1. says

    Michael Savage, The Observer:

    Important moment here – Levelling Up Secretary [!!!] Simon Clarke tells the Times that the “very large” welfare state needs to be trimmed. This is the clearest yet that some serious spending cuts are on the way. This is where we are headed:…

    Straight to Austerityville. Screenshot at the (Twitter) link.

  2. says

    Here’s a link to today’s Guardian (support them if you can!) Ukraine liveblog. Their most recent summary:

    Ukraine has encircled Russia’s forces around a bastion that is critical for Moscow at the eastern town of Lyman, in an operation that is still under way. Russia’s forces at Lyman totalled about 5,000 to 5,500 soldiers, but the number of encircled troops may have fallen because of casualties and some soldiers trying to break out of the encirclement, according to a spokesperson for Ukraine’s eastern forces.

    The Ministry of Defence said Russia’s expansion strategy has resulted in “killing civilians it now claims are its own citizens”. The MoD said Russia is expending “strategically valuable military assets” in attempts to gain tactical advantage.

    Ukraine’s president thanked his US counterpart, Joe Biden, on Saturday for signing an additional $12.35 bn (£11bn) in support for Ukraine. Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “This help is more important today than ever.”

    The Ukrainian director-general of the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been detained by a Russian patrol, according to Energoatom. The company said his detention on Friday “jeopardises the safety of operation of Ukraine and Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”

    Turkey which has been at the centre of mediation between the west and Russia, rejected Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, calling the decision a “grave violation” of international law.

    The World Bank said it will provide an additional US$530m in support to Ukraine, bringing the total aid by the bank to $13bn. The aid is supported by the UK ($500m) and Denmark ($30m).

    A bit more re the Lyman cauldron:

    On Saturday, Luhansk’s governor, Serhiy Haidai, said via Telegram:

    The occupiers trapped in Liman asked the Russian command to allow them to leave the city, but were refused.

    He added: “The possibilities of delivering ammunition to the Russians to the surrounded city or a peaceful exit from the settlement are already blocked.”

  3. says

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

    Britain should prepare for new age of austerity, warns Simon Clarke

    Simon Clarke, the levelling up minister and a key Liz Truss ally, has told the Times that the market chaos that followed the government’s tax cutting mini-budget would pass and warned that Britain should prepare for a new age of austerity.

    He also said the prime minister was “enjoying having the chance” to enact policies that “she believes is right”.

    Despite the turmoil in financial markets, Clarke said that Truss was “astonishingly resilient” and urged the government to channel the spirit of Margaret Thatcher to push ahead with their vision.

    The 38-year-old said:

    If I was to describe one word for Liz at the moment, it is purposeful. She knew – and this was certainly something we discussed during the summer – that this would not be a comfortable process.

    Clarke added that for too long western countries have lived in a “fool’s paradise” and there would be cuts to government spending to ensure “full alignment with a lower-tax economy”.

    Clarke said:

    My big concern in politics is that western Europe is just living in a fool’s paradise whereby we can be ever less productive relative to our peers, and yet still enjoy a very large welfare state and persist in thinking that the two are somehow compatible over the medium to long term.

    They’re not. We need to address that precisely because in the end, if we want those strong public services then we are going to have to pay for them. I think it is important that we look at a state which is extremely large, and look at how we can make sure that it is in full alignment with a lower tax economy.

    Extremist lunatics.

    The UK devolved governments have called for an urgent meeting with Kwasi Kwarteng and urged him to “reverse the damage” caused by his tax-cutting mini-budget.

    The joint letter from the finance ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, warns that the chancellor has taken a “huge gamble” on the health of the economy.

    It adds that the UK was already facing “severe economic upheaval” and that the government has made matters worse by announcing tax cuts “for the most wealthy”, without saying how it would be paid for.

    The letter continues that they are concerned about reports that spending cuts could soon be enacted that this could have implications for “devolved budget settlements”.

    The three devolved governments urge Kwarteng to provide further targeted support to households and businesses during the cost of living crisis and that further government funding is needed to support public services.

    Tens of thousands of railway workers are taking part in a mass strike will cause some of worst rail disruption of the year.

    Large parts of the country are without any rail services, with only 11% of normal schedules in operation….

    UK householders are poised to set fire to their utility bills on Saturday, in a wave of cost of living protests timed to coincide with the jump in gas and electricity unit prices that will cause bills to soar.

    In what organisers forecast will be the largest nationwide protests against an economic crunch, which got worse this week with money market chaos and mortgage rate rises looming, dozens of rallies will be staged from Plymouth to Aberdeen, while postal and railway workers also strike.

    On the day the government’s £150bn energy price guarantee comes into effect, which allows average household bills to hit £2,500 a year, up from £1,971, people are expected to torch bills in Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and London.

  4. says

    Julia Davis:

    After seeing videos of freshly-mobilized Russians—so drunk they could barely stand—many asked me whether it’s for real. Hear it straight from the horse’s mouth: former deputy commander of Russia’s southern military district: “Never in my life have I seen any sober people there.”

    Video at the (Twitter) link. “They’ll sleep it off and go study military science.”

  5. says

    CNN yesterday – “At least 25 dead after suicide bomb blast at educational center in Kabul”:

    A suicide bomb attack on an education center in Kabul has killed at least 25 people, most of whom are believed to be young women, in the latest sign of the deteriorating security situation in the Afghan capital.

    The explosion took place on Friday at the Kaaj education center, in a predominantly Hazara neighborhood – an ethnic minority group that has long faced oppression.

    Students were taking a practice university entrance exam at 7:30 a.m., local time (11 p.m. ET) when the blast first took place, Kabul Police Spokesman Khalid Zadran told CNN.

    In addition to those killed, at least 56 people were injured, according to reports from hospitals….


    Today Taliban fire shots to stop Afghan women’s protest which against yesterday terrorist attacks in #Kabul #Afghanistan .

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  6. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    The Kyiv Independent reports that Kharkiv Oblast Governor Oleh Syniehubov, has said Ukrainian authorities have found the bodies of 20 people in a civilian convoy near the city of Kupiansk, who Governor Syniehubov believes were killed while they attempted to flee Russian soldiers.

    Ukrainian news website Suspilne reports that there were six cars in the convoy which were found covered in bullet holes and burned out. According to Suspilne, a child was among the dead. Syniehubov described the massacre as “cruelty that has no justification.”

  7. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Dual protests are underway in London today as actions by climate activists and cost of living campaigners collide.

    An Extinction Rebellion Samba band played at Kings Cross station on Saturday morning as RMT and CWU union protesters gathered for Enough is Enough, the trade union-backed cost of living campaign.

    Just Stop Oil and a coalition of allied groups called for supporters to meet at 25 London locations for a march to “occupy Westminster”.

    These protests coincide with widespread strikes by 200,000 union members taking action over pay and conditions.

    Enough Is Enough, who say that 800,000 people have signed up in support of their demands, are also holding rallies in Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol, Norwich, Cardiff and Birmingham.

  8. says

    Kyiv Post:

    The Kremlin’s annexation tips:

    1. Try conquering as little territory as possible while wasting as much resource as possible

    2. Try preserving the result by announcing that you now annex territories you don’t control

    3. Lose a key city in your annexed territory in less than 24h

  9. says

    There it is – Guardian liveblog:

    Russian forces leave Lyman

    Russian troops have pulled out of the town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine “in connection with the creation of a threat of encirclement”, Reuters reports the RIA news agency quoting Russia’s defence ministry as saying on Saturday.

  10. says

    Via the Guardian liveblog: The chair of the Young Conservative Network Daniel Grainger arrived in Birmingham for the Tory party conference and promptly proceeded to tweet “Birmingham is a dump.” He’s since deleted it and apologi[s/z]ed.

    Still well below CPAC level.

  11. says

    Max Seddon:

    …Ramzan Kadyrov absolutely lays into Russia’s general staff for losing Lyman – the starkest infighting we’ve seen among Russian forces so far.

    He calls on Putin to retaliate by declaring martial law on the border and using low-yield nuclear weapons.

    Lots of Russian officials have bragged about Russia’s nuclear capabilities in the last few months. But this is the first time any of them have called on Putin to actually use them.

    A lot of talk about this in elite circles in Moscow in recent weeks. This is a dangerous moment.

  12. says

    Reuters (via the Guardian) – “Russia not re-elected to U.N. aviation agency’s 36-member council”:

    Russia on Saturday was not re-elected to the U.N. aviation agency’s governing council, in a boost for Western powers that wanted to hold Moscow accountable for its invasion of Ukraine.

    Russia did not receive enough votes to stay on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s 36-nation governing council, during the agency’s assembly which runs through Oct. 7 in Montreal.

    The voting results set off a procedural review on Saturday, following a challenge by Russia. Poppy Khoza, the assembly’s president and South Africa’s director general of civil aviation, called the circumstance “unprecedented.”

    Russia closed its airspace to airlines from 36 countries, including all 27 members of the European Union, in response to Ukraine-related sanctions targeting its aviation sector following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The West says Russia has illegally confiscated hundreds of foreign jets, a charge Moscow denies.

    Canada and Europe said before the vote they would oppose Russia’s re-election to the council.

    Omar Alghabra, Canada’s transport minister, told Reuters earlier this week “it’s important that Russia is held accountable.” read more

    The 193-nation ICAO assembly, held every three years, is the first since the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war. read more

    Earlier this week, a representative of the Russian Federation asked the assembly to condemn public statements and actions by a group of countries, “including the introduction of bans on the use of sovereign airspace.”

  13. says

    There is a large fire reportedly coming from the Belbek airfield in Crimea home to Russia’s 27th Composite Aviation Division….”

    Video (which is wild, since it shows people standing on a beautiful beach watching what indeed looks like a large fire) and photos at the (Twitter) link.

  14. Oggie: Mathom says

    Slate does a good job laying out the options for DOJ, as well as illustrating the professional dilemma that Trump’s lies placed them in.

    On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order overturning the requirements set forth by special master Judge Raymond Dearie for his review of the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. It is beyond startling. It not only places highly unusual limitations on the respected special master whom Cannon and all parties agreed to independently review Donald Trump’s claims challenging the seizure, it also has the potential to hobble the entire review process—and could even end Dearie’s and/or Cannon’s role in it.

    To understand why, recall the specific requirements that Dearie imposed and Cannon nullified. Finding that Trump’s lawyers could “not have it both ways,” Dearie ordered them to address key (and surely false) search-related claims made by the former president, among other matters. This included ordering the Trump’s lawyers to provide evidentiary support for the claim that any of the seized documents marked classified had been unclassified; to provide any evidence that DOJ incorrectly described any of the documents; and to submit any evidence that any of the documents in question were not in Trump’s possession.

    Since there is no evidentiary basis for any of these claims, Trump’s lawyers were in a very difficult spot. They had four options. The first was to admit there is no such evidence, making it impossible to continue representing the former president while salvaging their reputations. The second was to refuse to comply with the order and face contempt of court. Third, they could resign from representing the former president based on the recusal mandates of American Bar Association Model Rule 33, which bars counsel from making any statement to a court they “know to be false.” The recusal mandate goes beyond actual knowledge to include things lawyers “reasonably should know” to be false, or that “may be inferred from the circumstances” to be false. The fourth and final option was to contest Dearie’s order with Cannon. That is the approach they took, and it paid off for both the lawyers and their client on Thursday. This victory for Trump will force the Department of Justice to make a tough tactical decision about the best path forward. All options will be on the table.

    At this moment, DOJ probably cannot yet appeal, because doing so would be legally premature. That gives its attorneys time to plot their next move. Given the extreme and one-sided rulings Cannon has already made, DOJ need not fear making her more hostile than she has already shown herself to be, so the door to aggressive countermoves is wide open. One such choice would be to file a motion to remove Cannon from the matter entirely, arguing that her opinions have demonstrated a level of bias that cannot be tolerated—and further, that her continued oversight of the matter is a threat to national security. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already filed a stinging opinion that contains ample criticism of Cannon to quote in support. Appeals courts are hesitant to remove judges from a case, but here, there is a clear record of questionable decisions that have stymied an extremely significant criminal investigation and, per DOJ, undermined national security. Under these unusual circumstances, reassignment might well be an appropriate solution.

    I Figured Out My Husband’s Biggest Turn-On During Sex. I Just Can’t Do It.
    Elon Musk Only Has “Yes” Men
    Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Just Got Even More Untouchable
    Even if the DOJ does not ask the 11th Circuit to remove Cannon from the case, she may still face consequences from her order yesterday. The judge must now confront the prospect that special master Dearie might resign his post, concluding that he cannot fairly and accurately perform his role without the information he has demanded. Cannon has shredded his plan to do the job he was appointed to do and imposed on him a regimen he surely does not want to follow. She has made it abundantly clear that she remains in the driver’s seat and will impose her will on the proceedings. No one could blame Dearie for stepping down in the face of the restrictions imposed. Should the special master resign, the process comes to a halt. Naming a suitable replacement under these circumstances will be a real challenge. Who would want to do this job under these circumstances?

    We can be sure that the DOJ will not just sit back and allow the present situation to continue. Especially if the special master does resign, as DOJ takes aim at the problems she has created, Cannon will be firmly in their sights.

  15. says

    New York Times:

    One of the most prominent of Russia’s oligarchs, Oleg V. Deripaska, and two of his associates were charged with conspiring to violate sanctions imposed by the United States, including by arranging for his girlfriend to travel to America to give birth so that their children would have U.S. citizenship, federal prosecutors said on Thursday.

  16. says

    Ukraine update: As Ukrainian forces enter Lyman, hundreds of Russians may still be trapped inside

    All through Friday into the evening, Russian sources on Telegram were repeating the same stories: Ukrainian forces were everywhere; Russians troops were trying to escape, but the artillery was gone; the armor was gone; the officers were gone. Ukrainian forces were coming at them in waves, and even though the Russians were bravely holding their ground and mowing the Ukrainians down with machine guns, the Ukrainians just got back up and kept coming. Because drugs. Or zombies. Or zombie drugs. In any case, the Ukrainians were unstoppable killing machines. Please send help.

    At the same time, Russian fan channels were telling a very different story. Russia had reinforced Lyman. Ukrainian soldiers were dying by the thousands. Russia forces had lured Ukraine into a “killing field.” Lyman would ever remembered as a disaster for Ukraine. Lyman was a clever trap. Lyman was Russia forever.

    On Saturday morning in Ukraine, this was Lyman. [video at the link showing Ukrainian troops entering Lyman]

    This is actually the northwestern edge of Lyman, along the road that runs west into Drobysheve. Similar videos show Ukrainian forces entering Lyman at its southeastern corner and raising the blue and yellow at that edge of the city.

    What’s notable in both videos is the silence. There is no sign of continued fighting. No booming artillery. Not even small arms fire. On Saturday, there are reports that Ukrainian forces have reached the center of the small city. The Ukrainian military has now officially announced the liberation of Stavky, Drobysheve, Yampil, and Kolodyazi, confirming the map as it appeared on Friday morning. There has not yet (as of 8 AM ET, 3PM in Kyiv) been any official announcement concerning the liberation of Lyman. However, that seems to be a technicality at this point.

    Ukraine has taken Lyman. Any Russian forces remaining are completely surrounded and confined to an area in the north central part of the city. [map at the link]

    There are also reports that Ukrainian forces have entered Zarichne and Torske, with Russian forces retreating from that area. Fighting reportedly continues outside of Kreminna, and there are reports of Russian forces also leaving that location in large numbers.

    While some reports indicate that as many as 5,000 Russian and LPR forces remained within the shrinking “pocket” at Lyman, that seems highly unlikely. Any Russian forces that remain likely number in the hundreds. On Saturday afternoon in Ukraine, there are continued reports of fighting in Lyman. Though why any Russian forces would be fighting at this point seems unfathomable.

    It now seems possible to put together something of a picture of what happened in the last 48 hours from a mixture of sources. As the perimeter around Lyman tightened, Russian forces that had been in Yampil and Drobysheve first went into Lyman, then began withdrawing along the road to the east. There was an effort to remove heavy equipment, including the artillery that had backed the Russian position in Lyman over the last two weeks. Within hours, many of the Russian infantry began to follow, but all of this made for slow progress down relatively small roads.

    Throughout Thursday and Friday, those Russian forces issued many requests for reinforcement or rescue, and were sent assurances it was on the way. There are even messages from the Bakhmut area complaining that Wagner forces left the front lines there to go to Lyman. However, if any of those forces ever made it to Lyman, it doesn’t get mentioned. Most likely, any relief force that was sent never got closer than the intersection between Torske and Zarichne, where they may have helped to temporarily hold Ukrainian forces back from the road.

    As the escaping forces ran a gauntlet of Ukrainian artillery, anti-tank weapons, and heavy machine gun fire, they took significant losses. Damaged armor clogged the route. They were also slowed because the road leading into Lyman had been mined or damaged at several locations.

    At some point, Russian troops (some reports suggest members of BARS-13) blew up the bridge across the Zherebets River north of Torske to prevent Ukrainian pursuit. This may have helped some escape to the east, but it also trapped the forces following them, leading to an intense fight near Zarichne as those forces attempted to find a way out.

    Here is how one Russian source describes it.

    The media and the government Telegram channels are beginning to casually admit there was some problem at Lyman, but they’re not making a big deal about the situation. Actually, it’s a disaster.

    It seems likely that most of the Russian forces that were in Lyman didn’t either escape or remain in the city to be taken prisoner. They’re simply dead on the field somewhere to the east.

    However, some of those Russian forces clearly did fight their way through, because they lived to repeat the “Ukrainian drug zombies” story after retreating all the way back to Valuyki, across the Russian border. (Russians claiming that Ukrainians had been drugged into unstoppable killing machines without fear is a story that has been told since near the start of the invasion).

    Russian sources insist they did not leave behind thousands of troops in Lyman, but indicate that there may well be hundreds. If so, we’re going to know very soon. Ukrainian forces will also get a good look at just how effective Russian forces were in getting all that heavy equipment out of the city. It’s unclear how intense any fighting in Lyman is at this moment.

    Meanwhile, the Russian fan channels are already back in business, explaining how Lyman is a great victory for Russia. They’ll still be making those claims when Ukraine liberates Crimea.

    There are reports this morning that Russia has kidnapped Ihor Murashov, the director of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant at Enerdorhar. Reuters reports that Murashov was blindfolded and driven to an unknown location. The IAEA is predictably concerned, and was told that the director was being “detained” so that he could “answer some questions.”

    Recently, Russia has indicated it wants to shut down the plant, which is the largest in Europe and accounts for a fifth of all electricity produced in Ukraine. Workers there have been told to prepare for a shutdown, after which they are to be placed under the authority of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear directive. They will then have to compete for their jobs against imported Russian workers.

    To the north, along the eastern bank of the Oskil River, Ukrainian forces have reportedly liberated another Lyman — Lyman Pershyi. If these reports are accurate, this would close the gap between the bridgeheads at Dvorichna and Kupyansk. [map at the link]

    Fighting continues at locations to the east of the bridgehead. That includes reports of fighting at Pischchane, which is several kilometers away from previous reports of Ukrainian movement and well down highway P07 that leads to Svatove.

    Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces also continue to move to the south. There were reports on Friday that Ukraine has reached Kruhlyakivka, putting this southward advance only 15km north of Borova. With the liberation of Lyman, Borova remains the last large town in Kharkiv Oblast still occupied by Russian forces.

    […] I’m going to wait a bit before I post anything too celebratory. But …

    Lyman is under Ukrainian control.

    Russian forces have completely withdrawn from the settlement.

    Remaining pockets of resistance are being removed.

  17. says

    […] The general consensus, amongst the least impressive specimens in circulation anyway, is that Our Culture Is Being Destroyed Because A Successful Black Woman Was Permitted to Touch This Flute Not One of Us Had Ever Heard Of Until Two Minutes Ago. Many a fit was pitched. MANY.

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

    […] in the time it took you to scroll through this silliness, I’ve sold 783 “Ashli Babbitt Died For James Madison’s Flute” bumper stickers to the Don’t Fauci My Florida email list I bought off DeSantis. Rube-bilking is a growth industry, and daddy needs beer money. […]


    Much more at the link.

  18. says

    The DOJ is appealing Judge Cannon’s latest ruling designed to slow walk the documents review by the Special Master, while keeping TFG’s mouth pieces from a put up ot shut up moment when they implied (along with the Orange POS) that the DOJ “planted evidence” of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

    The Justice Department moved to quickly dismantle the independent review of documents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, contending that the review…is impeding its criminal investigation.

    In a 15-page filing asking a federal appeals court to speed its consideration of the issue, prosecutors complained the “special master” review prevents DOJ from accessing thousands of non-classified records recovered from the former president’s estate.

    After the 11th Circ slapped down Judge Cannon’s ridiculously stupid order regarding classified material (Duh. It’s classified. Damage to National Security. Need to know) a well qualified Judge would be humbled, chasten and realize they done screwed up by over stepping their authority.

    Her legal education aside Cannon is not qualified to Judge a horse pageant, never mind be a District Court Judge. With this latest “somewhat convoluted” order she decided to act like my 5 year old niece when she is denied a sweet before dinner: throw a temper tantrum.

    The two page reversal she was forced to write only highlights this. This latest bit of legal Bravo Sierra is pure spite. She is going to show the DOJ that she will continue to shill for the Con Man and there is nothing they can do about it. […]

    Hopefully the 11th Circuit will put a stop to Cannon’s nonsense … again. Glad to see the DOJ filed an appeal.

  19. says

    Followup to Oggie @19, and me @25.

    DOJ Asking For Expedited Appeal Of Judge Cannon’s Latest Pro-Trump Ruling.

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

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

    In a 15-page filing asking a federal appeals court to speed its consideration of the issue, prosecutors complained the “special master” review prevents DOJ from accessing thousands of non-classified records recovered from the former president’s estate.

    While those documents don’t present the same urgent national security concerns as the smaller volume of classified materials DOJ successfully fought to regain access to earlier this month, Justice Department officials said the continued blockade on non-classified materials had slowed investigators’ efforts to determine how some of the classified records were transferred to Mar-a-Lago and whether any of them were improperly accessed.

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

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

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

    “Based on the district court’s orders thus far, the government is barred from accessing all of the materials except those with classification markings recovered in August pursuant to a lawful search warrant — and it may continue to be barred from doing so until mid-December or later,” the officials wrote as they asked the appeals court to weigh in promptly on the legal issues, including Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

    “Absent such resolution by this Court, the special master proceedings could result in prolonged litigation, including through seriatim appeals to the district court from reports and recommendations and other rulings issued by the special master,” the prosecutors wrote.

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

  20. says

    Ukrainian Ministry of Defense:

    We thank the “Ministry of Defense” of [Russia] for successful cooperation in organizing the “Izyum 2.0” exercise. Almost all russian troops deployed to Lyman were successfully redeployed either into body bags or into [Ukrainian] captivity. We have one question for you: Would you like a repeat?

  21. says

    Pippa Crerar:

    Wow. Kwasi Kwarteng attended private champagne reception *hours* after delivering mini-budget where hedge fund managers (who would gain from crash in pound) urged him to double down – scoop from ⁦@ShippersUnbound & ⁦⁦@Gabriel_Pogrund

    Times link at the (Twitter) link.

  22. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday said fighting was continuing in the key town of Lyman, which Russia said earlier in the day its troops had abandoned to avoid being trapped.

    “The Ukrainian flag is already in Lyman in the Donetsk region. Fighting is still going on there,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

  23. says

    With liberation of Lyman, military reporter Rybar suggests an informational coup is happening in the Russian media space, which now comes from above rather than below, with Prigozhyn and Kadyrov expressing discontent about leadership. Dangerous words.”

    Post with translation at the (Twitter) link.

  24. raven says

    Artoir @ItsArtoir

    I won’t be sharing unblurred footage/images but I’ve never seen anything close to the amount of POWs being captured as there are all over Telegram today.

    That and the 100s of dead Russians along main roads suggests the retreat from Lyman was a disaster.

    The Ukrainians are still mopping up in Lyman.
    We don’t yet have complete reports on what is happening.

    But a lot of video reports are being posted on Telegram.
    They all say there are a large number of dead Russians and a fair number of Russian POWs.
    Apparently the Russians mostly didn’t surrender but they all tried to flee through areas that weren’t safe with predictable results.

  25. blf says

    This is the first in what apparently will be a series about (and presumably filmed in) different regions, French gastronomy: Is Paris an exception to the rule? (video). Two cautions: (1) It’s likely to make you hungry; Which (2) could be a problem if you are vegan or strict vegetarian (sorry, this is French cusine):

    Wherever you go in France, a vast variety of dishes reflect the history and identity of each region. [… P]eople don’t usually associate Paris with a particular dish. And yet, typical dishes and wines do exist from Paris and the wider region! In this episode of French Connections Plus, Florence Villeminot and Genie Godula explore what the French capital has to offer in terms of gastronomical treasures. They also speak to Geoffrey Finch from Paris Wine Walks about the city’s hidden vineyards and the wine revolution underway in and around Paris.

    Fortunately, I just finished a very nice MUSHROOMS! soup (it’s MUSHROOMS! season now) with a great vin rouge, so could watch the video without developiing debilitating cravings for munchies… albeit there is some cheese waiting… albeit there is a certain penguin lurking…

  26. says

    Ukraine update: Now that Lyman is liberated, Ukraine selects its next target

    On Saturday evening in Ukraine, Ukrainian forces are moving block by block through the city of Lyman, looking into houses, checking IDs of any residents still there, and accepting the surrender of any Russian forces willing to lay down arms. Russian casualties north of the city, and along the highway to the east, are reported to be horrendous, and it’s probably going to be some time before any sense of the true scale of the carnage becomes clear. But with darkness falling over Lyman, at least for the moment, those conducting the door to door search report relative peace. There have already been images showing Ukrainian soldiers at the building Russia was using for their local HQ. No one was home. [Video at the link]

    It may seem like the siege of Lyman went on for an extended period, but it’s really been less than three weeks since Izyum was liberated. In that time, Ukraine has freed over 1,400 square kilometers and dozens of localities. Not bad for a period in which Ukraine was also consolidating its control over the 300+ towns and villages it had just liberated, handling thousands of Russian prisoners, and incorporating hundreds of abandoned Russian vehicles.

    What Ukraine just accomplished in the area around Lyman is an amazing example of multi-tasking. And of being able to execute a plan, even in the face of the enemy. The came, they saw, they maneuvered the holy hell out of it.

    Here’s a new map, and for once there is not a big blob of yellow and red stretching out around Lyman. [map at the link]

    As of Saturday, there are likely Russian troops still remaining in Lyman, in Zarichne, and in the woods and fields east of both. Ukrainian forces are trying to locate survivors from the running battle fought along the highway. Expect to see some of the new hardware they’ve acquired from that “Russian lend lease program” in the next few days.

    Even before the final round of combat got rolling around Lyman, there were reports of Ukrainian troops showing up 30km to the east at Kreminna. With a population of 18,000 before the war, Kreminna is almost the same size as Lyman, but until last week it was a position that Russia almost seemed to have ignored. In fact, local officials once let it be known that there were no Russians in the city and ran up a Ukrainian flag, before the Russians came back and put a stop to that.

    Over the last two weeks, much of the reinforcement and materiel coming into Lyman has come through Kreminna, but that may not be a good indication that the city has been built up or prepared as a defensive position. Which may be why there are multiple reports on Saturday that the first response of Russian forces there to the unexpected appearance of Ukrainian troops, was to run away.

    […] The expectation of most observers is that Ukraine will now move toward Svatove, which is to the north, behind that arc of towns that have “boxes” in them. Those represent locations where Russian sources say Russia is preparing a defensive line, expressly to prevent Ukraine from reaching Svatove from the south. But of course, those positions were hardened on the assumption that Ukraine would try to move up the highway directly from Lyman to Svatove, because TWRWD (that’s what Russia would do).

    If we back away a step, it’s clear that Ukraine has options. [map at the link]

    Over along the Oskil River, Ukraine has forces on the south of Borova, and another force coming down the river which is just 15km to the north. It’s certain that Ukraine would like to liberate Borova, which is the largest town in Kharkiv Oblast still occupied by Russia. On the other hand, they don’t need Borova to move down the wide open P07 highway, through the heart of Kharkiv Oblast, and into Luhansk. Maybe Russia has also hardened some locations in that direction, but there aren’t many hills, or towns, along that route to make a good stopping point.

    Ukraine could go for Svatove straight down the P07 without bothering to take Borova. It could take Kreminna, or bypass it, and move toward Svatove from the south. Or it could ignore Svatove completely and go for Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk.

    […] While Russia continues to dash itself on the rocks at Bakhmut, seemingly unable to think of anything else worth doing. Ukraine has plenty of options. Most likely it will do what it’s done in the past month—look for the location where Russia is vulnerable, maneuver for position to avoid marching straight into artillery and massed troops, and accept Russia’s surrender when they cut off and destroy that position.

    It’s certainly fun to speculate about where Ukraine goes next. We probably won’t have to wait long to find out.


    As this was being written, both Russian and Ukrainian sources began reporting what looks to be a serious shift in Kherson. One Russian source indicates that Ukrainian forces are “pouring in” along “the whole northern border.” Another insists they have to retreat because the Ukrainian forces “have many vehicles.”

    I don’t yet have enough specifics to map what’s happening. As best I can tell, the major push seems to be just a few miles on the west side of the Dnipro River. It seems like Ukraine may be about to come at the Kherson area in a whole new way. Stay tuned.

    [Tweet and image, with a quote from Zelensky saying “there is no trace of any pseudo-referendum there,” referring to Lyman.]

    […] [Tweet from NEXTA:

    🤡 Russian Defense Ministry: “the troops were withdrawn from #Lyman to more favorable frontiers”

    It turns out that in Russian language there are a lot of replacements for the term “military defeat”:

    – gesture of goodwill;
    – regrouping;
    – withdrawal to more favorable frontiers.

    Here’s more on that advance Ukraine is making in the Kherson area. Russia had actually managed to recapture a few villages in this area over the last three weeks. Now it looks like Ukraine is taking them back quickly. Then we’ll see if the push turns into a major drive toward one of the two critical objects: Kozatske (across from Nova kakhovka) or the city of Kherson. [Tweet and map at the link]

  27. says

    ‘Conservative’ now just means ‘hates America’ and CPAC made that brutally clear

    On Friday, in a widely condemned speech in which he laid claim to territory of a neighboring country, Vladimir Putin only spent about 15 minutes talking about Ukraine. In the rest of his speech, Putin spent his time attacking the West for “perversions” that have “completely moved to a radical denial of moral norms, religion, and family.”

    “Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools from the primary grades?” asked Putin. “To be drummed into them that there are various supposed genders besides women and men, and to be offered a sex change operation?”

    That familiar sounding passage was just one part of a tirade in which Putin waved away his own atrocities while providing a list of reasons that the West, and the United States in particular, had to be crushed. It was a speech full of vast conspiracies going back centuries, of claims to be leading an anti-colonial movement while annexing territory at gunpoint, and of threats on every conceivable scale. Including nuclear. It was a ridiculous and revolting speech, one that inverted the idea of justice and drew heavily from fascist themes going back a century.

    But it certainly had its supporters.

    In his speech, Putin not only claimed that primary school kids are being offered gender reassignment surgery, he declared that America was denying the proper role of men, plotting the “overthrow of faith and traditional values,” killing religious freedom, and creating “a reverse religion that is outright Satanism.”

    Putin went on to blame the United States for blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline, and laughed at how politicians trying to use less fossil fuels have to “convince their fellow citizens to eat less, wash less often, and dress warmer at home.” Then he talked about how, in the West those who question the government are “immediately declared enemies, extremists and radicals.”

    In other words, Putin delivered a typical evening with Tucker Carlson, or Sean Hannity, or any other Fox host. It’s little wonder that those at CPAC were singing the praises of Putin … even as Putin was threatening to use nuclear weapons and declaring that he was going to crush the West. Because why not? They want that too.

    Totally uncoincidentally, Donald Trump went on his failing social media platform this week to join Putin in blaming the United States for the sabotage of the two pipelines (spoiler alert: Russia did it), and to offer himself as the leader of a group that would officially sanction Putin’s land grab in Ukraine through “negotiations.” Carlson was right on this same topic, devoting his show not only to claims that the United States was responsible for the pipelines, but doing some highly dramatic pearl-clutching over the idea that Russia could possibly be involved. [Tweet, with video featuring tucker Carlson being a useful idiot for Putin.]

    Putin stood on the stage and called for “the collapse of Western hegemony” and said that “The battlefield to which fate and history have called us is the battlefield for our people, for great historical Russia.” The bussed in apparatchiks responded with resounding applause.

    But no one appears to be more enthusiastic about returning Ukraine “to it’s historic motherland” than the people at CPAC. Because the destruction of America is their goal as much as Putin’s. And if that means supporting Putin in his military invasion and annexation of a neighbor, they will certainly go there, explicitly tweeting out a message that the United States should let Putin have his way. [CPAC tweet and image at the link]

  28. blf says

    Lynna@22, Are you sure that image is recent? The twittering has since been deleted — I have not see it — but a search for confirmation failed to find anything dated 2022… but did find many hits dated 2017, when apparently such flags were distributed, possibly as a prank.

  29. says


    Wow. In light of Lyman defeat, Russian z-journalist and blogger Anastasiya Kashevarova goes to telegram to post a long rant asking the right questions because all the other military bloggers have “[p—–d out]”. This is being picked up by other channels.

    WarGonzo reporter, responding to Anastasiya, also doesn’t understand what’s happening. Says Lyman was the springboard to Sloviansk, where the war in the Donbas started in 2014. It is now lost.

    Translated posts at the (Twitter) link. The same language runs through the entire post by Kashevarova (presumably a woman): the z-dudes who won’t name those responsible and ask the key questions don’t have balls, aren’t real men, etc. There was a tweet earlier today (I’ve forgotten by whom) with a video of a soldier openly criticizing the generals and calling them “f—–s,” which the tweeter noted (just factually) is the worst insult in the Russian military. I hope there comes a time when people in Russia start to realize that a large part of the problem is that their society is utterly saturated with machismo and abuse, and that the only people who still think this is an advantage are sick fucks in other countries like Cruz and Pompeo who are wrong about everything.

  30. says

    (The essential) Julia Davis:

    Reality sneaks up onto unsuspecting Russian state TV hosts. One pundit reveals they aren’t supposed to mention Lyman (although the host denies it). He says that everyone knows things aren’t going well for the Russian troops. Another pundit says Kyiv might start bombing Moscow.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link.

  31. KG says

    “Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools from the primary grades?” asked Putin. “To be drummed into them that there are various supposed genders besides women and men, and to be offered a sex change operation?” – Lynna, OM@39 citing DailyKos

    American, British etc. transphobes must be so proud!

  32. says

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

    Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, made a surprise visit to Ukraine – her first since Russia’s invasion in February – as Kyiv urged Berlin to send it battle tanks. Lambrecht visited the southern port city of Odesa on Saturday and met her Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, the German defence ministry said.

    The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a Washington-based thinktank, has said the Russian military in its current state was almost certainly unable to operate on a nuclear battlefield, even though it has historically trained its units to do so.

    “The chaotic agglomeration of exhausted contract soldiers, hastily mobilised reservists, conscripts and mercenaries that currently comprise the Russian ground forces could not function in a nuclear environment,” Reuters reported ISW analysts as saying.

    Any areas affected by Russian tactical nuclear weapons would thus be impassable for the Russians, likely precluding Russian advances.

    The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has called for the release of the director-general of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

    The agency posted on Twitter late on Saturday night: “IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi expressed the hope that Mr Murashov will return to his family safely and promptly and will be able to resume his important functions at the plant.”

    Mark Townsend has a report in today’s Observer about neo-Nazi Task Force Rusich mercenaries fighting in Ukraine for Russia. He writes:

    A neo-Nazi pro-Kremlin group active in Ukraine is inciting atrocities against prisoners of war and explicitly advocates the torture of captives including “removing body parts”. The self-styled “Task Force Rusich” is fighting in Ukraine on behalf of the Kremlin and is linked to the notorious Wagner Group mercenaries.

    A message on Rusich’s Telegram channel sent on 22 September advocates the “destruction of prisoners on the spot”.

    Adam Hadley, executive director of Tech Against Terrorism, a London-based initiative supported by the United Nations, said: “Rusich, an openly neo-Nazi group highly likely operating on behalf of the Kremlin, has promoted the commission of war crimes in the conflict.

    “Despite Putin’s claims, the actions of Rusich in the conflict demonstrate the concerning prominence of neo-Nazi groups committing atrocities on behalf of the Kremlin.”

    Rusich fighters, known for their brutality in Syria and the 2014 war in Crimea, have been spotted on open sources in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Kherson and in the Kharkiv region.

    In its continued information war, Russia has now restricted access to the music-streaming app SoundCloud, Reuters reports.

    SoundCloud was accused of distributing “false information” about what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine by communications watchdog [censorship agency], Roskomnadzor (RKN). It follows existing bans on Facebook and Instagram.

    Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has said Ukraine needs more drones to fight off the Russian invasion and compared Moscow to the dark side of the Force in the film series.

    Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the films, was made an ambassador to the United24 project – which Ukraine set up to elicit donations of drones to the Ukrainian army – by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

    He told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg that he had discussed parallels with the cult films and the current war in Ukraine with Zelenskiy….

    Lyman is now “fully cleared” of Russian forces, Zelenskiy has declared in a short video on his Telegram channel.

    Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins’s pro-Western centrist party has won elections in Latvia while parties supported by the Baltic state’s large Russian-speaking minority have suffered major setbacks, AFP reports.

    With almost all ballots from Saturday’s vote counted, Karins’s New Unity party was in first place with 18.94 percent while the Harmony party, traditionally backed by Russian speakers, may not have won enough votes to enter parliament.

    Harmony came first in the last election in 2018.

    The results showed other centrist parties coming second and third and just one party associated with Russian-speakers, Stability!, scraping past the threshold to enter parliament with 6.75 percent.

    The Russian-speaking minority in Latvia makes up around 30 percent of the population.

  33. says

    KG @ #44, why acknowledge your own despicable allies when you can displace responsibility onto others and remain endlessly aggrieved?

    Through his failure to address this…Keir Starmer is sending a clear message to gender-critical women: you’re not welcome in our party. … it cedes this ground to the political right.

    This is not to say it is wrong for women on the left to work on a cross-party basis with other women who share their concerns but also believe in combating discrimination against trans people.

    The more the left tries to silence women who want to find a dignified and respectful compromise, the more it empowers people with misogynistic, transphobic and homophobic agendas.

    Yet Labour looks set to support legislative reform proposed by the SNP to enable people to self-declare as the opposite [sic] sex for most legal purposes in Scotland – which could be passed by the end of the year – without proper public debate….

  34. says

    Guardian – “Polls put Lula on brink of comeback victory over Bolsonaro in Brazil”:

    …Eve of election polls suggested Lula was within a whisker of securing the overall majority of votes that would guarantee him a first-round victory against Brazil’s radical incumbent, whose calamitous Covid response, assault on the Amazon and foul-mouthed threats to democracy have alienated more than half of the population.

    “I’m going to win these elections so I can give the people the right to be happy again. The people need, deserve and have the right … to be happy once more,” Lula, 76, told journalists on Saturday during a visit to São Paulo – one of the election’s three key battlegrounds, alongside the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.

    Such optimism [on the left] is tempered by nerves over how Bolsonaro, a former soldier notorious for admiring dictators such as Chile’s General Augusto Pinochet, will react if he loses. Some fear the Trump-admiring populist could try to incite turmoil similar to the 6 January insurrection in the US. Bolsonaro has repeatedly questioned Brazil’s electronic voting system and refused to confirm whether he will accept defeat.

    Challenged over whether he was plotting a coup during a televised debate on Thursday, Bolsonaro declined to respond. [Not great!] He has painted the election as a battle between the upstanding Christian right and the evil and corrupt heretic left and has claimed, without evidence, that Lula will close churches if elected.

    Benedita da Silva, a PT congresswoman and Lula ally, said such divisive rhetoric and an explosion of fake news meant it was crucial the election be decided now. “We can’t afford to drag this out any more … Are we going to have another month of agony and all this insanity that he provokes?” she asked. “This country’s democracy is at stake … it is our duty to win on 2 October.”…

    More at the link.

  35. says


    Russian military reporter describes the mood of Russian units in Kreminna, those who withdrew in panic from Lyman. Somehow it doesn’t appear reassuring, the guys have “empty” eyes. All the usual problems of the Russian army are described….

    Translated text at the (Twitter) link.

    “Dirty men with empty eyes smoked thoughtfully, spitting through their teeth….”

    “- Yes, everything, as always, – the men state. – There is really no communication between different units….”

  36. says

    I’m struck by how openly Truss and Kwarteng (@ #6) are waging class war in the UK. They’re not even attempting to give it the veneer of “populism” or democratic legitimacy. Just overtly aggressive class war.

  37. says

    From the Guardian UK liveblog:

    Rees-Mogg booed by protesters shouting ‘Tory scum’ as he arrives at conference

    Jacob Rees-Mogg was booed loudly by hundreds of protesters in Birmingham, PA Media reports. PA says:

    The business secretary was escorted by several police officers as he walked across Victoria Square, where demonstrators had gathered to vent their anger at the Government as the Tory conference gets under way in the city.

    The crowd pursued him, jeering and booing, with some shouting “Tory scum”.

    Demonstrators furious at Liz Truss’s economic plan are carrying signs reading “unelected, unaccountable, unhinged” and “wages up, bills down, Tories out”.

  38. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Tory chair Jake Berry says people facing higher fuel bills can cut consumption or get better job

    In his interview with Sophy Ridge this morning on Sky, Jake Berry, the Conservative party chair, also said that, if people were having difficulty paying their fuel bills, they could either cut their consumption or get a better job. He was making a point about the need for the government to economise, and he said that was how households worked too. He said:

    People know that when their bills arrive, they can either cut their consumption or they can get a higher salary, higher wages, go out there and get that new job.

  39. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Tories face large protest at party conference

    A large crowd of protesters has gathered in Birmingham’s Victoria square, around the corner from where the Conservative party conference is taking place.

    Rail union boss Mick Lynch, who is due to address the crowd this afternoon, said the rising cost of mortgages could mean “we have people on reasonable incomes facing homelessness in the future”. He went on:

    You see all around you ordinary men and women who are desperate for a pay increase. I’m worried our communities are going to be impoverished, and if we don’t stand up to that it will be too late to stop this juggernaut of the right wing destroying our communities and creating division.

    The government has to be stopped because they have an agenda which nobody voted for in this country.

    Police had to step in keep back angry protesters as business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg walked to the conference via the edge of the protest site….

  40. says

    Julia Davis:

    Stunned reactions keep coming in with respect to Ukraine reclaiming Lyman. Andrey Gurulyov, former deputy commander of Russia’s southern military district, said he couldn’t explain the defeat. He blamed in on a system of lies, “top to bottom” and was suddenly disconnected.

    Gurulyov was later re-connected, but didn’t say much else about Lyman or endemic lying.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. “Andrei Viktorovich, we lost your connection.”

  41. says

    Francis Scarr:

    Things are underway in southern Ukraine too

    Russian war blogger Boris Rozhin says the situation “deteriorated” today in the Nikopol area

    “The enemy is attacking southwards towards Beryslav via Zolota Balka. The situation may very soon become critical”

    This is a map of the area in question (from military blogger Rybar)…

    (Twitter link.)

  42. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Kwarteng’s budget only got a qualified endorsement from some panellists at an Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) event and Taxpayers’ Alliance event [please]….

    However, the budget was fully endorsed by Chris Philp, the chief secretary to the Treasury, who gave it 9.5 out of 10, while acknowledging that there could have been some better “pitch-rolling” to warn [the frequency of this word!] people about the policies coming.

    He also signalled the government is preparing to go much further on deregulating businesses. He said:

    We are going to be reducing business regulation. Jacob Rees-Mogg has a whole load of ideas to do that – one of which is making sure no business under 500 employees gets subject to business regulation – another critically important move. Jacob is going to lay out a whole load more ideas in that area.

  43. says

    blf @40, no, I’m not sure. Thanks for trying to run down the source. Tucker Carlson did recently praise Putin, so I thought the CPAC image might also be recent. Could be from 2017, though, as you said.

    In other news: ‘It’s a slaughter’: American volunteer in Ukraine describes the carnage on the highway from Lyman

    There has yet to be a good accounting of just how many Russian soldiers were killed or captured in Lyman and during the attempted retreat from the city. But when the death toll is tallied, it will no doubt be huge.

    One soldier in that fight — an American volunteer — spoke over social media with a friend back home and described the gut-wrenching scene.

    Only a few mins here. Ran out of ammo and backed off south. Am a bit traumatized and need some sleep. I have no idea what is going on except we engaged a lot of elements headed to Kreminna. They have to be coming from Lyman and Zarichne. Right now we are in a safe area, it seems.

    I have never seen so many dead, soon to be dead, and wounded people in my life. People begging for help, but no way we can help them. We have little to help them with, a small medical kit each, no morphine, and no time to render any kind of useful aid. No idea if they will live or die. You just keep moving.

    One guy had obviously stepped on a mine by the side of the road. One leg was gone at mid-thigh, the other one was broken lower down and his foot was backward. He was trying to crawl somewhere on one good knee, trailing flowing blood out of a busted artery. Unless he got help quick, he was gone. He was talking calmly in Russian, saying over-and-over, “I will be home soon mother.”

    […] A number of commenters noted that the American (whose identity is kept anonymous) is a Vietnam vet and thus must be kind of long in the tooth to be in combat.

    He’s actually 76, was in country for the Tet Offensive. He said in one of his posts it’s his last war for sure.

