40 cities, towns and villages came under Russian fire, including Mykolaiv, Vinnytsia, Cherkasy, Cherniakhov, Bilohorivka, Spirne, Pavlivka, Myrne and Davydiv Brid. The Russians deployed cruise, air-to-surface, and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles, to carry out these attacks.

    There were no significant changes on the Volyn and Polissia fronts. On other fronts, the Russians continued to fire on military and civilian targets:

  51. says

    Here’s a link to today’s Guardian (support them if you can!) Ukraine liveblog. From there:

    The Moscow-installed head of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region has urged residents to leave the area and asked Russia to help evacuate people, Agence France-Presse reports.

    In a video posted to Telegram, Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-installed head of the Kherson administration, said:

    We suggested to all people of the Kherson region to, if they wish, leave to other regions to protect themselves from missile hits.

    In addressing the leadership of the country [Russia], I ask you to help organise this work.

    He added:

    We, the people of the Kherson region, know that Russia does not abandon its own. [LOL]

    Saldo said the region was being hit by an increasing amount of rocket attacks bringing “serious damage”, in signs that Ukraine’s counteroffensive was continuing to made progress.

    His warning comes just a day after Kyiv said it had retaken five settlements in the Kherson region….

    The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has accused Vladimir Putin of waging “a crusade against our way of life”, in a shift of rhetoric days after heavy Russian missile strikes hit major Ukrainian cities.

    “They consider their war against Ukraine to be part of a larger crusade,” Scholz said in a video address to a summit of European socialist, liberal and green politicians and thinkers in Berlin.

    “A crusade against liberal democracy, a crusade against the rules-based international order, a crusade against freedom and progress, a crusade against our way of life,” he added.

    Philip Oltermann reports for us in Berlin:

    Europe’s largest economy is still a “teenager” when it comes to foreign security policy, the German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s chief of staff has said, asking for patience from western allies urging Germany to take a more proactive leadership in its support of Ukraine.

    “We are getting into a situation that Americans have known for decades: people want us to lead,” said Wolfgang Schmidt, a longstanding ally of Scholz who also serves as the political point of contact for the country’s intelligence agencies.

    “We are in the teenager years in that role,” he said, responding to criticism that Berlin has been slow to live up to the Zeitenwende or “epochal turn” on military and foreign policy Scholz had declared in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    After retreating around 20km to the north of the Kherson sector in early October, Russian forces are likely to be attempting to consolidate a new frontline west from the village of Mylove, according to British intelligence. Heavy fighting continues along this line, especially at the western end where Ukrainian advances mean Russia’s flank is no longer protected by the Inhulets River, the latest UK Ministry of Defence report reads.

    Estonia has confirmed a new military aid package for Ukraine that will include winter gear, equipment and ammunition.

    Prime minister Kaja Kallas confirmed the additional support in a tweet today.

    Kallas added:

    Let us all speed up our help, so Ukrainians can free their territories. This is the way to peace.

    Estonia, who share a border with Russia, have already provided Kyiv with more than €220 million (£192,479,486) in military assistance and have called for richer Western nations to increase weapons supplies to the country.

    Ukraine‘s Armed Forces General Staff said that in the past 24 hours more than 40 settlements were hit by Russian shelling.

    In response Ukraine‘s air force carried out 32 strikes on 25 Russian targets.

    The mayor of the port city of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevich, said in a social media post that the southern city was “massively shelled”, reports Reuters.

    AFP reports that Ukraine‘s power grid has been “stabilised” after Russian strikes on the country that in particular targeted energy infrastructure, causing power and hot water cuts, the national energy operator Ukrenergo said today….

    Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, did not discuss ways to resolve the conflict in Ukraine at their bilateral meeting today, the state-run RIA news agency reported, citing the Kremlin.

    “The topic of a Russian-Ukrainian settlement was not discussed,” RIA cited Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

  52. raven says

    AFP News Agency @AFP

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned Moscow on Thursday that its forces would be “annihilated” by the West’s military response if President Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons against #Ukraine️

    This is the foreign policy chief of the EU.

    The EU can make this happen if they want to.
    The population of Russia is 140 million and the EU is 447 million.

    The EU is far more powerful in any way you want to measure and they are slowly realizing that.

  53. raven says

    I knew something was lacking this week.
    The Russians haven’t threatened to kill me and my cat in a few days.
    It is late but here it is.

    “Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to World War Three,” TASS quoted Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, as saying.

    Venediktov is a high Russian official and his boss Patrushev is a hardliner who might be Putin’s replacement.

    Well, so what.
    It is inevitable the Ukraine will eventually join NATO and Russia will just have to deal with it.
    We are already in World War III and so far, Russia is losing.

    Russian official warns of ‘guaranteed escalation’ to World War Three if Ukraine joins NATO

    Full NATO membership for Ukraine is far off as all the alliance’s 30 members would have to give their consent
    Reuters Guy Faulconbridge and Lidia Kelly Publishing date:Oct 13, 2022

    If Ukraine is admitted into the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, then the conflict in Ukraine would be guaranteed to escalate into World War Three, a Russian Security Council official was quoted as saying on Thursday.

    Just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin formally proclaimed the annexation of up to 18 per cent of Ukraine on Sept. 30, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced a surprise bid for fast-track membership of NATO.

    Full NATO membership for Ukraine is far off because all the alliance’s 30 members would have to give their consent.

    “Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to World War Three,” TASS quoted Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, as saying.

    Venediktov, who is deputy to Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, a powerful Putin ally, said he felt Ukraine’s application was propaganda as the West understood the consequences of Ukrainian membership of NATO.

    “The suicidal nature of such a step is understood by NATO members themselves,” he said.