    He can patrol, his pack is usually just 40-50 pounds, but admits he “can’t run for shit” if something happens.

    […] It’s shocking and it’s hard to imagine how someone could witness such things and not be forever affected, but that’s the reality of war.

  44. says


    The situation in Kreminna is getting heated for the Russians. According to this Russian report, the Svatove-Kreminna highway is under threat.

    Going further, if Kreminna falls, this could potentially create a threat of encirclement of Lysyschansk.

    Girkin with the same opinion. Says Kreminna cannot be surrendered at any cost….

    Translations at the (Twitter) link.

  45. says

    By ship, drone, or bulletproof van: Persecuted patients in abortion-banning states won’t be deserted

    Very few people within the United States have heard about “abortion boats,” but that will likely change. A group called Women on Waves, founded by a Dutch doctor named Rebecca Gomperts over 20 years ago, has treated countless patients from various nations where abortion remains illegal. While serving as a ship’s doctor for Greenpeace, Dr. Gomperts kept witnessing women suffering from miscarriages, botched abortions, or being forced to carry through with nonviable pregnancies. She acquired a vessel so she could legally perform emergency abortions in international waters.

    Dr. Gomperts is supporting a current effort by Dr. Amy Autry, an OB-GYN in San Francisco, who got a similar idea from watching the gambling boats on the Mississippi River. Her plan is to provide what will essentially be a floating abortion clinic nine miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico to service patients from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. Dr. Autry told Daily Kos that she has been forced to accelerate her plans now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.

    It isn’t just ships: activists are determined to provide medical care for oppressed women in red states by land, sea, air, or cyberspace. There is a group providing bulletproof mobile abortion clinics that patrol red states’ borders. There are “underground railroad” networks that offer transportation, shelter, and even funding to Southern patients. There are prescriptions that can be ordered and delivered by U.S. mail or, in some cases, even by aerial drones. While right-wing legislators are busy assaulting their own citizens, brave souls are risking a lot to provide the care needed. […]

    For two decades, Dr. Gomperts has been providing medical abortion access to those who live in nations that criminalized reproductive choice by taking them out to international waters. Even though ports were often hostile, international treaties and regulations forbid nations from denying access to commercial vessels. Women on Waves has traveled to nations across the globe, from the Middle East to Latin America to Asia and Eastern Europe. A movie was made about the group in 2015: [video at the link]

    By 2015, Women on Waves created Women on Web, a telemedicine abortion service that has utilized aerial drones, robots, and the internet to ensure those in restrictive lands would have access to abortion medication. A robot named rAborta was sent into Mexican states where abortion was illegal. (Recently, the Mexican Supreme Court said any restriction on abortion was unconstitutional. This was also the case in Ireland. It’s only in the U.S. where women’s rights are going in the opposite direction.)

    The women are careful to follow the letter of the law. Since the robot was being controlled by medical professionals in Mexico City, where abortion has always been legal, it didn’t run afoul of Mexican law. “Abortion drones” were used in Poland and Northern Ireland without the need for any sort of government authorization because of a legal loophole that the group exploited to bring citizens the needed medication. Anti-choice activists vowed to shoot the drones down but were unsuccessful. [tweets and videos at the link]

    Here in the states, Dr. Meg Autry’s organization is trying to secure its own vessel. Her organization is called PRROWESS, which stands for Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes. It will provide surgical abortions. Dr. Autry told NBC that she and a team of licensed medical professionals will offer surgical abortions up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, which is entirely legal in federal waters.

    Still, she is preparing for legal challenges from the states whose citizens she will be serving. […] “If you are wealthy in this country, you will be able to get the health care you need and want anywhere, anytime you want. For people that this vessel will serve, there may be no other option […]. “It is a reproductive health clinic—providing contraception, surgical abortions, STI testing and treatment and maybe vaccinations. We plan to be on a sliding scale or free.”

    […] Dr. Gomperts’ foray in the United States was the establishment of Aid Access. This new initiative worked with 10 U.S.-based providers to help low-income American women receive abortion medication by mail. The Trump administration immediately retaliated by using stooges in the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to go after Gompert’s organization. Although FDA enforcement for drug and food safety plummeted under Trump, the agency went all in on trying to intimidate Aid Access into ceasing operations. Aid Access not only refused to stop but wound-up suing Trump-appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for illegally “seizing its packages from the mail.”

    Thankfully, the FDA has done a 180-degree turn under the Biden administration. The agency relaxed medication abortion restrictions during the pandemic, which allowed the pills to be sent by mail rather than require them to be dispensed in person. Organizations have taken full advantage of this new direction. Aid Access currently consists of four doctors with about a dozen staff members who prescribe medication and ship the pills from a pharmacy in India. The organization went from receiving 600 requests a day in the U.S. to over 4,000 requests a day since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

    […] Nineteen states have banned telemedicine for abortion medication, although enforcement of that law remains difficult at best. […]

    This has enraged Republicans enough to go for an even more extreme tactic: attacking a woman’s right to travel. Senate Republicans recently blocked a Democratic bill which would have codified into law the long-standing legal precedent that Americans can travel between states, without obstruction, to receive medical care. Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma put a stop to the measure, saying Democrats were being alarmist and declaring it unnecessary. “No state has banned interstate travel for adult women seeking to obtain an abortion,” he said. What he failed to mention is that in places like Texas, Republicans are hard at work trying to do just that.

    […] these attacks have galvanized organizations into helping low-income women travel to states where they can receive care. A nonprofit group called the Haven Coalition offers to shelter women who travel from places where getting an abortion is either extremely difficult or illegal. They not only provide a safe place to sleep between appointments but offer meals and even escorts to and from the clinic to protect them from violent protesters.

    The Brigid Alliance is a more recently established nonprofit that provides transportation, and even child care, to low-income women seeking abortion care. It was launched in 2018 and serves clients who must travel an average of 1,000 miles to get an abortion. […] Beyond financial demands there is also currently a capacity problem, since blue-state abortion clinics are becoming overwhelmed.

    […] CHOICES, a longtime abortion provider in Memphis, Tennessee, announced in May it would open a “border clinic” in Carbondale, Illinois. This will be the southernmost abortion clinic in the state, which will allow for access from the Southeastern states that have banned abortion. (Please note that several shady anti-choice “pregnancy centers” copied the name “Choices” in order to confuse patients.) With medical ships off the Gulf in the South and border clinics available in the North, red-state residents will hopefully have more choices for access.

    There is still another organization that is taking the idea of the “border clinic” to an extreme. Just the Pill offers bulletproof vans that can provide medication abortion services near the borders of states where abortion is illegal. The mobile clinic will move as close to the border as it possibly can while physically remaining in the state where abortion is still legal.

    […] The National Network of Abortion Funds connects potential patients with organizations that can provide both financial and logistical support […]

    Hopefully, this will end up being just another quick, ugly chapter in our history, but I frankly don’t know if this will last for years or decades. Until that time comes when everyone has equal rights and equal access to health care, I plan on supporting these groups as best I can. […]

    National Network of Abortion Funds
    Women on Waves
    Aid Access
    Haven Coalition
    Brigid Alliance
    CHOICES clinic in Carbondale, IL
    Just the Pill

    Embedded links are available at the main link.

  46. says

    Ukraine Update: Russians and their boosters cope, and Ukraine breaks through in Kherson

    There are tactical victories, in which the combatants improve their positions on a map, and there are strategic victories, that allow combatants to advance their overall war aims. Lyman was a strategic Ukrainian victory. [map at the link]

    For Ukraine, Lyman is on a major rail line extending up to Kharkiv and, ultimately, to Kyiv, and can feed Ukrainian forces east of the Oskil and north of the Siversky Donets rivers. Repairing all rail bridges reconnecting this line will be a Ukrainian priority. Taking down those bridges should be a Russian priority, but they’ll fire at civilian apartment buildings and bus stops instead. That rail line also extends down to Bakhmut through Sivers’k, bolstering those defenses. Bakhmut isn’t currently cut off, but additional rail connections makes it harder for Russia to isolate the city of its obsessions (the only place left where it continues to press on the offensive).

    For Russia, Lyman was a stronghold protecting its positions in the tri-oblast area (Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk). Given that Russia pretends the latter two are now Mother Russia, their pretend boundary is now exposed to Ukrainian attack, and their scramble to set up new defensive lines at Kreminna proves they wren’t prepared.

    Kreminna is the prize of the moment. Look at the map—with Kreminna, Ukraine has a straight shot up not to Svatove, which would unlock that entire mass of red at the top of this map, and also presses Rubizhne, Severodonetsk, and Lysychansk to the southeast, which Russia captured at massive expense just a few months ago. It’s like a fulcrum, forcing Russia to defend to critically importance places at once, and its importance isn’t lost on Russian military pundits.

    War criminal Igor Girkin:

    According to the information received, the Armed Forces of Ukraine took full control of the village of Torskoye, northeast of Liman. There is nothing critical in this, but now the question arises of holding Kremennaya – one of the key points providing the northern flank of the defense of Lisichansk. Under no circumstances should you give up a flint [inch?].

    Another Russian military blogger:

    The enemy is on the way to Kremennaya. The sounds of a distant battle between the federal troops and the Ukrainians are heard in the city. The western outskirts of the city under artillery fire. The main blow is expected from the northwest. The total number of enemy forces is estimated by fighters and commanders at approximately 12,000 people […]

    At the moment, Russian troops completely control the road from Rubizhne to Kremennaya and the village of Zhitlovka. Chervonopopovka and Peschannoye are a gray area. [map at the link]

    Most likely, the plans of the Hohols include the speedy occupation of Peschannoye, in which the dominant height 160–7 is located. In the event that this height passes under enemy control, the meaning of defense from the east of Kremennaya will be lost.

    Kreminna lies in a valley, surrounded by forested hills up to 150 meters in elevation on its southern, eastern, and western sides. Not the tallest hills, but enough to allow Ukrainian forces to fire at will into Russian defensive positions.

    As Russian forces reel, everyone has forgotten the celebration of Russia’s “annexation” of captured Ukrainian territory. Here are some of the ways Russia’s friends are coping:
    1) Denying reality (From Friday, September 30:) [image at the link includes statements like “In my estimation, if the Russians add more weight to counter-attack — on the ground and in the air — they could initiate a contagious rout along the entire front.”]

    Deluded propagandist Will Shryver, usually prolific, hasn’t posted anything since Lyman fell on Saturday.

    [Big Serge tweeted] The scale of Ukraine’s defeat at Lyman will become clear in the coming days. Unclear at this point how much they lost, but it is substantial.

    After Lyman’s fall, Big Serge took his Twitter account private. That is its own special kind of cope.

    […] These propagandists have been comparing the current Ukrainian offensive to the Battle of the Bulge since the start of the Kharkiv offensive. The analogy isn’t quite working out for them.

    2. Russia is bleeding Ukraine dry [image of tweets at the link]

    There is this weird belief that Ukraine lost thousands of men and hundreds of pieces of equipment in the Lyman assault, yet zero photographic evidence of such loses. If you look on Telegram, it’s the opposite. I literally had nightmares last night from some of the video I saw of the “Road of life” out of Lyman, shredded by Ukrainian artillery as Russian forces desperately tried to get out. Don’t go looking for it, I promise. I won’t even describe some of the stuff I saw, and please, don’t add or describe in comments.

    3. Guys, it’s alright. People still like us! [video of Kremlin-controlled state TV beaming in Scott Ritter to the them how much Americans respect Russia.]

    4. Anger
    Honestly, they should be angry. This is the most honest cope. [Tweet from Russians With Attitude]

    Military blogger with 130,000 followers on Telegram:

    So, comrades Shoigu and Gerasimov, they want to ask here, but it seems like it’s not right and they’ve been pissing in their pants so far. Does the president know what’s going on? Who reports to him? Where is the supply? Where is Armata? Where is everyone? How did it happen? Fucked up? Sold? Where do you share? Were there at all? According to Izyum, Balakleya, Lyman – why didn’t they do a damn thing? Why was the direction not strengthened? Why didn’t you prepare for 8 months? On mobilization – are you doing this on purpose or on purpose? Why can’t it be done properly?

    Armata is Russia’s newest modern battle tank, which never made an appearance on the battlefield. Others wonder whatever happened to Russia’s vaunted Air Force, also AWOL for most of the war. As to “where is the supply,” we’ve been asking that question from the first days of the war.

    5. Fake hope [Example at the link includes “Eurocucks will 100% freeze and bail by late December”]

    Russian channels, referencing “Ukrainian sources”, are saying that Putin is just about to start bringing in brand new vehicles and “high-tech BTGs” after all the soviet equipment has been used up. 😂 This is the crap they feed their readers.

    So to be clear, Russia gave its best-trained troops shitty Soviet equipment, to “dispose” of it, and will now give their best modern gear to untrained mobilized conscripts?

    6. Ukraine is getting too much help! [Tweet bemoaning how much military aid has been sent to Ukraine.]
    Of course, Russia has been spending $65 billion per year for decades building its war machine

    7. Attacking Russian leadership [Examples at the link]
    Another version of this cope pretends that Russia is somehow holding back: [example at the link]

    If only Russia really fought the war, with rockets and missiles and warplanes and brutality, then Russia would be winning. Instead, Russia was trying to, checks notes, “avoid killing Ukrainian soldiers.”

    8. It was NATO, not Ukraine [Example at the link. For some reason, this complaint always includes the “Afro-Americans” are fighting against Russia.]
    Russians invested so much in the narrative of Ukrainians as their “little brothers” incapable of managing anything on their own, that the idea of the world’s “Second Army” losing to them is beyond comprehension. That’s why Russian state TV keeps showing Malcolm Nance.

    9. A dose of reality [Examples, including a tweet from Julia Davis that SC already posted.]

    Meanwhile, this guy will soon find himself falling out of a skyscraper window: [Video with subtitles at the link]

    […] [Snipped tweets describing breakthroughs northwest of Kremini] In short, what these Russian commenters on Telegram are saying is that Ukraine punched through the lines 20 kilometers to Dudchany, but the town doesn’t have prepared defenses, and they are having trouble establishing any. Russia is calling for reinforcements, but none exist (whether it’s lack of personnel, or whether the Ukrainian blockade makes the transportation of fuel difficult).

    That means that Ukraine may be in the process of punching into Russia’s backfield, behind its prepared defenses along the contact line in that entire sector. Indeed, Ukraine may be able to romp all the way down that highway until … Nova Kakhovka? One can dream, but in reality, I would expect Russia to collapse those northern lines and bring them closer to the Kherson-Beryslav-Nova Kakovka line. Russia doesn’t benefit much from holding that territory in northern Kherson oblast. It’s flat, open steppe, sparsely populated. Russia wanted it for propaganda purposes, to claim it held most of Kherson oblast’s administrative boundaries. But none of that really matters much.

    It’ll be interesting, however, to see how Vladimir Putin explains losing so much “Russian territory” to Europe’s second-poorest nation. Or was Malcolm Nance also seen around Kherson?

  47. says


    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia got on stage at former president Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally on Saturday and spewed out offensive comment after offensive comment, many of them dangerous when considering the underlying call to action.

    “I’m not going to mince words with you all,” Greene told a Michigan crowd. “Democrats want Republicans dead, and they’ve already started the killings.”

    It’s not Democrats, though, who have both stood in the way of gun reform and framed Black and brown people as enemies for demanding that racists not be allowed to hunt them down and kill them.

    […] On the point that killing people for their beliefs is wrong, there is no debate. Using isolated incidents, however, to assert a wild accusation as fact should be beneath any sitting member of Congress.

    Very little is beneath Greene. She went on to equate allegations of murder with President Joe Biden’s leadership. “Joe Biden has declared every freedom loving American an enemy of the state,” she said, “but under Republicans, we will take back our country from the communists who have stolen it and want us to disappear.”

    […] Greene nominated Kyle Rittenhouse for a Congressional Gold Medal after he shot and killed two men and wounded a third person, meeting protesters with a semi-automatic rifle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Greene’s interpretation was that Rittenhouse “protected the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot on August 25, 2020.” […]


    Video at the link.

  48. says

    Rob Lee:

    Russian pages are sounding the alarm about Kherson. One says Russian forces have fallen back to Dudchany, another says the situation could soon become critical, another says Ru forces need to prepare for urban warfare and that Ukraine is hitting their lines where they are weak.

    Darth Putin:

    You’re no longer talking about my army retreating at Lyman cos it is now retreating in Kherson also.

    I remain a master strategist.

  49. says

    Americans captured by Russia detail months of beatings, interrogation

    Washington Post link

    Alex Drueke and Andy Tai Huynh evaded Russian forces for hours, slogging through pine forests and marshes in Ukraine to avoid detection. The U.S. military veterans were left behind — “abandoned,” they said — after their Ukrainian task force was attacked, and determined that their best chance of survival was to hike back to their base in Kharkiv.

    What followed was an excruciating, often terrifying 104 days in captivity. They were interrogated, subjected to physical and psychological abuse, and given little food or clean water, Drueke and Huynh recalled. Initially, they were taken into Russia, to a detention complex dotted with tents and ringed by barbed wire, they said. Their captors later moved them, first to a “black site” where the beatings worsened, Drueke said, and then to what they called a more traditional prison run by Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

    Drueke, 40, and Huynh, 27, met with The Washington Post for three hours at the home of Huynh’s fiancee, Joy Black, in this rural town of about 2,500 outside Huntsville. It was their first extensive media interview since being freed on Sept. 21 as part of a sprawling prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine.

    Each man lost nearly 30 pounds during the ordeal, they said, suffering injuries most evident in the red and purple welts still present where their wrists were bound. Their account provides disturbing new insight into how Russia and its proxy forces in Ukraine treat those taken off the battlefield.

    […] Drueke and Huynh, who met in Ukraine, went to the country despite stern warnings from the U.S. State Department that taking up arms against Russian forces was unsafe and ill-advised. They joined the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, a force comprising hundreds of Americans, Europeans and other foreign nationals who responded to public entreaties from the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky.

    Drueke and Huynh said they are grateful to be alive and free, and to have had each other’s support and friendship through their captivity. They expressed no regret. Their goals now, they said, are to draw attention to Ukraine’s military needs, and raise awareness about another American veteran with whom they were imprisoned, Suedi Murekezi, who shared a cell with them for weeks but was not included in the prisoner swap. He’s among the handful of U.S. citizens detained by Russia for whom a diplomatic breakthrough has so far proved elusive.

    “Alex and I never did this to become famous,” Huynh said. “We never wanted to become famous.” [Photos showing scars on wrists]

    One day of combat

    Drueke, a U.S. Army veteran, and Huynh, who served in the Marines, said they were compelled to act after seeing images, early in the war, of Ukrainian families fleeing their homes as Russian forces leveled cities in their savage but ultimately failed bid to seize the capital, Kyiv, and topple Zelensky’s Western-backed government.

    Drueke had been living with family members in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after being diagnosed as a 100 percent combat disabled veteran with post-traumatic stress, he said. He’d grown enthusiastic about long-distance mountain hiking. Huynh, a California native, had moved to northern Alabama to be with his fiancee, taking community college classes and working as a delivery driver for O’Reilly Auto Parts.

    Huynh left the United States on April 8 to join a humanitarian group helping in Ukraine, he said. Drueke left four days later, believing that his experience during the Iraq War and familiarity with Western weapons could prove helpful to Ukrainian forces, he said.

    Within days, they signed contracts with the foreign legion in Lviv, in western Ukraine near Poland’s border, joining the same battalion and receiving AK-74 rifles for training far from the fighting. They had brought their own camouflage uniforms and other equipment.

    Both adopted noms de guerre. Drueke was named “Bama,” in honor of his home state. Huynh went by “Hate,” a shortened version of “Reaper of Hate,” a moniker he used in online video games.

    “It was kind of a satire name because I’m not really a hateful person,” Huynh said. “Quite the opposite.”

    “We called him Care Bear,” Drueke interjected with a laugh.

    The men decided that “their skills could be better applied elsewhere” in the war, and requested a release from the contract they had signed with their first unit, Drueke said. For the next few weeks, they traveled the country by bus and train in what they called “vacation mode,” meeting with Ukrainian military officials about possible opportunities and marveling as civilians returned to their homes in and around the capital.

    With time running out on their 90-day visas, they connected in Kyiv with a representative from Task Force Baguette, a military unit affiliated with the foreign legion that included French soldiers and other Westerners. The unit promised a Ukrainian military contract, allowing them to stay in the country and fight. This time, they were sent east and issued Czech-made CZ 208 rifles, to a base close to Russia’s border.

    […] Their first mission, on June 9, would be their last.
    That morning, the unit left Kharkiv in a pickup truck and two small sport-utility vehicles, heading north. Their assignment was to launch small drones, watch for Russian military forces and report what they saw, Drueke said.

    But the unit was ambushed, and in the ensuing firefight everyone scattered, the Americans said. Drueke, Huynh and their team leader began searching for a machine-gunner and sniper who’d gone missing, only to learn that other members of the unit had taken their vehicles — and most of their food and water — and returned to base without them, Drueke said.

    A representative for Task Force Baguette denied that Drueke and Huynh were left behind, saying the team scattered in five groups and that each had to make it back to safety on their own “as nobody knew what happened to the others.” He declined to elaborate. In a tweet, the unit celebrated the Americans’ release, thanking them for their service and calling Drueke and Huynh “heroes.”

    Drueke and Huynh declined to detail the precise location or nature of their capture, but acknowledged opening fire during the ambush. After they were taken into custody, they were stripped of their gear and weapons, and bound. As they crossed the border into Russia, Drueke said, their captors noted their new location, slugged them in the gut, and said “Welcome to Russia.”

    The beatings

    The Americans were blindfolded for most of the next few days, they said. Occasionally, their captors would take the blindfolds off, allowing them to catch a glimpse of their surroundings. The Russians hid their faces behind tan balaclavas.

    The camp, the Americans said, was a “tent city,” with six or seven prisoners of war held in each tent, Huynh said. Twin chain-link fences and barbed wire surrounded the compound
    The interrogations there, Drueke said, were “horrible.” The Russians appeared to doubt that they were rank-and-file members of a Ukrainian military unit. They asked Drueke and Huynh repeatedly if they were with the CIA, the Americans recalled. They ordered them onto their hands and knees, leaving them like that until their feet grew numb. If they moved, they were beaten, they recalled. At night, Drueke and Huynh were forced to remain on their feet for hours at a time to prevent them from sleeping.

    “They really thought that we had been sent by our government, or had a large amount of government support,” Drueke said. “They really wanted to make sure we weren’t lying about that — and they had their ways of doing that.”

    Most of the prisoners appeared to be Ukrainian, the Americans said. One who spoke English appeared to possibly be a British national. […]

    Four days later, the Americans were on the move again, they said, taken to a black site detention center in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, where Russian separatists have power. The prisoners traveled for hours with bags over their heads, the Americans said, and swapped vehicles four times.

    Drueke realized Huynh was with him only because he was tossed on top of him in one of the vehicles, prompting Huynh to respond with an “ouch” that Drueke recognized, he said. In such a dire situation, it was a relief.

    Inside the black site

    Their treatment worsened at the next location, they said.

    Most of the detainees were kept in a cold basement divided into tiled cells, each about 5 feet long and 2 feet wide, Huynh recalled. They received a loaf of bread each day, along with water that often appeared to be contaminated. Huynh said he could hear screams — and cries of pain — as interrogations were conducted.

    “That was one of the worst parts,” Huynh said. “Hearing people being hurt and not being able to do anything about it.”

    Upstairs, a slightly larger room was used for solitary confinement. Huynh spent the first two days there before Drueke was put there for several weeks. About 80 songs of popular music, including from the rapper Eminem and the German metal band Rammstein, were pumped into the room on rotation for days, they said, shattering the peace but allowing them to mark the passage of time.

    “They really, really kept us separate there,” Drueke said. “There were times where I would go days without hearing anything about Andy, and a lot of times I was, like, ‘Man, they killed him.’ ”

    Beatings continued, which some of their captors seeming to relish dispensing more than others. A British man, Paul Urey, suffered beatings at the same facility and died there, Drueke and Huynh said. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced Sept. 7 that the Ukrainian government had recovered Urey’s body and that it had “signs of possible unspeakable torture.”

    Many of the questions posed by interrogators seemed nonsensical, asking the Americans to identify photographs of people they did not know and detail events in which they had no involvement. One of the men spoke near-fluent English, while another knew only some, Drueke said. He believes they were Russian intelligence officials.

    In the upstairs room, Drueke and Huynh each were ordered to make phone calls to seemingly random organizations in the United States, many not equipped to help them.

    At one point, the captors told Drueke to call the Veterans Crisis Line, a service that provides mental health support to American military personnel after they leave the service. Drueke said he tried to dissuade them from doing it because it made no sense, but his captors insisted.

    “They look at me and go, ‘You are a veteran. This is a crisis!’ ” Drueke recalled, imitating their accent.

    Many of the phone calls went nowhere, getting lost in a maze of telephone switchboards, voice-mail boxes and Americans who appeared to question whether the pleas for help were legitimate. But a representative on the crisis hotline offered Drueke numbers for the State Department and another federal agency, possibly the Federal Protective Service, a law enforcement outfit affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security. Someone picked up on the second number, Drueke said, and they took his information and promised to help. It was a glimmer of hope.

    […] The captors, who were armed, ordered Drueke and Huynh to appear in propaganda interviews that appeared on Russian state media, and observed as they were recorded, Drueke said. In one published June 17, they expressed frustration with corruption in the Ukrainian military and warned other Americans to “think twice” about joining the war effort. Drueke said it still bothers him that he had to say such things.

    ‘I actually prayed for death’

    The Americans, along with several other prisoners, were moved again about four weeks later, Drueke and Huynh said. Joining them was Murekezi, a U.S. Air Force veteran who was sent to the black site after being detained in the southern city of Kherson in June. He had been living and working in Ukraine when Russia invaded, and declined to leave the country. Russian-backed separatists abducted him and accused him of a hate crime, said Sele Murekezi, Suedi’s brother, who lives in Minnesota.

    There were no beatings at the next facility, but conditions were still abysmal, the Americans said. Bedbugs gnawed at their skin, leaving the walls of their cell streaked with blood, Huynh said. His arms and back remained heavily scarred by the insects more than a week after he was released.

    The Americans had no idea that a prisoner swap was under discussion, and questioned if it was true even after they were removed from their cells and told they were going home. Their hands and eyes were bound excruciatingly tight with packing tape for their flight to a small Russian airstrip, in circumstances that they described as agonizingly painful but declined to detail fully.

    “For me personally, it was the absolute worst,” Drueke said. “I realized a lot of times throughout that I could die, or that I was close to death, or that I probably was going to die. But that was the only time that I actually prayed for death.”

    When they landed, they were greeted by Saudi medical personnel. They were whisked from there to Riyadh, where they met with State Department personnel and called loved ones.

    The two men are still receiving medical care. Both have numbness in their hands, a possible symptom of nerve damage, they said. Drueke believes he may have cracked four ribs. Huynh is struggling with short-term memory loss and said that his mind “deteriorated” in captivity.

    The pair are interested in helping the U.S. government by relating their experiences at the hands of Putin’s forces, they said. […]

    “It sounds trite, but we were given a second chance on life,” Drueke said. “I feel like our experiences, if we handle them the right way, we potentially have a lot to give the world.”

  50. says

    New York Times link:

    […] A day after Ukrainian forces retook control of Lyman, a strategic railway hub in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, a picture began to emerge of the destruction left behind by fleeing Russian soldiers who had occupied the city for months. In a hasty withdrawal, they abandoned official documents, military vehicles and the bodies of their comrades.

    After weeks of fierce fighting, Russian forces retreated from Lyman on Saturday, just one day after President Vladimir V. Putin illegally declared the surrounding region to be part of Russia citing what Ukraine and its Western allies have called sham referendums in territories partly under Russian control.

    The intense battle for the city was evident on Sunday afternoon. Whole city blocks were panoramic scenes of collapsed brick and corrugated tin roofing. A local bakery, Seagul, was reduced to a heap of rubble. Its bread trucks were still parked in a lot waiting for morning distributions that wouldn’t come.

    About 5,000 of the pre-war population of 22,000 remained in Lyman, the police said.

    “Look at the destroyed houses,” said Roman Plakhaniv, a lieutenant in the Kramatorsk district police force, who arrived on Sunday to patrol the city. “This was a nice, normal town. People from another country came and destroyed it.”

    Signs of Russia’s plans to put down roots were abundant. Inside city hall were notices explaining how to apply for building permits under the occupation authority and with phone numbers to call to apply for a Russian pension. A stamped and signed document left on a table announced “the creation of the committee for reviewing controversial questions in distributing social assistance.” It was formed on Sept. 9.

    Copies of a newspaper called Donetsk Republic were scattered about on the floor. An edition dated Sept. 15 ran an article under the headline, “Defense of the Republic and Borders of Russia” — apparently intended to tamp down worry as Ukraine’s counteroffensive gained ground.

    “The President of Russia Vladimir V. Putin announced that in the course of the special operation Russia is not losing military strength and will defend its sovereignty,” the article explained. [Utter bullshit]

    In one office was a poster emblazoned with a Z, a symbol of Russia’s invasion, that said, “We don’t abandon our own.”

    The only accessible road into Lyman is muddy and rutted, crossing a pontoon bridge over the roiling water of the Oskil River, which the Russian military had briefly tried to maintain as a defensive barrier last month, before falling back farther.

    Dense pine forest surrounding the town had slowed and frustrated both sides in the fighting, and now show signs of the ferocity of the artillery battles in severed branches scattered along the road. Whole villages along the route are in ruins.

    At one point, the road into town passed the remnants of what appeared to be a Ukrainian attack on Russian soldiers trying to flee the city in a civilian van. The vehicle’s doors were open and sleeping bags, pads, military coats, rations, shoes and other supplies had spilled out.

    Nearby, on the side of the road, were anti-tank mines and the bodies of half a dozen Russian soldiers. A line of Ukrainian military trucks rumbled by, as a demining team checked the bodies for boobytraps, using ropes to tug and jostle them from a distance in case they exploded.

    Asked how the Russians had died, one of the soldiers on the demining team shrugged. “They came to a foreign land,” he said.

  51. says

    National Archives says some records from Trump White House are still missing

    “We do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall said in a letter to House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.

    The National Archives and Records Administration has informed the House Oversight Committee that some records from the Trump White House have not been turned over in compliance with the Presidential Records Act.

    In a letter Friday to the panel’s chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., acting archivist Debra Steidel Wall said that the National Archives is still attempting to retrieve records from Trump administration officials who “conducted official business using non-official electronic messaging accounts.”

    “While there is no easy way to establish absolute accountability, we do know that we do not have custody of everything we should,” Wall wrote.

    She said that the National Archives would consult with the Justice Department on whether “to initiate an action for the recovery of records unlawfully removed.” […]

  52. says

    Solar Community in Ft. Myers, FL Never Lost Power During Hurricane Ian

    From CNN:

    Babcock Ranch calls itself “America’s first solar-powered town.” Its nearby solar array — made up of 700,000 individual panels — generates more electricity than the 2,000-home neighborhood uses, in a state where most electricity is generated by burning natural gas, a planet-warming fossil fuel.

    So when Hurricane Ian came barreling toward southwest Florida this week, it was a true test for the community. The storm obliterated the nearby Fort Myers and Naples areas with record-breaking surge and winds over 100 mph. It knocked out power to more than 2.6 million customers in the state, including 90% of Charlotte County.

    But the lights stayed on in Babcock Ranch. […]

    “We have proof of the case now because [the hurricane] came right over us,” Nancy Chorpenning, a 68-year-old Babcock Ranch resident, told CNN. “We have water, electricity, internet — and we may be the only people in Southwest Florida who are that fortunate.”

    Stories like this will go a long way toward getting us stupid humans to fully embrace solar power. If your neighbor still has lights, TV and Internet access after a cataclysmic hurricane, while you are huddled around a candle, you will likely wonder what you can do next time to keep the electricity flowing.

    According to the article, Babcock Ranch has become a prime shelter location for evacuees, as Babcock Neighborhood School is currently functioning as a refuge center (despite its lack of a backup generator!). […]

  53. says

    Saturday Night Live kicked off its Season 48 premiere with Miles Teller as the host and Kendrick Lamar as the musical guest. It was a good episode for sure but I of course had to share one of my favorite moments: Kenan Thompson nailing it at impersonating U.S. Senate candidate, Herschel Walker (R. GA) on Weekend Update. Just watch: [video at the link]


  54. says

    Kyiv Post:

    Guys, does anyone have Shoigu’s number?

    If so, call him please and tell him that the aviation is needed urgently.Russian DONTSTOPWAR TG channel is asking for it in #Kherson #Oblast where things are so-so for [Russia]

    Don’t be indifferent please. Otherwise, they’ll have to regroup.

  55. says

    via google translate, near midnight, people have gone to help the children of Sharif University”

    Video at the link of the roads full of cars, honking horns. It was tweeted by Laura Rozen. I’ve seen Iranians asking her to share the information about what’s happening there because so many people read her tweets. If anyone’s on Twitter and wants to follow the revolution there, they should follow her.

  56. raven says


    Russian deputy and retired general Andriy Gurulev reported that 1.5 million sets of military uniforms of the Russian Armed Forces, which were intended for the mobilized, disappeared from warehouses in Zabaikalia in an inexplicable way.

    This seems pretty typical for the Russian army.

    Those uniforms might have been sold off long ago by someone.
    They might not have ever even existed, except as a line in a ledger book somewhere and a check in a bank.

  57. StevoR says

    Great article by Stan Grant here :

    With some key stats throughout esp this one :

    Is this fair? The richest 20 per cent of Australians hold nearly two thirds of all wealth. People in the lowest 60 per cent hold just one fifth of wealth.

    Is this fair? People in the top 20 per cent income group receive more than 40 per cent of all income. That is more than the share of the lowest 60 per cent combined.

    Is this fair? The average household wealth of the top 20 per cent is more than $3 million, households in the lowest 20 per cent just $36,000. That makes the top 20 per cent 90 times richer than the bottom 20 per cent.

    Plus :

    The richest 10 per cent in America hold 90 per cent of all financial assets.

    Sad news here :

    Vale Sacheen Littlefeather.

    Whilst in spaaace neeews this article :

    is fascinating in my view – although very speculative too with not much evidence of any actually habitable ones known with any certainty but still. I do love imagining what these worlds may be like & hoping we get to find out.

  58. says

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

    Russian president Vladimir Putin’s unusually rapid acknowledgment of problems with Russia’s partial mobilisation highlights the likely scale of dysfunction with the draft, the UK Ministry of Defence says.

    In its latest intelligence briefing, the MoD says officials have almost certainly drafted ineligible people, and will struggle to train the new recruits.

    Russian state-media Tass has reported that about 300 residents of Yakutia, called up during the partial mobilisation by mistake, have returned to the republic. Yakutia is a region in the far north-east of the Russian Federation.

    Women’s mobilization trounced the Kremlin’s.

    Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said that Ukraine is not just experiencing military success in Lyman, but also in Kherson. In his overnight statement, he said Ukraine forces have liberated the small Arkhanhelske and Myrolyubivka settlements in the Kherson region.

    Ukraine has also pushed to regain some territory within the region of Luhansk. This means that Russia does not hold the full territory of any of the areas of occupied Ukraine that it announced it would annex on Friday.

    Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency is reporting that Chechen leader and Vladimir Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov has said that his three underage sons are heading to fight in Ukraine. It reports Kadyrov saying on Telegram:

    A minor age should not interfere with the training of the defenders of our Motherland. Akhmat, Eli and Adam are 16, 15 and 14 years old respectively. But their military training began a long time ago, almost from an early age. And I’m not joking. The time has come to show themselves in a real battle, and I only welcome their desire. Soon they will go to the frontline and will be on the most difficult sections of the line of contact.

    First, he’s a terrible parent and this is a crime. Second, it has a desperate-Nazis-in-1945 vibe, which might not be what he was aiming for. Third, “soon.”

    Kirill Stremousov, who is deputy head of the Russian-imposed authority in occupied Kherson, has said that “everything is under control” in the region. However, on Russian state TV Vladimir Saldo, the head of the Russian-imposed authority in the region, admitted that Ukrainians had gained some ground. “It’s tense, let’s put it that way,” he said.


    The Kremlin said on Monday that it will consult with residents living in two of the Ukrainian regions it moved to annex last week – Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – on how their borders should be defined….


  59. says

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

    Kwarteng confirms U-turn on abolition of 45% top rate of tax, saying plan was ‘distraction’ and ‘we get it’

    Kwasi Kwarteng, the chancellor, has just released a statement confirming that the government has abandoned the plan in the mini-budget to abolish the 45% top rate of income tax. He says the proposal has become a “distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country”. He goes on (David Cameron-style – Cameron used to use this phrase): “We get it, and we have listened.”

    Kwarteng claims he feels ‘humility and contrition’ over 45% top rate of tax U-turn

    Q: Do you owe an apology to MPs who were threatened with the prospect of having the whip removed if they refused to vote for abolishing the 45% top rate of tax?

    Kwarteng says this is not just about MPs. The government has listened, to people in the country too.

    Q: You can apologised to them too?

    Kwarteng does not apologise. But he says the government is not going ahead with the move. And he goes on:

    There is humility and contrition in that, and I’m happy to own it.

    And that’s it. The Today interview is over.

    Deeply moving. You can just feel the genuine emotion.

  60. says

    Lula didn’t reach 50%, so they’re going to a runoff. He received about 48.4%, to Bolsonaro’s 43.2%. (Still around 1% left to count, so it could end up around 49% to 43%.) I’m not linking to the Guardian’s write-up because I don’t agree with the narrative they’re trying to construct. (I didn’t agree with the pre-election narrative, either, which is why I quoted very selectively @ #48 above.)

  61. says

    Max Seddon:

    …The Duma is now preparing to ratify Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory. But how much? They don’t know!

    Lavrov is speaking. He lists a long litany of US interventions across the world for decades. This culminates in the US “subjugating the entire collective west to its will and turning Ukraine into an instrument of war against Russia.”

    Surprise! The annexation of Donetsk region has been ratified unanimously!…

  62. says

    Ilya Ponomarenko:

    Russians still have no idea where their newly proclaimed “state border” in the occupied Kherson and Zaporizhia regions is. And Putin’s mouth Peskov says the Kremlin will continue “consulting” with local civilians to define the new “state borderline” at some point.
    That’s it.

    And there will be no new “referenda” to define what on earth officially qualifies now as “sovereign Russian territory” in Ukraine and what does not.
    If that’s not the world’s most laughable clown-ass clusterfuck, I don’t what is.

  63. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russia’s State Duma unanimously approves annexation of Ukrainian regions

    The lower house of Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, has approved laws on annexing four Ukrainian territories into Russia.

    No lawmakers in the lower house voted against President Vladimir Putin’s bill and constitutional changes to incorporate the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions into Russia.

    Lawmakers in the upper house, Russia’s federation council, are expected to formalise the illegal annexation tomorrow.

  64. says

    Julia Davis:

    Tonight on Russian state TV: the mood is grim, look at their faces. Dmitry Sablin, Deputy Chairman of the Defense Committee, admits that Russia desperately needs “to stop and regroup” and is experiencing all sorts of shortages, compared to Ukraine that has it all —and then some….

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  65. raven says

    Michael MacKay@mhmck

    The Armed Forces of Ukraine are enveloping a large Russian fascist invasion army in the north of Kherson region.

    The advance of Ukrainian forces down the T-04-03 road towards Beryslav is rapid. The rashists are immobilized by “no retreat” orders and are in a hopeless position.

    The Russian army lines are collapsing so fast it is hard to keep up with them.

    Beryslav is, or was, far behind Russian lines on the Dnipro river. It is about halfway to Kherson, the major Ukraine city occupied by the Russians.

    At some point, the Russian army is going to start asking themselves this question, similar to the one ours asked in Vietnam.
    “Who wants to be the last one to die in Ukraine for no good reason, for nothing?”

  66. says

    Update to #14 above – Guardian liveblog:

    Daniel Grainger, the chair of Young Conservative Network who described Birmingham on Twitter as a “dump”, has temporarily quit his role, the Daily Mirror’s Aletha Adu reports.

  67. says

    The Guardian liveblog on Kwarteng’s speech (spoiler alert: it’s more class war):

    …Kwarteng says as business secretary he saw the role business plays. He also saw how goverment could get in the way. Now he wants to free business from regulation.

    He says the government will cut reglations in investment zones.

    Kwarteng pledges to review, replace or repeal retained EU law ‘holding our country back’

    Kwarteng says the UK will review, replace or repeal retained EU law “holding our country back”.

    Kwarteng says the government will deregulate in a series of areas: childcare, agriculture, immigration, planning, energy, business and financial services [!!!].

    And he says the government will introduce reforms to stop strike action derailing reform.

    The government will reverse the planned increase in corporation tax, he says….

  68. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Three Russian men who were called up to fight in the war in Ukraine have died at an army training centre in Poroshino in Russia’s Yekaterinburg region, according to Novaya Gazeta.

    Russian state Duma lawmaker, Maxim Ivanov, was cited by a local news outlet as saying:

    Yes, I confirm that three people have died. One of the mobilised men died from a heart attack, another one committed suicide. The third one was discharged and sent home, where he died from cirrhosis of the liver.

    Another news outlet earlier reported the suicide of a 46-year-old from the Kurgan region, whose body was reportedly found in the canteen of the Poroshino army training centre.

    Head of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has been released, says IAEA chief

    The head of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has been released, according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi.

    Ihor Murashov, the director general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, has returned to his family safely, Grossi wrote on Twitter….

  69. says

    Julia Davis:

    Head of RT argues for Russia’s military command to be replaced “for cowardice” and tries to inspire viewers with her visions of an “even bigger Russia” as another version of the Soviet Union. More in my article…

    Daily Beast link and subtitled video at the (Twitter) link.

  70. says

    Republicans backing Putin:

    For the most part, congressional Republicans and their cohorts have stood with the Biden administration and U.S. allies in support of Ukraine. There are, however, a growing number of expectations.

    Take CPAC, for example.

    Late last week, the Conservative Political Action Conference — a prominent force in Republican politics — published a missive via social media that pushed a surprisingly pro-Kremlin message. “Vladimir Putin announces the annexation of 4 Ukrainian-occupied territories,” CPAC wrote via Twitter, before complaining about Democratic support for Ukrainian aid. […]

    A Politico report noted, “The tweet also featured an image of a Russian flag and described the annexation as ‘official’ in an accompanying image that listed the territories.”

    The fact CPAC referred to parts of Ukraine as “Ukrainian-occupied territories” was astonishing — it was no different from rhetoric we might hear from Vladimir Putin himself — and the tweet was eventually deleted. On Saturday, CPAC’s Twitter account added, “We must oppose Putin, but American taxpayers should not be shouldering the vast majority of the cost.”

    The incident was embarrassing, but it was also emblematic of a larger trend in far-right American politics. Indeed, the day before the CPAC tweet, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene published a related message, explaining her opposition to a stopgap spending bill that prevented a government shutdown.

    “Today, I’m voting NO on the continuing resolution to fund America’s 50 states, plus America’s 51st state: Ukraine,” the right-wing Georgian wrote. One of her allies, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, similarly complained over the weekend about U.S. aid to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion.

    It’s an underappreciated angle to the U.S. midterm elections that are five weeks from tomorrow: As a separate Politico report recently explained, the course of U.S. aid to Ukraine “could hinge on” whether Republicans take back a majority in the House.

    Congress is poised to approve billions more in military aid next week as part of a deal to keep the government open past the Nov. 8 elections, but future deals may be caught up in Republican infighting over federal spending that’s emerged in recent months, primarily in the House, if they win in November.

    […] Gaetz, in particular, has suggested that a GOP majority in the House would halt aid to Ukraine from the United States altogether.

    At least publicly, the Kremlin hasn’t made any endorsements in congressional races, but given the circumstances, there’s no great mystery as to which party Putin will be rooting for on Nov. 8.


  71. says


    From the comment section…

    “Can’t understand. Watch videos. Our [Russian] mobiks look like an army of bums. Whereas [Ukrainian] soldiers look like gods. The world’s whole testosterone/androgen is absorbed by Ukrainian dudes. [fire emojis]”


    I mean, they are adorable.

  72. says

    Kim Kardashian’s Instagram story just cost her $1.26 million

    The Securities and Exchange Commission kept up with the Kardashians.

    The crypto crackdown has come for Kim Kardashian.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Monday that the queen of influencers did a little too much influencing when it came to the EthereumMax (EMAX) token, which Kardashian promoted on her Instagram in June 2021. She’s agreed to pay $1.26 million and not promote crypto securities for the next three years.

    The settlement shows that the SEC is ready, willing, and able to go after celebrity crypto endorsers. Many of them made plenty of money promoting what ended up being shady crypto schemes that quickly collapsed, leaving investors (often their own fans) with empty pockets.

    SEC chair Gary Gensler did a little social media influencing of his own, announcing the settlement with a tweet that included a video of him warning people about celebrity endorsements of investments. [video at the link]

    That tweet may well serve as a warning to the celebrities themselves, too. Gensler has made no secret of his desire to go after the loosely regulated and highly volatile world of crypto investments. The SEC has already investigated some of the biggest platforms and people in it. While Kardashian is one of the first, and surely the highest-profile celebrity, to get dinged for promoting crypto to her fans, it’s doubtful she’ll be the last. She may not even be the last celebrity the SEC charges for promoting EthereumMax, which also enlisted boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and basketball player Paul Pierce to endorse the token. The SEC noted that its investigation into EthereumMax “is continuing.”

    Kardashian’s Instagram story was marked as an ad with “#ad.” That wasn’t good enough for the SEC, which said in its release that the post didn’t include all the information that was legally required for security endorsements, including the source and amount of that compensation. Kardashian was paid $250,000 for her story, the commission said.

    Kardashian’s settlement includes that $250,000, interest, and a $1 million penalty. It’s a tiny fraction of her net worth, which is estimated at nearly $2 billion. Kardashian probably won’t even notice it’s missing. But there’s a symbolic value, too: this shows that the SEC isn’t afraid to go after some of the biggest celebrities in the world.

    EthereumMax spiked in value when Kardashian, Mayweather, Jr., and Pierce promoted it. It plummeted quickly afterward. The three are also the subject of a class action lawsuit that accuses them of working with EthereumMax to artificially inflate the token’s value, also known as a “pump and dump.” The crypto world has been especially susceptible to these, with many celebrities promoting tokens to their fans, only for those tokens to crash in value shortly afterwards.

    Ben McKenzie, an actor who has become an outspoken critic of the crypto market — specifically the “Hollywoodization” of it — wrote about Kardashian’s EMax promo last October for Slate as an example of how celebrities were taking advantage of their fans by endorsing shaky crypto investments.

    “The wheels of justice grind slow, but at long last government regulators have struck a death blow to the nascent crypto industry. I speak, of course, of Kim Kardashian and EthereumMax,” McKenzie told Recode.

  73. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russia has put Marina Ovsyannikova, the former state TV editor who interrupted a news broadcast to protest against the Ukraine war, on a wanted list after she reportedly escaped house arrest.

    The Ukrainian-born Ovsyannikova, 44, gained international attention in March after bursting into a studio of Channel One, her then employer, to denounce the Ukraine war during a live news bulletin, holding a poster reading “no war”. At the time she was fined 30,000 roubles (£460) for shunning protest laws.

    Ovsyannikova continued protesting against the war and was charged in August with spreading false information about the Russian army for holding up a poster that read “Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists” during a solo protest on the Moskva River embankment opposite the Kremlin. She was subsequently placed under house arrest to await trial and was facing up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

    On Saturday, Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband said she had escaped house arrest together with her young daughter.

    “Last night, my ex-wife left the place that the court assigned her, and disappeared with my 11-year-old daughter in an unknown direction,” Igor Ovsyannikov, who is employed at the state-run news outlet RT, said.

    Ovsyannikova’s whereabouts are unknown and she did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, she was added to the interior ministry’s online list of fugitives, accompanied by a photograph.

    A Czech crowdfunding campaign has raised more than £1.2m to buy a modernised tank for the Ukrainian army to help it defend against Russia’s invasion.

    The campaign, dubbed “a gift for Putin”, received donations from 11,288 individual donors and was backed by the Czech defence ministry and Ukraine’s embassy in Prague.

    The Czech Republic has become the first country where ordinary people bought a tank for Ukrainian troops, Ukrainian deputy foreign minister Yevhen Perebyinis said on Twitter.

    The modernised Soviet-era T-72 tank, named Tomas [:)], will be sent to Ukraine.

  74. says


    Russian despot Vladimir Putin declared a flawless victory […] last week. He even held some sham referendums annexing Ukrainian territory. However, Putin’s delusions failed to subdue Ukraine, and the country’s troops pushed forward with its offensive, humiliating Moscow, which is always fun.

    Ukraine recaptured Lyman, a key logistics hub for the occupying Russian assholes, who were forced to retreat the territory Russia had just “annexed.” Russia had used the city for months to move military equipment, troops, and other critical supplies. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said losing Lyman “presents a sort of dilemma for the Russians,” which is an adorable understatement. This is perhaps Ukraine’s most significant battlefield gain in the war, and it will help the sovereign nation increase its attacks to the east.

    Russia’s Defense Ministry conceded its defeat on Saturday. Russia’s loss in Lyman and other parts of the Kharkiv region are “fundamentally changing the Russian information space,” according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War. Not even their full propaganda machine can spin the situation as “under control,” even with the best efforts from US state media and traitor Republicans.

    Both Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene, an actual sitting congresswoman, have suggested that the US government sabotaged the (non-operational) Nord Stream 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea. We’re not going to waste your time with their traitor conspiracy theories. All sensible people at least suspect Russia was responsible for the dangerous explosions, not rogue members of the Biden Administration.

    Republicans embracing Putin isn’t simply reflexive contrarianism because Joe Biden’s president. Putin is very much a MAGA leader and it’s often hard to distinguish the fascist, anti-democratic rhetoric. Putin sounded like a common CPAC speaker during a recent transphobic rant. When he denounced “Western elites” for their supposed “repudiation of faith and traditional values,” your average Fox News viewers would probably nod their heads.

    So, does Putin get his talking points from MAGA, or does MAGA get them from Putin? I only ask since they are identical.

    Unfortunately for Putin and his Republican allies, democracy is roaring back in Ukraine. Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior ministry, posted a lovely photo of soldiers posing with their flag […]

    A desperate, reeling Russia attacked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown and other targets Sunday with suicide drones. […]

    Russia doesn’t even fully hold any of the occupied areas within Ukraine that Putin fake-annexed on Friday.

    ZELENSKYY: Recently, someone somewhere held pseudo-referendums, and when the Ukrainian flag is returned, no one remembers the Russian farce with some pieces of paper and some annexations. Except, of course, law enforcement agencies of Ukraine. Because everyone who is involved in any elements of aggression against our state will be accountable for it. And I thank everyone who brings these moments of victory closer, who returns the Ukrainian flag to its rightful place on Ukrainian land.

    Oleh Zhdanov, a military analyst based in Kyiv, said that as Ukraine advances, “the Russian army has already lost the ability to attack, and today or tomorrow it could lose the ability to defend.” We look forward to the day when Putin’s war is over.

  75. says

    SC @97, oh yes. Adorable.

    In other news: “Another Racist Cop Foiled By Newfangled Tape Recording Technology”

    Another day, another racist cop exposed! Our cup runneth over with bad apples.

    The latest is Jody Greene, a sheriff in Columbus County, North Carolina. He was recorded calling Black employees derogatory names and saying they should be fired, presumably without cause. It’s hard to extend the benefit of the doubt to repulsive racists. Greene doesn’t deny that he’s on the phone call WECT-TV obtained, but he argues that the call was edited or otherwise altered. You can do wonderful things with the Garage Band app but I don’t think you can turn an otherwise benign statement into “Every Black that I know, you need to fire him.”

    The call is from February 2019, shortly after Greene narrowly beat former Sheriff Lewis Hatcher, the county’s first Black sheriff, by about 40 votes. Hatcher had sued to be reinstated as sheriff until disputes over the outcome was resolved. While elections officials examined the close results, then-Capt. Jason Soles acted as temporary sheriff and apparently Greene’s part-time analyst. Greene ranted to Soles over the phone, suggesting that someone from the sheriff’s office was leaking information to Hatcher.

    From WITN:

    “I’m sick of it. I’m sick of these Black bastards,” Greene is recorded saying. “I’m going to clean house and be done with it. And we’ll start from there.”

    Greene was also recorded as saying: “Every Black that I know, you need to fire him to start with, he’s a snake.”
    He went on this way for a while. [Tweet and video at the link]

    GREENE: They’re gone. This is as fair as I’m going to be. Just giving you a heads up, that’s coming. When me and [attorney] Boyd [Worley] and [wife] Angie [Greene] go through it tomorrow, the first numbers we see, they’re gone. They ain’t going to make it brother. I’m telling you, they might as well find somewhere else to go. Because if you ain’t with me – I ain’t referring to you – but if they’re not with me, they’re against me. And they’re gone. And that’s just how it’s going to be. Clarity – whatever her name is, I don’t trust her. Dawn says she’s racist..

    Greene was apparently referring to Augustine Clarida, a Black detention officer. She is probably not the racist in this situation.

    GREENE: If I have to fire every (expletive) out there, guess what? I’m tired of them (expletive) with me. It ain’t happening no more. No goddamn more. So you let them know, if I find their numbers in the next day or two, they ain’t going to like it. They damn sure ain’t going to like it. And that’s got to be somebody in the command staff. Clarity. I don’t trust her. She’s just sitting there staring at me the other day, the whole time. Staring at me the whole (expletive) time.

    Greene was as good as his word! A Black captain was fired and a Black lieutenant was demoted after Greene was eventually sworn into office. Another Black sergeant was reported canned not long after Greene was elected. Some Black deputies appeared to have kept their jobs, but below the level of command staff. It was all very separate and unequal.

    Soles shared the recordings of Greene’s racist rants with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and a county commissioner, but they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) investigate without a formal request from the local prosecutor. Now that Soles is running for sheriff against Greene, he released the tapes to the media. Greene learned the “bro code” doesn’t apply when it comes to politics.

    SOLES: It broke my heart because that’s not what I believe in. It upset me that I did have to start recording his phone calls. And I’m not wanting to go around recording people’s conversations, but this was not the leader that we needed leading the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office making these racial slurs.

    Greene whined, “If Soles has had these alleged recordings since 2019, why would he intentionally hold the recordings? … The only thing Soles has on his agenda is to be Sheriff at all costs necessary.”

    The recordings aren’t alleged. We can hear them. It’s his voice. There’s no real market for racist Southern sheriff impersonations.

    Last week, Greene resigned from the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association after he was informed the group was considering whether to expel him. He also his looming legal troubles.

    USA Today reports:

    District Attorney Jon David told the station that he was informed of the recording Monday. In an email Thursday, David said he asked the SBI on Tuesday to investigate “Sheriff Jody Greene and deputies under his command for obstruction of justice,” but declined to elaborate.

    Columbus County, about 120 miles southeast of Raleigh, has a population of 50,000 people, 63 percent of whom are white and 30 percent Black. That’s a lot of Black folks who’ve lived under the rule of a racist sheriff. District Attorney Jon David might have more than a few firsthand witnesses to Greene’s awfulness.

  76. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Ranil Jayawardena, the new enviro[n]ment secretary [!!!], used his speech to the party conference to says that, under Liz Truss, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would stop being a “regulatory department” and become an economic growth department. He said:

    I can assure you all today that my department should no longer be seen as one that follows the EU, imposes rules and impedes innovation.

    Instead of being a regulatory department, we are now an economic growth department.

    Food and drink is our largest manufacturing sector.

    It is bigger than automotive and aerospace put together, with a presence in every constituency in this country.

    The opportunity for growth in the sector is enormous – and it will bring jobs, skills and prosperity across the nation.

    They are a dangerous gang of neoliberal fundamentalists.

  77. raven says

    …Kwarteng says as business secretary he saw the role business plays. He also saw how goverment could get in the way. Now he wants to free business from regulation.

    Yeah, we’ve seen this movie before.
    It doesn’t end well.

    The roots of the S&L crisis lay in excessive lending, speculation, and risk-taking driven by the moral hazard created by deregulation and taxpayer bailout guarantees. Some S&Ls led to outright fraud among insiders and some of these S&Ls knew of—and allowed—such fraudulent transactions to happen.

    Savings and Loan Crisis – S&L Crisis Definition – Investopedia

    There was a bank Savings and Loan crisis in the 1980s. Wikipedia: “The savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s (commonly dubbed the S&L crisis) was the failure of 1,043 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations (S&Ls) in the United States from 1986 to 1995.”

    It was due to several causes, one of which was bank deregulation and lack of regulatory foresight. The president at this time overseeing this disaster was Supply Side Economics himself, Ronald Reagan.

  78. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Education minister Andrea Jenkyns has been mocked on social media after she told a fringe event at the Conservative party conference that the current education system would rather young people get a degree in “Harry Potter studies” than in construction.

    Jenkyns, minister for skills, further and higher education, told her audience that students were being fed a diet of “critical race theory, anti-British history and sociological Marxism” in universities, and she promised a government clear out of low quality courses.

    Jenkyns, who was memorably photographed sticking up her middle finger at protestors after Boris Johnson’s resignation speech, told the Bruges Group event [where it looks like the lectern is decorated with a photo of Thatcher]: “A skilled modern economy competing on the global stage requires technical skills just as much as it needs graduates.

    “Yet the current system would rather our young people get a degree in Harry Potter studies than the apprenticeships shaping construction. It doesn’t take magic powers to work out that this is wrong, which is why the government is committed to putting the broomstick to good use and carrying out a spring clean of low quality courses.”

    Sam Freedman, former senior policy adviser at the Department for Education, responded on Twitter: “Number of students currently studying architecture, building, planning and engineering = 245,395. Number currently studying ‘Harry Potter Studies’ = 0.”

  79. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Government announces it will replace GDPR rules

    The government “will be replacing GDPR (general data protection regulation) with our own business and consumer friendly British data protection system,” culture secretary Michelle Donelan announced.

    Making her speech at the ICC in Birmingham, she said the “bureaucratic nature” of EU GDPR “is still limiting the potential of our businesses”.

    She added: “That is why today, conference, I am announcing that we will be replacing GDPR with our own business and consumer friendly British data protection system.”

  80. raven says

    I just trashed my mind reading Elon Musk’s tweet on Ukraine.
    Posting it here so no one has to make that mistake.

    Elon Musk @elonmusk

    Ukraine-Russia Peace:

    – Redo elections of annexed regions under UN supervision. Russia leaves if that is will of the people.

    – Crimea formally part of Russia, as it has been since 1783 (until Khrushchev’s mistake).

    – Water supply to Crimea assured.

    – Ukraine remains neutral.

    There is so much wrong with it that it is hard to know where to start.

    Russia isn’t going to have a free election and it isn’t going to leave peacefully.
    Not with tens of thousands of soldiers and thousands of artillery and heavy armored vehicles there.

    It is Ukraine’s water to do what they want with it.

    Ukraine already “remained neutral”. They also gave up several thousand nuclear weapons for security guarantees from the US, UK, and Russia.
    Look where it got them.
    To the edge of extinction as a country and people.
    They are going to be part of NATO or they are all going to be dead.

    Being part of NATO is the same as being neutral anyway.
    We have no interest in Russia, Russia has nothing we want, It’s full of Russians which no one wants, and if they went the way of North Korea with another Iron Curtain, the world would cheer and then keep on ignoring them.

  81. blf says

    raven@109, Another HUGE PROBLEM with the Musk brain-fart, as well as those from Kissinger, Chomsky, Corbyn, et al., is they all pay no attention whatsoever to what Ukraine wants or has said. Most — probably all — have Very Likely NOT consulted first with Ukraine or any Ukrainians. Most(? all?) also suggest something which provides Putin with Ukrainian territory, ignore the Ukrainians kidnapped by Putin’s mob, do not even mention the Highly Probable Putin-mob War Crimes, etc., etc.

    And almost no-one has ever mentioned a Marshall Plan for assistance. (The few mentions I have seen have largely been private enterprise assistance — think what happened when Yeltsin was Russian President, or in Chile — which is absolutely the wrong path.)

  82. blf says

    Amusingly, over the weekend I was thinking about this singer singing this particular song, and thought they already had… So today I discovered a brand new video (literally posted within the last day or two) of them doing so, Geoff Castellucci (of Voiceplay), Ghost Riders in the Sky (video). Mr Castellucci is a rather amazing (Low-)Bass singer with a multiple-octave range. That song is one of the very few “country” / “western” songs I can listen to without wanting to grate my ears and then make sure by putting my head under a pile-driver. (Apparently, “Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as the greatest Western song of all time” (2010).)

    As an aside, his wife, Kathy, has hearing problems, and they put out a charming video on the subject, Hearing Loss (A True Story).

  83. says

    Ukraine update: There’s no stopping the Ukrainian advance

    The article is illustrated with a photo of “Ukrainian tactical … cat? In service with Ukraine’s 59th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade.” The cat is wearing a tactical vest. Looks good.

    Poor Vlad Putin. Despite his fake “annexation” of four Ukrainian oblasts, none under Russia’s full control, Ukraine’s military advances have continued unabated. If Russia looked incompetent and out of its depth before, the message is now even starker: Putin can’t defend Mother Russia. And if history tells us anything, it’s that defending the country is a Russian leader’s single most important job.

    And Putin is failing it. I suspect we’ll see dramatic consequences of this failure.

    Big picture, Ukraine notched massive gains in September: [maps at the link]

    Put another way, Ukraine retook 10% of the land Russia occupied in a single month. And October has started with a bang, with Ukraine clearing out the Russian presence in northern Donetsk oblast (the area around Lyman), pushing into Luhansk oblast east of Lyman, and now liberating hundreds of square kilometers in northern Kherson. […]


    Mark Sumner was kind enough to update his map despite having Mondays off. [map at the link]

    The blue zone towns have either geolocated photos confirming their liberation, or there is consensus among Russian and Ukrainian Telegram sources. Yellow zone is the new front lines as Ukraine pushes down across that entire broad front. The biggest penetration is down the bank of the Dnipro river to Dudchany, where combat was ongoing overnight.

    It’s not all roses; Russian Telegram had pictures and video of artillery-smashed Ukrainian column outside Davydiv Brid on the lower-left hand corner of this map. Ukraine will want to pincer those two yellow blobs. That would either trap Russian defenders in this corner of the front, or force them to abandon their prepared defensive positions and fall back closer to Kherson city, leaving behind new Russian lend-lease contributions for the Ukrainian army. Ukraine will undoubtedly keep advancing on Davydiv Brid until its Russian defenders run out of steam, ammunition, or the will to fight. Collapsing defensive lines don’t lend themselves to a strong fighting spirit.

    Doing a quick and dirty measurement, Ukraine has liberated around 800 square kilometers (about 310 square miles) of territory on this front in around two days. And this isn’t Kharkiv, where Ukraine tricked Russia into looking elsewhere, allowing it to punch through thinly defended lines. This is exactly where Russia rushed all its defenses, as many as 40,000 troops, in well-prepared defensive emplacements on flat, open land where a wall of artillery can hamper any advances. The fact that Ukraine is finally advancing is a sign that Russian supply lines have been effectively degraded via HIMARS and long-range precision-guided artillery. Without functioning bridges, Ukrainian analysts have estimated that Russia can only supply about a quarter of what it needs via barges, helicopter, and through careful travel on broken bridges. And even that can be precarious work: [video of “Antonovsky bridge eats a Russian truck.”


    Mark’s updated map: [map at the link]

    Lyman is bottom left of this map. There is a lot more blue on this map than just a few days ago.

    Russian forces have chaotically retreated to new lines. As I noted yesterday, there are gruesome pictures of the aftermath as retreating Russians were slammed by artillery on their way out of Lyman. Don’t go looking for the pictures—I won’t even describe them. I literally had nightmares about them on Saturday night. And please do not post or describe in detail what you saw in the comments. There’s no need. Suffice to say that Russian losses were high, and I can’t imagine a more undignified way to go.

    The biggest new news on this map is the liberation of Borova in the top left on the map. The town used to have a bridge connecting it with the Izyum side of the Oskil river. At some point that’ll be repaired. Here’s the current situation: [map at the link]

    There are reports that that entire rail line from Kupyansk to Lyman (cut off at the very bottom of this map) is now in Ukrainian hands, but nothing is confirmed just yet. If not right now, it will be true within the next 12 to 24 hours. There is no reason for Russians to hold positions along the bank of the Oskil now that Borova has been liberated and Ukrainian troops are operating to the east.

    Given the importance of rail lines, clearing the route from Kupyansk to Lyman is huge. The rail line to Svatove is equally enticing, as are the mass of roads that all converge on the town. This is the logistical hub for this entire mass of Russian-held territory. The rail line from Kupyansk has already been cut, but they may still be able to move freight from the south through Kreminna (yet another reason that town is critically important for Russia).

    Once Ukraine liberates Svatove, Russia will need to abandon everything within a 25-40 kilometer radius (about 15-30 miles). Starobilsk at the right edge of the map above and the right circle below is the final prize, supplying the entire northeastern corner of Ukraine. Once Ukraine liberates that, all of northern Luhansk is immediately liberated.

    Sorry for the old map, [map at the link] but I’m trying to get this up ASAP. You can see the logistical importance of Svatove and Starobilsk: Both host a major rail line, and both serve as hubs for their region’s road networks, radiating out like spokes on a wheel.

    Starobilsk has one added importance: Once Ukraine liberates it, Russia will no longer be able to supply its war effort through Belgorod to the north of this map. It will have to reroute everything to feed their war machine from the east through Luhansk oblast and by freight shipping through the Azov Sea port cities of Mariupol and Berdyansk. It’s not an impossible task, but will require a massive effort to reorient all those supply lines while making the remaining lines more vulnerable to Ukrainian sabotage and interdiction.

    Taking those two cities and the resulting Russian retreat that would follow that would return Ukraine another 13,000 or so square kilometers (5,000 square miles) of its land, most of it sparsely populated agricultural steppe. That would be about 12% to 15% of the land Russia currently occupies, which will look great on maps. Though, again, the real value here is in cutting all supply routes from Belgorod.


    I should call this the “Luhansk front,” but really, all the action is in Bakhmut.

    Yesterday, as Ukraine liberated Borova, pressed toward Svatove, advanced around Kreminna, and freed towns in multiple parts of Kherson; Russia launched ten unsuccessful attacks at the same points around Bakhmut where its been fighting for three months. It’s incomprehensible.

    This is just pathetic, though a look at this map might show why Russia remains obsessed with it: [map at the link]

    Again, look at the rail lines. If Russia were somehow able to conquer the line from Horlivka to Bakhmut to Siversk, it would have a solid logistical base upon which to push deeper into Ukrainian-held Donbas. So there’s logic to wanting to occupy Bakhmut.

    The problem, of course, is that Russia isn’t even close to occupying any part of that line. And given the collapse of Russian lines in Kherson and up in the Tri-Oblast Area, this pipe dream appears even costlier than normal.

    Of course, we’ve already seen why Russia persists: This part of the front is manned by Wagner mercenaries using prison fodder to probe and push forward. Wagner has been asked to reinforce other parts of the front and they publicly and haughtily refused on their Telegram channel, saying they were the only Russian force capable of advancing anywhere in the country. Meanwhile, Wagner’s CEO has obliquely criticized Putin (along with Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov) in recent days. He has his own agenda, which may literally be a design on the Russian leadership, and he’ll do his own thing.

    Right now, that’s apparently banging his head against Bakhmut—not for military reasons, but for his own domestic machinations.

  84. says

    blf @112, Thanks for that. So much fun. Great voice.

    In other news, there re some reports that Russian authorities ordered Svatove to evacuate within 72 hours.

  85. blf says

    Follow-up to me@110, re raven@109, Who asserts Russia has nothing we want, It’s full of Russians which no one wants, and if they went the way of North Korea with another Iron Curtain, the world would cheer and then keep on ignoring them.

    Please stop with the Russia-phobia / -bashing. Russia, as a country, didn’t invade. Their anointed president, Putin, is the one who ordered the disaster, and seems unwilling to halt. It can be very difficult to not transfer / generalise the very understandable and legitimate anger at Putin, his enablers and cronies, (on)to Russia and Russians in general — I catch myself every now and then doing that — but I’m unaware of any reliable evidence informed Russians — and yes, they do exist (English-speakers, those with access to a VPN or other outside-Russia sources, and a number of other general categories come to mind) — support the illegal invasion, pretend-annexation, etc.

    So what is in in Russia I “want”? I, myself, would, as a few examples, love to visit the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (I once almost booked a trip to do exactly that), ride the Trans-Siberian Railway, and generally do “my” thing, which is to wander about (solo). (The inability to “wander about” safely, solo and not speaking Russian, is one reason the St Petersburg trip never happened.) It is true I cannot, off the top of my head, think of any Russian products I want (I detest Vodka, to name a famous example), but that does not equate to Russia has nothing we want.

  86. says

    Dmytro Kuleba:

    Those who propose Ukraine to give up on its people and land — presumably not to hurt Putin’s bruised ego or to save Ukraine from suffering — must stop using word “peace” as an euphemism to “let Russians murder and rape thousands more innocent Ukrainians, and grab more land”.

  87. tomh says

    Delay, delay, delay is a strategy that has always worked for Trump in the past.

    Trump Opposes Justice Department Motion to Expedite Special Master Appeal
    By Hyemin Han / October 3, 2022

    Former President Donald Trump opposed the Justice Department’s motion in the Eleventh Circuit to expedite appeal of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s Sept. 5 special master order. In establishing good cause for its Sept. 30 motion to expedite, the Justice Department pointed out that the decision of the appeal might render proceedings under the special master, for which Judge Cannon approved a case management schedule last week, unnecessary. It also argued that the outstanding issues are legal and not factual, thus not requiring extensive factual review. The Justice Department had requested Oct. 14, Nov. 4, and Nov. 11 as the deadlines for the Justice Department’s opening brief, Trump’s response, and the Justice Department’s reply brief, respectively. It had also requested that the court schedule oral arguments as soon as possible.

    Trump’s filing today, through local counsel Christopher Kise and James Trusty, pushed back on those deadlines, asking for oral arguments to be scheduled in Jan. 2023 and the briefing schedule to be set to Oct. 14, Nov. 14, and Nov. 21. It asserted that Trump would be prejudiced if the expedited appeal was approved and that the Justice Department has not shown good cause as to “why President Trump should have significantly less time than the Government and less time than that provided under the Rules to prepare and brief his arguments before this Court in this unprecedented case.” It also stated that, overall, the public interest is best served through a “thorough consideration of the issues”: “The Government has not and cannot possibly articulate any real risk of loss or harm resulting from a more deliberative process.”

    Trump’s opposition
    Justice Department’s motion to expedite appeal

  88. raven says

    New terrible data on Mariupol – more than a hundred thousand dead. More than 87 thousand dead were registered in the Ilyichevsk morgue alone. It was there that the invaders brought the bodies of the killed Mariupol residents. There will definitely be a tribunal over Putin’s Russia.…

    The original tweet is in Cyrillic.

    Around 3/4 of Mariupol’s population are either dead, deported, or refugees somewhere.
    This source is claiming 100,000 dead.
    Ironically, Mariupol was the most pro-Russian city in Ukraine, with 91% of the residents speaking Russian as their native language.
    Didn’t get them very far.

  89. Tethys says

    There is an update to the Ukrainian advance in Kherson at Lynna’s #112.

    If those Russian Telegram sources are correct, Russian units in Kherson have no comms (either they lack the equipment, or it’s being jammed), so they don’t know what other units around them are doing. They are pulling back to avoid being left behind. There is no coordination among Russian units, so they can’t hold the line.

    Also means that if they pull back to the final defensive lines before Kherson-Beryslav-Nova Kakhovka, they’ll be nicely concentrated for HIMARS’ shrapnel rounds, as Excalibur and other precision-guided artillery shells take out entrenched armor. [!!!]

    I watched the video of what happens to everything in range of a HIMARS’ shrapnel round, and only Putin and the Wagner group deserve such a gruesome death.

  90. says

    Ukraine Update: Russians in disarray, as Ukraine presses their advantage

    This is a bit of a potpourri update, as there’s only so many ways to say “Ukraine keeps advancing.” Note that as much as we want to see Kharkiv-style lightning advances, what we’re seeing now—10-15 kilometers per day—is the upper end of what could be reasonably hoped for. The reality is far less, as advancing forces have to, at bare minimum, clear roads and approaches of land mines. In Kharkiv, Russia was caught 100% unawares. That’s not the case in Kherson, or as Ukraine pushes into northern Luhansk, and yet the advances still come fast and furious. [Tweets and maps at the link.]

    […] The Russian approach to taking a city is to lay waste to it with artillery, then send cannon fodder ahead in “reconnaissance by fire.” If defenses remain, sure you lose some cheap infantry, but artillery has a better idea of where those defenses remain and it opens up again. Rinse, lather, and repeat until no resistance remains. It’s somewhat effective for a country that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the value of life, and it allowed for advances in the Donbas during that long, painful summer as we waited for Ukraine’s new Western-armed units were spun up and trained. If you wonder how Russia could indiscriminately target civilians, heck, they don’t even care about their own people. [It’s not all Russians who don’t care about their own people, it is Puttin and his lackeys that do not care.]

    Ukraine does it differently. They avoid direct urban warfare, cutting off a town’s supply lines until just one road out is left. This forces Russia to abandon hardened defensive positions lest they remain trapped, a la Mariupol. Thing is, armor is not the best escape vehicle—it breaks down and is slow, using up a great deal of diesel that may already be in short supply. So it’s easier to abandon the heavy stuff, steal some civilian vehicles, and hightail it out of dodge at top speed. Ukrainian artillery can target those roads, and many won’t make it out, but many do. End result, towns like Lyman are liberated with very little damage to their infrastructure. Not only does this encircle-and-starve-out approach save Ukrainian lives, but it moves the front much faster than Russia’s wasteful rinse-lather-repeat approach.

    And here’s the bonus—Ukraine doesn’t even need to stick around for a town to surrender. It can leave a blocking force behind to pin down the Russian garrison as the spearhead races ahead. In the Kherson blitzkrieg, there were towns well in the rear of the advance that Ukraine didn’t mop up for days. There was no need, as the spearhead romped in the backfield. From many indications, this is what Ukraine appears to be doing once again as it rushes to Svatove in what used to be the Kharkiv front, but is about to become the northern Donetsk front. [map at the link]

    There is little need for Ukraine to fight for all of those red dots. Easier to blow by them, cut them off, and wait for the eventual inevitable surrenders and replenishment of the Russian Lend-Lease military equipment program (captured abandoned Russian armor).

    [Rybar in English tweets available at the link] You’ve seen me and Mark Sumner cite Rybar, the largest, best-known pro-russian military reporter/blogger on Telegram. This new account translates and posts their dispatches on Twitter, which saves me a great deal of work, and makes the reports more accessible to everyone. It’s pro-Russian, and it’s often wrong about Russian advances. But when it comes to Russian retreats, it has been pretty solid.

    This particular snippet confirms what I speculated in the last post—that Russia would abandon positions on the eastern bank of the Oskil once Borova was emptied out. Feel free to laugh at the “trying to inflict unacceptable losses on the enemy,” which is how these pro-Russian outlets are salving their wounds. Sure, they are getting their asses kicked, but Ukraine is suffering so much more. They’re not. It’s hard to inflict much damage when your back is turned to the enemy and you’re fleeing in a blind panic through Ukrainian artillery. […]

    Pro-Russian propagandists are full of claims of the thousands of soldiers Ukraine has lost in this or that attack, and how Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is happy to feed Ukrainian soldiers into the mass death. There are never pictures, of course, just an article of faith.

    Their obsession with Ukrainian losses is weird, however. It would be expected that native forces would happily resist invaders to the death. Witness Patrick Henry’s “give me liberty, or give me death” rallying cry in the War of Independence, as well as Russia’s own experience in WWII, and Vietnamese and Taliban casualties in their wars with the United States. Resistance forces will often suffer greater casualties against a superior invading and occupying force. So even if it was true, that Ukraine was losing more military casualties than Russia, so what? It’s as relevant as the Pentagon’s daily death tolls during the Vietnam War. Ukraine’s problem isn’t men and women, there are over 1 million in uniform, with volunteer lines out the door for more. The bottleneck is in uniforms, helmets, body armor, light and heavy weapons with which to equip them.

    Russia, on the other hand, is dealing with this:

    NEW: U.S. has not seen a large-scale movement of Russian forces despite battlefield losses to Ukraine in the east and south of the country: senior U.S. military official

    Russia is out of forces to move. They are f’d. The (cold) strategic question isn’t how many dead Ukrainian is suffering, but whether Russia can replace its own mass casualties and loss of equipment. The answer appears to be nyet.

    And anyone that looks to their mobilization for hope is a fool. […]

    It’s a dog-eat-dog world in the Russian army: the Telegram channel Baza reports that the newly mobilised troops have been fighting off attempts by existing contract soldiers to rob them. Translation follows. [more at the link]

    Russian expert Kamil Galeev has written repeatedly about the abhorrent conditions of Russian conscripts, and the astonishingly high rates of suicide amongst them as a result of that mistreatment. [More details at the main link]

    These new conscripts near Moscow didn’t put up with those abusive traditions, as the contract soldiers tried to extort the new arrivals of all their belongings.

    soldiers who were attached to the unit started demanding clothes and mobile phones from the newcomers. The newcomers did not tolerate such an attitude and responded to the extortion with brute force.

    The older contract soldiers were outnumbered, hence the power differential. In the end, the humiliated contract soldiers didn’t even press charges. How could they? They’ll be lucky to be alive by next week.

    Anyone freaking out at this story that Russia is supposedly moving a Russian nuclear unit toward Ukraine? Well, don’t. [Tweet at the link]

    Russia is desperate for trucks and other military gear. You’ve seen the WWII era buggies on their way to the front? This is almost guaranteed a wartime requisition, with the side benefit of panicking observers into thinking Russia might go nuclear.

    Finally, an interesting anecdote from the Kherson front:

    Russian source says that the Russian forces are retreating from the occupied northeast of the Kherson area.

    “Due to communications problems, many of our units are forced to retreat so as not to be surrounded by the enemy.” Why would communication problems force a retreat? Because Russian units never had encrypted, protected communications from the first days of the war. That means that their equipment can be jammed by Ukraine. Or maybe they don’t even have cheap Motorola walkie talkies. Whatever the reason, they can’t coordinate with other units around them, which means that they hear of the front collapsing, and they’re like “shit, let’s get out of here unless we end up isolated!” No one wants to be the last unit left hanging on an exposed limb, so they all hightail it out. That’s how you collapse a front with minimal fighting.

  91. says

    Putin’s Last Days in the Bunker

    Vlad seems to be reliving the Führer’s last days in the bunker.
    Took direct command of the army? Check

    Ordered no retreat by collapsing troops? Check

    Throwing untrained and under-equipped conscripts into the meat grinder in a desperate attempt to delay the inevitable? Check

    Delusional ravings about the degenerate West? Check

    Announced the annexation of lands he does not control and his army is in full retreat from? – OK, Hitler didn’t do that one. Vlad must have thought that up on his own.

    Putin is no longer fighting to annex Ukraine. He is now fighting for his own survival. […] Every passing day the Ukrainian army gets bigger, stronger, better trained, and better armed and the Russian army gets weaker, less equipped, and more demoralized. […]

    As his army disintegrates under the Ukrainian assault, the Russian federation looks to be fraying, and the Russian economy is in free fall. Demonstrations, draft-age males fleeing over the border by the thousands, ethnic minorities in republics like Dagestan who have borne the brunt of the war on the verge of open rebellion. The Tsar is being openly criticized by allies and supporters (when they are not falling out of windows). Something that has never before happened. [video of unrest at the link]

    Putin is a desperate man losing touch with reality as the walls close in. Turns out the self-styled strategic genius or should I say ‘very stable genius’ was an idiot way out of his depth. His bully act is no longer working, and he’s got nothing else. No backup plan. No ability to think on his feet and adapt to reality. Not smart enough to come up with some way to save himself. He just keeps replaying his golden oldies hoping that if he just turns up the volume they will start working again. His mouthpieces in the media sound as desperate and confused as their boss.

    Everyone now knows the emperors got no clothes. The only question now is how many more will have to die before Putin goes the way of Hitler and Mussolini?

  92. says

    Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson knows her stuff. She’s good. She shut Gorsuch down today.

    Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made her first oral argument appearance Monday in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court’s first case of the term. It centers on whether certain wetlands warrant federal government protection.

    Jackson was a prominent voice in the proceedings, and was unafraid to tangle both with her fellow justices and with the lawyer representing the Sacketts, the people trying to build on currently protected wetlands near Priest Lake in Idaho.

    In one exchange, she jumped in to rebut a lengthy cross examination by Justice Neil Gorsuch. Gorsuch had been building the argument that property owners, bedeviled by EPA standards under the Clean Water Act that grant some wetlands protection but not others, could be exposed to stiff penalties if they unknowingly build on protected lands.

    “So if the federal government doesn’t know, how is a person subject to criminal time in federal prison supposed to know?” he [Gorsuch] asked in a bewildered tone.

    Jackson had tried unsuccessfully to jump in during Gorsuch’s questioning, but got her chance to speak after he finished.

    “Is there a process by which a homeowner can ask?” she [Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson] inquired.

    Brian Fletcher, deputy U.S. solicitor general, answered in the affirmative, that the Army Corp of Engineers will do a jurisdictional determination for free. [Ha!]

    “So you’re not really facing criminal liability without the opportunity to get an assessment from the government regarding your particular circumstances?” Jackson concluded.

    She also sparred with the lawyer for the Sacketts, Damien Schiff.

    Schiff, echoing Gorsuch (and Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, who raised similar points about ignorant property owners) in his rebuttal, held forth on the expense of hiring environmental consultants and the general cost and hassle of having to make sure that that land you’re building on is not protected.

    Again, Jackson cut in.

    “I thought they went into it knowing this might be a wetland,” she said.

    Schiff responded that there had been an assessment done by a prior owner determining that the land was a wetland, but said that the Sacketts didn’t know about it.

    “Shouldn’t they have gathered information about the property prior to purchasing it?” Jackson asked with a wry chuckle.

    “You keep talking about notice and fair notice and property owners not being able to tell or know about this issue,” she said. “I’m just trying to clarify with respect to the Sacketts — there seems to have been a prior determination that the land was wetland before they bought it. And whether or not they knew, they could have known, I presume, so why is this unfair in this situation with respect to the government now asserting that authority?”

    Schiff responded that the prior assessment of the land had expired.

    Jackson also appeared to have little patience for Schiff’s arguments touching on federalism and states’ rights, centering the congressional intent of the statute behind the EPA’s environmental regulations.

    “Why is it that your conception of this does not relate in any way to Congress’ primary objective?” she asked. “Do you dispute that the primary objective stated in the statute…is that Congress cared about making sure that the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters was protected?”

    While directed at Schiff, her point summed up the general critique of the right wing justices’ handling of agency cases: ignoring the spirit of the law in favor of parsing the language of the statutes to conclude that Congress wasn’t specific enough in the text. The nondelegation and major questions theories, increasingly favored in the conservative legal sphere to weaken agencies and their ability to regulate, rest on such readings of laws that disregard Congress’ attempts to empower agencies if they don’t meet some amorphous standard of specificity.

    Some of Jackson’s conservative peers seemed to be taking that route again, including Gorsuch, who suggested that EPA’s methods to determine which wetlands are protected are opaque and arbitrary. If they can muster enough votes within the six-person conservative supermajority, they’re likely to narrow the definition of which wetlands rate federal protection, which EPA warns will leave them — and the waterways they connect to — vulnerable to pollution and contamination.

    Sounds like the conservatives on the court are determined to have their way… no matter what logic and what facts Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson brings to the discussion.

  93. says

    NBC News:

    Hurricane Ian’s death toll reached 100 Monday as Florida’s top emergency administrator pushed back on growing criticism of Lee County officials who were allegedly slow to evacuate low-lying communities.

    Washington Post:

    Few events are as ripe for second-guessing public officials as hurricanes. And as we continue to try to grasp the scope of the damage done by Hurricane Ian, one big early question has emerged: Should evacuations have begun sooner in Florida’s Lee County?

  94. says

    New York Times:

    The Kremlin said on Monday that it did not know where the borders are for the regions in Ukraine it recently claimed to have annexed, the latest sign of the political disarray and improvisation that has accompanied Moscow’s setbacks on the battlefield.

  95. says

    New York Times:

    The new, redesigned Covid booster, which now protects against Omicron and its extremely contagious subvariants, appears to have a visibility problem. Federal authorities authorized the shot at the end of August, but by mid- to late September, nearly half of adults had heard little or nothing about it, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, based on the latest of its monthly surveys about attitudes toward the Covid vaccines.

  96. says

    NBC News:

    Emotional abuse and sexual misconduct were ‘systemic’ in women’s soccer with exploitation rife at virtually every level of the sport, according to a damning report made public on Monday.

    Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates led the independent probe of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

  97. says

    New York Times:

    […] Until now, little has been known about the woman whom migrants said identified herself only by her first name, “Perla,” when she solicited them to join the flights. A person briefed on the San Antonio sheriff’s office investigation into the matter told The New York Times that the person being looked at in connection with the operation is a woman named Perla Huerta. Ms. Huerta, a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent, was discharged in August after two decades in the U.S. Army that included several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military records.


    […] The DeSantis administration could’ve hired anyone to lure migrants onto an airplane, but it appears to have found someone with a background in Army counterintelligence who had left military service only weeks earlier. How did this person get the gig? How much was she paid with public resources? What kind of instructions was she given? Any chance the governor’s office might be willing to disclose the contract?

    What’s more, lawyers for the migrants suing DeSantis told The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent that they intend to name Huerta as a defendant in the civil case. Why does this matter? Because as Greg explained, this could “pave the way to deposing her for details about the DeSantis administration’s potential involvement in deceiving the migrants.”

    […] Michael Barfield, director of public access at the Florida Center for Government Accountability, told the Times, “I have been doing this long enough to know that the state of Florida is being deliberately opaque about this incident. I do believe there is a misuse of state funds.”

    To date, DeSantis hasn’t offered a detailed defense of his gambit, and what the governor has pitched has been unpersuasive. What’s more, in the immediate aftermath of the migrants arriving on Martha’s Vineyard, the Republican was eager to claim credit for the developments, and he even suggested it was merely the first salvo.

    In the weeks that followed, there have been no additional flights, and a Texas-to-Delaware stunt was called off right around the time a Texas sheriff opened a criminal inquiry into this mess and DeSantis’ first round of victims found a lawyer and filed a credible lawsuit.


  98. says

    Here’s a link to today’s Guardian Ukraine liveblog. From their latest summary:

    The upper house of Russia’s parliament has voted to approve the incorporation of four occupied Ukrainian regions into Russia,… In a session on Tuesday, the Federation Council unanimously ratified legislation to annex the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine, following a similar vote in the state Duma, Russia’s lower house, yesterday. No lawmakers in the lower house voted against the bill either.

    President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has signed a decree formally declaring the prospect of any Ukrainian talks with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin “impossible”. The decree formalised comments made by Zelenskiy on Friday after the Russian president proclaimed the four occupied regions of Ukraine were to become part of Russia.

    Russia, however, no longer has full control of any of the four provinces it claims to annex, after Ukrainian troops reportedly advanced dozens of kilometres in Kherson province. The Russian military has acknowledged that Kyiv’s forces had broken through in the Kherson region. It said the Ukrainian army and its “superior tank units” had managed to “penetrate the depths of our defence” around the villages of Zoltaya Balka and Alexsandrovka.

    Russia’s retreat from Lyman has sparked vociferous criticism of the handling of the war on Russian state television. Vladimir Solovyov, host of a primetime talkshow on state TV channel Russia 1 and one of the Kremlin’s biggest cheerleaders, said on air on Sunday. “We need to pull it together, make unpopular, but necessary decisions and act.”

    Lyman’s recapture by Ukrainian troops is Russia’s largest battlefield loss since Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in the north-eastern Kharkiv region in September.

    Russias’s ministry of defence spokesperson, Igor Konashenkov, said Russian troops had occupied what he called a “pre-prepared defensive line”. His comments are an admission that Ukraine’s southern counter-offensive is dramatically gaining pace, two months after it began.

    North Korea has become the only UN member state apart from Russia to recognise the “results” of the Moscow-backed “referendums” in the occupied areas of Ukraine.

    Diplomatic relations between Russia and Japan continue to deteriorate. Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has ordered a Russian consul in Sapporo to leave Japan by 10 October….

  99. says

    Guardian – “The Onion defends right to parody in very real supreme court brief supporting local satirist”:

    …In one of its less amusing sections, the brief argues that the appeals court ruling “imperils an ancient form of discourse. The court’s decision suggests that parodists are in the clear only if they pop the balloon in advance by warning their audience that their parody is not true. But some forms of comedy don’t work unless the comedian is able to tell the joke with a straight face.”

    The filing highlights the history of parody and its social function: “It adopts a particular form in order to critique it from within”. To demonstrate, the Onion cites one of its own greatest headlines: “Supreme court rules supreme court rules”.

    The document serves as a rare glimpse behind the comedy curtain – an explanation of how jokes work – even as it serves as a more traditional legal document, pointing to relevant court cases and using words like “dispositive”….

  100. says

    Lynna @ #128, thank you for that. Heartening.

    Sounds like the conservatives on the court are determined to have their way… no matter what logic and what facts Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson brings to the discussion.

    Yes, absolutely. But every time she chips away at their false narrative and calls out their bad faith, it makes it harder for them to do it stealthily, to save face, and to conceal the powerful interests they serve and how this whole game operates.

  101. says

    Shayan Sardarizadeh, BBC:

    Iran’s schools have now become an integral part of the protests. Marching in Tehran today, schoolgirls wave their head coverings in the air and chant “death to the dictator” on day 19 of protests in Iran over the death of #MahsaAmini.

    In Saqez, hometown of #MahsaAmini whose death in morality police custody triggered protests across Iran, schoolgirls remove head coverings and chant “death to the dictator” today on day 19 of nationwide protests.

    Iranian schoolgirls set fire to their head coverings at a school today on day 19 of nationwide protests over the death of #MahsaAmini in morality police custody for “improper hijab”….

    Videos at the (Twitter) link.

  102. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Patrick Wintour reports:

    Russia is at risk of losing control of the strategic towns critical to retaining the city of Kherson and eventually Crimea, western officials said, but they warned the fighting along the Dnipro River “will not be an easy rush into constrained territory”.

    They warned the situation in the south “could become increasingly messy with potentially a more desperate Russian force with their backs to the river Dnipro”, adding the Russian leadership politically will be unable to sanction a retreat from Kherson.

    Asked if Russia was preparing to act on its repeated threat to use tactical nuclear weapons, the official insisted they had seen no indicators or actions by Russia that were out of the norm. They pointed out that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had slapped down the calls from Chechen leaders to use such weapons, saying it was not right to resort to emotions.

    Giving one of its most upbeat assessments of the military balance, the western officials said Ukraine was dictating the operational tempo at the moment and doubted whether Russia any longer had any ambition or ability to return to the offensive. “Ukrainian commanders in the south and the east are creating problems for the Russian chain of command faster than the Russians can effectively respond”.

    They also doubted the capacity of the 300,000 Russian conscripts to tip the military balance, pointing to the importance of warm weather, clothing and logistics. “Currently you’ve seen videos of Russian recruits lighting fires in fields at minus five degrees at night – that is not going to be a situation where you have high morale over the winter.”

    Western officials highlighted the progress being made by Ukrainian forces in the south along the Dnipro River, with the start of a potentially fatal pocket being created containing 20,000 Russian troops trapped on the western side of river. But the officials warned as Ukrainian forces pushed south along the river they could potentially be at risk from artillery fire by Russian forces on the other side of the river. “This won’t be an easy rush through unconstrained territory. We think it unlikely the Russian leadership would sanction a full pullout from Kherson for political reasons.

    The officials said the town of Nova Kakhovka, about 50 kilometres from the most advanced Ukrainian troops, was “a critical challenge to the viability of the Russian troops in Kherson”. The town has a major road bridge, power station and dam, as well as a canal taking fresh water to Crimea, so is seen by the western military officials as central to a nexus of communications. “If you can control that it allows you a much greater military advantage, putting areas of the Kherson and Crimea area at risk”.

    The western officials said Russia’s headlong weekend retreat on the northern front in Lyman occurred despite orders to defend and remain.

    He said the Russian army “suffered high casualties from artillery fire as they attempted to leave the town to the east. As part of the supposedly newly annexed Donbas, relinquishing these areas is exactly what the Kremlin didn’t want to happen”.

  103. says

    Polina Ivanova, FT:

    Andrei, from Russia’s Buryatia region, fled conscription to Mongolia. There, he reunited with a branch of his family that fled in the 1920s.

    “Now I joke with them: ‘you fled in the 20s, and so did we’”…On the long suffering of Russian minority groups: [FT link at the (Twitter) link]

    Kalmyks, Ingush, the peoples of Dagestan, Sakha, Buryats… there are so many unique communities in Russia, many small in number, that should be protected. Instead — assimilation, and now a frightening mass mobilisation.

  104. says

    Julia Ioffe:

    Forbes Russia estimates that *700,000* Russians have left the country in the last two weeks, since Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” on September 21. That’s more than *double* the number of men Putin had hoped to call up.

    Link (in Russian) at the (Twitter) link.

  105. KG says

    The Truss regime appears to be on the verge of meltdown, with confusion over when the Truss-Kwarteng comedy duo will announce their plans for controlling government debt, and senior ministers either implying they won’t support welfare cuts (Leader of the House of Commons Penny Mordaunt and Welsh Secretary Robert Buckland) or (Suella Braverman, Home Secretary) attacking Tory MPs for launching a “coup” against Truss (i.e. forcing her to abandon the plan to abolish the top rate of income tax). I’d say there is now a fair chance she won’t last the month, probably through mass resignation of ministers as happened to Johnson, but what would follow is up in the air. Another prolonged contest for the Tory leadership is surely untenable, but Sunak – the only obvious alternative Tory PM – has too many enemies among the “libertarian” headbangers for him to succeed without one. Two outside possibilities:
    1) A group of Tories invite Starmer to join a GNU (Government of National Unity) led by Sunak without replacing Truss as party leader using the Ukraine War as an excuse (I suggested previously this could happen if Putin used a tactical nuke in Ukraine, but they could pretend it looks as if he is likely to (which it doesn’t, at present)).
    2) Sufficient “centrist” Tories break away to form a new party and offer to join Starmer in a coalition which he would lead – they would desperately want to avoid a general election in which both the main party and the breakaway would be trashed. But if Starmer has any sense he would refuse this offer and hold out for the general election.
    I’d say it’s still more likely than not she will survive, because of the lack of a good answer (from the POV of Tory MPs) to the question “What next?”, but her authority as PM is already severely and irreversibly damaged.

  106. raven says

    The New York Times @nytimes

    President Vladimir Putin of Russia is now discovering what the U.S. itself concluded years ago, American officials suspect: Small nuclear weapons are hard to use, harder to control and a far better weapon of terror and intimidation.

    This article is behind a paywall of the NYTimes.

    I’m not a NYTimes fan but they do have some good articles.

    The US decided long ago that tactical nuclear weapons probably weren’t very useful.
    We reduced our stockpile of them by a lot.

    “We didn’t want to be in a position where a sergeant could start a nuclear war.”
    There just aren’t that many reasons to level a square mile or so.
    What the US did was decide precision guided weapons were going to be more useful instead and that is the direction we went.

  107. raven says

    This is the NYTimes article.
    These are excerpts of the whole article giving an idea of current thinking on tactical nuclear weapons. They just don’t look all that useful.

    Russia’s Small Nuclear Arms: A Risky Option for Putin and Ukraine Alike
    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has 2,000 small nuclear weapons, but their utility on the battlefield may not be worth the longer-term costs.
    NYTimes By David E. Sanger and William J. Broad Oct. 3, 2022 edited for length

    WASHINGTON — For all his threats to fire tactical nuclear arms at Ukrainian targets, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is now discovering what the United States itself concluded years ago, American officials suspect: Small nuclear weapons are hard to use, harder to control and a far better weapon of terror and intimidation than a weapon of war.

    The primary utility, many U.S. officials say, would be as part of a last-ditch effort by Mr. Putin to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive, by threatening to make parts of Ukraine uninhabitable. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe some of the most sensitive discussions inside the administration.

    Great secrecy surrounds Russia’s arsenal of tactical arms, but they vary in size and power. The weapon Europeans worry the most about is the heavy warhead that fits atop an Iskander-M missile and could reach cities in Western Europe. Russian figures put the smallest nuclear blast from the Iskander payload at roughly a third of the Hiroshima bomb’s explosive power.
    Much more is known about the tactical weapons designed for the American arsenal back in the Cold War. One made in the late 1950s, called the Davy Crockett after the frontiersman who died at the Alamo, weighed about 70 pounds; it looked like a large watermelon with four fins. It was designed to be shot from the back of a jeep and had about a thousandth of the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

    Putin’s Nuclear Threats: For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, top Russian leaders are making explicit nuclear threats and officials in Washington are gaming out scenarios should Mr. Putin decide to use a tactical nuclear weapon.

    On land, the radiation effects “would be very persistent,” said Michael G. Vickers, the Pentagon’s former top civilian official for counterinsurgency strategy. But he said his experience suggests “their strategic utility would be highly questionable, given the consequences Russia would almost assuredly face after their use.”

    The radiation dangers from small nuclear arms would likely be less than those involving large reactors, like those at Chernobyl. Its radioactive fallout poisoned the flatlands for miles around and turned villages into ghost towns. Eventually the radiation caused thousands of cases of cancer, though exactly how many is a matter of debate.

    Tactical weapons, in contrast, might collapse a few city blocks or stop an oncoming column of troops. But they would not destroy the world.

    As the Cold War ended, NATO admitted publicly to what insiders had long concluded, that the rationale for any nuclear use was exceedingly remote and that the West could dramatically reduce its nuclear forces. Slowly it removed most of its tactical nuclear weapons, determining they were of little military value.
    Roughly a hundred are still kept in Europe, mostly to appease NATO nations that worry about Russia’s arsenal, estimated at 2,000 or so weapons.

    Last week, the Institute for the Study of War concluded that “Russian nuclear use would therefore be a massive gamble for limited gains that would not achieve Putin’s stated war aims. At best, Russian nuclear use would freeze the front lines in their current position and enable the Kremlin to preserve its currently occupied territory in Ukraine.” Even that, it concluded, would take “multiple tactical nuclear weapons.”
    But it would not, the institute concluded, “enable Russian offensives to capture the entirety of Ukraine.” Which was, of course, Mr. Putin’s original goal.

  108. raven says

    This is from a Ukrainian source so likely to be a bit biased.
    The Russian 3rd army is from the first mobilization a few months ago. That one clearly didn’t work.

    “… the personnel of the 3rd Army Corps “distinguished” by extremely low discipline, therefore regularly abused alcohol, quite often left their positions arbitrarily and refused to follow the orders.”
    Well, who can blame them anyway.
    It is obvious that these soldiers don’t want to be there and they know they are fighting for nothing worthwhile.
    Fight for what? To genocide the Ukrainians? Because Putin is a twisted loon? The oligarchies? (Who likely think the war is foolish.) To take a Ukrainian washing machine home?

    Russia’s 3rd Army Corps Collapsed and Cannot Perform Given Tasks – the General Staff of Ukraine
    Defense Express October 4, 2022

    At current stage the so-called partial mobilization does not even allow to quickly replenish personnel losses of the russian army
    In his report as of 6:00 a.m. on October 4, 2022, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine spokesman noted in particular that the 3rd Army Corps of russia’s Armed Forces actually collapsed, essentially ceased to exist as an organized formation of enemy troops, therefore it cannot perform its assigned tasks.

    The General Staff of Ukraine speaks of two main reasons: the units of the 3rd AK received mainly outdated equipment, which is not suitable for combat missions; the personnel of the 3rd Army Corps “distinguished” by extremely low discipline, therefore regularly abused alcohol, quite often left their positions arbitrarily and refused to follow the orders.

    The last but not the least: the officer corps of the russian army is characterized by incredible defects at all levels, therefore they are unable to organize proper maintenance of equipment and appropriate training of subordinates.

    Even the contingent they send as “reinforcements” to the combat zone on the territory of Ukraine indicates the flawed thinking of the senior officers of the russian army. The General Staff of Ukraine indicates that russians are transferring, in particular, units of the Rosgvardiya from Siberia. Although after liberation of Kharkiv Oblast shows that in fact the units of russia’s National Guard are not capable of performing tasks even at the level of “light infantry” in a real combat situation.

    Also, for the sake of reinforcement, russia’s units from Syria are about to be deployed in Ukraine. That means two things: firstly, the Kremlin decided to minimize its presence in this region. Secondly, “partial mobilization” at this stage does not even allow to quickly replenish the losses of “personnel” units of the russian army.

  109. says


    Unveiled Iranian schoolgirls trash photos of Ayatollah Khomeini, father of the revolution. “The essence of oligarchical rule…is the persistence of a certain world-view and a certain way of life, imposed by the dead upon the living.” -George Orwell, 1984

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  110. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile in Russia: a host urged the citizens to exercise “internal censorship”: not to read hostile media reporting and abstain from complaining, lest their comments end up being used by foreign networks like CNN. He also seems to be striking at the comments made by head of RT.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. Aside from this guy’s voice being painful for me to listen to, this is probably the funniest one yet. It’s self-parody.

  111. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russian maps appear to show rapid withdrawals in eastern and southern Ukraine

    Russian defence ministry maps appear to show rapid withdrawals of Russian invasion forces from areas in eastern and southern Ukraine where they have been under severe pressure from a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

    Reuters reports:

    The ministry’s daily video briefing made no mention of any pullbacks, but on maps used to show the location of purported Russian strikes, the shaded area designating Russian military control was much smaller than the day before.

    In northeast Ukraine, where Russia suffered a rout last month, its forces along a frontline running some 70 km southward from Kupiansk along the River Oskil appeared to have retreated some 20 km to the east, as far as the border of Luhansk province.

    This would mean they had vacated the last remnants of Ukraine’s Kharkiv province – where Russia for several months maintained an occupation administration – but for a small patch between the town of Dvorichna and the Russian border.

    In southern Ukraine’s Kherson province, Russia’s line of control on the right bank of the Dnipro river had shifted 25 km southward on the map, to a line running westward from the riverside town of Dudchany.

    Both areas are battlefields where Ukraine has been reporting advances, albeit without giving full details.

    It would not be the first time that Moscow had acknowledged a withdrawal so obliquely. On 11 September, a map presented by the defence ministry showed that Russian forces had abandoned most of the parts of Kharkiv that they had controlled, as far east as the Oskil, after a lightning Ukrainian offensive.

  112. says

    Democratic gubernatorial candidates pick up key GOP backing

    An underappreciated angle to this year’s midterms: the sizable groups of Republicans rallying behind Democratic candidates for governor in multiple states.

    n Kansas’ gubernatorial race, it seemed likely that former Gov. Bill Graves would support state Attorney General Derek Schmidt. Not only are they both Republicans, but Schmidt actually worked in Schmidt’s administration. About a month ago, however, the former GOP governor threw his support behind Laura Kelly, Kansas’ Democratic governor.

    A couple of weeks later, another former Republican Kansas governor, Mike Hayden, also announced his support for the Democratic incumbent. Yesterday, as The Topeka Capital-Journal reported, the trend continued.

    Former Republican U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum announced Monday she would endorse Gov. Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor’s race. While Kassebaum endorsed Kelly in 2018, it was expected that one of the pre-eminent figures in Kansas politics would not back her or her opponent, Attorney General Derek Schmidt, in 2022.

    Schmidt not only worked for Kassebaum’s Senate office, she also backed his campaign for state attorney general. This year, however, the former senator is nevertheless supporting the Democratic governor.

    If this political dynamic seems at all familiar, it’s not your imagination. The Metro Times in Michigan ran this report a few weeks ago on the Wolverine State’s Democratic incumbent governor also benefiting from some GOP backing.

    More than 150 Michigan Republicans banded together to launch a group supporting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s reelection bid, her campaign announced Monday. The group includes business leaders, former state lawmakers, an ex-congressman, and top staff from the Republican administrations of Gov. John Engler and Rick Snyder. Jeff Timmer, the former head of the Michigan Republican Party, also signed on.

    Two weeks earlier, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published a related report on Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race.

    Several more Republican leaders announced Tuesday that they will go against their political party and support Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the November gubernatorial election. Seven former GOP officials — including former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former Allegheny County state Rep. Jim Kelly — said they’ll support Mr. Shapiro, the state’s Democratic nominee, in the 2022 election.

    [Yay! Good news.]

    Those endorsements came on the heels of other Republican officials backing Shapiro, including two former GOP congressmen, a former GOP state House speaker and a former GOP lieutenant governor.

    It’s difficult to predict how many votes will be swayed by endorsements like these, though Republicans in these states appear to be effectively giving permission to their own party’s voters to support Democratic candidates.

  113. says

    Followup to comment 128, and to SC @136.

    Jackson Uses The Originalist Tack Favored By Her Right-Wing Peers To Push Back

    Jackson is running down how the 14th Amendment was not passed in a race-neutral way — it was passed to undergird the rights of the newly-freed slaves.

    “It’s not a race-blind remedy,” she says.

    The conservatives have been recently favoring the historical argument to hack back rights, as seen most clearly in Dobbs. Here, Jackson is using the record to bolster the side of heightened protections for racial minorities.


    Kagan Targets Her Conservative Peers In Rundown Of VRA [Voting Rights Act] Decimation
    The VRA, she pointed out, “has fared not well in this court.”

    We’re now left with Section 2 to determine vote dilution cases.

    “You’re asking us essentially to cut back substantially on our 40 years of precedent and to make this too extremely difficult to prevail on,” she said, bewildered. “So what’s left?”

    Kagan Points Out Reality That Alabama’s Plan Could Create Zero Majority-Minority Districts
    “I’m interested in whether you think as a matter of federal law, as a matter of the Voting Rights Act, you are prohibited from enacting a plan that has 0 majority-minority districts,” she said.

    She added that we could be facing a situation where a minority comprising 27 percent of the state’s voting-age population “could be essentially foreclosed from electing candidates of their choice anywhere.”

    Kate Riga tweets:

    Sotomayor bringing fire here. Points out that while the Black Belt (majority Black) is habitually cracked into three of four districts, Mobile/Baldwin are always kept together. The difference? “It just so happens that all of those people are white,” she says

    […] Jackson not tolerating Alabama’s push for “race neutral” redistricting. “This is a situation in which race has already infused the voting system — can you help me understand why you think the world of race-blind redistricting is really the starting point in this situation?”

    The Court Has Already Hobbled The Voting Rights Act
    If the conservatives nix these Section 2 protections (the part of the VRA that governs these vote dilution cases), there will be hardly anything left of the once-legendary civil rights law.

    In 2013, the Roberts court made preclearance toothless, a critical measure that forced areas with histories of racial discrimination to clear new election laws with the U.S. attorney general or the U.S. District Court for D.C. before they went into effect. That ruling freed up such states and regions to pass voter restrictions and shutter polling places, usually to the detriment of minority voters.

    Then in 2021, the Court handed down Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, weakening Section 2 and making it harder to bring challenges to discriminatory voting laws in court.

    Alabama’s Catch 22
    The Court’s process to identify illegal racial gerrymanders is hard enough to satisfy as it is (if you hear the term “Gingles test” thrown around, this is what they’re talking about). The people bringing the racial gerrymandering claim need to prove that: 1) the minority group is large and compact enough to constitute a majority in the district 2) the minority group is “politically cohesive” (its members tend to vote the same way) and 3) the group, when in the majority, usually votes as a bloc to defeat the minority’s candidates.

    To satisfy the first requirement of the tests, then, plaintiffs have to show that a majority-minority district that doesn’t contort itself all over the state can be drawn. In a mind-melting argument, Alabama is arguing that that to draw those maps, using race as one of the primary factors, is an illegal racial gerrymander.

    Alabama is arguing that only if you can basically craft a majority-minority district by accident and at random, without taking race into account, can you prove a racial gerrymandering claim.

    Part of (good faith) map drawing is keeping like communities intact, an exercise that requires granular knowledge of the state and its history. Alabama would throw that out the window, with the happy coincidence of perhaps drawing maps with no majority-minority districts at all.

  114. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Peter Beaumont, who is reporting from Ukraine for the Guardian, has just got back from newly liberated Lyman today and shared his impressions of the by phone:

    t’s quiet there, the fighting has moved quite a long way as the Ukrainians continue their offensive. We saw the sheer level of destruction in the city. It’s quite a long approach now because one of the main bridges is blown, even though you would normally get there quickly from Sloviansk. It’s a circuitous route along roads that were formerly the Russian frontlines.

    You’re going through this rolling countryside, with woods and forests, but you can see where shells have snapped trees in half, and missiles have knocked down several dozen trees. When you get into the town you can see there is a lot of destruction: the house of culture is gutted, there isn’t an apartment that doesn’t have some damage on it, houses have bee flattened.

    It’s a huge railway town, and on the bigger junctions you find where the Russian dugouts were. Many have been hit by different kinds of munitions before they fled towards Crimea. It used to be a busy place, a town of 30,000 where most people worked for the railways, but there are only estimated to be 1,000 people left. There’s no electricity, no gas, a lot of the apartment houses have had all their windows blown out, and it’s beginning to get chilly now.

    Quite a common sight as you’re wandering around is you see people – mainly the elderly residents stayed – cooking food out on street on open fires, which is all they can do at the moment. We managed to pop into a little supermarket, and most shelves were empty. The bakery got hit so there’s no bread. During the occupation it sounds like groceries supplies weren’t coming through much anyway because most Russians insisted on bribes.

    Ukrainian troops are very much in evidence now, the national police are back, but it’s a ghost town. There’s quite a heavy military presence around areas where they’re going to try to run the south from. It’s a long way from being normal and it’s really been destroyed.

    One older gentleman I spoke to had only returned to the town 18 days before the battle started. There’s a story I’ve heard in other parts of Ukraine, that pensioners can’t really afford rents in the safer cities and they run out of money and end up going back. Like many, he didn’t see much of battle because he was hiding in his basement, and only came out when it started getting quieter and saw Ukrainian flags had been put up.

    We weren’t there when the town was liberated but I got the sense for quite a lot of people who are still there they’re just exhausted, cold, hungry, and they’re still not convinced the war has gone away. Even though this battle has been won it’s only moved down the road essentially so you can still hear sound of booms coming over the countryside.

    The other issue about the aftermath is it’s lousy with the mines. You cannot go off the road, there are booby traps. All the solders we’ve spoken to said everywhere not on a path or cleared road is a mine risk and there are an awful lot of mines there, especially in the forests where the Russian positions were.

    Ukrainians have been quite efficient about getting food supplies in but getting it ready for winter, turning gas and electricity on in a deserted town with so much damage is a big job, and the war hasn’t gone away yet.

    It’s an important victory because Lyman is a big strategic junction. The Ukrainians are looking at it as the gate into liberating occupied Luhansk and further down. It’s now towards one edge of the occupied eastern area.

    US promises additional weapons to Ukraine

    US president Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Washington will provide Kyiv with $625 million (£544 million) in new security assistance, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers, the White House said.

    Reuters reports:

    Biden was joined in the call by Vice President Kamala Harris, the White House said in a statement. The president underscored that Washington will never recognise Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory, it added.

    Biden “pledged to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russian aggression for as long as it takes,” the statement said.

  115. says

    Ukraine update: Russia’s unraveling accelerates as Ukraine makes gains on every front

    It would be possible to write a post today that was simply a list of villages and towns liberated by Ukrainian forces. And it would still be long. From Kherson to Kharkiv—and at nearly every stop in between—Russia’s army is in retreat, Ukrainian forces are advancing, and the speed of the change is incredible. Kos was right on when he stated back at the end of August that the Russian Army had culminated. But I don’t think he, or Volodymyr Zelenskyy, anticipated just how extensively, and how rapidly, that Russian army would collapse.

    In parts of both Kherson and northern Kharkiv, Ukrainian forces don’t seem to be so much fighting their way past Russian defenses, as they are … strolling into town. And if there’s any shortage the Ukrainian army may be facing at the moment, it could be a shortage of Ukrainian flags.

    The spacing and attitude of the guys in this platoon show that they are not simply free from enemy fire, but astoundingly relaxed. [video at the link]

    The advance that began over the weekend in Kherson was initially focused on the western bank of the Dnipro River, but has since become a general rout all across the northern area that was previously occupied by Russia. […] not everything has gone perfectly. A column of Ukrainian vehicles was destroyed outside Davydiv Brid, and an effort to occupy that town was apparently forced to retreat across the river under withering fire.

    But on Tuesday, the advance from the north has been so rapid, that it’s unclear if Davydiv Brid is still being seriously contested. [map at the link showing that Ukraine advanced over 20km]

    Ukraine has advanced over 20km on both the east and west of this area. So far that Davydiv Brid could soon be taken from the north, rather than the west. The bridgehead that Ukraine established across the Inhulets River, and fought so hard to maintain, is just a few kilometers away from being incorporated into this general southward advance.

    How did Ukraine pull off such a sudden and apparently complete defeat of Russia in an area where Russia has packed in troops and armor? There seems to be one factor that played a major role: radios.

    There have been astonished reports from the beginning of the invasion that, rather than encrypted high-band military radios, Russia was using consumer-grade equipment—essentially walkie-talkies of the sort you might find at a nearby sporting goods store. Additionally, Russian forces have often been communicating en clair, speaking openly of positions and objectives, rather than using any sort of code.

    In Kherson, Ukraine seems to have taken advantage of this fact by issuing false orders and reports over these radio bands. Then they reportedly used jammers — readily available for these kinds of radios, but much more difficult for real military communications — to cut Russian forces off from one another. In all the various towns and villages in northern Kherson, Russian forces found themselves receiving a burst of orders, then they were speaking into static. Then a wall of Ukrainian armor came their way.

    Isolated and confused, they began to pull back. Overall, Ukraine used Russia’s poor command and control structure, and it’s amazingly bad communications, to turn their northern defensive line into groups of frightened, confused, individuals scrambling to find a safe place. As of mid-day Tuesday in Ukraine, the advance seems to be continuing. In fact, there are reports that the towns at the center of the “in dispute” area above—Novovoskresenske, Chervone, and neighboring villages—have already been liberated.

    Russia has a large number of forces west of the Dnipro, and Ukraine is bound to run into a serious defensive line eventually. There is still about 50km between currently known positions and that bridge at Nova Kakhovka. It’s very unlikely that Ukraine will just keep strolling. But already, Ukraine has liberated something close to 900 square kilometers in north Kherson.

    Oh, and another convoy of Russian vehicles being loaded onto a barge near Nova Kakhovka reportedly discovered that it was HIMARS O’clock. Whether this barge was heading into, or out of, Kherson isn’t clear.

    Meanwhile, in the north… [map at the link]

    For the last three weeks, I’ve been jokingly referring to the area around Lyman as the “Greater Tri-Oblast Area,” the kind of place where you can imagine that the morning news comes with a farm report and there’s a rivalry among high school sports teams. But if you look at the map above, the days of the Tri-Oblast Area are definitely numbered.

    That’s because there are no Russian-occupied locations remaining in northern Donetsk Oblast, and Ukrainian forces are within a few kilometers of clearing all of Kharkiv Oblast. Very soon now, the whole story in the north will be entirely taking place in Luhansk Oblast, as Ukraine moves toward Svatove and beyond.

    There have been advances in many different areas, with movement toward Svatove from the north, west, and south. Over along the Oskil River, Ukrainian forces moved north of Borova, coming within 5km of closing the gap to the area liberated by the force moving south from Kupyansk, and it’s not clear that there is any actual Russian presence remaining in that 5km.

    The most significant single location liberated on Monday was probably Makiivka. This location is not only along the road that formerly supplied the Russian forces that were camped for so long in Lyman, it was one of four locations that were reportedly being reinforced and fortified with defensive positions to act as a brake on Ukrainian movement toward Svatove. That … didn’t work.

    Now that Makiivka has been liberated, I’ve removed the special markers I had put around these four locations, because it seems that this new defensive line may be as illusory as the previous one that supposedly ran through Borova.

    The blue circle north of Kreminna represents an area where Ukrainian forces apparently reached the P66 highway and have blocked traffic along that route, but haven’t yet reported taking a town along this route. Expect that to change very soon, as it looks like Ukrainian forces are pressing both north and east from Makiivka.

    There are so many localities being liberated in this area alone, that I’m absolutely certain the map is woefully out of date. What’s clear at this moment is that the Russian forces reportedly packing up gear in Svatove better hurry. Because they’re about to be hit from all sides at once.

    I didn’t yet make a map, but there are also advances in the south, and Ukrainian forces are hinting that there’s about to be big movement. So don’t be surprised if this counteroffensive, which is already turning to a contest in just how quickly Ukraine moves forward and raises flags, becomes a more general rout.


    Back in Russia, one commentator has noticed something we’ve been talking about for weeks.

    “Why do we advance metre by metre when they advance village by village?”

    Olga Skabeyeva isn’t happy with the way the war’s going for Russia

    Andrei Marochko of the Luhansk “people’s militia” claims it’s because they’re now fighting Nato rather than Ukraine


    This is a message that seems as if it could have been written at any time in the last three months. [tweet at the link]

    It translates as “Our troops repelled Russian attacks in the areas of Viymka, Mayorsk, Spirne, Ozeryanivka, Bakhmutske, Kamianka and Ternovy Pody.” Many of these towns have been attacked multiple times a day, every day, and still, the Ukrainian positions hold.

    But in the south, near Yehorivka, one Russian attack was more than “repelled.” It was obliterated. [video at the link]

    A Russian attack in Donbas ended in total fiasco. Several MBTs and IFVs were destroyed by Ukrainian ATGM teams. The remnants of the Russian attack forces were fleeing.

    A LIBERATION PARADE [video at the link]

    Novopetrivka in Kherson region. Show this to everyone who supports and justifies russian pseudoreferenda. Are you sure these people voted for joining russia?

    [More video of locals helping to install a Ukrainian flag in Borova]

    Additional videos at the link.

  116. says

    Update to comment 155.

    This had already happened before I finished typing that it could happen.

    The Ukrainian flag flies again over the village of Davydiv Brid, Kherson region.
    The Ukrainian marines are confidently advancing towards the Black Sea
    🎥: 35th Marine Brigade.

    There’s also visual confirmation for liberation of Velyka Oleksandivka.

    I’m already going with an updated map. It’s not just the merger with the Inhulets bridgehead and the liberation of Davydiv Brid, but the continued roll through the villages at the center of this area.

    One word of caution: Exciting as this is, Russia does seem to be pulling back, rather than getting obliterated or surrendering in place. So the density of Russian troops and equipment can be expected to increase as they’re compressed into a smaller area. [map at the link in comment 155, scroll down]

    The three towns highlighted here are supposedly locations where Russian forces have gathered and are trying to create a defensive line. The locations make some sense, as each is on a highway intersection and together they guard the northern approach to Berislav / Nova Kakhovka. Are these locations really more secure, or will they evaporate as easily as the supposed defensive line in Kharkiv. Stay tuned. […]

    [video of additional strikes on the Antonovsky bridge, an effort to keep resupplies out of Russian hands]

    […] Let’s take a moment to recognize the brave Territorial Defense Forces who suffered for months in trenches under unceasing Russian artillery bombardment, in order to buy time for Ukraine to equip and train these armored spearheads currently wreaking havoc on Russian lines. Without their sacrifice—paid for in blood, sweat, tears, and future lifetimes of PTSD, depression, and suicides—none of this would’ve been possible. These fresh units would’ve had to be thrown into those trenches, still fighting to hold lines, rather than pushing them back.

    […] Russia is literally imploding before our eyes. The more Ukraine is able to maintain pressure and notch gains, the more chaos we’ll see in Russia itself.

    […] “Conservatively, Ukraine liberated 2200 sqkm today.” […]

  117. says

    Julia Davis:

    Witness a steady diet of upside-down propaganda fed to the Russians: head of RT claims the West is supposedly trying to “colonize & enslave” Russia and other countries. Without a hint of awareness, she unwittingly describes what Russia is doing to Ukraine and why Ukraine resists….


  118. says


    A reminder that shortly after Iran’s 1979 Islamist revolution, tens of thousands of Iranian women protested against the new law of compulsory hejab. “They were stabbed as they chanted slogans for equal rights.” Today their granddaughters avenge them.

    British TV news report from the time at the (Twitter) link.

  119. says

    Julia Davis:

    Top pro-Kremlin propagandist is despondent because of Russia’s defeats in Ukraine. He refuses to be cheered up even by Elon Musk’s insertion into the timeline of propaganda. Solovyov advocates for the restoration of the death penalty, because people refuse to shoot themselves….

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. More fascinating even than the one @ #158.

    “…Do we know them?…Do we know ourselves?…” No to both!

  120. says

    Following Hurricane Ian disaster, Florida suddenly decides it needs migrant workers again

    Just weeks after Venezuelan migrants were shipped from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard to boost Ron DeSantis’ 2024 prospects, some Venezuelan migrants in New York City are reportedly being recruited to Florida to aid in Hurricane Ian cleanup.

    “The migrants had scant information about whom they would be working for, but they still piled into vans in Queens that they said were headed to the Sunshine State over the weekend,” The New York Post said. Video obtained by the outlet showed a number of migrants readying to get picked up, bags and suitcases in hand. Perhaps the Florida Republican should have considered a pitstop on his flights returning from Massachusetts.

    Builders and contractors swooping up immigrant workers—many of them lacking legal status—for cleanup and rebuilding following natural disasters is one of the worst kept secrets in America. It’s been done with the consent of the federal government, which apparently recognizes their value but still won’t legalize them.

    NBC News reported in 2015 that following the Hurricane Katrina disaster, worker shortages led the Bush administration to “temporarily suspended immigration regulations that required employers to verify the immigration status of people who worked for them. In doing so, it allowed federal contractors to hire undocumented workers to help meet the demand.”

    In Louisiana, a quarter of workers were undocumented, researchers from Tulane University and the University of California at Berkeley said. Undocumented workers also went to Texas after Harvey, and countless other disaster areas to carry out the “hardest, most dangerous, and most necessary cleanup work,” American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick tweeted.

    “Lorenzo, a 67-year-old from Mexico, is adept at elevating and moving houses to higher ground, and keeps pictures on his cellphone to prove it—mansions he rescued in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Houston,” The New York Times reported in 2019. So essential were immigrant workers to New Orleans’ recovery in particular, that a statue honoring Latino workers was erected in their honor. [Tweet and image at the link]

    But this lack of legal status also leaves migrants particularly vulnerable to unscrupulous actors, who have screwed them out of their wages. NBC News’ report details Alvarado, who’d left Texas to find work in Louisiana following Katrina. He quickly found a job cleaning various buildings, and was then recruited to help remodel a house in New Orleans. But after completing the project, the contractor disappeared with no intention of paying him and other workers thousands of dollars in wages.

    “’We called him when we were done with the house, but he didn’t answer,’ Alvarado said, adding that they later learned the contractor had left to Texas and had no intention of paying them,” the report said. “He ended up owing us a total of $12,000 for the work that we did for about a month.” Alvarado told NBC News that other workers had been recruited off the street by contractors who made promises about good wages, only to them refuse to pay them and threaten them with deportation.

    “By the end of the week, after they had done all the work, the contractors wouldn’t pay them and threatened to call the police or immigration,” Alvarado continued. The report mentions the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice, which has done critical work to protect the rights of day workers and other laborers.

    In the present day, Venezuelan migrants in New York City say recruiters promise $15 an hour, overtime pay, and $15 per day for food, The New York Post said. Vans were there to pick them up, with one driver saying he was contracted by a water and debris company but giving little other information. “I’m taking these people in the van straight to Florida tonight,” he said in the report. “I don’t know how many people have left or how many more vans are coming.” These workers will continue this tradition in aiding our recovery. Ron Desantis, in all his anti-immigrant blustering, knows it damn well too. But he will just look the other way.

  121. raven says

    Paul T. Levin @PaulTLevin

    2 days before the attack, Swedish navy ships were at the site of the attack, perhaps surveying a submarine. This we knew. Today we learn that they then went all the way to Kaliningrad! (That’s where the Russian Baltic fleet is stationed.) WILD guess: they followed the sub back home.+

    It is now looking more like Russia was the one that blew up the Nordstream pipelines.
    Paul Levin is an analyst of some sort in Stockholm.

  122. raven says

    Russian soldiers have reportedly posted an update from the Kherson region of Ukraine: “We aren’t just moving back. We are retreating, I can’t even find a word for it. This is an escape… There is nowhere to run. Antonovsky bridge is completely destroyed.”…

    The Russian army is collapsing so fast, no one can keep track of it. Or keep up with them.

    Reportedly, most of their officers, command and control, are a long way from the front because they don’t want to get killed by Ukraine precision weapons.
    Which means the Russian soldiers around Kherson are on their own and making their own decisions.

    Not one step back are their orders.
    Nothing was said about driving a motor vehicle as fast as they can away from the front though.

  123. says

    Donald the Loser sues CNN again, is destined to lose again because he’s a loser

    The investigations into Donald J. Trump’s acts of violence-provoking sedition, outright theft of national security documents, and lifelong financial crookery are not advancing swiftly enough. I say this because the treasonous jackass still apparently has legal teams available to do his usual performative stunts, even as the B and C teams of strip mall ambulance chasers fumble their way through legal briefs meant to delay state and federal investigations into those crimes. Yes, lawyers continue to work for him. Couldn’t tell you why.

    In yet another lawsuit from Donald the Traitor, Donald is this time suing CNN for alleged “libel and slander.” The Washington Post is among the outlets bringing us that new news. And the most important bit to know is that this is, yet again, just another stunt from Donald. He does this regularly, suing the Post and The New York Times and, yes, CNN for reporting and opinion-having that he personally took offense with. CNN has engaged in a “campaign” of “libel and slander,” Donald whines through his lawyers.

    One example Donald gives, as plucked out by the Post, is that singer and national damn legend Linda Ronstadt compared Donald Trump’s presidency to the leadership of Nazi Germany, which is completely rude because Ronstadt is “a singer, not a historian,” so how dare CNN air such a thing.

    Yeah, wow, how dare media outlets invite entertainers onto their airwaves to talk about things they are not properly accredited to discuss. Ted Nugent is turning over in his grave, or would be if he didn’t keep crawling out of the damn thing.

    This is how America works, for better or for worse. The Duck Dynasty guys dress up in their little costumes and explain Jesus to you. The famous football player gets scraped out of a post-career life that flits between tenuous and catastrophic to instead be propped up as a political figure, one who will explain trees to you. A narcissistic incompetent known for crookedness-tinged and asinine business choices gets his ramblings edited and re-edited into something presentable enough for the faux-reality television circuit, securing enough new fame to launch himself into a run-amok presidency riddled with incompetence and crookedness and, by the end of the thing, the first real attempt at toppling the United States government since the Civil War.

    One of the prices for ascending to the presidency of the United States of America is that Linda Ronstadt is allowed to call you a treason-sucking Nazi if she wants to. It’s in the pamphlet you get when you sign on for the job. Suck it up, dear Snowflake of Mar-a-Lago.

    The point of Donald’s lawsuit against CNN is not to win money from CNN—though Donald is asking for $475 million in punitive damages, of course—but to be a performance. There are a million cheap con artists in America who turn to threats of lawsuits against anyone who exposes them for what they are; when you are a rich con artist, however, you can afford to actually file the lawsuits. This is a performative step intended to signal that you really are super, super mad that the mean people said mean things about you, and is generally deployed so that your new enemy has to burn money responding to you.

    Donald is paying his lawyers a certain (probably very small) amount of money so that the people who insulted him have to pay more money than that to fend him off. This is a fabulously popular way for rich but unprincipled snots to harm individual critics, […] Donald, however, is bad at this, and does not understand that it does practically nothing when deployed against a media empire that already has lawyers permanently on staff.

    Since Donald keeps getting slapped down by the courts when he tries these things, CNN can even be a bit creative in responding to his lawsuit; there is next to no chance it will not be dismissed by the first judge to read through the thing. Perhaps CNN’s response can be entirely in limerick form. Perhaps the first letter of each sentence could spell out a vulgar phrase directed at the Mar-a-Traitor.

    In the meantime, Donald will no doubt be telling rally crowds that he’s really going to stick it to CNN in the media, just you wait. This is his schtick. This is what he does. That’s because he’s a lying, tax-cheating, dog-hating, citrus-hued seditionist, con artist, rapist, and fascist. We’re allowed to say that. Here in not-Nazi America, literally everyone is allowed to say that.

  124. says

    From Jezebel:

    […] Oz, the New Jersey resident who’s currently running for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, was a “principal investigator” at the Columbia University Institute of Comparative Medicine labs for years and assumed “full scientific, administrative, and fiscal responsibility for the conduct” of his studies. Over the course of 75 studies published in academic journals reviewed by Jezebel, Oz’s team conducted experiments on at least 1,027 live animal subjects that included dogs, pigs, calves, rabbits, and small rodents. Thirty-four of these experiments resulted in the deaths of at least 329 dogs, while two of his experiments killed 31 pigs, and 38 experiments killed 661 rabbits and rodents.

    […] In the early 2000s, testimony from a whistleblower and veterinarian named Catherine Dell’Orto about Oz’s research detailed extensive suffering inflicted on his team’s canine test subjects, including multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act, which sets minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, primates, rabbits, and other animals in the possession of animal dealers and laboratories. The law specifically requires researchers and breeders to use pain-relieving drugs or euthanasia on the animals, and not use paralytics without anesthesia, or experiment multiple times on the same animal.

    Dell’Orto testified that a dog experimented on by Oz’s team experienced lethargy, vomiting, paralysis, and kidney failure, but wasn’t euthanized for a full two days. She alleged other truly horrifying examples of gratuitously cruel treatment of dogs, including at least one dog who was kept alive for a month for continued experimentation despite her unstable, painful condition, despite how data from her continued experimentation was deemed unusable.


    […] Yeah, that’s horrifying, but somehow it gets worse. According to Dell’Orto, during one Oz-led study, a litter of puppies was killed via an injection of expired drugs that were inserted directly into their hearts. The puppies weren’t sedated during the procedure, and afterward, they were allegedly placed in a garbage bag with some of their still-living littermates.

    In 2004, Columbia University paid a modest $2,000 fine for violations of the Animal Welfare Act following an internal investigation into Dr. Oz’s research. But while the internal Columbia investigation did lead to “consequences,” Dell’Orto suggested that the scandal mostly got swept under the rug, noting that “investigators on the committee … were also complicit in this type of poorly designed, cruel animal experimentation.” And while Oz didn’t abuse any puppies directly, Dell’Orto pointed out, “When your name is on the experiment, and the way the experiment is designed inflicts such cruelty to these animals, by design, there’s a problem.”

    Of course, John Fetterman, being John Fetterman, wasted no time in tweaking this tweedy terrier tormenter. [Tweet and image of Fetterman with his dogs is available at the link]

    Hugging them extra tight tonight It would be *so* nice if everyone replied to this thread with pictures of their pups

    Naturally, many, many non-dog torturers obliged. [many examples at the link]

  125. says

    In Mar-a-Lago case, Trump reportedly told lawyer to mislead Archives

    Trump told one of his lawyers to pass along false information to the National Archives. The attorney, suspecting that the claim was untrue, balked.

    In the world surrounding Donald Trump, Alex Cannon is not a figure with an especially high profile, but it’s a safe bet the former president knows who he is. After all, Cannon started working for the Trump Organization in 2015, and worked for the Republican’s 2016 campaign.

    With this in mind, when Trump gave Cannon a directive, he probably expected the order to be followed. As The New York Times reported, that’s not quite what happened earlier this year in the Mar-a-Lago case.

    Shortly after turning over 15 boxes of government material to the National Archives in January, former President Donald J. Trump directed a lawyer working for him to tell the archives that he had returned all the documents he had taken from the White House at the end of his presidency, according to two people familiar with the discussion. The lawyer, Alex Cannon, had become a point of contact for officials with the National Archives, who had tried for months to get Mr. Trump to return presidential records that he failed to turn over upon leaving office. Mr. Cannon declined to convey Mr. Trump’s message to the archives because he was not sure if it was true, the people said.


    In other words, the former president told one of his lawyers to pass along false information to the National Archives. The lawyer, suspecting that the claim was untrue and reluctant to lie to a federal agency, balked.

    We now know, of course, that Cannon’s caution was warranted: Trump maintained extensive records at his glorified country club, some of which were returned in June, and some of which were retrieved by FBI agents who executed a court-approved search warrant in August.

    Nevertheless, the attorney who was right was soon punished: The Washington Post reported that Cannon’s refusal to pass along a falsehood “soured his relationship with Trump.” He was “was soon cut out of the documents-related discussions … as Trump relied on more pugilistic advisers.”

    Or put another way, the former president was looking for people who’d be far less concerned about whether they were telling the truth to federal investigators.

    Cannon is also, incidentally, one of the people close to Trump who reportedly warned him that the National Archives was serious about retrieving the materials the Republican improperly took, and failing to comply with the process could lead to a criminal investigation. Trump ignored the advice.

    […] Complicating matters, the Post’s report added that when it came time to return some materials to the Archives, Trump personally “packed the boxes that were returned in January.”

    The more the evidence shows the former president had a direct and hands-on role, the less Trump can plausibly blame others in the scandal.

    As for attorney Christopher Kise, whom the former president paid $3 million up front to represent him in the Mar-a-Lago case, the Post also reported that he encouraged his client to pursue a more sensible strategy:

    Turn down the temperature with the Department of Justice, Kise — a former Florida solicitor general — counseled his famously combative client, people familiar with the deliberations said. Federal authorities had searched Trump’s Florida residence and club because they badly wanted to retrieve the classified documents that remained there even after a federal subpoena, Kise argued, according to these people. With that material back in government hands, maybe prosecutors could be persuaded to resolve the whole issue quietly.

    Trump apparently didn’t much care for that advice, and by some accounts, Kise has been sidelined as members of the former president’s team fight amongst themselves.

  126. says

    Wonkette: “If Elon Musk Buys Twitter, How Will Ukraine Tell Elon Musk To Eat Its Entire Ass?”

    There will be much news to come over how Elon Musk is caving and suggesting he pay the original price he offered for the privilege of running Twitter into the ground and maybe ending social media in general, after all the normal people leave and it’s just a bunch of pudgy white incel dudes sitting in a circle jerking off to sick memes. (What? Do you think all the regular people are going to join TikTok? Count us out.)

    But we didn’t want you to miss what the last couple of days have been like for Mr. Little Man Syndrome himself, as he’s tried to offer his brain help to the nation of Ukraine, which did not ask for it.

    Why did Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany tell Elon Musk to eat his ass?

    This is why Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany told Elon Musk to eat his ass:

    Elon Musk started tweeting what he thinks will ultimately be the outcomes of the genocidal war Russia started against Ukraine […] [tweet available at the link]

    Should they redo elections in the parts of Ukraine Putin is trying to steal, under UN supervision, which gives legitimacy to Putin stealing those lands in the first place? Should they just go ahead and make sure Putin gets to keep all his beachfront property in Crimea? Should Ukraine declare itself “neutral” and therefore unable to guarantee its security from Russia going forward?

    “Fuck off” is exactly right.

    Musk kept talking in his Twitter thread, though. He’s under the impression he is an expert. [tweet available at the link]

    Concern troll is very concerned. Also appears to be broadcasting from somewhere inside Vladimir Putin’s colon.

    Melnyk told him what the likely outcome is:

    The only outcome ist that now no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap. So good luck to you .@elonmusk


    Musk’s Twitter poll got the attention of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is pretty much the world’s greatest hero right now:

    Which @elonmusk do you like more?
    One who supports Ukraine 78.8%
    One who supports Russia 21.2%
    2,431,641 votes Final results

    But surprise, Dunning McKruger didn’t know when to shut up, and he talked back to Zelenskyy:

    I still very much support Ukraine, but am convinced that massive escalation of the war will cause great harm to Ukraine and possibly the world.

    Oh my God, eat the entire free world’s ass.

    CNBC notes that it’s interesting that Musk is doing this, considering how he sort of became a hero to Ukraine when he used his Starlink satellite system to get Ukraine back online after Russia invaded. But nobody ever accused Elon Musk of being savvy enough to know when to zip his wordhole.

    Hey, guess who loved Elon Musk’s “peace plan,” though? Correct, it was the Kremlin! Putin’s spokesmouth Dmitry Peskov said it was “very positive that such a person as Musk is looking for ways out of the situation around Ukraine.” You know, the “situation” Vladimir Putin created when he started genociding Ukraine based on fantasies of restoring a Russian greatness that never existed and never will.

    Any more lip from Elon?

    Replying to @Kasparov63
    We gave Starlinks to Ukraine & lost $80M+ in doing so, while putting SpaceX & myself at serious risk of Russian cyberattack.

    What have you done besides tweet?

    Wait, who paid for all that Starlink? You know, in actuality? It wasn’t just SpaceX.

    Go fuck yourself, dude.

    Elon Musk lied when he characterized the Starling shipment to Ukraine as a gift from himself.

    In April, the United States Agency for International Development told CNBC that “a range of stakeholders” contributed over $15 million worth in hardware and transportation services to deliver 5,000 Starlink terminals to Ukraine, with USAID directly procuring 1,333 terminals from SpaceX [from CNBC]

    “U.S. quietly paying millions to send Starlink terminals to Ukraine, contrary to SpaceX claims”

    After Russia launched its invasion, Ukrainian officials pleaded for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to dispatch their Starlink terminals to the region to boost Internet access. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Musk replied to broad online fanfare.

    Since then, the company has cast the actions in part as a charitable gesture. “I’m proud that we were able to provide the terminals to folks in Ukraine,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said at a public event last month, later telling CNBC, “I don’t think the U.S. has given us any money to give terminals to the Ukraine.”

    But according to documents obtained by The Technology 202, the U.S. federal government is in fact paying millions of dollars for a significant portion of the equipment and for the transportation costs to get it to Ukraine.

    On Tuesday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced it has purchased more than 1,330 terminals from SpaceX to send to Ukraine, while the company donated nearly 3,670 terminals and the Internet service itself.

    While the agency initially called it a “private sector donation valued at roughly $10 million,” it did not specify how much it is contributing for the equipment or for the cost of transportation.

    Sometime after the announcement, the agency removed key details from its release. It now states that USAID “has delivered 5,000 Starlink Terminals” to Ukraine “through a public-private partnership” with SpaceX but does not specify the quantity nor value of the donations.

    USAID agreed to purchase closer to 1,500 standard Starlink terminals for $1,500 apiece and to pay an additional $800,000 for transportation costs, documents show, adding up to over $3 million in taxpayer dollars paid to SpaceX for the equipment sent to Ukraine.

    In a letter to SpaceX last month outlining the deal, the USAID mission director to Ukraine said the terminals would be “procured” and sent on behalf of USAID by a third-party contractor, which would “arrange for transportation and delivery of the equipment” from Los Angeles International Airport to Ukraine via Poland. […]

    Washington Post link

  127. tomh says

    Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago search case
    By Devlin Barrett and Robert Barnes
    Updated October 4, 2022 at 4:59 p.m. EDT

    Former president Donald Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to intervene in the Mar-a-Lago documents-seizure case, saying the special master appointed in the matter should be allowed to review the classified papers.

    The filing came after a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit granted the Justice Department’s request to keep about 100 classified documents separate from a review of documents being conducted by a court-appointed legal expert, called a special master. The department has launched a high-stakes investigation to determine if the former president or his advisers mishandled national security secrets, or hid or destroyed government records.

    In last month’s ruling, the panel — two judges nominated by Trump and one by President Barack Obama — rejected Trump’s argument that the classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 might be his property, rather than the government’s. The appeals court also blocked an earlier order by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon that the special master review the documents to see if they should be shielded from investigators because of executive or attorney-client privilege.

    As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized classified documents in the ongoing investigation, something Cannon had previously barred while the special master conducted his review. Trump’s filing to the Supreme Court seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.

    However, if the high court agreed with the Trump lawyers’ reasoning that the 11th Circuit decision weighed in on legal issues that were not properly the subject of an appeal, such a decision could restore Cannon’s prior restriction on the criminal investigation.

    Trump’s lawyers argue in their filing that the appeals court decision ignores “the District Court’s broad discretion without justification. This unwarranted stay should be vacated as it impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master.”

    The petition was filed with Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees emergency requests from the 11th Circuit. It is likely he will seek a response from the government before the court takes any action.

    In the 11th Circuit decision at issue, the judges concluded they could not see a reason why Trump “would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.”

    The lower court “abused its discretion in exercising jurisdiction … as it concerns the classified documents,” the panel wrote in a 29-page opinion. The appeals court panel only ruled on some of the parameters of the special master’s work…

    The appeals panel rejected the notion that Trump may have somehow changed the classification of the documents, some of which Justice Department lawyers say require the highest clearance to access. Moreover, the panel said, that was immaterial.

    Trump has chosen a third of the Supreme Court’s nine justices, a body that has moved to the right on issues dear to conservatives, such as abortion, gun rights and religion. But the court has been a disappointment to the former president on issues that pertain to him personally.

    The Supreme Court in July 2020 flatly rejected Trump’s bold claims of immunity from local law enforcement and congressional investigators. It turned aside multiple challenges to the 2020 election results brought by Trump and his allies. And post-presidency, the court turned down his request to keep certain White House documents from the congressional committee investigating the January 2021 riot at the capitol, with only Justice Clarence Thomas indicating he would support Trump’s plea.

  128. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Zelenskiy announces military progress and reportedly liberated regions [?] in Ukraine

    Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced that dozens of regions in Ukraine have been liberated from Russian occupation, seemingly confirming information from Russia’s maps that show Russia withdrawing from eastern and western Ukraine.

    During an address today, Zelenskiy said that the country’s armed forces were making progress against Russian forces in the southern part of the country.

    “Today we have good news from the front line. First: the Ukrainian army is making quite fast and powerful progress in the south of our country as part of the current defense operation,” said Zelenskiy.

    Zelenskiy also announced that dozens of regions have been reportedly released from Russian occupation: “Dozens of settlements have already been exempted from the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone,” said Zelenskiy.

    Zelenskiy added: “This (has happened) in Kherson region, Kharkiv region, Luhansk region and Donetsk region… In particular, according to the military reports from the Kherson region: the settlements of Lyubimivka, Khreshchenivka, Zolota Balka, Bilyaivka, Ukrainka, Velyka and Mala Oleksandrivka, and Davidiv Brid were liberated from the occupier and stabilized.”

    Zelenskiy noted that the list of released territories is not complete, vowing to continue fighting against Russian forces: “And this is far from a complete list. Our soldiers do not stop. And it’s only a matter of time before we expel the occupier from all of our land.”

  129. says

    Satire from Andy Borowitz:

    Donald J. Trump has angrily withdrawn his support from the U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker because, in the former President’s words, “only a loser pays his bills.”

    Reports that Walker paid a bill in 2009 “made me very upset and, quite frankly, very mad, because it means that Herschel, who I thought was a tremendous guy and very smart, is not so smart and maybe even a big dummy,” Trump posted on his social-media platform, Truth Social.

    “I have never paid a bill in my life, and I can’t support someone who has,” Trump continued. “If Herschel, who now seems like a giant loser, paid this bill, does that mean he paid his lawyer, too? His gardener? This should never be allowed to happen in this country.”

    Trump said he is now demanding that all candidates he supports come forward with proof that they have never paid for anything.

    “If it turns out that Dr. Oz paid the clown who whitened his teeth, he’s toast,” Trump warned.

    New Yorker link

    See SC’s comment 123.

  130. says

    Humor from Andy Borowitz:

    Carrying out a mission fraught with danger, a woman named Ketanji Brown Jackson has bravely infiltrated a shadowy alt-right group with a menacing agenda.

    Although there reportedly are two other like-minded moles already embedded in the organization, Jackson will find herself surrounded by extremists bent on destroying many of the tentpoles of American society.

    The group, garbed in black robes, meets in secret behind closed doors in the nation’s capital, experts believe.

    Having already plotted to destroy women’s bodily autonomy, the group is currently scheming to eliminate voting rights and marriage equality, as well as to hasten the spread of military-style assault weapons across the country.

    Harland Dorrinson, a former Navy seal, hailed Jackson’s courage. “I was behind enemy lines in Afghanistan and Iraq, but I am in awe of what she’s trying to do here,” he said.

    New Yorker link

    See comments 128, 136 and 153.

  131. says

    NBC News:

    North Korea on Tuesday conducted its longest-ever weapons test, a nuclear-capable ballistic missile that flew over Japan and could reach the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and beyond, forcing the Japanese government to issue evacuation alerts and halt trains.

  132. says

    Washington Post:

    Marina Ovsyannikova — the Russian journalist who made international headlines after protesting the war in Ukraine live on state television in March — has escaped house arrest and fled with her 11-year-old daughter, according to Russia’s Interior Ministry.

  133. says

    Associated Press:

    The Georgia prosecutor investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies broke the law trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state is seeking search warrants in the case, a sign that the wide-ranging probe has entered a new phase.

  134. says

    Washington Post:

    President Biden signed an executive order on Friday reestablishing the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The advisory group had been inactive since August 2017, when all committee members resigned in protest of Trump’s delayed condemnation of hate groups at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

  135. says

    Ukraine update: Russian defensive lines reportedly broken, Snihurivka may be liberated

    Another hour, another map of the northern area of Russian occupation in the Kherson area. Over the course of Tuesday, and into the evening, Ukraine has continued to press southward, bringing the area liberated since Sunday, in this one part of this one oblast, to an astounding 1,600 square kilometers. [map at the link]

    […] Previously, Ukraine had been demanding, and getting, near radio silence from the forces stationed in Kherson. Villages were going back and forth, Ukrainian troops made that daring doubleback in which they crossed a pontoon bridge built by Russia to free a Russian-occupied town. But when it came to videos and images from Ukrainian forces, there was nothing to see. Whoever gave that lecture on how loose iPhones sink infantry, they did a really good job.

    Only now there are videos and more videos. Many, if not most, of the towns and villages liberated in the last two days comes complete with a video of Ukrainian forces strolling in, locals giving them a tearful greeting (along with the occasional apple or watermelon), and the raising of a Ukrainian flag. Ukraine is back in this area, and they don’t care who knows it.

    As of Tuesday evening in Ukraine, the rapid advance of Ukrainian forces had brought them down to the line that supposedly represented Russia’s fallback position: A line running from Bruskynske to Borozenske to Mylove. Each of these positions is reportedly beefed up by Russian forces that retreated from the front lines, and each reportedly has defensive positions that Russia hopes to use in holding the roads that lead down to Berislav (bottom of the map).

    But, as of just a few minutes ago, reports from Telegram sources indicate that this line is already broken. And apparently, broken badly.

    Russian sources now tell the defensive line towards Beryslav is broken, and that AFU units are pushing to the city from two sides already (north and east). They also say that there is nearly nothing left of the 126th brigade. [more at the link]

    According to the pro-Russian source Rybar, “Ukrainian formations will continue to push through the defensive orders of the Russian armed forces. The nearest goal of the armed forces of Ukraine is Berislav and New Kakhovka. A new phase of the battle for Kherson begins. ”

    Whether Russia has been able to get anyone across the Dnipro to Nova Kakhovka is unclear. More likely they have […] retreated across the Inhulets River at the west side of the map and crowded around the city of Kherson, where they can neither be adequately supplied nor relieved. Others are surely huddled in Berislav, hoping that a barge, or pontoon bridge, or helicopter, or flying horse will come to take them away before Ukrainian forces reach the town. Because Berislave is only about four small blocks deep along it’s whole length, with the back of the town flat against the river. [map at the link]

    There’s a small quarry near the northwest side of town, providing a bit of a ditch and a hill composed of spoil. That’s about it for topography. There’s no large industrial area of town, and it’s hard to see where thousands of Russians could position themselves in this area without just getting the snot beaten out of them.

    Of course, Russian guns on the east of the Dnipro will likely set up across the river and attempt to give the trapped forces cover, but a town this narrow doesn’t make the most comfortable place to be when shells are arcing overhead. And Ukraine is absolutely going to declare it HIMARS O’Clock if there’s a big cluster of Russian forces gathered in this place.

    On the other hand, this is actually the site of the Turkish fortress city of Kazikermen, from which a legendary iron chain was raised across the Dnipro, and it’s also home to the ruins of a 14th century castle. So someone in the past apparently thought this was a decent spot to hole up. Of course, those folks in the past had never heard of artillery.

    Where is the actual front line at the moment? I don’t know. I can only tell you this: The map at the top of this page, like every other map I’ve made today, is already badly outdated. In three days, Ukraine has liberated a third of the territory on the west side of the Dnipro. By the time we get confirmation of the new positions, that could easily be more than a half.

    For three days, Ukraine has been pushing across a wide front. For three days, Russia has been retreating. Now they both seem set to collide across the river from Nova Kakhovka. What happens here is going to be significant.

    Now, Ukraine just has to get there. Meanwhile, just as I was finishing this …[map at the link, Snihurivka]

    Snihurivka guards a highway that leads right into the city of Kherson, and there are few spots along that highway suitable for defense until right in the suburbs of the city. Could Ukraine actually go for Kherson and Nova Kakhovka at the same time?

  136. says

    Replying to @Kasparov63

    We gave Starlinks to Ukraine & lost $80M+ in doing so, while putting SpaceX & myself at serious risk of Russian cyberattack.

    What have you done besides tweet?

    I’m not a fan of Kasparov’s politics, but it’s funny that Musk tweeted that at him.

  137. StevoR says

    DOCO ALERT for other Aussies here tonight :

    First the final episode of ‘The Australian Wars ‘ and then ‘Land Wars’ on NITV channel 34 tonight from 7.30 pm onwards. (Only the first of those programs is on SBS c3 as well. The ‘Land Wars’ discussion one is after that but just on NITV.)
    Powerful. important truth telling. Details via ABC online TV Guide :

    The Australian Wars
    Wednesday, 5 Oct
    7:30 PM – 8:35 PM [65 mins] ctc

    In 1837 the Colonial Office in London began opening up the entire territory of Australia for sale and the great squatting age began. The north of Australia was the final frontier and with the technological advancement of guns, the proliferation of horses, and the use of police, the battle for the north tipped irreversibly in favour of the squatters.


    Land Wars
    Wednesday, 5 Oct
    8:35 PM – 9:35 PM [60 mins] pg

    This television special brings together some of our leading Indigenous experts to discuss the colonial conflicts between the First Nations peoples and the British here in this great southern land.

    Source :

    Opinion piece by Indigenous Australian (Palawa man) Rodney Dillon on this here :

    Plus see here :

    Which includes one of the trailers for this.

  138. lumipuna says

    Some interesting personal stories in this Finnish article, on Russian men who fled the mobilization abroad via Finland:

    Kontantin Fisenko is an actor and producer (who I presume lived in St. Petersburg). He was already nervous (and apparently had a visa to Finland) because of his recent history of protesting against the government and sharing war related information. After the mobilization started, he saw his name on what was allegedly a leaked list of selected reservists circulating on social media. He didn’t wait to receive an actual summon, but left. Since bus tickets to Finland were being wildly upcharged (and the train service is out), he had a friend drive him to the border town of Vyborg. There he went to a gas station, found a car with Finnish plates and hitched a ride. At the border checkpoint, Russian officials examined his passport very carefully, tried to check up some information about him, but eventually gave up because of a malfunctioning scanner(!). Now he’s couch surfing with his friends in Finland, expecting to stay for a long time, hoping to get a work permit and job. He jokes about the prospect of playing “Russian criminal” in some Finnish TV series.

    Ilya (fake name) was a truck driver/owner in Petrozavodsk, Karelia. At 36, he’s just past the official age of eligibility, but then his wife told him the summon officials had been looking for him anyway (the draft notice needs to be delivered in person). He thinks it’s because the army has a huge need for truck drivers. He packed up his family (apparently they all had visas) and drove to Finland, nervous about being possibly stopped at the border. The Russian border officials just questioned him about general draft eligibility, and he pointed out his age. In Finland, the family immediately applied for asylum (among the few Russians who did so in the early days of mobilization). They don’t hope to ever return to Russia, though they might have to once the asylum process runs out.

    Valeryy (fake name), who lived in St. Petersburg, works at a company that’s been lately helping its draft eligible employees to work remotely from abroad. He managed to get a Schengen visa to Hungary relatively quickly and easily. Like most Russians fleeing to EU, he’s only using Finland as a transit country. He crossed the border on a bus, on a crowded day but without serious questioning. He plans to settle in Bulgaria or possibly Serbia. In order to get around banking restrictions, he transfers his salary from a Russian bank account to a Belarusian cash card he acquired for the purpose, which he uses for payments. He doesn’t expect to return to Russia.

  139. says

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

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the four laws ratifying the Russian Federation’s claimed annexation of the occupied Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Russian forces do not fully control any of the four areas, and it remains unclear where Russia is attempting to set its new external border.

    Ukraine has made major and rapid advances this week, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy saying in an address on Tuesday night that “dozens” of towns have been recaptured. Ukrainian forces captured the town of Dudchany on the west bank of the Dnipro River in their major advance in Kherson region, and in the east, Ukrainian forces were advancing after capturing Lyman, the main Russian bastion in the north of Donetsk province.

    Pro-Russian leaders in the occupied regions have claimed that the situation is stabilising this morning. Denis Pushilin, installed as governor in Donetsk by Russia has said “the situation on the front line in the Lyman direction is stabilising, the defence line is being strengthened”, while Kirill Stremousov, part of the occupiation administration imposed on Kherson, has been quoted saying that Russian forces were “conducting a regrouping in order to gather their strength and deliver a retaliatory blow” in the region, and that “the advance of the armed forces of Ukraine in the Kherson direction has stopped.”

    The UK ministry of defence has said in its daily operational briefing that “Ukraine continues to make progress in offensive operations along both the north-eastern and southern fronts. In the north-east, in Kharkiv Oblast, Ukraine has now consolidated a substantial area of territory east of the Oskil River.”

    Russia’s foreign ministry has said the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) will operate under the supervision of Russian agencies after the annexation declaration. Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is expected to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss the situation at the plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since the earliest days of the war. Energoatom, the Ukrainian state-enterprise that owns the plant, has said it may restart it to ensure safety.

    Oleksandr Starukh, Ukraine’s governor of Zaporizhzhia, said that overnight “the enemy fired rockets at the regional centre and the outskirts of the city. Infrastructure facilities were destroyed.”

    Zelenskiy has posted a series of images of damaged buildings across social media from recently liberated Lyman, with the message “Our Lyman after the occupier. All basics of life have been destroyed here. They are doing so everywhere in the territories they seize. This can be stopped in one way only: liberate Ukraine, life, humanity, law and truth as soon as possible.”

    Russian TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, famous for staging an on-air protest against Russia’s war in Ukraine, confirmed she had escaped house arrest over further charges of spreading fake news, saying she had no case to answer.

    Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, says Washington’s decision to send more military aid to Ukraine poses a threat to Moscow’s interests and increases the risk of a military clash between Russia and the west.

  140. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Reuters is reporting some diplomatic tension between Russia and Kazakhstan over the Ukraine war with Kazakh authorities rejecting a demand from Russia that they expel Ukraine’s ambassador over comments about killing Russians, chiding Moscow for what they called an inappropriate tone between “equal strategic partners”.

    Ukraine’s ambassador in Astana, Petro Vrublevskiy, said in August in an interview with a local blogger that “the more Russians we kill now, the fewer of them our children will have to kill”.

    Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday said Moscow was “outraged” by the fact that Vrublevskiy was still in Astana and had summoned the Kazakh ambassador.

    Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov on Wednesday called Zakharova’s tone “discordant with the nature of the allied relations between Kazakhstan and Russia as equal strategic partners”, adding that the Russian ambassador would in turn be summoned to the Kazakh ministry.

    Garry Kasparov, the former World Chess Champion and anti-Putin regime campaigner, has given an interview to the German news magazine Spiegel in which he says that “every Russian who is living in Russia now is part of the war machine” and demands that those who want to stand on the right side of history should leave.

    Kasparov tells the magazine that he has spent 20 years fighting against Vladimir Putin. “I always said that his regime would unavoidably become a fascist threat – not only for Russia, not only for its neighbours, but for the entire world. It would have been nice if a few more people would have taken this warning to heart.”

    Asked by Spiegel if being abroad – he has lived in political exile since 2013 – he wasn’t in too comfortable a position to be making such demands of those who have yet to leave Russia, he said: “This is war. Either you’re on one side of the front or the other. Every Russian citizen, including me, carries collective responsibility for this war, even if not a personal responsibility. Today Russia is a fascistic dictatorship, which, while we’re speaking here, is carrying out crimes against humanity. And everyone who is still living in Russia now, is a part of this war machinery, whether he wants to be or not.”

    Kasparov said Russians who want to be given asylum elsewhere should first have to sign a three-point declaration in which they would “declare the war to be criminal, the Putin regime illegitimate and Ukraine indivisible,” Kasparov said. By signing it, the individual would be liable for prosecution in Russia on three counts according to laws Putin has put in place, he added.

    The 59-year old chess grandmaster makes the interesting claim that Putin “never played chess, but poker, and he was good at geopolitical poker. He often played with bad cards and won, because his opponents fell for his bluff.”

  141. says

    Guardian – “Iran protest song that’s become the soundtrack to civil uprising – video”:

    Shervin Hajipour, an Iranian musician, was reportedly arrested days after posting a song that has become the soundtrack to the country’s biggest civil uprising in decades. The song is called Bayere, meaning ‘for …’ or ‘because of …’ in Farsi. Its lyrics are taken entirely from messages that Iranians have posted online about why they are protesting, after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody.

  142. says

    Mykhailo Podolyak:

    Any Russian objects on occupied territories – legitimate military targets for attack by [Ukrainian] Armed Forces. Any counteroffensive and de-occupation of territories falls under the concept of defensive war. This is an absolute axiom for both the leadership of Ukraine and our allies.

  143. says

    Moscow Times – “Elite Russian Intelligence Unit Suffers Major Losses in Ukraine – BBC”:

    An elite, highly secretive Russian military intelligence unit may have lost up to three-quarters of its reconnaissance manpower in Ukraine, according to research published by the BBC’s Russian service Tuesday.

    Like other special forces units, the exact size of the GRU intelligence agency’s 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade is classified.

    But based on the brigade’s death toll and likely attrition rate tallied by BBC Russia, the outlet concluded that it may have lost 75% of its reconnaissance company troops.

    Overall, the outlet said it has found direct and indirect evidence from publicly available sources on 56 soldiers from the 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade killed in the seven months since Russia invaded Ukraine.

    One dead soldier’s sister told BBC Russia she believes there may have been more losses, saying: “Do you expect they’ll tell us about them?”

    The GRU’s 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade appears to have suffered its highest losses so far in the latest retreat from eastern Ukraine’s key railway hub of Lyman last week.

    Citing the soldiers’ relatives, BBC Russia reported that up to nine brigade members died while attempting to defend against the Ukrainian forces’ counteroffensive in Lyman.

    “The entire 3rd Spetsnaz Brigade was laid to waste, thrown into the meat grinder,” one soldier’s unnamed relative was quoted as saying in a post on the Russian social media platform VKontakte.

    The unit’s previous highest death toll in a single battle known publicly was in the early days of Russia’s invasion in March, when BBC Russia said four brigade soldiers had been killed.

    One out of four 3rd Guards Spetsnaz Brigade soldiers killed under the command of Col. Albert Omarov were officers, the outlet said.

    The deaths of such soldiers are particularly problematic for the Russian Armed Forces because they are very costly to replace….

  144. raven says

    My comments are in bold.

    Russian diplomats warn of a direct clash with the West over the US’s latest weapons for Ukraine
    Sophia Ankel and Sinéad Baker Oct. 05, 2022

    The Biden administration announced a new $625 million military aid package for Ukraine on Tuesday.

    Russia’s ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov reacted by saying “We perceive this as an immediate threat to the strategic interest of our country.”
    (Since when is invading another country and committing war crimes a strategic interest of anyone.

    “The supply of military products by the US and its allies not only entails protracted bloodshed and new casualties but also increases the danger of a direct military clash between Russia and Western countries,” he said on Telegram on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
    (Who cares. The Russians have thrown most of their army into Ukraine and it is being destroyed.)

    It is the daily threat from the Russians.
    They at least are on time as it is early morning on the West coast.

    Not much of a threat though.
    Russia is losing big time in Ukraine, their army which was never much is rapidly disintegrating, and they are going to fight a war with NATO.

    Who can take the Russians seriously any more?
    They are rapidly becoming the North Korea of Eurasia.

  145. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile on Russian state TV: grim predictions that Russia is at least two months away from even attempting to advance. Also, some surprising admissions about how unprepared they were and the magnitude of the losses they’ve experienced in Ukraine….

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. I love how often they say things like “I’m not lying; I’m not engaging in propaganda.” Near the beginning of his remarks, Sladkov admits “Yes, we lost 17 settlements in the Kherson region.” Then he blathers on for like two minutes (I spaced out about halfway through – dude’s in his copes). When Skabeeva finally speaks again, she comes right back to the 17 settlements: “To be honest, 17 localities in the Kherson region is very concerning, politely speaking. Is Kherson itself in danger right now?”

  146. says

    Mano Singham – “2022 Nobel prize in physics goes to work on quantum entanglement.”

    It is rumored that the Nobel prize committee in physics avoids giving the prize to work that has the potential to be later proven wrong and hence there is often a long period between a piece of work and its recognition. This award means that the physics establishment has decided that the results supporting non-locality are solid and unlikely to be reversed.

    Some statements from the recipients in an article he quotes:

    It’s so weird,” Aspect said of entanglement in a telephone call with the Nobel committee. “I am accepting in my mental images something which is totally crazy.”

    Yet the trio’s experiments showed it happens in real life.

    Why this happens I haven’t the foggiest,” Clauser told The Associated Press during a Zoom interview in which he got the official call from the Swedish Academy several hours after friends and media informed him of his award. “I have no understanding of how it works but entanglement appears to be very real.”

    His fellow winners also said they can’t explain the how and why behind this effect. But each did ever more intricate experiments that prove it just is.

  147. says

    Roham Alvandi:

    I spoke with @KarinBBC yesterday on @BBCWorld and told her that these protests are the beginning of the end of the Islamic Republic. Something fundamental has changed in Iran and we are never going back.
    #مهسا_امینی #زن_زندگی_آزادی #MahsaAmini

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  148. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday ordering the Russian government to take control of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and make it “federal property”, Reuters reported.

    The plant, the biggest in Europe, is controlled by Russian troops but has been operated until now by Ukrainian staff. Its proximity to the frontline of fighting has raised international fears of a nuclear disaster.

  149. says

    Gen. Hertling:

    Interestingly, RU State TV now claiming it will take “two months” to get recently mobilized to the front lines in Ukraine.

    Great. But will they be able to do anything? No friggin’ way.

    RU may be able to train the basics of soldiering in 2 months.


    -You can’t “train” combined arms warfare, especially for large formations, in 2 months
    -You can’t “teach” Generals, Colonels and new Sergeants the tenets of leadership in 2 months
    -You can’t “fix” a supply system that has been plagued with corruption for years in 2 months.

    -You can’t “coordinate” tankers, infantry, arty, intel, engineers, air forces & others for battlefield operations in 2 months
    -you can’t “counter distrust” soldiers have in RU govt in 2 months
    -after 60,000 dead soldiers, you can’t reverse the loss felt by RU mothers & wives

    -you can’t issue equipment, uniforms, ammo, food, supplies, spare parts, that aren’t there (sanctions do work) in 2 months
    -you can’t/won’t offer advice to a President who doesn’t listen (and who kills those who offer contrarian recommendations) in 2 months.

    There are more…

    But suffice to say, any RU State TV commentator or pundit who are saying things will be better – in the winter! – in just 2 months needs to remember just one thing:

    You can’t change culture in 2 months.

    Doing that takes years, even decades.

  150. raven says

    #Kazakh authorities rejected #Russia’s demand to expel the #Ukrainian ambassador to #Astana because of comments about the “murder of Russians”, and also accused #Moscow of an inappropriate tone in relations between “equal strategic partners”.…

    The Ukrainian ambassador did go a little overboard.

    Ukrainian Ambassador to Kazakhstan Apologized for His Words about Russians – MFA of Kazakhstan
    MONDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER 2022 Eurointegration Pravda

    On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan stated that Ukrainian Ambassador Petro Vrublevsky apologized for his words about Russians. He said, “we are trying to kill as many of them as possible” in Ukraine.

    The ambassador Dmytro Vrublevsky said in an interview with Kazakh blogger Dias Kuzairov on August 21: “We are trying to kill as many of them as possible. The more we kill Russians now, the fewer our children will have to kill.”

    He did apologize though.

    Putin made a large number of mistakes but one of them was invading Ukraine. First.
    After Ukraine it was going to be Moldova, Georgia, and then Kazakhstan.

    Kazakhstan has 20 million people, is large, and loaded with natural resources including oil, gas, and is the world’s largest uranium producer.
    Putin would have gotten a lot more for a lot less effort by conquering Kazakhstan and they aren’t in Europe so Europe wouldn’t care that much.

    Kazakhstan is well aware of this and I’m sure their leadership is spending a lot of sleepless nights thinking about it.

  151. raven says

    There are numerous reports that the Russian army is running low on food and basic equipment.
    There are also reports that they are running low on hospital space and medications.
    Which is not surprising at all.
    The Ukrainians are claiming 61,000 dead Russians. If the wounded to dead ratio is 3 to 1 then the number of wounded is 183,000. No wonder their medical system is bogged down.


    Oleg Kotov ЧИТАТИ УКРАЇНСЬКОЮ en.socportal.infor

    In some regions of the Russian Federation, the mobilized are sent home: there is nowhere to settle and nothing to feed them.
    Those mobilized from the Molkino training center in Krasnodar were sent back to Primorsko-Akhtarsk, because there was no place to accommodate the recruits, nothing to wear, and no food to provide. This was announced by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

    In addition, in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, in the medical institutions of Yevpatoria, there are not enough medical supplies to treat the wounded.

  152. says

    Trump blustered:

    “NARA [National Archives and Record Administration] lost a whole hard drive full of HIGHLY SENSITIVE information from the Clinton White House — more than 100,000 Social Security numbers and addresses, Secret Service and White House operating procedures (EXTREMELY SENSITIVE!), political records, and who knows what else. They left the hard drive in an unsecured location, and didn’t realize it was gone for months — some say the data could have filled millions of books, and NARA admitted the material was ‘personally identifiable,’ impacting thousands of White House staffers, visitors, and even one of Al Gore’s daughters. NARA actually had to offer a large ($50,000!) reward to try and get the information back. What else have they ‘lost’? How can Americans trust a system like this? There is no security at NARA. I want my documents back!”


    […] There are a few angles to this to this that are worth keeping in mind. The first is that the Archives lost an external hard drive 13 years ago, and that misstep proved inconvenient for a lot of people.

    How is that relevant to Trump’s decision to take highly sensitive materials to his glorified country club and refuse to give them back? It’s not. The former president would apparently have people believe that the 2009 incident, coupled with an unrelated misstep from 29 years ago, is proof that NARA is somehow untrustworthy. That’s both wrong and pitiful.

    But it’s also completely beside the point. Even if the Archives lost things all the time — that’s clearly not the case, given that the Republican could only find two mistakes in the last three decades — Trump would still have to follow the law.

    And in the Mar-a-Lago scandal, there’s reason to believe the former president did not follow the law.

    Second, Trump’s insistence that there’s “no security at NARA,” based on a lost hard drive from 13 years ago, is kind of hilarious. Indeed, if we’re going to have a real conversation about proper security, we should probably start with the scrutiny by examining serious lapses at Mar-a-Lago.

    Finally, there’s the former president’s concluding declaration: “I want my documents back!” As he apparently sees it, if archivists lost a hard drive in 2009, officials should return the materials he took from the White House.

    That doesn’t make any sense, it’s not how reality works, and if Trump genuinely believes he’ll get back what he stole, he’ll likely be disappointed.


  153. says

    Herschel Walker’s Team Bet That Paid Abortion Story Wouldn’t Come Out. Oops.

    Ex-NFL star and Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker’s allies reportedly were really, really hoping this day wouldn’t come.

    In wake of the Daily Beast’s bombshell report that Walker, who backs abortion bans with no exceptions, had once paid for an ex-girlfriend to get an abortion, Politico reported on Tuesday that the incident was something of an open secret in Georgia — one that state GOP power brokers had feared would shatter Walker’s chances in his race against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA).

    Several months ago, Georgia Republican operatives reportedly alerted Walker’s team to the huge risk that the abortion allegation posed to the former NFL player’s campaign (the operatives reportedly brought up the issue partially to convince him not to run).

    However, Walker’s team shrugged off the warning with the attitude of “Eh, it’s not going to come out, you’re being hyperbolic,” an operative told Politico.

    So everyone reportedly just bit their nails and waited, hoping Walker would reach the finish line in November without stepping on that particular landmine. The team also did nothing to prepare to respond to the situation, should the story blow up as it did on Monday.

    “I think people were holding out hope that we have five weeks to go and it would never come out, but you can never bet on the waiting game,” one of Politico’s sources near to the campaign said.

    But Walker’s campaign made that bet anyway, and now the candidate has been forced to answer to an ex-girlfriend’s literal receipts of the abortion he paid for in 2009 (along with a “get well card” with his signature) as his own party wages war on abortion rights.

    Walker has denied the woman’s allegations “in the strongest possible terms,” and he pledged to sue the Daily Beast for defamation on Tuesday (though he’s yet to do so).

    The nominee’s 23-year-old son, Christian Walker, has been publicly condemning his father on social media ever since the report dropped, accusing him of hypocrisy and domestic abuse.

    “I know my mom and I would really appreciate if my father Herschel Walker stopped lying and making a mockery of us,” he tweeted on Monday. “You’re not a ‘family man’ when you left us to bang a bunch of women, threatened to kill us, and had us move over 6 times in 6 months running from your violence.”

    Christian Walker also called out his father over previous revelations that the candidate had secretly fathered three other children.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the GOP has circled the wagon in Walker’s defense in a blatant contradiction to the party’s “pro-life” battle cry it’s been deploying to capitalize electorally on the Supreme Court’s conservative majority’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

  154. says

    Followup to comment 199.

    Posted by readers of the article:

    He’ll not lose any votes over it. The fundamentalists love them a good sinner and redemption story.
    He’s objectively pro-wife beating, so they know he’s on their side.
    He won’t lose those votes. If there are any undecideds, independents (so-called) or lean-Ds in the state, however, this could help them decide.
    Another Republican strategist who was involved in the Georgia Senate race said there was talk this summer — when stories emerged that Walker had fathered previously undisclosed children — that claims of a past abortion would follow.

    “It’s not that we knew about this specific case, but he’s a wealthy, famous football player who is obviously spreading his seed,” said the strategist, granted anonymity to discuss internal party discussions.
    (emphasis added)
    Rather than move to proactively address the story, Walker’s team held their breath, hoping that the election would pass before it surfaced.
    It’s at the point now where I can’t distinguish between someone being truly brain damaged or just cravenly following Trump’s lead. Amounts to the same thing in any case.
    Pro-lifers praying with Herschel this morning to put the armor of God on him to shield him from his own son’s truth bombs.
    Herschel Walker’s abortion scandal won’t alienate Christian right voters — here’s why

    Trump showed Republican voters are fine with sexual freedom — for straight conservative men [Amanda Marcotte]
    It’s fine, it falls within the agreed upon exceptions: No abortions except for incest, rape, or republican candidates and officeholders.
    what they’re saying is that it’s ok to elect an imbecile to the nation’s foremost governing body, not because he’ll do good things for GA, but because it will give OTHERS control.

  155. says

    Videos (Twitter link):

    The Russian Occupiers in the Kherson direction began to surrender together with military equipment

    Let me remind you that after the announcement of mobilization in Russia. Our telephone line received more than 2,000 bells from Russians, with questions about how to surrender

    Ukraine promises life and implementation of the Geneva Convention to everyone who voluntarily lays down their arms and surrenders. Otherwise, all the occupiers who came to our land to kill our people and seize our land will be destroyed.

  156. says

    Ukraine update: Ukraine advances on Berislav in the south, and Svatove in the north

    On Tuesday evening, Russia was trying to establish a defensive line across their holdings in the Kherson area that stretches between the town of Bruskynske on the west and Mylove on the east. This is designed to halt the rapid Ukrainian advance in northern Kherson. It’s unclear if this effort has been in any sense successful, but it does seem to have temporarily halted the “take a village as fast as you can reach it” parade that has gone on for the last three days.

    Since Sunday, Ukraine has liberated over 50 locations in northern Kherson, along with over 1,600 square kilometers. It crushed not just Russia’s front-line positions, but the positions that had been provisioned as fallbacks. Along the whole front, Ukraine is now 30 km south of the positions it held a few days ago, and less than 30 km from reaching Russia’s ultimate fallback positions at Beryslav, just across the damaged bridge from Nova Kakhovka.

    That location at Beryslav is not just the point where Russian forces are expected to gather in a last attempt to hold something of northern Kherson, it’s also the site of an exfiltration camp, where Ukrainian citizens kidnapped from their homes across the region have been taken for sorting, processing, and shipment to unknown sites in Russia. The liberation of Beryslav would give the first opportunity for the world to see what one of these camps is like. There are already reports suggesting that an army that has been fighting with World War II-style tactics is fully capable of World War II-level horrors.

    On Tuesday, the northern advance moved so far that it actually overran the long-fought-for town of Davydiv Brid, connecting the area acquired in the north to the bridgehead across the Inhulets River that had been one of Ukraine’s biggest counteroffensives in the area until this week. [map at the link]

    Most of the locations along Russia’s new defensive line are not great. Like most of this area, the terrain is flat, and Russia hasn’t done a lot to prepare the area for fighting because it never expected to be there. The exceptions are at the ends of the line.

    On the east, Mylove both has some limited higher ground and ditches that guard approaches on two sides. The northern approach to the city is also across a bridge 2 km to the north, which has likely been destroyed. Ukraine’s advance to this location in force may have also been slowed because Russia destroyed the bridge up by Dudchany when they retreated from that location.

    On the west, both Bruskynske and neighboring Ishchenka (that first red dot above Bruskynske) do have a number of trenches and other fortifications, expressly because they were the subject of long-term fighting connected to that Inhulets bridgehead. Essentially these were the second-line positions on the west all along, and now they’re anchoring the defensive line on that side.

    There were reports on Tuesday evening that Ukraine was close to pushing Russia out of Bruskynske. However, the position there has reportedly been reinforced by Russian forces that retreated from the north. On Wednesday morning, there doesn’t seem to be any sign that Russia has been moved from this position. Of all these locations, Bruskynske may be the best prepared for this moment.

    However, while Bruskynske may be the end of Russia’s defensive line, it’s not the end of Ukraine’s positioning. Ukraine has reportedly moved a large number of forces to Sukhyi Stavok and is fanning out from there. Rather than take Bruskynske directly, it seems likely that Ukraine will repeat the tactics it has used against locations such as Balakliya and Lyman: it will go around Bruskynske, secure the only supply route along the T2207 highway, then pick up this Russian hard point after broadening its position in the rear.

    There is also the center of this new line at Borozenske. Reports suggest that Russia has done little to prepare this location, and it doesn’t appear to have any topographic feature that makes it a formidable location. Perhaps the only thing making it at all tenable is that there are limited highway approaches from the north, meaning that Ukraine either has to go cross-country or try to find another way in. Or Ukraine could take advantage of the 20 km of pretty much nothing between Borozenske and Mylove and just drive on south.

    Considering the pace of things in the area, it’s likely that we will know soon.

    Further south, on the other side of where the infinitely twisty Inhulets River turns north-south to divide the Kherson area in half, there were reports on Tuesday evening that Snihurivka had been liberated. This would be an enormous deal as this has been one of Russia’s most heavily fortified, reinforced, and fought over locations, similar to Vysokopillya in the north except that Snihurivka guards a direct approach into the city of Kherson.

    The best information on Wednesday morning is that Snihurivka is mostly liberated. The majority of Russian forces have been pushed out, Ukrainian troops have moved in, but there still appear to be pockets of Russian resistance left within the town. With a pre-invasion population of over 12,000, Snihurivka is a significant location with an industrial sector in the southwest and a large number of housing blocks to be investigated and cleared. Even if the vast majority of Russians have fled the area, it may be some time before Snihurivka is officially liberated. [map at the link]

    The official position out of Russia this morning: “The Russian army has completed a regrouping action in Kherson in order to gather forces for a strike.” All of pro-Russian Telegram and Twitter is applauding the way Russia has maneuvered Ukraine into a trap and “the jaws are about to close.” Actual Russian sources are too busy plotting ways to escape across the river. There have also been reports of Russian surrenders in Kherson, though it’s not clear if this has happened in large numbers.

    Meanwhile, in the north … [map at the link]

    Just because things have been moving so rapidly in Kherson doesn’t mean they’ve stalled in the north. Ukraine has now pushed to within 20 km of the Russian hub at Svatove from multiple directions. Along the road coming north from Lyman, Ukraine has pushed north of Makiivka and there was a reported fight at Novovodyane on Wednesday. Also launching out from Makiivka is a new thrust to the east, this time along the road that runs through Ploshchanka to Krasnorichenske. Securing these two locations would cut the strategic P66 highway. Ploshchanka is likely liberated, but there has been no announcement or images to confirm this. Holding these two locations would not only position Ukraine to continue north toward Svatove, but threaten Russia’s already besieged position in Kreminna.

    To the west, Ukraine liberated the town of Horlivka. However, it’s unclear which way they’ll go from there. […]

    Northwest of that location, Ukraine has been pushing east from Borova. Fighting is reported in the area of Pershotravneve, with some sources saying Russian troops had pulled back from that location. If Ukraine can continue along this route, there’s little else in the way until near the junction just west of Svatove.

    Right now, the area around Kupyansk seems to be least active. Official Russian sources claim that there are big battles—and big Ukrainian losses—in this area. Real-world chatter from both Russian and Ukrainian sources doesn’t seem to suggest much more than skirmishes in the area. So far, Ukraine doesn’t seem to have made a serious attempt to advance down the P07 highway.

    The topography at Svatove sucks … for Russia. If Ukraine can reach the area of that highway junction just west of the city, they will be on high ground that commands a view across the entire city. If Russia chooses to make a stand in this location, it will not go well.

    There are once again claims of significant numbers of Russian troops killed in the south along with equipment captures, but I don’t have locations to go along with those claims. I will try to produce an updated map for Zaporizhzhia in the next couple of days. [Video showing rare footage of Ukrainian soldiers landing a Russian drone using an EDM4S anti-drone gun; and a Tweet with a liberation photo showing Ukrainian troops with the flag in Hrekivka in Luhansk]

    Don’t worry. Just because this claim was immediately debunked and shown to be a complete lie based on images taken in Georgia in 2008, doesn’t mean that pro-Russian Twitter won’t be citing it from now until Putinfall. [The supposedly destroyed Ukrainian tank column was propaganda that was debunked, images and debunking at the link]

    [Dmitri] Russian TV talking head attempted to say how Ukrainians have poor winter clothing, but the presenter stopped him and told him to worry about problems with their own army🤣

    The text reads “This is how real liberators are met.” Naturally, this is touching, not at all violent or sensitive. Which is why Russian trolls have used Twitter’s complaint mechanism to have it hidden. [video at the link] Should have mentioned that last video is from Novovoskresenske, in the liberated area of Kherson.

    There are reports that Ukrainian forces ranging out from Davydiv Brid have liberated the villages of Ishchenka, Bezvode, and Sadok. If true, this punches a hole through that defensive line on the west and makes Bruskynske extremely vulnerable. Russian sources have reported that a second line of defensive positions is being built across the highway between the small villages of Stepove and Nova Kuban. [map at the link]

    [Francis Scarr} You just couldn’t make it up

    Today Putin said that he’s always had “enormous respect” for Ukraine as well as its culture and language [video at the link]

    Was this enormous respect wedged somewhere between the all the times he said that Ukraine was not a country, and we just missed it?

  157. says

    Governor of Texas caught in another lie:

    In what comes as absolutely zero surprise to anyone, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lied about migrant busing during last week’s gubernatorial debate, begrudgingly acknowledging that, yes, the New York City mayor’s office actually had reached out to his office after all in an attempt to coordinate the arrival of migrants used as human props by the Texas Republican.

    During last Friday’s debate against Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, Abbott was asked by a moderator if there’d been “coordination with the states and cities these migrants are being taken.” Abbott responded that Mayor Eric Adams “never called my office, never talked to anybody in my administration,” and that it was Adams who was the liar.

    But following receipts pulled by the mayor’s office as the debate played out, The Texas Tribune reports that on Tuesday Abbott finally admitted there had been some communication after all. Still, he tried to claim he wasn’t all that wrong because it wasn’t Adams himself who had reached out.

    Abbott has in fact lied about this numerous times, making a similar claim last month that Adams’ office had not been in contact with him at all. “Mayor Adams and his staff have at no point made any effort to reach out to Governor Abbott or his office,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze claimed to The Texas Tribune.

    To quote the late, great Aretha Franklin, lies, lies, and more lies: Following the latest claim from Abbot during the debate, Adams’ Press Secretary Fabien Levy pulled out a screenshot of an email dated Aug. 1 showing New York City communicating with Texas. In fact, the text of the email acknowledges that someone from Abbott’s office had returned a phone call from Adams’ office, meaning communication had been established prior to that.

    We already knew that Abbott was full of shit because officials from other cities targeted by the Republican have previously said that his office had been completely “uncooperative.” Not to mention that the only reason why Abbott is making any sort of acknowledgement now is because he’s been caught in a lie. But as referenced earlier, “Abbott stressed that Adams himself had not reached out,” The Texas Tribune said. Oh, give it fucking rest, Greg. You’re a liar.

    We do question what other kind of coordination may have happened in relation to this outrageous stunt, not with the elected leaders of cities but with right-wing propaganda. When the Texas Republican bused his first 30 migrants to Washington, D.C., this past April, they were dropped off directly in front of a building housing a number of media outlets, including Fox News. It was not lost on observers that the right-wing outlet already had some propaganda all set for publishing.

    “The bus arrived an hour ago,” American Immigration Council Policy Director Aaron Reichlin-Melnick tweeted at the time. “Not sure where people are going now. But this was all coordinated closely with Fox News, which had an article up immediately.”

    Recent polling has O’Rourke with a 12-point lead over Abbott among likely Latino voters, particularly among Latinas. During the debate, the former congressman blasted Abbott’s nativist policies and rhetoric, which have continued unabated as the state has continued to see racist hate crimes.

    “This hateful rhetoric, this treating human beings as political pawns, talking about invasions and Texans defending themselves–that’s how people get killed at the Walmart in El Paso,” O’Rourke said. He also pointed to the recent horrific shooting death of a migrant by the former warden of an immigrant detention facility previously accused of abuses. “The gentleman in Hudspeth that we just learned about yesterday—this is incredibly dangerous for Texas, and it’s not reflective of our values.” State lawmakers have since urged the Justice Department to pursue hate crime charges. […]


    Republican doofuses coordinated with Fox News!

  158. says

    Wonkette: “Trump Begs Clarence Thomas To Restore Transparency To Review Of, Um, Secret Docs He Stole From Government”

    There’s so much going on, it’s easy to forget the most recent illegitimate president of the United States stole Top Secret classified government documents and hid them in his tacky Palm Beach McMansion. We still don’t know the motive or if he planned to sell the documents to America’s enemies or use them for Secret Santa with his dictator friends or if he was planning to try to use them to blackmail the government, in case the government tried to prosecute him for other crimes. (That’s Michael Cohen’s theory, in case you hadn’t heard.)

    The saga continues, with the documents and the Special Master Trump begged for, […] and with the moron Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon, who apparently thinks she’s one of Trump’s personal lawyers.

    Trump is now begging Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to intervene and give the Special Master back about 100 documents with classification markings seized at Mar-a-Lago, documents that had been removed from his purview. That way it would be easier for Trump to keep objecting to the search, and to argue it was fine for Trump to have the documents, because attorney-client privilege, or executive privilege, or another privilege Trump just made up, or because he squeezed his sphincter really hard and magically declassified them before he left office.

    Up to now, those 100 documents have not been part of the review, because of how they are obviously the government’s property and not Trump’s; the actual president’s (Joe Biden’s) executive privilege outweighs Trump’s imaginary executive privilege; the Justice Department is part of the executive branch anyway; and oh my God how do we even have to type this?

    Originally Aileen Cannon — idiot — said these documents couldn’t be used in the criminal investigation while Special Master Raymond Dearie was doing his thingie. The 11th Circuit replied and said Aileen Cannon is an idiot.

    Clarence Thomas is the judge over the 11th Circuit, so …



    Just kidding, the filing does not suggest Ginni Thomas store the 100 documents in her bosom for safekeeping. At least we are pretty sure it doesn’t say that, but can’t be certain, […] and Christ only knows what a Trump lawyer might write with a straight face.

    It also isn’t saying the documents shouldn’t be used in DOJ’s criminal investigation. They just also need to go back to the Special Master, for transparency purposes.

    Politico excerpts:

    “Any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a President’s home erodes public confidence in our system of justice,” Trump’s attorneys, Christopher Kise, James Trusty, Evan Corcoran and Lindsey Halligan, wrote in the 37-page filing.

    Trump’s emergency application does not appear to ask the high court to revive the part of Cannon’s order that blocked the Justice Department and FBI from using the documents with classification markings in their ongoing criminal investigation.

    Instead, Trump appears to be asking Thomas simply to return those documents potentially containing national security secrets to the process being run by Special Master Raymond Dearie, a veteran U.S. District Court judge in New York whom Cannon tapped for the role at Trump’s request.

    “In sum, the Government has attempted to criminalize a document management dispute and now vehemently objects to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

    We love how Trump’s hack lawyers keep trying to call this a “document management dispute,” in an attempt to distract from how there’s literally no circumstance where a traitor criminal former president stealing America’s secrets and keeping them next to the mini-fridge at Camp Crawling With Spies (Allegedly!) is on the up-and-up.


    Thomas is giving the Department of Justice until next Tuesday to respond, and Politico says Thomas will probably refer the matter to the full Court.

    As usual with the current partisan hack Supreme Court, who even knows what they’ll do? Will they tell Trump to fuck off? Or will Trump’s justices make up some new laws to protect the man they owe their careers to?

    Who can tell? They’re not serious people, this could go either way.

  159. says

    Rightwing doofus being particularly gross:

    Matt Walsh advocates for the impregnation of girls as young as 16 because it’s “technically when they’re at their most fertile” in a newly unearthed rant about how teenage pregnancy isn’t “the problem it’s unwed pregnancy that’s the problem in society”
    Video at the link.

    Posted by viewers of the video:

    That’s some top libertarian logic paths right there
    Libertarian for white male dudes, not much Libertarian for teens forced to bear children.
    Ummm I’m pretty sure that it was not standard practice to be pregnant at 16 in the 1950’s…
    They always reveal themselves to be pedophiles
    This always happens with people like him.
    “We have to protect the children! Also marrying them is fine.”
    Matt Walsh said like he might not tell the authorities if his kid did what Josh Duggar did
    It’s so infuriating how repulsive men like Matt Walsh keep opining on and discussing the most intimate aspects of women’s – of GIRL’s – lives in such a possessive way.
    Maybe we should treat women and girls like they are worth more than the babies they make

  160. says

    Zelenskyy tweeted:

    The joint bid of Spain, Portugal & Ukraine to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup is more than a symbol of faith in our joint victory. Ukraine will endure, prevail & be rebuilt thanks to the solidarity of its partners. Grateful for the support to [Spain] & [Portugal]

  161. says

    “OPEC and its allies move to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day.”
    Washington Post link

    A coalition of oil-producing nations, including Russia, announced Wednesday it would slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day, in a rebuke to President Biden that could push up gas prices worldwide, worsen the risk of a global recession and bolster Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    […] “The President is disappointed by the shortsighted decision by OPEC Plus to cut production quotas while the global economy is dealing with the continued negative impact of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese said in a statement.

    The OPEC Plus coalition, which is led by crude-oil giant Saudi Arabia, said the cut in production would take effect in November. This would be the first time the group cut oil production targets since the beginning of the pandemic.

    Wednesday’s move was more aggressive than most analysts had expected even a few days ago, and reflects the oil producing nations’ desire to react to the recent drop in global prices.

    Higher energy prices could help Russia finance its war on Ukraine, a move the United States has sought to avoid. Higher energy prices could also weaken the resolve of other countries, which have supported Ukraine in trying to repel Russia after the February invasion.

    Energy stocks climbed slightly on the news, contrasting to declines in the overall financial markets.

    […] The cut comes despite aggressive lobbying by the Biden administration for the consortium to continue production at current levels or higher — punctuated by Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July. […]

    The significant cut could also have considerable political fallout in the United States, where midterm elections will be held in just over a month. Falling gas prices this summer played a big role in lifting the political fortunes of Democrats, who face a tough election season. They also helped elevate Biden’s approval rating, and gave the party a glimmer of hope for blunting a widely anticipated Red Wave in November.

    The OPEC coalition’s move could also add to inflationary pressures in the United States and Europe, as well as undercut the effort to bolster Ukraine as it defends itself against the Russian invasion. Russia relies on gas and oil sales for a large portion of its budget and had pushed for the production cut, which will enable Moscow to sell oil for higher prices on the global market, generating more revenue for its war and troop mobilization.

    […] It is unlikely overall production will decrease by the full 2 million barrels because some countries are not reaching their current quotas, said Claudio Galimberti, head of Americas analysis at Rystad Energy. But gas prices are still likely to increase in the United States, he said, perhaps by roughly 10 percent in much of the country, though the actual increase will depend on many factors.

    […] On Wednesday, the European Union advanced a U.S.-backed measure to impose a price cap on Russian oil, a move designed to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept lower energy revenue without pulling supply from global markets.

    “A large supply cut would delight Moscow, which would benefit from both stabilized if not higher crude prices and an implicit sign of solidarity from its OPEC Plus colleagues as it braces for looming E.U. oil sanctions‚” McNally said before the cut was announced.

    […] Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have all seen prices jump by at least 40 cents a gallon over the past week. Throughout swing states in the Midwest, the increase has been less severe, but enough for drivers to notice the pain. In California, where there are at least eight close congressional races, prices jumped 62 cents over the last week to $6.38 per gallon of gasoline.

    While the White House has little control over the price of gas, which is guided by global markets, Biden has more actively engaged on the matter than many of his predecessors. That includes his order to release 1 million barrels of oil per day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an action that helped lower prices but now makes the United States even more vulnerable to cost increases as it faces the challenge of replenishing.

    The administration has already extended the release of that reserve oil into November. […] Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told CNBC in an interview the cut in production should lead to a “wholesale revaluation of the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia,” adding that Biden’s visit this year did not yield the necessary results from Riyadh. “When the chips are down the Saudis effectively choose the Russians instead of the United States,” he said. […]

  162. says

    Oh, FFS. DeSantis seemed to be playing nice, (or at least apolitically), with the federal government and others trying to help Florida recover from Hurricane Ian … and then DeSantis revealed his bugnuts rightwing crazy side:

    […] Axios reported:

    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in an interview this week that the national media wanted Hurricane Ian to hit Tampa Bay, broadly claiming that coverage of the deadly storm was motivated by a “political agenda.”

    The governor spoke to an outlet called Florida’s Voice, which describes itself as “a patriotic news network,” and shared some thoughts about his impressions of major news outlets.

    “Well, look, I think part of it quite frankly, you know, you have national regime media that they wanted to see Tampa [get hit by Hurricane Ian] because they thought that, that would be worse for Florida. That’s how these people think,” DeSantis said. “I mean, they don’t care about the people of this state. They don’t care about the people of this community. They want to use storms and destruction from storms as a way to advance their agenda.

    “They don’t care what the destruction’s in their wake, they don’t care about the lives here. If they can use it to pursue their political agenda, they will do it.”

    He didn’t appear to be kidding. The governor honestly seemed to believe that journalists wanted to see a massive hurricane strike one of Florida’s largest cities because of their deep hatred for the state. Media professionals, in DeSantis’ mind, have an “agenda,” and storm devastation would help those rascally journalists advance their cause.

    Who are these Florida-hating media professionals? He didn’t say. What’s their “agenda”? He didn’t say that, either. How would a hurricane hitting Tampa help these scoundrels? It’s another one of those details that DeSantis neglected to mention.

    Perhaps he hasn’t yet thought this one through.

    It’s also worth dwelling on “national regime media.” In candor, I haven’t the foggiest idea what the phrase means, though Media Matters’ Matt Gertz noted that the Republican apparently uses the phrase because, as DeSantis sees it, independent news organizations at the national level are aligned with the “regime” — as in, the Biden administration. [JFC]

    Of course, the idea that journalists are secretly in league with the executive branch is tiresome, conspiratorial nonsense, and just as importantly, in this country, we tend not to use the word “regime” to refer to the democratically elected government of the United States.


  163. says


    A girls’ school in Iran brought a member of the IRGC-run Basij paramilitary to speak to students. The girls welcomed the speaker by taking off their headscarves & chanting “get lost, Basiji”.

    Teenage girls have been at the forefront of protests for days.

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  164. says

    Julia Davis:

    Crying Russian propagandist accused those who don’t want to die in Russia’s war of being “a zero, decay and garbage.” Despondent, he wept live on-air, urging others to join the battle, but didn’t express any desire to do so himself. More in my article…

    DB link and subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. LOL – “This was very powerful.”

  165. says


    (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces liberated three more settlements in the southern Kherson region on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address.

    * Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka, which all lie to the north east of Kherson

  166. says

    NBC News:

    Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill Tuesday that will withhold Covid relief funds from one of the state’s largest hospital systems unless it stops providing gender-affirming medical care to minors.

  167. says

    Ron DeSantis is being hit with not one, but two bilingual ads slamming his mistreatment of migrant children and adults, including his sick political stunt luring vulnerable people onto flights to Martha’s Vineyard. The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) Votes launched the six-figure campaign across central and south Florida this week.

    “These families had legally applied for asylum at the border, many of whom had fled the Maduro dictatorship in Venezuela, only to be falsely lured with promises of housing and other opportunities if they agreed to take the flights,” the narrator said in one ad, titled “Deceived.” But “none of it was true,” the narrator continues. […]

    The second ad, “Valores,” or “Values,” features Norah Lossada, a Venezuelan-American and Floridian denouncing DeSantis’ attack on migrant children who have arrived to the U.S. without their parents. Months before going to Texas in search of a problem, DeSantis issued an order blocking the license renewals of federally funded facilities where these kids are held while they wait to be placed with a sponsor, a decision prolonging how long these kids are kept from reuniting with relatives. DeSantis’ overall war on these children earned the condemnation of Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami.

    “My name is Norah Lossada,” she says in the ad. “I am Venezuelan. Florida is built on the foundation of immigrants. Regarding Governor DeSantis’ decision to support and keep children separated from their families once they arrive in this country, I think it’s a completely incorrect decision. I wouldn’t vote for DeSantis because he’s not a person that I think represents the values of the state of Florida.” […]


    Videos are available at the link.

  168. says

    “Right Stuff Dating App Flawless Victory, So Much Conservative Hetero Boning Happening Now”

    The Right Stuff dating app has been up for a week, and let us tell you, if the reviews are any indicator, this thing that Peter Thiel stuffed his gay money into is going great.

    As of this writing, it’s rated a ‘2.1’ out of a possible ‘5’ on the Apple app store, and just read what people are saying! […]

    They say their wife died two days ago so it’s time to get back out there. But they realized it is a scam and funded by Bill Gates for the purpose of “exterminate all of us conservative Christian’s.” [sic] What a bummer.

    Finally, here are a couple that are pretty sure The Right Stuff is just the feds trying to catch them for January 6-ing. So if that’s your kink! […]

    All kinds of juicy stuff at the link.

  169. says

    George Monbiot in the Guardian – “Rightwing thinktanks run this government. But first, they had to capture the BBC”:

    Some of it is easy to understand. Liz Truss, a hollow vessel filled with secondhand ideas by the dark-money thinktanks, believed their assurances that the magic of an unregulated market and tax cuts for the very rich would trigger an economic boom. The thinktanks must scarcely have believed their luck: that someone so malleable could become prime minister.

    On the day of the mini-budget, they crowed about taking over the government. The Conservative Home founder, Tim Montgomerie, remarked that this was “a massive moment” for the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), which had “incubated Truss and Kwarteng during their early years as MPs. Britain is now their laboratory.” The head of the institute, Mark Littlewood, then retweeted his comment with a sunglasses emoji.

    Above a screenshot of a Guardian headline asking “Has Liz Truss handed power over to the extreme neoliberal thinktanks?”, the IEA’s head of public policy, Matthew Lesh, wrote “Yes”. The economic disaster inflicted by Truss and Kwarteng has been dubbed the Tufton Street Massacre, as the groups that devised their policies are headquartered in and around Tufton Street in Westminster.

    I see these thinktanks, which refuse to reveal the sources of their funding, as lobbyists for hidden interests. We know from leaks and US reports that these include, in some cases, tobacco firms, oil firms and foreign oligarchs. But there is one question to which no one has provided a complete and satisfactory answer.

    Day after day, year after year, the BBC has provided these extremists with a massive platform on its news and current affairs programmes. Major BBC programmes including Today, Question Time, Newsnight and Any Questions? are populated by speakers from the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Adam Smith Institute, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, the Centre for Policy Studies and Policy Exchange. These groups also happen to have been rated by the campaign Who Funds You? as among the most opaque of all those it investigated.

    When the IEA complained to Ofcom about the broadcaster James O’Brien’s description of the institute as a “hard-right lobby group for vested interests of big business, fossil fuels, tobacco, junk food” on his LBC show, Ofcom rejected its complaint, ruling that he had not distorted the facts. Yet the combined platform of these dark-money groups on the BBC is surely many times bigger than that of any other non-party grouping.

    The BBC routinely torches its editorial guidelines, which state that “we should make checks to establish the credentials of our contributors and to avoid being hoaxed”. When the IEA was set up, one of its founders instructed that it should operate as a front group: “we should give no indication in our literature that we are working to educate the public along certain lines”. Its manifesto, he said, had been written in “cagey terms”. It was a hoax from the outset.

    At first, I thought the problem was naivety. But then I saw the BBC’s responses to complaints about its failure to establish the credentials of its contributors. They were defensive, irrational and contradictory…. If my experience is anything to go by, the only effect of raising these issues is to get deplatformed by the programmes you criticise.

    In 2019, the Observer journalist Carole Cadwalladr spoke to the then BBC director-general, Tony Hall, about this blatant disregard of the rules. In response, he changed the editorial guidelines to state that thinktanks’ affiliations and funding “should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context”. The policy was implemented for about a fortnight, and has been disregarded ever since.

    Now the situation has gone beyond satire. These groups are being called upon by the BBC to comment on the performance of this government as if they are impartial observers, rather than the authors of its policies.

    I no longer believe the BBC’s failure to uphold its own rules is an accident. I believe it’s a policy….

    I’m sure there’s more to this story than we yet know. It’s hard to believe how freely the BBC breaks its own rules to promote and normalise an extreme neoliberal cult. Neoliberalism is the intellectual justification for the class war waged by the rich against the poor. The BBC is part of the team.

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned The BBC: Myth of a Public Service here before. Here’s an interview with the author, Tim Mills.

  170. says

    Moscow Times – “Team Navalny Says Relaunching Regional Network to Resist War, Mobilization”:

    Associates of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny on Tuesday said they are relaunching his regional political network to fight against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent “partial” mobilization ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

    “It’s time for us to restore our network to fight mobilization and war,” said Ivan Zhdanov, the former director of Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, in a video published on social media by Navalny’s chief of staff Leonid Volkov on Tuesday.

    Navalny’s political network, which at one point had 50 regional headquarters across Russia, was disbanded last year after a Moscow court outlawed it as an “extremist” organization.

    But in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and last month’s mobilization of thousands of Russians to bolster Russia’s faltering war effort, Volkov declared that the network was reopening to fight precisely those issues.

    “Putin has brought war and suffering to every Russian family in every home,” Volkov said in the video.

    Zhdanov, who like Volkov is living in exile to avoid criminal prosecution, pledged that the new group would be a “partisan underground” movement inside Russia, and called on citizens to resist the Kremlin and work with the group.

    “The fight can take on a variety of different forms and extremes,” Volkov said. “You can spread information, provide legal assistance, volunteer, or sabotage the work of military enlistment offices.”

    Tuesday’s call looks to reach Russians beyond the jailed Kremlin critic’s existing supporters by appealing to anyone opposed to the war and mobilization.

    “We will be glad for all people, both those cautious and those that are the most desperate, it does not matter to us where you are from or where you work, the main thing is that you are against this war and this government,” Volkov said.

  171. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Zelensky tells Russia: ‘No matter the weapons you can find, you have already lost’

    In his evening address on Oct. 5, President Volodymyr Zelensky said there’s no weapon that could help Russia win the war.

    “Ukrainians know what they are fighting for. Now more and more Russian citizens realize that they have to die simply because one person doesn’t want to stop the war,” he said.

    “Even if you (the occupiers) still find some other weapon somewhere in the world like these Iranian Shaheds (meaning Shahed-136 drones Russian forces have been using lately) that you use to bomb our cities… it won’t help you anyway. You have already lost,” Zelensky stressed.

    Twitter link. A few responses down, someone has posted the full video (again with the superb English subtitles; thanks again to the person doing that!).

  172. says

    More re several posts above – Science – “‘I’m extremely disturbed’: Harsh crackdown at top Iranian university shocks academics worldwide”:

    Sunday’s brutal crackdown against students protesting at one of Iran’s most prestigious universities has shocked Iranian academics and students around the world. The attack, at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, also drove home the important role students and universities are playing in the popular uprising against the Iranian government. Protests at many other universities in Iran have continued.

    “I feel extremely disturbed by the brutality and violence. I do not know any of these students in person, but I hugely care about them,” says Farid Farrokhi, an economist at Purdue University who obtained his master’s degree at Sharif. “They are the future of Iran.”

    Sahar Zarmehri, a Sharif alum who’s now a quantitative analyst at Citigroup, says she “cried several times” as she watched the news this week. She urges the international academic community to support Iran’s students. “We want the scientific community to stand next to our innocent people and students and be their voice,” Zarmehri says.

    The attack at Sharif began after students on Sunday protested the arrest of a few classmates during recent street protests. Members of the Basij, a paramilitary group supervised by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, attacked the students. Some students tried to hide in classrooms, according to eyewitness accounts and videos on social media. Other fled to the parking garage, where they found themselves trapped by plainclothes police. Outside the university, riot patrols and armed police were waiting; they fired shotguns and tear gas and used paintball guns to mark the protesters. Reports suggest several people were seriously wounded and more than 100 were arrested. Amid the chaos, Iran’s minister of science and technology, Mohammad Ali Zolfigol, visited the campus in a failed attempt to calm the situation.

    Sharif was a high-profile target, as the alma mater of some of Iran’s most famous scientists, including the late Stanford University mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, the first woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal. “Can you imagine the US government sending armed guerrilla forces to Boston to surround Harvard and MIT and start killing students? Well, that is exactly what is going on in Tehran,” Iranian-born engineer Firouz Naderi, a former director of Solar System exploration at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, tweeted on Monday.

    Students and professors at Sharif contacted by Science confirmed many of the events reported on social media, but none wanted to be named. One student said security forces told students’ parents to keep their children under control. Police also warned students not to share stories on social media. The university has announced that all classes will be held online until further notice. Also on Sunday night, there were reports of clashes between students at the Iran University of Science and Technology.

    “Universities have always been the place for brave young adults with brilliant minds who are not scared of openly expressing their opinions,” says physicist Azadeh Keivani, a Sharif alum who’s now a data scientist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. By attacking students, the Iranian government is hoping to “create fear among all walks of life in the society,” she says.

    Still, demonstrations at other universities have continued. …At Semnan University, students rallied while chanting, “Iran has become a prison, Evin has become a university,” a reference to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where large numbers of students and intellectuals are locked up.

    Farrokhi hopes the international research community will offer more support, for instance by writing open letters to express its solidarity [these have started], urging the media to pay more attention to the struggle, and putting pressure on Iranian ambassadors.

    For Keivani, the death of Amini, who was 22, was a stark reminder of her own youth in Iran. “I was 22 when I immigrated to the United States to attend graduate school. It was right after I graduated from Sharif University,” she says. “The number of morality cops had significantly increased in the last year of my undergrad. Almost every day, one of them warned me to wear a ‘proper’ hijab as soon as I entered the campus.”

    “In my first days in the U.S., it happened to me several times that while I was outside, for a moment, I was worried I wasn’t wearing a headscarf,” Keivani says. “It took only a fraction of a second until I remembered I was no longer in Iran. But you can never understand what those moments do to you and your mental health, unless you were an Iranian woman raised in Iran.”

  173. raven says

    Video from a Belarusian source:
    You won’t see this on Moscow TV.

    Russian conscripts in the Taman Division mounted a protest, complaining that they are treated like animals. They were given little equipment, no tents, and no food. Many are sick, and have fever temperatures. They have announced an intention to go on strike/mutiny, and refuse to be sent to Ukraine.

    The Taman Division is near Moscow.

    These conscripts weren’t even issued helmets and bullet proof vests. No tents although they are sleeping outside.
    Many are sick. Since this is Russia in the Fall, it is likely they all have Covid-19 virus, that pandemic that hasn’t yet gone away.

    And oh yeah, they aren’t at all happy.
    I don’t see how these conscripts are going to be very effective soldiers in Ukraine.

    Russia uses its army as a means of getting rid of people they don’t want.
    In this war it is antiwar protesters and ethnic minorities such as the Dagestanis and Buryats.

  174. says

    Julia Davis:

    Top propagandists on Russian state TV brainstormed about various ways of attacking the West for helping Ukraine: from plotting to kill powerful government officials on “The Satanovsky List,” to using energy as a weapon against Europe. More in my article…

    DB link and subtitled wackadoodle video at the (Twitter) link.

  175. says

    From the video @ #225 (in response to “How do we win? How should we react to the Americans? What should we do?”):

    Russia is what it is in terms of a nation. We’ll continue to be the way we are. Those who are with us will be fine, and the rest we will kill.

  176. raven says

    Another death threat against me and my cat.**

    Dietmar Pichler 🇪🇺🇺🇦
    “We will lose this war if we don’t launch a nuclear strike against the U.S.”
    Russian MP and member of Putin’s party “United Russia” Yevgeny Fyodorov

    Well, Mr. Fyodorov is right.

    However, being an internet troll high Russian official, he hasn’t thought it through very far.
    Russia will lose their war for sure if they launch a nuclear strike against the US!!!
    In fact, Russia will simply disappear forever as anything but a desolate, empty radioactive wasteland.

    We invented nuclear weapons and have as many as they do.
    And ours are well maintained and will all work.

    **The Russians have been threatening me and tens of millions of my close friends with nuclear death for my entire life.
    I’m still here and I still don’t like it.

  177. raven says

    Thread @Archer83Able
    This story sounds unbelievable: Russian draftees were simply left on their own at a train station in the Belgorod Oblast, without being subordinated to any military unit.

    They say that they were given full gear and live ammunition, and that they had no training.

    At least they got gear and rifles that work.
    There are 500 in this group.
    All they need now is a warm place out of the rain to sleep and food. Which right now they don’t have.
    I suppose if they get desperate enough, they do have those rifles and can always take what they want from the Russian civilians.

    This is what cannon fodder looks like.

    A lot of people are concluding that this mobilization has already failed.
    The last one that resulted in the Russian 3rd army was also a failure.

  178. says

    Siavash Ardelan:

    Forced TV confessions of protestors on Iran’s state TV is nothing new especially after the death of #MahsaAmini, but this time the evidence was noticed. In tonight’s news broadcast, the shadow of a person can be observed in the background whispering ‘say it you piece of dirt’.

    Shayan Sardarizadeh:

    The worst thing about this Iran state TV forced confession is the man is Nika Shakarami’s uncle, a 17-year-old teenage girl who was detained at a protest in Tehran, badly beaten, and her body stolen from her family and secretly buried a week later.

    Video at either (Twitter) link.

  179. says

    Ukraine update: Russia has wrought ‘a wall of lies, a sea of blood, and a swamp of corpses’

    On Russian TV, a guest claimed that Russia would need at least two months to regain the initiative. You see, Ukraine had begun its mobilization at the start of the war, he explained, so Russia was just lagging behind schedule.

    That is all laughable nonsense. Ukraine spent six to seven months equipping those reserves with Western gear (see picture above) and upgraded Soviet armor, and training them to effectively use those systems, oftentimes by American, Canadian, British, and other NATO professionals. Even back in March, Ukraine steadfastly maintained that those reserves wouldn’t be ready until late August or September, and they were right. The timeline was always “six months to get up to speed.”

    Russia doesn’t have modern equipment to equip these new call-ups. They don’t have competent military trainers to teach them proper tactics. Their existing doctrine is crap and has been systematically losing them the war. They don’t have experienced officers or NCOs to guide these fresh recruits under fire, and the ones they originally had sucked anyway. And two months is not enough time to put together a competent force, even if they had that much time to prepare. In reality, the fresh meat is sent to the front 0-2 weeks after mobilization.

    Yet mobilization itself has proven such a clusterfuck that even propagandists on state TV can’t ignore it. As pro-Russian Telegram powerhouse Rybar noted, stories of rank incompetence are now flooding Telegram.

    [Dmitri posted] Russian mobiks, location unspecified, recording an address to the public, saying they were abandoned, they are all sick, they were given weapons which are not registered anywhere, they have to buy their food, and there are mentally unstable people among them. [video at the like, with English subtitles.]

    Conditions are so abysmal for many that they’re dying before even shipping to Ukraine. [Tweet and video at the link. The video has English translation]

    While the mobilization burden is supposed to be shared equitably among all Russian regions, in reality, the more docile a region, the more men are rounded up. [Tweets at the link]

    That’s an interesting thread, so I encourage you to read it. But officials also prefer mobilizing from small villages, where they can eliminate any threat of protest by taking all the men at once, and no one seems to care much about recruiting healthy and fit men—it’s easier to grab those who are easiest to find.

    Meanwhile, continuing a running theme, no one should expect to actually get paid.

    Mobilised men from Omsk are complaining that they are not being paid. The regional authorities have admitted they do not have enough money to pay them, according to reports. (Thanks to @altryne for the automatic translation) [video at the link]

    Not getting paid is a feature, not a bug, of this Russian system. Why pay up front if many won’t be returning? If they have families and owe them cash, they can pretend their loved ones are “missing in action,” so nothing has to be paid out. It’s a reason Russia has never shown any interest in retrieving the bodies of their fallen. It would require them to pay out survivor benefits.

    In this particular case, “The regional governor, Alexander Burkov, says he has a 12 billion ruble budget deficit: ‘We still don’t understand what we are going to pay salaries with. And, of course, this problem [with the lack of funds for lump sum payments] is very painful …’” If you’re wondering why the regional governor and not the Russian Ministry of Defense is paying for these mobilizations, the answer is because Moscow exists to bleed its provinces dry. It’s hard to pay for luxury yachts and dachas if the Muscovite and St. Petersburg elite actually have to bear the full costs of their war.

    Thing is, this clusterfuck of a mobilization is impossible to ignore or propagandize away. [Tweet and video posted by Julia Davis is available at the link]

    Even Vladimir Putin had to admit that “In the course of this mobilization, many questions are coming up, and all mistakes must be corrected and prevented from happening in the future.” Earlier today, Putin signed a decree that made “corrections” to the mobilization drive, including exempting students. As far as I could tell, none of those corrections included paying them, feeding them, or properly housing them. Certainly, there is no correction possible that would forge these poor saps into any kind of fighting force. They are doomed to serve as speed bumps to future Ukrainian advances, sacrificed to the god HIMARS.

    Russian state media has become a study of contrasts, a fight between something resembling the truth, and those insisting this is an existential fight for Russia’s very existence. Take a look at this guy:

    [Francis Scarr posted] Russian MP Andrei Kartapolov, a former army general, says the Defence Ministry needs to stop lying in its daily updates on the war

    “People are far from stupid. They can see that they’re not being told the truth” [video at the link, with English translation]

    He may be right that the Russian people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why those with means got the hell out of Dodge. But they are certainly docile, because they’re taking the lies in stride. Heck, like #MAGA, they may prefer those lies, like the ones from this guy: [tweet and video posted by Julia Davis are available at the link. See SC's comments 225 and 227]

    Meanwhile, Russia’s most popular TV and radio host, Vladimir Solovyov, has been in a deep funk all week. “Not so long ago we were stationed near Kyiv,“ Solovyov said. “and now we’re trying to straight up the frontline? Bravo.” Putin’s problem is that no one feels threatened by NATO (not even him, given how he emptied out Russian bases near Finland), or by Ukraine, or thinks their existence is in any way threatened by the West. They may love the talk about a “multi-polar world” in which Russia is a great power, but they were happy with their McDonalds and Nike stores. This? This is no longer their fight.

    [snipped debunking of story about Russians pulling gold teeth from the mouths of civilians … not true]

    Ukraine has an “I want to live” project—a hotline promoted on Telegram and a website that encourages Russians to surrender to Ukrainian forces. Ukraine claims thousands have contacted the hotline to get further information on how to quit the war. The video above [video at the link] is supposedly one of those pre-arranged surrenders: The infantry fighting vehicle approaches with its gun pointed to the sky, a pair of white trousers serving as the surrender flag. Well-equipped, well-trained Ukrainian soldiers conduct a professional sweep and restrain the Russians. (In the past, Russians have ambushed Ukrainians by pretending to surrender.)

    This video is sweeping across Telegram, encouraging Russians to follow suit. But … is this real, or staged theater? A debate is raging across the internet, yet it doesn’t really matter. As propaganda, it’s A+ material. Meanwhile, I am starting to believe reports of mass Russian surrenders. There are a seemingly endless number of POW videos circulating online (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, for starters. There are literally dozens of such videos). This is my favorite:

    Ukrainians captured a Luhansk mobik and fed him tasty shawarma. [video at the link]

    If you wonder why so many Russians are surrendering, look at this guy. He looks like he hasn’t eaten in days, and that whatever else might happen to him, he’ll at least be able to eat something. (Also, to come full circle, he was also never paid.)

    If you’re wondering what the rules are about showing POWs like this, the Geneva Convention prohibits torture, medical experimentation, acts of violence, insults, and public curiosity. One of the videos I linked above show Ukrainians kicking a Russian POW, apparently mocking him for asking for something (what, I don’t know). That’s a war crime. How about the one where the Ukrainians are singing a patriotic song as Russians are lined up against a wall? Is that “insults”? Maybe. What about the poor guy eating his shawarma, with pictures of his wife in his wallet: Is that subjecting him to “public curiosity”? According to the International Red Cross, “public curiosity” is defined as any image that is publicly identifiable and doesn’t protect the prisoners’ “human dignity.” In the video above, they literally show his passport.

    I consider publishing and linking to this videos to be fair game because 1) they are not meant to demean them or rob them of their human dignity. In fact, I am more sympathetic to these Russians because of these videos. Most have no interest in being in Ukraine, and I’m relieved they didn’t lose their lives; 2) It illustrates a real facet of the war—there are lots of POWs despite Russian denials; 3) It shows that for the most part, Ukraine is treating them well, which will hopefully encourage more such surrenders. There’s currently a horrific video, a couple of days old, of Azerbaijani forces murdering a couple dozen Armenian prisoners of war. It’s important to highlight that this isn’t that war. And in the case of the mistreated Russian POW, it is imperative that we understand that Ukraine isn’t perfect, and that it must strive for that perfection if it hopes to encourage more such surrenders.

    […] We see one destroyed Humvee in the video. Charging through a wall of Russian artillery is unfathomable bravery. Having to suffer through something like that when on the retreat has to be even worse: [two videos at the link]


    There’s dissatisfaction about Colonel General Gennady Zhidko being reappointed to command Russia’s Eastern Military District. One Telegram writer complains he and others created “a wall of lies … a sea of blood and a swamp of corpses”.

    I’m less interested in the in-the-weeds information about this colonel general, and more interested in the description: “A wall of lies, a sea of blood, and a swamp of corpses.” […]

    Sometimes, maybe it’s not corruption to blame. Maybe it’s old-school incompetence. [tweet and image at the link]


    Interestingly, earlier today in Moscow police detained an employee of Prigozhin’s media group Patriot Aleksey Slobodenyuk who runs a network of telegram channels known for attacking Shoigu, Volodin and others. So a hot war among Russia’s elite is very much a reality at this point. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Prigozhin is the CEO of Wagner mercenaries. I’ve seen the theory that the mobilized video with the train in the background was staged by Wagner to embarrass the Russian ministry of defense and Shoigu, specifically. It’s nowhere near conclusive—some Wagner patches among the troops. I’d have to know how popular Wagner is with the general population so that they might be “army surplus” style gear or swag fans would wear. Also, these soldiers got uniforms from somewhere. Could there be Wagner castoffs or surplus among them? But still, it’s quite curious.

  180. says

    I’ve been thinking about the Ukrainian update in comment 231. Conditions are so bad when it comes to the Russian mobilization of more men that I can hardly take it in. And conditions are so bad when you look at evidence of incompetence, and at the lack of equipment, food, and training … well it is such a clusterfuck that I think it will get more and more difficult to tell what is really going on. It’s as if the clusterfuck aspect has metastasized, so much that the wins and losses on the battlefield become almost irrelevant.

    The Russian military is defeating itself. You have to feel sorry for the newly conscripted “soldiers.” The Russian government, headed by Putin, also seems to be defeating itself (despite their bluster about nuking us all on a daily basis, and despite their recent win when the Saudi’s sided with them to produce less oil so that costs will rise).

  181. says

    Josh Marshall: “Goose Cooked”

    Get the all the facts before you make up your story, says the bible. Well, not the bible but still a good rule of thumb. It’s one Herschel Walker’s campaign didn’t go with apparently. The Daily Beast has a follow up story to the abortion story which triggered the (I think even more damaging) attacks from his son. Walker categorically denied the story and claims he has no idea what woman might be leveling the accusations. Since Walker appears to have had quite a few out of wedlock children, one might snark that … well, maybe he doesn’t know who she is. After all, there are so many.

    But there’s a problem. The woman is the mother of one of the four out-of-wedlock children Walker has acknowledged. The Daily Beast says the woman provided proof that she’s the mother of that child. According to her she had the abortion discussed in the earlier story but the relationship continued. Later she became pregnant with Walker a second time and that time she brought the pregnancy to term.

    None of this is terribly surprising given all the completely bonkers details in this story. But it amounts to checkmate on any remaining, residual credibility people might have ascribed to Walker. Clearly he knows the mother of one of his acknowledged children. So he knows exactly who she is, notwithstanding the denials. Could she be lying? Sure, though she’s provided strong circumstantial evidence for her claims about the abortion. But this is someone who’s life is permanently connected to Walker through their child, regardless of how estranged they may be. It isn’t someone random making up a story who doesn’t even know Walker. The guy’s credibility is non-existent. The supporters who had to swallow hard and pretend to believe the unbelievable over the last 48 hours have to start up again tomorrow morning.

  182. says

    Unconfirmed reports [now confirmed] that Russian prosecutors have added treason to the charges against Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has been in jail since being arrested outside his home in Moscow in April. He would face up to 30 years in prison if convicted on the treason charge.”

  183. says

    Here’s a link to today’s Guardian Ukraine liveblog. Their latest summary:

    Russia hit the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia with seven rockets, flattening an apartment building early on Thursday morning. The city’s authorities told Ukraine’s public broadcaster, Suspilne, that at least two had died and at least another five were trapped under the rubble, although later reports revised the death toll down to one. Rescue workers at the scene said they saved a three-year-old girl. Zaporizhzhia’s branch of Suspilne reported more explosions in the city at mid-morning Kyiv time.

    The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has appeared to admit severe losses in Ukraine, conceding the severity of the Kremlin’s recent military reversals and insisting Russia would “stabilise” the situation in four Ukrainian regions – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – it illegally claimed as its own territory last week. “We are working on the assumption that the situation in the new territories will stabilise,” Putin told Russian teachers during a televised video call on Wednesday.

    The UN nuclear agency chief is en route to Kyiv to discuss creating a security zone around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, after Putin ordered his government to take it over. “On our way to Kyiv for important meetings,” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head, Rafael Grossi, wrote on Twitter, saying the need for a protection zone around the site was “more urgent than ever”. Grossi is also expected to visit Moscow in the coming days to discuss the situation at the plant. The IAEA said it had learned of plans to restart one reactor at the plant, where all six reactors have been shut down for weeks.

    Ukraine’s forces are pushing their advance in the east and south, forcing Russian troops to retreat under pressure on both fronts. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said Ukraine’s military had made major, rapid advances against Russian forces in the past week, taking back dozens of towns in regions in the south and east that Russia has declared annexed. Military experts say Russia is at its weakest point, partly because of its decision not to mobilise earlier and partly because of massive losses of troops and equipment.

    Ukraine has extended its area of control in the Kherson region by six to 12 miles, according to its military’s southern command. Zelenskiy confirmed the recapture of the villages of Novovoskresenske, Novohryhorivka and Petropavlivka, saying the settlements were “liberated from the sham referendum and stabilised”, in an address on Wednesday….

    Moscow’s forces have left behind smashed towns once under occupation and, in places, mass burial sites and evidence of torture chambers. In Lyman, which was retaken by Ukrainian forces on Sunday, more than 50 graves have been found, some marked with names, others with numbers, the Kyiv-based outlet Hromadske reported on Wednesday.

    Leaders of 44 European countries on Thursday in Prague will send a clear signal of Russia’s isolation and try to create a new order without Moscow, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has said this morning. “The meeting is looking for a new order without Russia,” he told reporters.

    The UN has warned Russia’s claimed annexation of Ukraine territory will only exacerbate human rights violations. Christian Salazar Volkmann said UN experts had documented “a range of violations of the rights to life, liberty and security” and warned the situation would only worsen as Russia pushes forward with the annexation of some Ukrainian regions.

  184. says

    Guardian liveblog, quoting Reuters:

    Putin signed laws admitting the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Luhansk People’s Republic, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region into Russia in the biggest expansion of Russian territory in at least half a century.

    What are you doing, Reuters?

  185. raven says

    “Russia has forcibly deported more than 1.6 million Ukrainians, scattering them across its territory and seizing many of their documents.”
    They are being sent to the hinterlands, out of the way places like the high arctic and Siberia.

    Russia sometimes claims they have deported 2. 8 million Ukrainians. The discrepancy might be the difference between forcibly deported and people from Ukraine who just fled into Russia to get away from the fighting. In the eastern Ukraine, most of the people are Russian speakers and a lot of them are ethnic Russians. Some of the are (or were) pro Russian.

    Ukrainian multimedia platform for broadcasting
    Thursday, 06 October 2022, 16:36
    More than 1.6M Ukrainians forcibly taken to Russia – Zelensky

    Russia has forcibly deported more than 1.6 million Ukrainians, scattering them across its territory and seizing many of their documents.
    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this in his address to participants in a session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), which is taking place in Lima, Ukrinform reports, citing the press service of the head of state.

    “More than 1.6 million Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Russia. They are dispersed across the territory of this state, scattered throughout remote Russian regions. Many of them had their documents taken away, and many of them passed through terrible Russian filtration camps, where they were abused and intimidated. These are people. But for Russia, it is also a resource,” Zelensky said.

    He said that Russia had sent its army to Ukraine “to turn us into their colony – as it was, unfortunately, before – in the time of empires.”

    Zelensky said that millions of Ukrainians had stood up to defend freedom and their country and would definitely not allow Russia to bring back that old unfair time.

    “We have no doubt that we will win this war and will be able to protect the independence of Ukraine. Daily victories at the front and dozens of liberated cities and villages of Ukraine prove it,” he said.

    Zelensky said that |there is only one question for us right now – how many of our people Russia will manage to kill before it admits its defeat” and “how much more will Russia manage to steal from Ukraine – grain; resources; industrial enterprises, which the occupiers simply disassemble and take out to Russia; as well as people.”

    “We are doing everything to free our land as soon as possible, to save all our people from this invasion as fast as we can. We are doing everything to put an end to the long list of Ukrainian victims that Russia is creating,” Zelensky added.

    On February 24, Russia began a new stage of the war it launched in 2014 against Ukraine – a full-scale invasion.

  186. raven says

    Not much new here.
    The Nordstream pipelines were blown up deliberately. Probably by Russia.

    “It added that “certain seizures have been made,” without offering further details, and that these would now be reviewed and analyzed.”
    This is new. Who knows what the certain seizures are but my guess would be fragments of the explosive devices used to actually blow up the pipelines.

    It is likely a nation state. Who else can blow up a pipeline in 300 feet of water in the middle of nowhere Baltic sea.

    Sweden says investigation into Russian pipeline leaks strengthens suspicion of ‘gross sabotage’
    Sam Meredith excerpt

    Sweden’s Security Service said the investigation found there had been detonations at the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Swedish exclusive economic zone, which caused “extensive damage” to the pipelines.

    It added that “certain seizures have been made,” without offering further details, and that these would now be reviewed and analyzed.

    “The continued preliminary investigation must show whether someone can be served with suspicion and later prosecuted,” Sweden’s Security Service said in a statement.

    In a separate statement, Sweden’s prosecutor’s office said the area was no longer cordoned off.

  187. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    The Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has reassured his Ukrainian counterpart that Athens is in lockstep with its EU and Nato allies in strongly condemning Russia’s illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

    Using the inaugural meeting of the European Political Community in Prague to hold talks with Denys Shmyhal, Ukraine’s prime minister, Mitsotakis said Greece would never recognise the change in borders, which he insisted [?] was “in flagrant violation of international law”. Instead, he said, Greece saw the regions as an integral part of Ukraine and fully backed today’s EU Council decision to impose a new package of economic and individual sanctions against Russia.

    Mitsotakis’ centre right government has said, persistently, that his country has elected to be on the “right side of history” by supporting Ukraine in the wake of Vladimir Putin launching the full-scale invasion on 24 February 24. Support has included using the strategic port of Alexandroupolis, in north eastern Greece, for the shipment by US armed forces of military material to Ukraine.

    What were once traditionally strong ties with fellow Orthodox Moscow have been badly strained in the process. This week, Greece’s anti-money laundering authority confirmed it was also investigating what the Kathimerini newspaper described as the ‘suspicious transfer’ of large funds from Russia to the all-male monastic republic of Mount Athos, where monies had been directed to Russo-friendly monasteries and monks. Several senior Russian officials have visited the Mount in recent months.

    I didn’t know about that last part.

    Ukraine’s general staff has reported that the armed forces liberated 93 settlements since 21 September in northeastern Ukraine, while the armed forces advanced 55 kilometers deep into Russian-occupied territory and took control of more than 2,400 square kilometers.

  188. says

    Shayan Sardarizadeh:

    Since #MahsaAmini protests in Iran began, we across multiple BBC departments have been verifying videos on a daily basis, keeping a national heatmap, monitoring online hashtags and the impact of the internet shutdown. Here’s what we’ve found…

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  189. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    The Guardian’s foreign correspondent Peter Beaumont has shared his impressions from a road towards Kherson today, where he has observed what appears to be the remnants of a big fight, including burned out Russian armoured vehicles and cluster munitions.

    He saw little farm house that had been occupied by three different groups of Russians, which was “smashed to bits and an absolute pig sty”. He could hear Ukrainian artillery far in the distance.

    He added:

    This doesn’t feel to me like a small straightening of their line and regrouping but a rout.

  190. says

    The Ex-Girlfriend Had Some Pretty Solid Zingers About Walker

    The Daily Beast’s first report didn’t have many direct quotes from the woman who came forward, but she had lots to say in the latest one:

    “He didn’t accept responsibility for the kid we did have together, and now he isn’t accepting responsibility for the one that we didn’t have.”

    “Sure, I was stunned [about Walker’s denial about the abortion], but I guess it also doesn’t shock me, that maybe there are just so many of us that he truly doesn’t remember. But then again, if he really forgot about it, that says something, too.”

    Walker uses his Christian faith “when it works for him.”

    Walker should donate the money he raised for his campaign “when he loses.”

    And the big mic-dropper:

    “I don’t think there’s anywhere in the Bible where it says ‘Have four kids with four different women while you’re with another woman.’ Or where it praises not being a present parent. Or that an abortion is an OK thing to do when it’s not the right time for you, but a terrible thing for anyone else to do when you are running for Senate. He picks and chooses where it’s convenient for him to use that religious crutch.”


  191. says

    Ukraine update: Rumors that Ukraine is about to open a third counteroffensive in Zaporizhzhia

    The biggest news on Thursday morning seems to be something that hasn’t happened—a major Ukrainian counteroffensive into Zaporizhzhia, with forces reportedly being aimed at liberating Melitopol. Or maybe Berdyansk. Or Mariupol. If the force exists at all.

    In any case, multiple Russian sources are reporting a large build-up of Ukrainian vehicles south of the city of Zaporizhzhia in preparation for what looks to be the opening of a third counteroffensive. Russian forces are also reporting, disgustedly, that their leadership seems to be making no move to prepare for this new counter-invasion into what Vladimir Putin so recently declared “Russian territory.”

    There’s no way to tell if this is real. While Ukraine lifted its usually strict operational security to provide a great view of Ukrainian forces literally strolling across northern Kherson, liberating village after village, they’re not about to discuss an attack before it begins. But Russian sources are full of how this is coming, and how their leaders are ignoring it.

    Russia has been pumping missiles into Zaporizhzhia in recent days, murdering civilians and smashing infrastructure. Which is a funny way to treat a city they claim is part of Russia. That might be accelerating Ukraine’s desire to take some decisive action in this region.

    [map at the link]

    It’s not as if this area has been idle. There has been a lot of back and forth in the south, with Ukraine holding out against nearly constant Russian assaults and making forays into Russian-occupied territory. Russia has punished this area severely when it comes to the use of both missiles and artillery along the front. Recently, Hulyaipole, which is definitely another of those hero towns, has been subject to a rain of missiles. The town, population 13,000 before the invasion, has suffered the kind of damage seen in too many places that have been too long near a static front, but that front has been static because the defenders in this area have refused to budge.

    Most of the Russian reports indicate that there are large amounts of armor and Ukrainian troops being positioned “near Zaporizhzhia.” That’s not particularly near the front, but there’s a good highway along the eastern side of the Dnipro River, and that highway could deliver forces from Zaporizhzhia to the front in minutes, so it could make sense that Ukraine is forming up at the regional capital, out of reach for artillery.

    Does Ukraine really have the personnel and equipment to open a third counteroffensive, even as it continues to push in Kherson and Luhansk? Maybe. Considering the level of panic in a lot of Russian communication these days, it’s not hard to believe that they could be just spreading rumors and jumping at shadows. But if the reports are right, we could soon see action in an area that has long needed relief.

    If Ukraine can drive to the sea and liberate locations like Berdyansk, it would be an amazing repudiation of Russia’s invasion and a finger in the eye to the idea that Russia should control access to the Sea of Azov. If they can reach Mariupol … that could be an event that redefines the war, and reveals the scope of Russia’s crimes. How firmly does Russia control this area? If Ukraine penetrates beyond the front lines, will it be another town-to-town stroll, or a meter-by-meter fight? I have no idea.

    In the area around Svatove, I’m not assessing much change this morning. Though this map does have something that hasn’t been seen since August—a Russian advance. See if you can spot it. [map at the link]

    That Russian advance is down near the bottom of the map, where Russian sources report that VDV units pushed out from Kreminna to re-occupy Dibrova. Of course, those same sources then reported that Russian forces are now marching back to Lyman … but I’m giving them enough credit to mark Dibrova as “disputed” until we learn more.

    Multiple Russian sources also claimed that Russia didn’t actually lose Makiivka and Nevske and that they are still fighting in both these towns. However, I’ve seen no evidence of this in Ukrainian sources. I had video of Ukrainian troops at Makiivka before making these assignments, and those forces out there at Krasnorichenske—which everyone agrees are present—had to come from somewhere, so I’m pretty skeptical on this claim. No change in markers at this time.

    Further north, there were reports of fighting in a whole series of villages and towns east of Kupyansk. As usual, Russia claims that it repulsed attacks in which it killed hundreds of Ukrainian forces and knocked out dozens of tanks. But it’s Ukraine’s reports in the area that are odd. At town after town, they report entering the town, but “not occupying” it. It really does make it seem as if Ukraine is more interested in pinning down Russian forces in the area than in immediately capturing territory. In any case, I’ve tagged the town of Pishchane as being under Ukraine’s control because one of those glorious defenses reported by Russia took place several kilometers down a road that could only be reached by going through Pishchane. By the way, there are three Pishchanes in the area, including two on this same road. So prepare to be confused.

    There is now confirmation of pretty much every village along the eastern side of the Oskil River. So there’s no longer any doubt that Ukraine holds that whole strip. That includes the rail and road networks on each side of the river, many of which lead down to the railyard at Lyman. It will be interesting to see how much use this gets from Ukraine in shifting troops and material along the line between Kupyansk and Lyman.

    At the very south of the map, there are reports that some of those highly-mobile Humvee-mounted Ukrainian forces have been scouting and harassing Russian forces in the “outskirts of Lysychansk.” I don’t know if this means Lysychansk itself, or one of several suburban communities. This kind of activity has often preceeded a serious Ukrainian push into an area, but there’s no way to be sure.

    In any case, both in this area and in Kherson, there were reports on Thursday that Ukrainian counteroffensives have “resumed” after a relative lull on Wednesday. Now we just need to wait for the results.

    Russia announces plan to kidnap all school children in Kherson

    Earlier this year, thousands of children were removed from Mariupol and sent to Russia on a supposed “summer holiday.” Those children have never returned. Their parents have no idea where their kids are, what’s been done to them, or what condition they may be in.

    Now Russia has issued a decree of something similar in Kherson, although this time the fact that these kids are being used as hostages seems more than obvious.

    You can bet that Russia will now claim that every pontoon boat sunk on the Dnipro was “loaded with children” and that any strike into Crimea “hit Ukrainian school children.” By coincidence, the holiday locations just happened to be all be Russian military targets. [See SC’s comment 234, and raven’s comment 239]


  192. says

    The GOP’s stolen valor crew just keeps growing: Meet Minnesota House candidate Tyler Kistner

    Minnesota House Republican candidate Tyler Kistner is doing everything he can to walk back ubiquitous claims he made in his 2020 run about “being in combat” as none of his military records square with his tall tales. Of course, that hasn’t stopped Kistner from making yet another run for the seat in the 2nd District, currently held by the only out LGBTQ member of Congress from the state, Rep. Angie Craig.

    According to reporting from the Minnesota Reformer, Kistner’s campaign team has been on explanation duty, but that didn’t stop the GOP super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund from running a TV ad alleging that their boy Kistner has served “four combat deployments.”

    VoteVets, a progressive veterans organization supporting Craig, demanded that the ad be pulled. The PAC claimed they’d sent an “incorrect version of the ad and fixed it ourselves on the same day.” The “incorrect” ad was taken down from the TV stations quickly, but it continued to run for 19 days on streaming services.

    As for Kistner’s claims in 2020, the Reformer cites the multiple times the candidate referred to himself as “the most decorated military member” in the race, said he’d put enemies “six feet under,” said he’s “been on the wrong end of a loaded weapon,” and in a virtual town hall, he made reference to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saying, “I’ve been in such conflicts.”

    After being called out by Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Erika Cashin, one of his Republican opponents in the 2020 race, Kistner initially denied to his supporters that he’d ever made the claims about his service. Cashin put out a press release with all the receipts included and listed all the times and dates he’d made the comments.

    The Reformer reported on Cashin’s comments and then found more times Kistner had made claims about seeing combat.

    During a February 2020 candidate forum, Kistner said, “I’ve been in fights, I’ve been in combat. I know exactly what it’s gonna take.”

    In October 2020, during a Voice of India Community Town Hall, Kistner said, “As a veteran, I deployed to the front lines six months at a time, and my family was back in this country.”

    In a March 2020 candidate forum (48:40), Kistner said “I’ve had guns drawn on me overseas in defense of our nation.”

    Kistner’s team—mainly his campaign consultant, Billy Grant—was forced to try explaining away the candidate’s lies.

    As for the “six feet under” comment, Grant said it was simply a reference to combat missions his candidate had led under the Marine Special Operations unit, meaning a “partner force effectively killed more than eight violent extremist organizations in the North African region.”

    The comment Kistner made about being on the “wrong end of a loaded weapon”? Grant explained that was in reference to a time he was in an argument with an allied military commander who pulled a gun on him.

    When Kistner mentioned being in “such conflicts” and referred to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Grant said he’d simply meant in the larger sense of the fight against the Afghan and Iraqi enemies.

    When Kistner said he’d been in “fights” and “combat,” Grant pointed to an award his candidate won for leading combat missions in North Africa, where he commanded the U.S. and allied nation forces.

    But despite all the glossing over, it seems Republicans can’t ever seem to figure out that all the mansplaining in the world isn’t going to erase lying about combat duty that you were never really involved in.

    J.R. Majewski, who is running against Democrat Marcy Kaptur for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, has been campaigning on a hero’s story—one in which after Sept. 11 he was deployed to Afghanistan and suffered under “tough” conditions. The only problem is, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press (AP), Majewski never stepped foot in Afghanistan.

    The AP reports that according to military records, Majewski did serve his country. But he served by loading planes in an airbase in Qatar—a U.S. ally that lies 1,153 miles away from Afghanistan. His campaign website reads that he “was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.”

    Then the AP reported more inconsistencies in Majewski’s claims.

    Daily Kos’ Walter Einenkel writes:

    “One of Majewski’s stories about his military service claimed that because he got into a ‘brawl’ in an Air Force dormitory in 2001, he ended up demoted. According to that version of events (i.e. the fact-free version that Majewski told), the rebellious Majewski received a censure from the Air Force that prevented him from reenlisting … because he was busted for driving while intoxicated on a U.S. air base in Japan.”

  193. says

    Phil Stewart, Reuters:

    Putin’s defence minister should consider suicide, Russian-installed official says – Reuters News

    * Comments by Kirill Stremousov, the Russian-installed deputy head of the annexed [sic] Kherson region

    If Stremousov were smart, he’d be concerned about his own safety right now.

  194. says

    Max Seddon:

    Ramzan Kadyrov celebrated his birthday today by giving himself an award from the “Russian Book of World Records” as the Russian under the most sanctions.

    These sanctions are for his extensively documented role in alleged extrajudicial killings, torture, and war crimes

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  195. says

    Followup to raven’s comment 240.

    The Russians, who else? Nord Stream revised

    […] Why not start with what is known: the inability of the Russian side to operate and maintain complex systems, be it an army, a nuclear power plant, or in this case a natural gas pipeline?

    Operating and maintaining a natural gas pipeline is by no means a trivial matter, which always means a risk of human error, and the hair-raising chain of misconduct that led to the Chernobyl disaster is now known in detail, and there is no need to comment in these pages on the disaster of the Russian army and its fellow combatants in Ukraine. […] Does human error in the operation and maintenance of the pipeline belong in this category, in the sense of “never attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence”?

    On June 4, 1989, a devastating railroad accident occurred near the city of Ufa in the southern Ural region. A huge gas explosion occurred on the track of the Trans-Siberian Railway, where two trains were crossing. At least 575 passengers died and over 600 were injured. Passengers of the trains were mainly children on their way from or to vacations.

    A liquefied natural gas pipeline running near the railroad track had sprung a leak. The operating personnel noticed a drop in pressure on the pipeline, but did not suspect a leak, but rather the failure of a compressor. They therefore switched on another compressor and thus increased the pressure at the leaking point. The leaked gas collected in a depression and exploded just as the two trains crossed. The explosive force of the blast was estimated at hundreds of tons of TNT equivalent.

    The pipeline had originally been designed to transport crude oil, but was redesigned to transport liquid natural gas for the Soviet petrochemical industry. In May 1984, the Soviet Ministry of Petroleum had cancelled the installation of an automatic real-time leak detection system…

    [snipped examples of other pipeline explosions, including some in the USA]

    A similar incident in Siberia in February 2000: An Gazprom employee attempted to remove a methane hydrate plug by heating an exposed pipe with a flare. Gas pressure from a dissociated hydrate plug rose rapidly, presumably because it was trapped by the plug ends. The pipeline exploded, and the resulting fire killed one man and seriously injured four others.

    The release of the methane from the hydrate leads to a strong increase in volume or pressure. These can accelerate the methane hydrate plug in the pipeline: speeds of up to 300 km/h / 185 mi/h have been measured. This in turn can lead to an increase in pressure in the transported natural gas or to a rupture of the pipeline.

    Here we actually have two explosions, first purely mechanical due to the pressure increase that caused the pipe to burst, then the escaping gas ignited by the flare. In the following, the term “explosion” will be used for both types of events.

    What methane hydrate (methane clathrate) is, how it can come to the formation of a methane hydrate plug and how such a plug can be removed properly will be explained later. Let’s first imagine that our water pipe has an ice plug on the wall of the house: Incorrect de-icing, for example with a blowtorch, can cause massive damage and consequences.

    The methane hydrate plug hypothesis for the events off the Danish and Swedish coasts comes from LawDog, a U.S. blogger with experience in the oil and gas industry, with the lively participation of a number of commenters with the same professional background. […] On the 2000 event in Siberia, a report from the working world, in his words:

    Another fun thing that occurs to usually-intelligent people is to «gently warm the area of pipe where the plug is».

    Don’t do this. Methane hydrates disassociate really, really rapidly in the presence of heat. A pocket of gas will form somewhere inside the plug, next to the pipe wall, and the massive, localised pressure increase will rupture the pipe, spilling vapourised natural gas all over your heat source.

    Funny enough, this actually happened in Siberia in 2000. Pipeline got a nice-sized hydrate plug, and the muckity-mucks at Gazprom got annoyed at how long it was taking to deal with it. Lot’s of yelling, and the Ops guy sent Some Random Schmuck down to the site of the plug with a butane torch, and orders to warm up the pipe to speed up the melting at the plug/pipe interface. Simple, right? There’s no way a butane torch has enough oompf to overcome the thermal mass of a pipeline and burn a hole through the line.

    It didn’t. The heat from the torch caused a small pocket of the hydrate to sublimate into gas, the overpressure involved ruptured the pipe and opened a jet of natural gas right into the flame of the torch. Random Schmuck did not, we think (not sure they found anything of him) survive this experience, nor did several miles of very expensive pipeline.

    In the case of possible methane hydrate plugs, for Nord Stream 1 and 2 the situation is quite different: the four strands of the pipeline run under water for a length of 1225 km / 761 mi. Pipelines over dry land have pumping stations at regular intervals to compensate for the loss of pressure as the gas flows through the pipes and to allow diagnostics of the gas flow. In the case of Nord Stream pipelines, diagnostics and maintenance are only possible with the help of inspection and maintenance tools called “pigs” that travel through the pipes with the flow of gas, which presupposes that the gas is flowing: In the case of Nord Stream 1, the flow of gas has been interrupted several times since spring 2021 and stopped completely since August 30, 2022, and in the case of Nord Stream 2, since filling end of December 2021 this has never been the case.

    Even under normal conditions not only the operation but also the maintenance of such a plant is a huge challenge, and maintenance requires that the gas flows:

    The different inspection tools are inserted into the pipeline via the PIG launchers at the Landfall Facilities Russia (LFFR). Gas is redirected into the launcher and once the pressure behind the tool exceeds the pressure in front of it, it is pushed through the pipeline. Each line is “pigged” individually. The first tool, the gauge PIG takes three-four days to reach Germany. Once it is received and analysed, a cleaning tool is sent through the pipeline – followed if deemed necessary based on the amount of debris and dust it collects – by a second cleaning tool. After that, the inspection tool is sent through the pipe – which takes about nine days. Once received in Germany, the tools are cleaned, maintained and in the case of the inspection tool, the recorded data is recovered and sent to post processing and a three stage analysis.

    Conclusion: for a year and a half the gas flow in Nord Stream 1 has been disturbed, and in Nord Stream 2 such a flow has never taken place: no gas flow means no information on the internal condition of the pipeline, no control and no maintenance.

    The raw gas as it flows out of a drill hole is not very suitable for longer transport via pipelines; it has to be processed in a complex way. Raw gas can contain hydrogen sulfide (H2S, up to 35%) and carbon dioxide (CO2, up to 10%), both of which are corrosive, as well as nitrogen (up to 15%), water vapor and inert gases such as helium, which have to be extracted for transport and end use.

    […] In natural gas pipelines (in the 1930s), as the distance from the feed decreases, the temperature drops as the pressure decreases, and an ice-like substance was found clogging the pipelines in such sections. In 1934, methane was shown to form methane hydrate with water present in the natural gas stream that clogged the pipelines, not ice as originally thought.

    This discovery triggered a new phase of methane hydrate research, as methane hydrate plugs in natural gas pipelines were problematic for the natural gas industry, especially for the extraction of raw gas at the wellbore, and caused economic losses. The associated problems and accidents led to a variety of research activities aimed at preventing the formation of methane hydrate when handling natural gas, but this can only be done to a limited extent and the methods to remove such plugs are always with the associated warnings:

    Hydrate-plug dissociation should always be done slowly and with great care. Rules-of thumb for safe hydrate-plug removal may be summarized as:

    Always assume multiple hydrate plugs; there may be pressure between the plugs.

    Attempting to move hydrate plugs can cause ruptures in pipes and vessels.

    While heating a plug is not normally an option for a buried or submerged pipeline, heating should always be done with great care from the ends of the plug. Heating should be done only with assurance that the plug ends will not contain the pressure.

    Depressurizing a plug gradually from both ends is recommended as a safer alternative to single-sided depressurization. However, it may be impossible to depressurize from both sides, as when only one plug end is accessible or when a very long time is required to depressurize a large upstream volume. In such cases, very careful single-sided dissociation may be done by experienced personnel.

    LawDog’s thesis […]: The two streams of Nord Stream 1 and the one of Nord Stream 2 have been destroyed by improper actions on the side of Vyborg and Ust-Luga by the Russian operators, with the attempt to remove methane hydrate plugs from one side as the most likely hypothesis. After the blow up with the first two pipelines, the operators later tried the same thing a second time without success, this time with the first strand of Nord Stream 2, then they lost hope of being able to solve the problem, and the second strand, which never had been operating, survived.

    If the cause of the explosions is bad decisions, then the results are not random: the same bad decisions should be expected to give the same bad results. Same conditions, same people making the same bad decisions.

    The odds of an accident occurring within a relatively short period in the two seperate pipes are not low if the same stupid things are done at the same time to both pipelines.

    There is no reason why there should not be multiple hydrate plugs before the first explosion: if the conditions are right for one plug, it’s highly likely that the same conditions can have the same results at multiple points.

    Comments by PeterW on LawDog’s blog

    When the submarine Kursk ran aground in the Barents Sea on August 12, 2000, speculation quickly turned to the possibility that other ships were in the vicinity, as is repeatedly put forward as an argument for the events off the Danish and Swedish coasts. The hypothesis presented here does without this commonplace. In LawDog’s words:

    In my experience when anything involving energy-industry hydrocarbons explodes… well, sabotage isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. And honestly, when it comes to a pipeline running natural gas under Russian (non)maintenance, an explosion means that it’s Tuesday. Or Friday. Or another day of the week ending in “y”.

  196. raven says

    Bad Baltic Takes 🇱🇹 🇱🇻 🇪🇪 @BadBalticTakes
    – “Khrushchev’s mistake”.

    – A 2012 electoral map of Ukraine used to absurdly characterise parts as pro-annexation.

    The most generous explanation is that Musk is just naively regurgitating Kremlin propaganda. And coincidentally at the same time he desperately needs finance.

    This map is from Russian sources.
    And it isn’t accurate. It is just made up.

    Elon Musk is driving as fast as he can off the deep end.
    He did have some tangible accomplishments with Tesla, SpaceX, and Starlink.
    Then he went far right wingnut.

    He is alienating a huge part of his potential customer base for no good reason.
    I will never buy anything he is associated with.

  197. Oggie: Mathom says

    re Lynna @251:

    Thanks. I was unaware that clathrates can form inside of gas pipelines. That makes sense. Mentally kicking myself that I didn’t think of that. My theory (somewhere way upthread or on a previous page) regarding accidental or intentional rupturing of the pipeline was based on my (admittedly limited) knowledge of difficulties with oil pipelines. So, disregard my previous musings regarding a gas pipeline breakage due to valve manipulation.

  198. says

    Another tweet from Defense of Ukraine that seriously trolls Putin:

    They are running.
    The russian army is also running.
    Maybe bunker-man is putting together the best ever running team for the Olympic Games?
    Well, bad news… they still do dope tests there.

    Well-produced video is available at the link.

    The video shows the mass exodus of Russian men (and some families) escaping before they can be conscripted to fight in Ukraine. There are also scenes from recent Ukrainian victories. Creative use of cartoon characters throughout.

  199. says

    Oggie @254, the clathrates were news to me as well. Makes sense though.

    Also, this was an Ah-Ha moment for me: “Why not start with what is known: the inability of the Russian side to operate and maintain complex systems, be it an army, a nuclear power plant, or in this case a natural gas pipeline?” Yep. I should have thought of that.

    What this means is that even if Nord Stream gas pipelines had looked like a good deal for everyone, including European Union nations, no one should have expected Russia to inspect and maintain a gas pipeline. No matter what the politics, the economics, or the war-of-aggression situation, the pipeline was bound to reveal incompetent management eventually. Russian clusterfuck was to be expected.

    Gas pipelines that are really long and under water? Even more probabilities that incompetence would blow the whole thing up.

  200. says

    Democracy Now! – ““Complete Dissatisfaction with the Current Order”: Why Mahsa Amini Protests in Iran Are Not Slowing Down”:

    Protesters in Iran are continuing to demand justice for Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Kurdish woman who died in the hands of the so-called morality police, as well as envisioning a political future beyond the Islamic Republic. The Norway-based group Iran Human Rights estimates at least 154 people have been killed since the protests began. “We saw women, really, what it seemed like for the first time, putting their bodies in direct confrontation with the police,” says Nilo Tabrizy, writer and video journalist at The New York Times. “Today’s movement is not calling for reform. Today’s movement is calling for a new vision of politics … with women at the helm of it,” says Narges Bajoghli, professor of anthropology and Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Professor Narges Bajoghli, your piece for Vanity Fair is headlined “’Woman, Life, Freedom’: Iran’s Protests Are a Rebellion for Bodily Autonomy.” In the piece, you make a very interesting point, which is that Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish girl around whom these protests began, around her death, that her real name, Zhina, a Kurdish name, could not actually officially be registered under Iranian law. So, could you explain why that is, and the significance of these protests beginning around the death of this young Kurdish woman?

    NARGES BAJOGHLI: Kurds in Iran have been repressed both pre-revolution and post-revolution. A lot of the ethnic minorities in Iran, especially those who live in the border areas, have faced both severe repression, as well as very few resources go into those areas of the country for development, for job opportunities, for all of those things. And many Kurds, as well as some other ethnic minorities in Iran, are not allowed to teach their languages in schools. And Zhina’s name could not be registered under Iranian law, because under Iranian law only certain Persian and Islamic names can be registered formally. And so they had to register her Persian name, Mahsa, instead of her Kurdish name, Zhina.

    It’s significant that this uprising has started over the death of a Kurdish girl who was visiting Tehran. She didn’t live in Tehran; she lived in Saqqez, a town in Iranian Kurdistan. And, you know, these issues over identity and ethnicity have often been sort of faultlines that states have used in Iran to not allow solidarity to take place across the country. And what we see is that a nation rose up in defense of the death of a Kurdish girl, and the central slogan…of this entire uprising [”Zan, Zendegi, Azadi” — “Woman, Life, Freedom”] is a slogan that originates in Kurdish, comes from a militant feminist Kurdish background, from Turkey, first of all, and then gets translated into the Kurdish women fighting in Syria against ISIS in 2014 and 2015, and then it travels around, and it comes to Iran. And the reason that it becomes a national cry is because during her funeral you can hear mourners chanting that slogan. It gets captured on video, it circulates on social media, and then it spills out into Persian all across the country.

    AMY GOODMAN: Professor, in your piece in Vanity Fair, you write, “It is only fitting that it’s Iran’s feminist revolution and the country’s young generations that are on the front lines of battles for bodily autonomy and sovereignty. For four decades, Iranian women and queers have borne the brunt of a political system predicated on their subjugation through daily policing and criminalization. They’re now showing the world — despite the severe repression and potential death they face — how to fight back, like feminists.” Take it from there.

    NARGES BAJOGHLI: Yes. So, this is really, at its core, a fight for women and queer folks to have choices over their bodies. So, what’s really important…is that the Islamic Republic has implemented laws that are severely restrictive for women since the very beginnings of the 1979 revolution and the start of the state. And what’s significant here about what happened to Amini is that she was caught at the hands of the so-called morality police, which are a police force that are a daily occurrence all across Iran. All women have had some kind of interactions with the morality police, and families, including religious ones, have had some form of interaction with these police, because their daughters may not be veiling as religiously as the mothers have. And so this is something that women are dealing with every day. When Amini was taken, at first ended up in a coma and later died from the injuries that she sustained, what we are seeing is that the ways in which women in Iran have been resisting every single day against these restrictions over the past 40 years, we now see this as a rupture in collective action. So, it’s not surprising to me that sort of this generation’s and, in our global moment, our generation’s first big feminist uprising, that is militant in style, is taking place in Iran on this level, because Iranian women have over four decades of experience of daily acts of resistance against patriarchical laws and against partriarchical norms.

    And so, as conservative movements are rising across the world, as we see more and more laws that are coming down against women — and, you know, I think it’s worth noting that conservative movements, when they rise, and religious movements, when they rise, first and foremost, they go after the rights of women. And so, right now I think even though traditional media has been very slow to cover this uprising, it’s been internet users all over the world that have made hashtag #MahsaAmini trend. And that’s the reason we’re all having this conversation today. So it’s striking a chord with people all over the world who are, in one way or another, experiencing, either once again or a continuation of, increased patriarchical control over women’s bodies. And so, the protests in Iran are capturing our attention because we’re seeing, in real life, how women are putting their lives on the line and are refusing to comply any longer. You know, power and patriarchy require that we comply. And so, we’re seeing now young women and women across Iran who are just saying, “I will no longer comply with this.”…

    Full transcript and video at the link.

  201. Oggie: Mathom says

    Maybe bunker-man is putting together the best ever running team for the Olympic Games?

    Wife and I were wondering if the Russian Powers-That-Be will try to enter their Defenestration Team in the next Olympics. I don’t think defenestration is an Olympic sport. Yet.

  202. says

    Julia Davis:

    Top Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov is joined by Andrey Gurulyov, former deputy commander of Russia’s southern military district. He says the Ukrainian forces timed their advances specifically to ruin Putin’s Birthday. Gurulyov predicts that another mobilization is coming….

    Video at the (Twitter) link. Gurulyov puts on his glasses and you can see he’s reading some of his points.

  203. says


    BREAKING: President Biden has pardoned all Americans convicted of marijuana possession under federal law.

    A huge move, impacting thousands of Americans — and coming one month before the midterm elections.

  204. says

    Pres. Biden tweeted:

    As I’ve said before, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana.

    Today, I’m taking steps to end our failed approach. Allow me to lay them out.

    First: I’m pardoning all prior federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. There are thousands of people who were previously convicted of simple possession who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My pardon will remove this burden.

    Second: I’m calling on governors to pardon simple state marijuana possession offenses. Just as no one should be in a federal prison solely for possessing marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.

    Third: We classify marijuana at the same level as heroin – and more serious than fentanyl. It makes no sense. I’m asking @SecBecerra and the Attorney General to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.

    I’d also like to note that as federal and state regulations change, we still need important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and underage sales of marijuana.

    Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives – for conduct that is legal in many states. That’s before you address the clear racial disparities around prosecution and conviction. Today, we begin to right these wrongs.

  205. says

    Wonkette: “They Had Tears In Their Eyes And They Said ‘Sir, Sir! Everybody Is Saying You Have The Best Words.'”

    Donald Trump spoke yesterday at the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, because if there are two things Trump is just Cocoa Puffs over, it is Hispanics and leadership.

    And look, we have seen Trump babble, and the entire past seven years have been like watching Trump’s brain leak out of his ears and into puddles on the ground as he loudly insists, “Person! Woman! Man! Camera! TV!”

    Maybe we are just out of practice from watching Trump speak on a daily basis, and we forget what the dementia blabbing sounds like. Or maybe this really is worse than usual.

    All we are certain of is that Trump declared that “No teacher should teach transgender to our children without parental consult.” And he sounded like his teeth were about to hit the floor with his brains. [video at the link]

    […] “Teeshers teesh transshender to shildren without parental conshult. Teeshers teesh transshender to shildren without parental conshult. Teeshers teesh transshender to shildren without parental conshult.”

    Trump immediately added that “nobody has to have parental consent” and that “we will oppose the Biden administrating,” because those are words.

    So he’s doing fine.

    At another point in the speech, Trump declared that a “very famous pollster” — John McLaughlin, so more of a laughably bad pollster Trump likes because he licks Trump’s ass and because Trump has poor judgment — told him, “Sir, if George Washington and Abraham Lincoln came alive from the dead and they formed a president-vice president team, you would beat them by 40 percent.” So all of that is delusion, and it’s very possibly a lie, because it’s a “sir story.” [Tweet and video at the link]

    But look, it makes him feel better to believe it, just like it makes him feel better to believe he won the 2020 election. And unlike that Big Lie, it hurts nobody for Trump to sit by himself in his underpants at Mar-a-Lago telling himself that he’d beat George Washington and Abraham Lincoln by 40 percent. Besides, any time he spends doing that is probably time he’s not sitting in his underpants mishandling stolen Top Secret American documents.

    Speaking of Mar-a-Lago, here is Trump admitting that he’s just “thinking as I’m speaking,” about how terrible it is that the FBI raids his Mar-a-Lago but doesn’t raid the cartels’ Mar-a-Lagos, because they have Mar-a-Lagos too, did you know the cartels have Mar-a-Lagos just like he has a Mar-a-Lago? [Tweet and video at the link]

    “We’re a country of investigations. We don’t talk about greatness anymore.” You betcha.

    Still on the subject of cartels and Mar-a-Lago, and also now people being paid a million dollars to leak on him — not the Russian pee hooker way, he means leak information — here is Trump whining that “they leaked that I wanted to hit the cartels with missiles.” He added, “When they leak on my administration, some people think it’s so glamorous, it’s so great.” Poor thing still thinks he has an “administration.” [tweet and video at the link]

    Trump claimed that some people thought his idea to fling missiles at the cartels was brilliant. He is either lying or mistaken. What was so funny about that story, which came out in former Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s book in May, is that Trump was so fucking stupid that he thought we could shoot Patriot missiles at cartel compounds and nobody would know it was us who did it.

    As Maggie Haberman wrote at the time:

    When Mr. Esper raised various objections, Mr. Trump said that “we could just shoot some Patriot missiles and take out the labs, quietly,” adding that “no one would know it was us.” Mr. Trump said he would just say that the United States had not conducted the strike, Mr. Esper recounts, writing that he would have thought it was a joke had he not been staring Mr. Trump in the face.

    Anyway, back to the clips!

    Did we mention that in every clip Trump’s “s” sounds are “sh” sounds and it seems like his entire set of chompers are about to comically betray him? We should say that again.

    Want to see an old man loudly complain to the manager of clouds that the banks “like Chase and like Bank of America have done much less for the Hispanic community than they should” because they have “gone woke” and “should be penalized very seriously for it”? This is that: [tweet and video at the link]

    That’s right, woke banks.

    And finally this, we do not know what this is. It is one solid minute of “our oil,” which is “liquid gold,” which is unlike their oil, which is “tar, it’s very rough, it’s not light, and it’s not sweet, it’s rough stuff.” And all the oil is refined in our country, “so if there is anything goes in the air, it goes in the air in the United States,” but even if it was refined in a different country, “it blows over, the whole thing is so crazy, what they’re doing is so crazy.” It’s crazy because we have more oil than everybody, he says, “liquid gold.” [tweet and video at the link]

    He finished this section by saying for no apparent reason that “over four incredible years we did more for the Hispanic community than any administration in the history of our country.” Why does he say that? Why wouldn’t he say that? They were the words that traveled out of his brain and into his colon and out of his voicebox right then. Just like at other times he said “woke banks” and “teesh transhgender” and “the cartels have Mar-a-Lagos” and all the other words.

    He has the best words.

    Everybody is saying it, they are saying “Sir, you have the best words.”

    They have tears in their eyes.

    We forget that, in addition to his other flaws, this man is both really stupid and really ignorant.

  206. says

    NBC News: Jan. 6 committee announces next hearing will be held Oct. 13

    The hearing will be held with less than a month before the midterm elections on Nov. 8.

    […] The panel had postponed a public hearing it had scheduled last week because Hurricane Ian was set to make landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The hearing next Thursday is set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.

    Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that the hearing’s format would diverge from the one used during their series of hearings over the summer so that each of the nine lawmakers will have a chance to speak.

    Members haven’t explicitly said the next hearing will be their last. It will be held with less than a month before the midterm elections on Nov. 8.

    The panel still needs to produce a written report on their findings over the past 14 months. But with the Justice Department now ramping up its criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 riot, the committee’s relevance has begun to fade, one of its members told NBC News. […]

  207. says

    While the Ukrainian city of Kherson was under Russian occupation, a local man with Russian sympathies declared that it was just the beginning of a new order.

    “The region will strive to become a subject of the Russian Federation,” Kirill Stremousov, then recently appointed as deputy head of the occupation authorities’ civil-military administration, said, before adding that it would be “similar to Crimea by the speed of development.”

    Now, six months later, Russian forces are falling back, and Stremousov, who is also an anti-vax blogger and neo-paganist, is striking a different tune.

    “Many people are saying that the Defense Minister — who allowed things to come to this — should simply shoot himself like a [real] officer,” he said in an emotional video blog released this week.

    Stremousov isn’t alone.

    Many other supporters of Russia’s conquest of Ukraine have also begun to heap blame on senior Russian leaders as the tide has begun to turn in Ukraine’s favor. Some of them blame the chronic lying and misinformation in the Russian system, some of them say that certain kinds of military equipment are missing, while others accuse the military leadership of mishandling the war effort.

    None of them criticize the aggressive war that Russia chose to launch in February, or the lies on which it was based. Nor do they criticize Putin – if anything, he comes off as constantly misled in these reports. Rather, it’s frustration in support of a more aggressive war effort.

    Ramzan Kadyrov, the Kremlin backed dictator of Chechnya, issued a statement on Telegram this week criticizing a senior Russian general for retreating from Lyman, a strategic city in Ukraine’s east.

    “He was de facto not there nor in the vicinity,” Kadyrov said of Aleksandr Lapin, the general, calling him “talentless” and accusing him of being “covered from above by the leaders of the General Staff.”

    “It would all be well and good if it weren’t so bad,” Kadyrov added, while suggesting that Russia employ low-yield nuclear weapons in the conflict.

    One feature of the commentary here is that it’s not coming from Russians: Stremousov is Ukrainian. Kadyrov is Chechen.

    Rather, these are the satellites of Russia’s empire, the locals that it needs to retain control –and some semblance of legitimacy -– over the areas that it wants to govern. They’re the most attuned to the consequences of a Russian defeat, not only in terms of what it means for them and their future prospects, but for the belief that Russia can maintain control over the territories that it’s annexed or where it’s had to put down revolts.

    Oleg Tsaryov, a former Ukrainian parliamentarian and current resort operator who the Kremlin reportedly tapped to lead the pro-Russian government in Kyiv post-invasion, has also taken to complaining about the country’s military leadership.

    “The special operation was begun, but Kyiv was never reached, Kharkiv was never entered,” he wrote on Thursday. “And I specifically know that the operation would not have been started, had the Ministry of Defense not given guarantees that the aims and tasks of the special operation would be fulfilled in the planned timeframe. “

    “I think many will agree with me that it’s impossible to call such a course of the special operation a success,” he added.

    It’s not clear, though, how deep the infighting here is, or whether it reflects a real split in the Russian elite.

    Evgeny Prigozhin, the mercenary leader, oligarch, and, per a Mueller investigation indictment, orchestrator of interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, gave Kadyrov an “attaboy” after reading his statement.

    “Beautiful, Ramzan!” Prigozhin said in a message in response. “Keep it up!”

    Nests of vipers? Liars lying to liars?

  208. tomh says

    Federal Judge Blocks N.Y. Gun Law, Finding Much of It Unconstitutional
    Oct. 6, 2022

    A federal judge on Thursday blocked large portions of New York’s new gun law, finding that the expansive restrictions on the public carrying of guns created by the measure were unconstitutional.

    In a 53-page order, the judge, Glenn T. Suddaby of the Northern District, said he would block the state from enforcing a number of the new law’s provisions, writing that New York was trampling on the constitutional right to bear arms. But he agreed to a three-business-day stay of his order, pending an emergency appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

    That court could take the issue up and grant a significantly longer stay of the order — but if it does not, the order will go into effect.

    If the Second Circuit does allow New York’s gun law to remain in place, the plaintiffs, a group of six New York gun owners who are members of the Gun Owners of America, would consider an immediate appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a spokesman for the organization.

    Erich Pratt, the organization’s senior vice president, said in a statement that Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York and Mayor Eric Adams of New York City had “lied and misrepresented the Second Amendment to the courts, putting New Yorkers at a great disadvantage in the midst of rising crime.”

    In a statement, Ms. Hochul said that it was “deeply disappointing that the judge wants to limit my ability to keep New Yorkers safe and to prevent more senseless gun violence.” The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, pledged to appeal the decision.

    “Common-sense gun control regulations help save lives,” she said in a statement. “I will not back down from the fight to protect New Yorkers from repeated and baseless attacks on our state’s gun safety measures.”

    Judge Suddaby, a former prosecutor who was appointed to the court in 2008 by President George W. Bush, took a harsh view of the new law, which was passed this summer after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s previous gun law, one of the most restrictive in the nation.

    In response, New York lawmakers sought to impose new and elaborate restrictions on the carrying of guns in “sensitive places,” including Times Square, libraries, public playgrounds and zoos.

    The judge found that banning the carrying of weapons in all those areas was “impermissible” and specifically that it violated the rules that the Supreme Court had set out for defining sensitive places.

    The order, if it goes into effect next week, would be a sharp blow to New York, which had sought to provide a model for new gun legislation for the five other states whose laws on carrying guns were thought to be invalidated by the Supreme Court.

  209. raven says

    This is a Xpost because I got distracted and posted to the wrong thread.

    Russia’s previous mobilization didn’t work.
    They formed the new 3rd army corps and sent them into Ukraine.

    They lasted a month and collapsed.
    The current mobilization is probably going to be even worse.
    Less training, less equipment, and it is dawning on the Russian troops that they are no match for the Ukrainians.

    Ukraine’s Armed Forces Erase 3rd Army Corps of 10-12 Thousands Troops Within Month, Kremlin Panicky Gathers People to Fight
    Sofiia Syngaivska Defense Express Ukraine
    October 6, 2022

    Russian 3rd Army Corps of 10-12 thousands troops collapsed within a month in the confrontation with the Armed forces of Ukraine. Kremlin shovel people to fight with quantity but not quality
    At the end of August it was reported that russia was likely to deploy unformed 3rd Army Corps, allegedly equipped with modern weapons and ammunition. 3rd Army Corps was one and a half divisions of 10-12 thousands russians, which were supposed to “fill the gaps” on the front.

    After a month of active counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 3rd Army Corps collapsed, according to morning report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine October 5. This military formation doesn’t exist anymore.

    The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces explains this by the fact that they had obsolete technologies and demoralized personnel, which abused alcohol, disobeyed the commanders and wilfully left theirs positions. In addition, russia’s lack of experienced officers that can deal with equipment and staff right. The quality of russian army: combat capability, command efficiency won’t improve by increasing the quantity of mobilized russians because of unskilled officers.

    It took 4 month for russian federation to form army corps of 10-12 thousands troops. But it took 1 month for the Armed Forces of Ukraine to destroy the formation. So, according to the statistics, the duration of stay of new “partially mobilized” units on the territory of Ukraine is their preparation term divided by 4. Some of them become either Cargo 200, 300 or rats leaving the sinking ship.

    There are a lot of videos on the net showing Ukrainian soldiers carrying equipment left by russians with the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles or even armoured personnel carriers. That means russian personnel units easily collapse under the first echelon of the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacks.

    Indeed, September 2022 russian army is still able to fight and Ukraine loses people advancing on the east. But it’s not March 2022 russian army, which have been ready to aggressively move forward to Kherson despite the losses from the Su-25 fighter jets and the Bayraktar UAV. Battles have been fought for a week. Final result of the battle of Kyiv haven’t been revealed by the end of March.

    Nowadays, russia “fills the gaps” with BARS legions recruited from “hidden mobilisation” because of demolished divisions.

    In August russia deployed 4 “cossack legions” totalling 5 thousands people, equipped with left overs of 1st and 2nd Army Corps. Personnel for this units had also been recruited from “hidden mobilisation”. But seems like they appeared to be even worse than 1st and 2nd Army Corp divisions.

    According to the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the russian federation have decided to transfer the remnants of the troops from Syria and the national guard of the russian federation from Siberia, which isn’t even able to fight as light infantry. It’s hard to transfer troops from Siberia and Syria. Apparently, Kremlin gathers the army to the maximum because understands that “partial mobilisation” still isn’t enough as their quantity doesn’t cover poor quality.

  210. says

    Oz Katerji:

    Dominic Cummings now appears to be enjoying the demented screechings of totally deranged Putin apologists & atrocity revisionists. Terrifying to think what British foreign policy would be like in his hands.

    He’s currently retweeting David Sacks videos.

    We went into the 2019 General Election with the choice of him, or this guy below [Seamus F’ing Milne], as the most senior government advisors.

    Screenshots at the (Twitter) link. Putting the Upper Class Twit in Twitter.

  211. says

    Satire from Andy Borowitz:

    In the latest bombshell to threaten his beleaguered candidacy for the United States Senate, Herschel Walker is facing allegations that he aborted thousands of potentially complete sentences.

    The charges came from Carol Foyler, one of the nation’s most militant opponents of verbal abortions.

    “We in the pro-coherence movement believe that sentences begin at conception in the human brain,” Foyler said. “Herschel Walker has repeatedly aborted sentences before they had a chance to develop a subject and a predicate.”

    In a particularly blistering indictment, she added, “The most dangerous place for a complete sentence is inside Herschel Walker’s mouth.”

    Unlike Walker’s Democratic opponent, Senator Raphael Warnock, Foyler hailed the former N.F.L. running back’s decision not to appear in a televised debate. “Such a debate would be offensive to anyone who believes in the sanctity of human speech,” she said.

    Just hours after Foyler levelled her charges, Walker denied “in strongest possible terms” that he had ever aborted a complete sentence.

    “The thing is, and what they’re saying is, it’s completely, and no, I didn’t,” he said.

    New Yorker link

  212. says

    Ukraine update: Finger-pointing becomes Russia’s national sport as Kherson line collapses

    On Wednesday, two men sailed into the port at Gambell, Alaska, on the tiny island of St. Lawrence. The population of Gambell is under 700, and over 95% of the people who live there are Native Americans of the Yupik peoples. As might be expected, it’s one of those everybody-knows-everybody places … but nobody knew these guys, because they were Russians.

    The men told local officials who greeted them that they had sailed their small boat from the city of Egvekinot in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the easternmost of Russia’s “federal subjects.” They sailed their small boat, which was reportedly not at all the kind of craft that should have been out on the Dangerous Catch waters of the Bering Sea more than 300 miles to reach Gambell. But if the boat wasn’t prepared, it seems the men must have been, because their navigation was right on when it came to hitting one of the first locations where they could be sure to find year-round inhabitants. [Utterly amazing.]

    The men reportedly climbed into their boat and made this journey to avoid being mobilized for the war in Ukraine. When you weigh the relative danger … they made a good choice.

    There are multiple reports now stating that more men have left Russia since the beginning of mobilization than have actually been rounded up and pressganged into the Russian military. It’s a situation that, as Financial Times reports, has made finger-pointing the national sport of Russia. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for the failures of the war, the failures of the mobilization, and the failures of the Russian economy. Just so long as that someone isn’t Vladimir Putin.

    The rising public disdain—for now largely aimed at low and mid-ranking officials in charge of implementing Putin’s plans rather than the president himself – is the most significant since Russia effectively banned criticism of the war by making it illegal to “discredit the armed forces” in March.

    Earlier, those laws were seeing people hauled away for even reporting that Russian forces were lacking in supplies, short on training, or incapable of subduing Ukraine. Now, any attempt to enforce that rule would only add a jail cell shortage to Russia’s other problems.

    Meanwhile, back at Putin’s illegal and unprovoked invasion, there are reports that the Russian line in Kherson has collapsed. Again. [map at the link]

    After three days of consistent and highly disciplined running away in a panic, Russian commanders were able to put the brakes in place better than 30km away from where the front line was last Saturday. Anchoring the left with a pair of “fortress towns” at Bruskynske and Ishchenka, and the right with Mylove, which is well positioned across a bridge that is almost certainly down, Russia created a new defensive line that was supposed to prevent any further approach to Berislav and that mostly-busted bridge at Nova Kakhovka.

    However, late in the day on Wednesday, there were reports that the western end of this line was having trouble, with Ukraine both pushing around the end of the line and liberating a string of villages east of Ishchenka. Then, on Thursday, came the word that the middle of the line had started to buckle, with Russian forces dropping back several kilometers. Finally, reports that the eastern end at Mylove — in spite of a pair of downed bridges along the route from Dudchany — had broken completely with Russian forces in flight down the highway to Berislav.

    […] as that big and growing slice of yellow in the middle of the map above indicated, I have a lot of reports of all this activity. What I don’t have is any kind of confirmation from either official or trusted resources.

    All of this is exciting. All of this is just what I want to hear. And just how much it seems like exactly that I want, makes me distrust it that much more. There are at least two “new new Russian defensive line” maps circulating out there, but I see no reason to believe either of them.

    Truthfully, I’ve been scanning Telegram and Twitter accounts, along with military blog sites, over the last hour, looking for something that would make me breathe a sigh of “okay, that looks right” relief. I’ve yet to find it.

    At this point, I rate the probability that Russia has been pressed out of Borozenske, Mylove, and Ishchenka as high. But whether they’ve been completely untethered from that cluster of defensive positions on the left from Bruskynske to Stepove, I’m much less certain. I’m also uncertain about where the real line of retreat is at this time, because while sources are pitching around statements like “thrown back 10km” or “retreated 15km,” the truth is there are villages and towns in the intervening space, and I’ve seen zero reports on any fighting at those locations.

    There are reports Russia’s defensive line is down. I think Russia’s defensive line is down. But I’m not sure Russia’s defensive line is down. Which is why there is so much yellow on the map.

    At Snihurivka, things seem a little clearer. As of mid-day on Thursday, Ukrainian forces hold the north of the city. Russian forces are mostly to the southwest, in the industrial area along the highway. But the claims that Ukraine had actually liberated the city seem to go back to an on-the-ground Russian source, who was apparently angered that Russian officers fled the town after Ukraine pressed the attack.

    Meanwhile, pro-Russian accounts are blasting a steady stream of just how invincible Russian forces were today, and how the new line repelled all attacks.

    When I have confirmation of the actual situation, you’ll get it.


    “Why would Russia destroy their own pipeline?” makes a convenient talking point, but the biggest problem with the statement may be that they didn’t. Neither Nord Stream 1 nor Nord Stream 2 received damage that can’t be handled by their deep water maintenance crews. [I would like to see confirmation of this from another source.]

    In fact, by total coincidence, it seems that Nord Stream 2 has already been patched. If Germany would just give the okay for pumping gas along Nord Stream 2, Russia is ready to resume gas shipments. [Hmmm. Interesting is true.]

    That’s not going to happen.


    This is the kind of “just shoot the field, we’ll hit something” artillery use I expect from Russia, not Ukraine. We’re so used to Ukraine hitting a spot on a fly’s wing at 40km that this just looks wrong. [video at the link]

    Why is Ukraine doing this? Well, as one source reported, they’ve captured so much ammunition left behind by Russia, they might as well use it up.


    We still haven’t gotten a good look at everything left behind in Lyman. But now we’re getting some glimpses of just what Russia lost as they stumbled back from the front lines in Kherson. [video at the link]

    But this doesn’t mean that Russia was incompetent. After all, Ukraine was going forward. They had to get out of the way going backward, and with a ton of panic weighing them down.

    […] There is no way a tank should be in the vicinity of an MLRS. They shouldn’t have been within miles of each other. This is an example of a Russian vehicle not running away fast enough. [video at the link]

    These Iranian drones are proving to be a much cheaper way for Russia to wage their terror campaign on targets unconnected to the war, and they’re getting shot down at a rate not much better than the much faster missiles. Their low altitude and speed makes them essentially invisible to many automated anti-aircraft systems. [video at the link]

    Russian MT-LB was ambushed by Ukrainian soldiers and crashed into a house. The leg of a Russian soldier is squeezed by a collapsed wall. When a Ukrainian fighter tries to help a Russian asks to finish him off, to which he receives an answer – we are not you.

    [video at the link]

    This is one I don’t think we saw before. [video of motorized infantry brigade liberating Davidyv-Brid]

  213. says

    Looks like they found the missing White House phone logs. Not a joke.

    “On August 25, 2022, an attorney on the Case Team provided the Privilege Review Team attorneys with a 39-page set of materials that appears to reflect the former President’s calls.”

    [ cf. p. 6 of Case 9:22-cv-81294-AMC Document 40 Entered on FLSD Docket 08/30/2022] Warning: PDF

    “Document 40” is the list of material in the hands of the Privilege Review Team that was set up to review material seized at Mar A Lago as part of the filter process. The linked document is the formal declaration communicated to the court prior to dissemination of any materials. One item that stands out is “Item Number 21 in Exhibit A.” Item Number 21 is important as apparently it is a record of the former president’s phone calls. They explain the reason for drawing this conclusion by first noting:

    The majority of pages are titled “The President’s Calls” and include the Presidential Seal.

    Before we continue, any questions?

    I didn’t think so. Moving on…

    The likelihood these logs have Fat Nixon’s finger prints all over them is demonstrated by the following:

    Specifically the document contains handwritten names, numbers, and notes that primarily appear to be messages, as well as several pages of miscellaneous notes.


  214. Oggie: Mathom says

    Lynna @276:

    Now we understand a little bit about why Trump and his dream team were so big on a special master. Once they figured out that these phone logs, with notations(?), were caught in the net, finding a way to protect the documents as personal communications or some such nonsense actually makes sense. I really hope that these logs cover the weeks up to and including January 6. Oh, pretty please with homemade applesauce on top.

  215. says

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

    In the northeastern Kharkiv region where Ukrainian forces regained a large swathe of ground in September, the bodies of 534 civilians including 19 children were found after Russian troops left, Serhiy Bolvinov of the National Police in Kharkiv told a briefing. The total included 447 bodies found in Izium. He also said that investigators had found evidence of 22 sites being used as “torture rooms”.

    Joe Biden has warned the world could face “Armageddon” if Vladimir Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon to try to win the war in Ukraine. The US president made his most outspoken remarks to date about the threat of nuclear war, saying it was the closest the world had come to nuclear catastrophe for sixty years. “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he said. “We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” Biden said, referring to the Russian president. “He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”

    The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties….

  216. says

    Francis Scarr:

    From [Ukrainian] Defence Minister Reznikov’s message to [Russian] servicemen:

    “You know you’re not liberating anyone in [Ukraine]. You’re destroying whole cities where very recently you were considered good neighbours + where people spoke [Russian]. But now, enmity has been sown for many generations to come”

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. “You have been tricked and betrayed.”

  217. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Vladimir Putin should face an “international tribunal”, the head of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said after the human rights organisation was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Writing on Facebook, Oleksandra Matviychuk called on the Russian president and his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, and other “war criminals” to face an international tribunal in order to “give the hundreds of thousands of victims of war crimes a chance to see justice”.

    Matviychuk also called for Russia to be excluded from the UN Security Council “for systematic violations of the UN charter”.

    The Center for Civil Liberties was established in 2007 and has done extensive work documenting Russian war crimes during the seven month-long conflict in Ukraine.

    Matviychuk said she was “delighted” the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with “our friends and partners at Memorial and Viasna”.

    A member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle directly confronted the Russian president over mistakes and failings in the war in Ukraine, the Washington Post has reported, citing US intelligence.

    The individual, whom the Post did not name, reportedly expressed concern to Putin about the mismanagement of the war effort and mistakes being made by Russia’s military leaders.

    An unnamed Western intelligence official told the paper:

    Since the start of the occupation we have witnessed growing alarm from a number of Putin’s inner circle. Our assessments suggest they are particularly exercised by recent Russian losses, misguided direction and extensive military shortcomings.

    Another senior official said:

    There are a lot of people who are convinced this isn’t going well or the right course of action.

    The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged there had been disagreements over the war but added that it was “all part of the usual working process”.

  218. raven says

    Joe Biden
    Biden warns world would face ‘Armageddon’ if Putin uses a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine
    In his starkest assessment yet, US president says world is the closest it has come to nuclear catastrophe in 60 years
    Julian Borger in Washington Thu 6 Oct 2022 22.08 EDT The Guardian excerpts

    If Russia did use a nuclear weapon, it would leave the US and its allies with the dilemma of how to respond, with most experts and former officials predicting that if Washington struck back militarily, it would most likely be with conventional weapons, to try to avert rapid escalation to an all-out nuclear war.

    But Biden said on Thursday night: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”

    I’m sure Joe Biden is right here.
    But who knows how close we are to a nuclear bomb attack? Probably no one right now.

    The strategic thinking right now is that if the Russians use tactical nuclear weapons, NATO will go in all out with our conventional weapons and eliminate the Russian armed forces. We can do that without too much trouble. The Ukrainians have already done a lot of the work.

    The only way the Russians could counteract that would be…more nuclear weapons. Maybe more tactical nuclear weapons, possibly directed to Ukrainian cities, EU cities, and US cities.

    You can see nuclear escalation could spiral into…Armageddon.

    I’ve now spent my entire life since the 1950s living with the possibility of dying in one nuclear war or another. We really haven’t learned anything in 60+ years.

  219. says

    Kyiv Independent – “UK intelligence: More than half of Ukraine’s tank fleet consists of captured Russian vehicles”:

    Since Feb. 24, Ukraine’s Armed Forces have captured at least 440 Russian main battle tanks and 650 other armored vehicles, which make up “over half of Ukraine’s currently fielded tank fleet,” the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Oct. 7.

    “The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact equipment before withdrawing or surrendering highlights their poor state of training and low levels of battle discipline,” reads the report.

    According to the U.K Defense Ministry, as “increasingly demoralized” Russian troops are under “severe strain” in several areas, Russia will likely keep losing its heavy weaponry.

  220. raven says

    “The failure of Russian crews to destroy intact equipment before withdrawing or surrendering highlights their poor state of training and low levels of battle discipline,” reads the report.

    Why should they care?

    They are just cannon fodder and they know it.
    And what are they fighting for? Nothing really.

    The warped plans of a small elite in Moscow that think bringing back the failed USSR is a worthwhile goal.

  221. says

    DOJ reportedly tells Team Trump there are still more missing docs

    Does Donald Trump still, even now, have official materials he was supposed to have returned? The Justice Department reportedly thinks so.

    When the FBI executed a court-approved search warrant at Mar-a-Lago eight weeks ago, it seemed to resolve part of the larger controversy. Donald Trump had improperly taken documents from the White House, and federal officials had retrieved them. It was time to move on to questions about how — and whether — to hold the former president accountable.

    But what if Trump, even now, still has materials he’s not supposed to have?

    The National Archives and Records Administration recently let the House Oversight Committee know that it believes some records from the Trump White House still haven’t been turned over. As The New York Times reported, the Justice Department has delivered a similar message to the former president’s defense attorneys.

    A top Justice Department official told former President Donald J. Trump’s lawyers in recent weeks that the department believed he had not returned all the documents he took when he left the White House, according to two people briefed on the matter. The outreach from the official, Jay I. Bratt, who leads the department’s counterintelligence operations, is the most concrete indication yet that investigators remain skeptical that Mr. Trump has been fully cooperative in their efforts to recover documents the former president was supposed to have turned over to the National Archives at the end of his term.

    If Bratt’s name sounds at all familiar, it’s because it’s come up quite a bit in this story. In early June, for example, Bratt and three FBI agents traveled to Mar-a-Lago in the hopes of retrieving documents Trump improperly took. The chief of the counterespionage section of the national security division of the Justice Department received some materials, including documents bearing classification markings, but not everything.

    What’s more, on Aug. 11, when the former president reached out to a Justice Department official to deliver a provocative message to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the person Trump spoke to was Bratt.

    According to the Times’ report, which has not been independently verified by MSBNC or NBC News, the Justice Department official is still on the case, letting Team Trump know that while many of the materials the former president stole are now back in government custody, it appears Trump may still be holding onto documents that he’s not supposed to have.

    Complicating matters is the reported dysfunction among the Republican’s lawyers. From the Times’ article:

    The outreach from the department prompted a rift among Mr. Trump’s lawyers about how to respond, with one camp counseling a cooperative approach that would include bringing in an outside firm to conduct a further search for documents and another advising Mr. Trump to maintain a more combative posture. The more combative camp, the people briefed on the matter said, won out.

    It was Christopher Kise, whom the former president paid $3 million up front to represent him in the Mar-a-Lago case, who suggested Team Trump hire a forensic team to look for more documents. This dovetails with a recent Washington Post report that said Kise believed that once federal officials had all of the materials back in their hands, “maybe prosecutors could be persuaded to resolve the whole issue quietly.”

    Kise’s rivals within Trump’s team pushed a more combative approach — and they appear to be winning while Kise appears sidelined.

    As for where the former president might be keeping these elusive documents, I’ve seen some jokes about the FBI searching Trump’s Bedminster property in New Jersey, and part of me is starting to think those jokes might have merit.

  222. says

    As the midterm elections near, GOP leans on three important lies

    The midterm elections are exactly one month from tomorrow, and as American voters start making their decisions, the parties’ closing messages are taking shape. In fact, leading Republicans have narrowed their focus to a handful of oft-repeated lines of attack.

    The problem, of course, is the lines of attack are rooted in discredited nonsense.

    This week, for example, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy argued via social media, “It’s been one year since Merrick Garland treated parents who attend school board meetings as ‘domestic terrorists.’ Since then, Democrats have refused to hold him accountable. Not even a single hearing on the issue. That changes once Republicans are in the majority next year.”

    This is certainly a myth that many in the GOP have come to believe, but the idea that the attorney general treated innocent parent as “domestic terrorists,” simply because they attended school board meetings, is demonstrably ridiculous. In fact, a Trump-appointed federal judge recently heard a case from Virginia parents who filed suit to block Garland’s alleged policy, and he concluded that he rejected the underlying claims as absurd.

    A day later, McCarthy returned to Twitter to push a different lie. “Government should work for you — not against you,” the California Republican wrote. “And that’s why a Republican House majority will repeal the army of 87,000 IRS agents that Democrats enlisted to spy on your bank accounts.” The same line has become a staple of GOP advertising in key races nationwide.

    It’s also total garbage. The “army of 87,000 IRS agents” don’t exist, and in an ironic twist, McCarthy’s vow is actually a vow to defund law enforcement.

    But perhaps most interesting of all is an ad from the Republican Senate candidate in Georgia. CNN’s Daniel Dale noted this week:

    “Herschel Walker has been running a TV ad in which he looks into the camera and falsely claims that Raphael Warnock cut funding to the police. This assertion is so imaginary that Walker’s campaign hasn’t even responded to requests to identify what he’s talking about.”

    Quite right. In the ad, Walker insisted that the Democratic incumbent senator not only criticized the police, Warnock also “cut their funding.”

    That’s not true. Warnock never did any such thing. When PolitiFact recently asked the Republican campaign to support the assertion, the GOP candidate and his team refused. When CNN asked Walker and the National Republican Senatorial Committee for any kind of evidence to bolster the attack, they also wouldn’t respond.

    The significance of this extends well beyond Georgia. When the Biden administration and congressional Democrats boosted funding for law enforcement, plenty of folks on the left were not pleased. The party did it anyway, at least in part with political inoculation in mind: It’s tough to attack Democrats for wanting to “defund the police” when the party supports spending more on the police.

    That is, Democrats thought it’d be tough to attack them on this. What’s happened instead is that Republicans have ignored reality, made up claims that are the opposite of the truth, and shrugged their shoulders when asked to defend attacks that are plainly indefensible.

    Of course, the one question leading Republicans find especially difficult as the midterm elections approach involves the larger context: If the Democratic majority is failing, why isn’t the truth good enough?

  223. says

    Good News: Job growth beats expectations (again), jobless rate falls to 3.5%

    With a few months left in 2022, the economy has already created 3.7 million jobs this year, and that’s after just nine months.

    Expectations heading into this morning showed projections of about 250,000 new jobs added in the United States in September. As it turns out, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary tally suggests the domestic job market did a little better than that. The New York Times reported this morning:

    The labor market remained strong in September, showing its resilience. But the persistent strength in hiring also underscored the challenges facing the Federal Reserve as it tries to curtail job growth enough to tame inflation. Employers added 263,000 jobs last month on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Labor Department said Friday. That was down from 315,000 in August. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent.

    Though the unemployment rate isn’t my favorite metric, it’s worth noting for context that in January 2021, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated, the unemployment rate was 6.4%. Now, it’s returned to 3.5% — a level the United States did not reach at any point throughout the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.

    […] As for the politics, let’s circle back to previous coverage to put the data in perspective. Over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term — when the then-president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.4 million jobs. This included all of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

    According to the latest tally, the U.S. economy has created 10.5 million jobs since January 2021 — far in excess of the combined total of Trump’s first three years. In fact, this year’s total to date exceeds any individual year of the former president’s term.

    In recent months, Republicans have responded to developments like these by pretending not to notice them. […]

    Postscript: For some additional context, consider job growth by year over the past decade:

    2013: 2.3 million

    2014: 3 million

    2015: 2.7 million

    2016: 2.3 million

    2017: 2.1 million

    2018: 2.3 million

    2019: 2 million

    2020: -9.3 million

    2021: 6.7 million

    2022 (so far): 3.7 million

    In early 2020, such a turnaround would’ve been very difficult to believe. And yet, here we are.

  224. says

    Ukraine update: It’s Vladimir Putin’s birthday, don’t forget to think of him today

    Vladimir Putin is 70 today. The best gift that Putin could give to the world would be his retirement, either in the usual, or the intelligence agency meaning of that word. However, that seems unlikely. So we’ll just have to hope that this is the last birthday Putin ever celebrates in a position of power, and check to see what presents the Russian army has brought to him this day. If we all keep Putin in mind today, maybe we can achieve a Scanners moment.

    In any case, here is Russia’s big birthday victory for Putin. In the town of Pisky, which Russia has been attacking daily for months, they have achieved a breakthrough, allowing Russian forces to advance … 2 blocks. It’s a big deal for Russia. Pisky is, after all, a whole 2km from the city of Donetsk, where they started on Feb. 24.

    But even if the gain is trivial […] it’s worth looking at what Russia is doing now as it hopes to advance into the next town, another kilometer up the same road.

    [Julian Röpcke tweeted] Entirely crazy RT drone video of Russian invasion forces, advancing three buildings in Pervomaiske (west of Pisky) while losing 60 towns elsewhere in Ukraine. My highest respect goes to the Ukrainian soldiers, battling those maniacs. They are the true heroes of Ukraine. [images at the link]

    Russia is moving into each village by destroying every single home in that village. That’s their strategy. There’s no indication that there are Ukrainian troops in these buildings. There’s no sign of any military vehicles in the streets or yards. They don’t even pretend that there are. Russia is just going block by block and converting every house to rubble. Which sort of explains why they’re making such slow progress.

    Ukraine is working to defeat the Russian army. Russia is working to erase the Ukrainian nation.

    Meanwhile, Russian claims about still holding Makiivka in Luhansk, Oblast turn out to be a lie. Both the town and the critical road junction to the east are under Ukrainian control. And, as always, Ukrainian troops know there is only one sure way to keep their boots clean during mud season. [video of soldiers walking on Russian flags in a muddy area]

    […] the areas we’re seeing in videos today (Podoly, Makiivka, and Hlushkivka) are locations where sources had reported their liberation at least two or three days ago. So long as the battle is being conducted at close range, and Ukraine is working their way past Russian positions, don’t expect to get the kind of moment by moment update we had until the last three days.

    Down at Bakhmut, Russia seems to have possibly made a more significant advance that the one at Pisky. Some announced directions of attack and shelling positions from each side make it seem as if Russia has occupied the town of Odradivka. Russia had claimed this location two days ago, but this was one of a string of over a dozen times they’ve made this claim. However, this time it may be true. I’ll add a map of the Bakhmut area when I get the next update together.


    Euromaidan Press reports that Russian occupation forces in the villages of Chernihiv kidnapped and held hostage hundreds of civilians, including children and infants. At one location, they locked almost 400 people into the basement of a school, held them there for nearly a month, and gave them so little food that children were on the brink of starvation. Locals interviewed confirmed that Russia practiced torture on some of those they held, including some horrifying graphic details of the actions Russia took in trying to force people into giving up the location of Ukrainian forces. There were other things they did which has to be high on any list of war crimes.

    “It was horrible that the [grand]child was starving, and you couldn’t give [him anything],” Tamara recalls. “They ate our meat, cheese… They gave us galettes from their dry food bags and a spoon of paste. That was for the whole day.”

    While the people in the basement were starving, Russian occupiers ate the villagers’ chickens, pigs, “and even dogs,” Tamara recalls.

    Russians would rather eat dogs than their own military rations.


    Elon Musk should take notes. [video at the link]

    The way out of the conflict is for Russia to leave Ukraine. That’s the way out of the conflict.


    Oryx is crying over all the stuff he’s had to catalog in the last few days. [video at the link]


    This is Podoly, southeast of Kupyansk, and we’ve know that Ukraine liberated it for several days now. Still, I like this picture. [Image at the link of a family, adults, soldier, children, dog]

    Hlushkivka was pretty much the last location along the east bank of the Oskil River to be confirmed as liberated, connecting the forces that came down from Kupyansk with those working north from Lyman and Borova. [image at the link]

  225. says

    NEW: Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake uses footage of Russian soldiers marching in her campaign ad, claiming (incorrectly) that they are the Arizona National Guard.

    Posted by readers of the Twitter thread:

    The US has over 2 million active personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
    Why does the GOP use Russian soldiers in their misleading political propaganda?
    Why do so many Republican candidates use Russian stock footage in their ads? Almost seems like a lot of the GOP media ecosystem regularly consumes content from Russian propaganda outlets.

  226. says

    Last week, following sham referendums, Russia illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions, including the Zaporizhzhia region where the plant resides. On Wednesday, Russia said it would take over operational control of the facility, which Russian forces seized in March but is still run by Ukrainian engineers.

    Recurring shelling near the plant has fanned fears about a catastrophic meltdown, and the Kremlin’s announcement that it would put the plant under control of the Russian state has introduced even more unease.

    Speaking during a visit to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Wednesday that the I.A.E.A. still viewed the plant as a Ukrainian facility, since the U.N. charter does not recognize illegal annexations.

    “This is a matter that has to do with international law,” he said at a news conference.

    […] The Wagner Private Military Company announced the creation of its own private Telegram channel on October 6, indicating that Wagner financier Yevgeny Prigozhin may want a voice that is clearly his own to compete with milbloggers and possibly Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov, who all have their own Telegram channels. [Sheesh]

    […] Russian troops are likely establishing defensive positions in upper Kherson Oblast following the collapse of the Russian line in northeast Kherson.

    […] Russian forces continued to conduct routine artillery, air, and missile strikes west of Hulyaipole, and in Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv Oblasts on October 6.

    Local Russian officials appear to be frantically looking for ways to fund their mobilized units as the Kremlin increasingly expects local administrations to pay for the war effort from their own budgets.

    The Ukrainian Resistance Center reported on October 6 that Russian forces began the forced mobilization of Ukrainian citizens in Russian-occupied Kremmina and Starobilsk, Luhansk Oblast.

  227. says

    Elon Musk continues to post his ill-informed conclusions:

    Assuming you believe that the will of the people matters, we should, in any given conflict region, support the will of those who live there.

    Most of Ukraine unequivocally wants to be part of Ukraine, but some eastern portions have Russian majorities and prefer Russia.

    posted October 5, 2022

    Replies to Elon from Kyiv Post:

    The @elonmusk situation is clearly getting out of hand, and it seems like pride and vanity play a behemoth role in his attempt to pose as an expert on #Ukraine.

    Just stop, Elon. It’s ok to admit that you overdid smth. Just stop.
    Look, @elonmusk, like we said before we are grateful to you for the Starlinks. We naturally disagree with your peace plan and make no secret of it — but we do invite you to give us an interview and explain why your stance is like that. We are keen to know. DM?

  228. says

    Judge finds DeJoy harmed the Postal Service in 2020 election balloting interference

    Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has somehow managed to remain in his job, one of the last high-profile Trump holdovers, even though he has been under an ethical and legal cloud for the entirety of his tenure. We heard from one of those clouds Thursday, when a federal judge ruled that DeJoy’s changes to the U.S. Postal Service prior to the 2020 election harmed the service, but didn’t break election laws. Nonetheless, the judge blocked DeJoy from doing it again.

    Federal Judge Emmet Sullivan found that the changes DeJoy made to the U.S. Postal Service in the months leading up to the 2020 elections to remove sorting machines and prevent carriers from making extra deliveries hurt mail delivery. He also found that DeJoy should not have made those operational changes unilaterally, without permission from the Postal Regulatory Commission. The judge put orders in place to prevent DeJoy from repeating those actions.

    The suit was brought by Democratic-led state and local governments who argued that the slowdowns DeJoy created at the Postal Service with equipment cuts and eliminating overtime hindered those governments’ efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic because it impacted mail-in voting, forcing people to vote in person to ensure that their ballot was received and counted.

    […] The surest way to prevent him from interfering in any more elections is to fire him. The Postal Regulatory Commission doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in restraining him, nor does the service’s Board of Governors. The PRC dismissed a complaint brought by 20 state attorneys general last fall over DeJoy’s 10-year plan to make mail delivery slower and more expensive. The Board of Governors is going along with it, too, despite the fact that it’s directly harming all of the people who rely on timely, efficient mail delivery to pay their bills, get those checks, and generally conduct business.

    There’s another easy opportunity for President Joe Biden to finally end DeJoy’s destruction of the Postal Service right now. The terms of the last two big DeJoy champions on the Board of Governors—Democrat Donal Lee Moak and Republican William Zollars—expire in December. The way the Board works allows them to stay on for another year without being renominated, but Biden can’t let that happen.

    […] Last year, Biden ousted DeJoy’s biggest cheerleader, Democrat Ron Bloom, when his term ended. That made the grassroots giddy with anticipation that, finally, DeJoy’s days were numbered. We celebrated too soon.

    […] This time, however, Biden has got to get it done. It’s the third most popular thing he could do with the grassroots after student loan forgiveness and pardons for federal weed convictions. He did those. Now it’s time he saves the post office and nominates two new members who will get the job done. It’s a slam dunk, and now would be a great time to make the announcement, with DeJoy’s holiday price hikes pissing everybody off.

    The lame-duck session of the Senate would be a great time for the confirmation of the two Board nominees who will finally vote to get rid of DeJoy. It also wouldn’t hurt to announce those nominees now, before people vote on senators, so they can factor saving the post office into their votes. It’s not the biggest campaign issue, but it sure as hell would be motivating for the grassroots.

  229. says

    Related to several posts above – Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian – “Fair play to Truss: stripped of competence or compassion, her extremism is refreshingly clear”:

    Is it too soon to offer a small word in defence of Liz Truss? I appreciate that this is a lonely endeavour. In what should be her honeymoon period, the new prime minister has instead presented the electorate with multiple grounds for divorce. Polling suggests she’s about as popular as a Covid sweat. Still, Truss deserves praise for one thing at least. What she brings to our national life is an admirable clarity – though perhaps not in the way she intends.

    The Conservatives have been in power for more than 12 years, and for much of that time they have been hard to pin down….

    …For more than a decade Conservatism was a shifting target, its rhetoric and its action often directly at odds. But now there’s Truss, whose great gift to Britain is a bracing lack of ambiguity. With no distracting veneer of competence, decency or compassion – either real or bogus – she offers instead a nakedly ideological form of conservatism.

    Its instincts are unhidden. It favours the rich over the poor. Witness both Kwasi Kwarteng’s now-abandoned juicy tax cut to the 1% and Truss’s continuing refusal to pledge that benefits will keep pace with a galloping rate of inflation: if they don’t, the neediest will have to get by on even less.

    It yearns for a small state, one that is lean in size and mean in practice….

    This is a naked conservatism that believes in itself with such fervour it thinks facts should make way for its fantasies….

    The refusal to bow to empirical evidence, to reality, is Truss conservatism’s defining feature. Its origins are not mysterious. We might call it Brexitism: the creed that holds that the real world, even the facts of geography, can be bent to your will, just by closing your eyes and wishing it were so….

    Don’t be misled by the serial U-turns, already a signature of the Truss era. …Those reverses do not suggest doctrinal complexity, still less strategy. The only story they tell is one of weakness and haemorrhaging support.

    For naked conservatism is unpalatable even to Conservatives….

    This stripping away of the camouflage, this exposure of the Tories’ hardest core, offers one other consolation besides clarity. It carries with it the sense of an ending. For this is how bad governments often die, the mask fallen away, their worst face revealed. Truss will try to rally the troops, stirring them with the familiar hate – even if “remainer elites” and “citizens of nowhere” are now rebranded as the rather less punchy “anti-growth coalition”. But she can’t escape the temper of the times, which has turned against her and her party.

    For more than a decade, the country has been ruled by those who have caused grave damage and great hurt. Often that was concealed by smooth talk, a charming manner or wild promises. Liz Truss is not blessed with some of her predecessors’ gifts for deception. Instead her extremism is exposed for all to see. It means we can see her – and all the rottenness that lies beneath.

    More at the link.

  230. says

    Some podcasts:

    Today’s Guardian – “The cheating scandal rocking the chess world”:

    The world of chess has been pitched into crisis after one of the sport’s rising stars was accused of cheating in more than 100 matches.

    As Bryan Graham tells Michael Safi, the 19-year-old American player Hans Niemann has vigorously denied the allegations first made by world champion Magnus Carlsen and then laid out in an investigation by Chess[dot]com. Instead, Niemann insisted he had cheated only twice in the past: first as a 12-year-old in an online tournament, and then as a 16-year-old playing unrated games while streaming.

    The scandal has engulfed chess and left fans of the sport fearful for its future. With computers already far outstripping the abilities of human players, the integrity of face-to-face and online tournaments depends on the honesty of the humans making the moves. With that now in some doubt, the multi-million dollar industry is aware it has a serious problem and needs to act fast.

    NBN “Classic” (popular episode from 2020) – “Theodor Adorno, The Authoritarian Personality:

    70 years ago, the philosopher Theodore Adorno and a team of scholars released a massive book titled The Authoritarian Personality (Verso, 2019), which attempted to map the psychological and emotional dynamics of those who might find themselves seduced by authoritarianism. The book synthesized both empirical psychology and sociology, relying on massive sets of data, with psychoanalytic models of personality so as to approach their subjects with a set of deep hermeneutic tools. The result is a book that is both both data-driven and speculative, and covers a vast swatch of theoretical territory. It was recently republished by Verso books, with a new introduction by Peter Gordon.

    (As always, I don’t agree with everything here – either in the podcast or in the work(s) under discussion. And I’m unhappy that they mention neither Erich Fromm nor Karen Horney. The work I discussed in a series on my blog last year, Löwenthal and Guterman’s 1949 Prophets of Deceit: The Techniques of the American Agitator, was also part of this larger project, using different methods including content analysis.)

    A World to Win – “Internet Enclosure w/ Ben Tarnoff”:

    This week, Grace speaks to Ben Tarnoff, author of Internet for the People. They talk about the web’s origins, how it was enclosed and privatised, and ways we might work together to build a different model for the internet.

  231. says

    More podcast episodes:

    SWAJ – “It’s In the Code, Ep. 22: God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways”:

    Many have heard Christians claim that “God’s ways are not our ways,” or that “God moves in mysterious ways.” While these words might have been offered as comfort in a trying time, they have had a negative impact on many. In this episode, Dan cracks the code on phrases like these find out why, and to understand the multiple meanings encoded within them.

    SWAJ – “It’s In the Code, Ep 23: Christian Health and Safety”:

    Theologically and culturally conservative American Christians actively mock “liberal” or “progressive” or “secular” appeals to “safety” in society. And yet, the rhetoric of safety, and the related idea of “health,” have penetrated deeply into this religious culture. One the surface, these emphases represent a more inviting, less judgmental form of spirituality. But in this episode, Dan decodes this language to show that, beneath that appearance, this rhetoric harbors judgment and resentments that actively endanger huge numbers of people and that lead to lasting negative mental and emotional health consequence.

    The Daily – “The Pastors Being Driven Out by Trumpism”:

    Evangelicals make up about a quarter of the population in the United States and are part of the nation’s largest religious group. But lately the movement is in crisis.

    The biggest issue is church attendance. Many churches closed at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and struggled to reopen while congregations thinned.

    But a smaller audience isn’t the only problem: Pastors are quitting, or at least considering doing so.

    Guest: Ruth Graham is a national correspondent covering religion, faith and values for The New York Times.

  232. says

    More podcast episodes:

    Fever Dreams – “GOPlenty of Fish w/ Michael Schaffer”:

    “Corruption chic” is in. That’s according to The Conservateur, a new “D.C.-based fashion-and-lifestyle platform” from some of conservative fashion’s most elite, who, upset over Vogue snubbing Melania Trump, are now throwing in their political views with a cute new pair of shoes–or ankle monitors–in their own attempt at creating content. Michael Schaffer, a senior editor at Politico whose Capital City column runs weekly in Politico Magazine, tells hosts Will Sommer and Kelly Weill in this episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast that while he doesn’t think Anna Wintour is losing a lot of sleep, the “MAGA answer to Vogue” has landed, and it’s already making headlines. In this week’s “Fresh Hell” segment, the hosts discuss the right’s reaction and misreporting to the emerging trend of colorful fentanyl pills dubbed rainbow fentanyl.

    Fever Dreams – “Herschel Walker’s New Scandal feat Travis Waldron”:

    Herschel Walker already faced an uphill battle to become a U.S. senator after The Daily Beast reported he paid for a girlfriend’s abortion. But now it appears Walker is embroiled in another fight: one with his own son. Christian Walker, a conservative with a substantial social media following—particularly on TikTok—has taken aim at his father, whom he accused of violence and said abandoned his children from multiple women. “Herschel’s problem is that his son has such a way with words,” Will Sommer tells co-host Kelly Weill in this episode of The Daily Beast’s Fever Dreams podcast, referring to Christian’s impassioned online reaction to his father’s denials of the abortion allegations. Also on the podcast, Travis Waldron, senior national reporter at the Huffington Post, talks Brazil and its politics, which have been popping off thanks to the Brazilian general election. “The stakes of this one feel pretty high given the concerns about democracy and [President Jair] Bolsonaro’s efforts to follow Donald Trump down the path of election skepticism and potentially an all out challenge to the result of the elections,” Waldron says.

    Michael & Us – “#367 – Penn and Paintbrush”:

    Libertarian magicians Penn & Teller turn their gaze to the art world in TIM’S VERMEER (2013), a documentary that attempts to prove that, with just the right set of tools and a lot of money, one wealthy entrepreneur can paint a Vermeer. We discuss the bleak, empty void that is Penn & Teller’s view of art.

  233. says

    From the liveblog closing summary:

    …Russia has targeted Zaporizhzhia with explosive-packed “kamikaze drones” for the first time, as the death toll from a missile strike on an apartment building in the city on Thursday rose to 11. The regional governor, Oleksandr Starukh, said Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones damaged two infrastructure facilities, in the city. He said other missiles also struck the city again, injuring one person. On Monday, the Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani denied supplying the drones to Russia, calling the claims “baseless”.

    Russia has reportedly sacked the commander of its eastern military district, Col Gen Alexander Chaiko, the news outlet RBC has reported. The reported departure of Chaiko marks the latest in a series of top officials to be fired after defeats and humiliations in the war in Ukraine, following reports that the commander of the western military district, Col Gen Alexander Zhuravlyov, had been replaced by Lt Gen Roman Berdnikov on Monday.

    The US does not have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons, the White House said. Asked about Biden’s comments, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: “He was reinforcing what we have been saying, which is how seriously … we take these threats.”

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has congratulated Putin on his 70th birthday, applauding him for his “distinguished leadership and strong will” in the latest sign of deepening ties between the two countries. In the birthday message, Kim spoke of Putin’s achievements in “building powerful Russia” and said the Russian leader was “enjoying high respects and support from the broad masses of people”.

  234. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    FT: Ukrainian troops report Starlink outages, hindering counteroffensive.

    Ukrainian troops have encountered issues with Starlink communication devices on the frontline, leading to a “catastrophic” loss in communication, reports Financial Times, citing Ukrainian officials.

    The outages were reported in eastern and southern Ukraine, especially in Russian-occupied parts, where Kyiv is conducting its counter-offensive.

  235. says

    Ukrinform – ” Russia must return Kuril Islands to Japan – Ukraine’s Parliament”:

    Crimea is Ukraine, the Kuril Islands are Japan. Territories stolen by Russia around the world must be returned.

    That’s according to Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk, who made the statement in a Facebook posting, Ukrinform reports.

    “Today, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appealed to the international community regarding the Northern Territories of Japan.

    From August to September 1945, the USSR illegally occupied the northern territories of Japan before deporting the Japanese population. Russia, as the “successor of the USSR”, was obliged to return them. But they haven’t done it yet.

    Therefore, the Parliament of Ukraine appeals to the UN, European Parliament, PACE, NATO Parliamentary Assembly, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and international community, urging them to continue taking all possible measures for the contractual and legal registration of the status of Japan’s northern territories,” Stefanchuk wrote….

  236. says

    From text quoted by SC in comment 296:

    This is a naked conservatism that believes in itself with such fervour it thinks facts should make way for its fantasies….

    Sounds like a description of MAGA Republicans.

  237. says

    SC @301:

    Ukrainian troops have encountered issues with Starlink communication devices on the frontline, leading to a “catastrophic” loss in communication, reports Financial Times, citing Ukrainian officials

    OMG, that is such bad news.

    I’ll bet that Elon Musk will not rush to fix the problem.

  238. says

    SC @300:

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has congratulated Putin on his 70th birthday, applauding him for his “distinguished leadership and strong will” in the latest sign of deepening ties between the two countries. In the birthday message, Kim spoke of Putin’s achievements in “building powerful Russia” and said the Russian leader was “enjoying high respects and support from the broad masses of people”.

    More very bad news. We don’t need those two authoritarian doofuses teaming up.

  239. says


    Girkin warns that if Russia does not make major changes soon, no mobilisation waves will help, and the country will repeat the 1917 scenario. Says that in light of this, even (temporarily) leaving Kherson, Melitopol and Crimea is not critical.

  240. says

    When smearing Harris, the GOP finds the truth isn’t good enough

    Twice in one week, Republicans have tried to smear Vice President Kamala Harris. Both times, the rhetorical offenses were based on bizarre falsehoods.

    I don’t generally laugh when Donald Trump tries to smear his political opponents, but a week ago, the former president referred to Vice President Kamala Harris as “North Korea Sympathizer Kamala Harris” — and that was unintentionally funny.

    It’s difficult to say for sure why the Republican used the phrase — with Trump, no one can say with confidence how he comes up with stuff like this — but Harris visited the Korean peninsula last week and after a trip to the demilitarized zone, she accidentally referred to the U.S. alliance “with the Republic of North Korea.”

    She obviously meant to reference the Republic of Korea — South Korea’s formal name — but briefly misspoke. No sane person would conclude from this slip that the Democrat should now be seen as a “North Korea sympathizer.”

    If, on the other hand, anyone is looking for someone who’s been a bit too submissive toward the nuclear-armed dictatorship, I might recommend reviewing the record of the former American president who publicly professed his love for Kim Jong Un and gave the North Korean leader much of what he wanted in exchange for nothing.

    A few days later, however, Sen. Rick Scott’s criticisms of the vice president were far less amusing. On CBS’s “Face the Nation” this week, the Florida Republican, while discussing recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Ian, told viewers:

    “I think what we got to do is we got to bring everybody together. I’d also say that what Vice President Harris said yesterday, or the day before yesterday, that, you know, if you have a different skin color, you’re going to get relief faster, that’s not helpful.”

    In context, host Margaret Brennan had asked for the senator’s response about radical rhetoric from Trump and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Instead of answering the question, Scott responded by targeting Harris, peddling a lie that’s become common in GOP circles in recent days.

    When Brennan reminded the Floridian that he was wrong about what Harris said, Scott replied, “That’s exactly what she meant.”

    No, it’s not. The summary from set the record straight:

    In a “fireside chat” with actress Priyanka Chopra, Vice President Kamala Harris said the Biden administration is “thinking about the families in Florida [and] in Puerto Rico” and “what we need to do to help them in terms of an immediate response and aid.” But she also talked about the long-term need to ensure equitable treatment of “our lowest income communities and our communities of color that are most impacted by these extreme [climate] conditions … that are not of their own making.”

    As anyone who heard the comments knows, the vice president did not say — and did not mean to say — that skin color should dictate the speed with which storm victims receive disaster aid.

    What’s more, Harris’ actual comments were entirely accurate: Many communities, in the United States and around the world, that are already struggling are positioned to feel the brunt of the climate crisis. It’s a serious issue that deserves policymakers’ attention.

    What we’re instead seeing is a Republican Senate leader try to smear the vice president for saying something true about an issue he prefers to ignore.

  241. Oggie: Mathom says

    SC & Lynna:

    Ukrainian troops have encountered issues with Starlink communication devices on the frontline, leading to a “catastrophic” loss in communication, reports Financial Times, citing Ukrainian officials

    OMG, that is such bad news.

    I’ll bet that Elon Musk will not rush to fix the problem.

    Is it possible that Elon Musk CREATED the problem? Or, rather, had his minions create the problem?

  242. says

    Most powerful moment of the AZ senate debate: how to confront Republican candidates on abortion.

    The only scheduled debate for the Arizona senate seat occurred last night. This isn’t really a fair race. Senator Mark Kelly served his country in the Navy for 25 years, a decorated veteran. He has spent 54 days in space as a NASA astronaut. He grew up in a middle class family, educated in public schools, and his entire career has been service orientated. He is the husband of former AZ congresswoman Gabby Giffords – who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 and ever since has been a heroic presence in the fight for reasonable gun control. Mark Kelly is just an all around stellar guy.

    Blake Masters, on the other hand, is a [gendered slur deleted]. From Wikipedia:

    Blake Gates Masters (born August 5, 1986) is an American venture capitalist, political candidate, and author… Masters was later chief operating officer of Peter Thiel’s investment firm, Thiel Capital and also president of the Thiel Foundation. He has frequently been referred to as Thiel’s protégé.

    Masters attended Green Fields Country Day School, which was at the time a private school in Tucson

    Blake Masters is the Waylon Smithers to Peter Thiel’s Mr. Burns.

    Unlike Smithers, Masters is a conspiracy theorist and racist. Almost all mass shooters are White men but when Masters talks about gun violence he says “It’s gangs. It’s people in Chicago, St. Louis shooting each other. Very often, you know, Black people, frankly.” And of course, he’s a forced birther extremist.

    It would be unprofessional for Senator Kelly to call him an arrogant prick. So instead he landed this perfect equivalent in last night’s debate. Doing what every Democrat running against anti-choice opponents need to do. Ask the voters directly— are the most complicated and personal of healthcare decisions up to you and your doctor, or does Blake Masters get to decide for you instead?




    Here’s the debate. The above quote is around the 37 minute mark: [video at the link]

  243. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 301

    Not to sound paranoid, but I would put it past that despicable man-child Musk to shut down access to those satellites in retaliation for everyone snubbing his “peace” proposals. Remember how he reacted when rescue divers dismissed his mini-sub scheme to save those trapped Thai kids?

  244. Paul K says

    Re: Starlink outages. I’m about the last person to defend Musk, but from the Financial Times article, it seems that the best explanation is actually a positive for Space-X: it looks like most of the outages have occurred where Ukrainian forces have crossed into Russian held territory, where Space-X was somehow jamming the Starlink system to Russian use. This has not been confirmed officially (yet), but makes some sense.

    Personally, I think Musk’s outsized influence, based on his perceived power, intelligence, and social savvy, are all bizarre. The man is so truly a dufuss; who, like so many sociopaths with no boundaries (on their egos, actions, and lies) since the advent of the internet age, has been given far more credit for… everything … than his due, simply because he had enough money handed to him to push himself on us. He is just another con man with absolutely no shame.

    I seriously doubt he had anything to do with this, but: I am not at all surprised that people think he might have, since it’s something he well might do. AND, I won’t be surprised if he claims one of the following, or, knowing him, both: that he DID have something to do with it, and that he alone can/did fix it.

  245. Tethys says

    A twitter user in Ukraine linked the failure of Starlink to the man-child seeking funding to purchase twitter from unknown Russian financiers. I can’t find that tweet, however…

    Another source linked below discusses that the outages occurred during the battles, and suggests deliberate action by the man-child to protect…his preciousness technology.

    Why is the modern Neville Chamberlain privy to Ukraine’s defenses in REAL TIME at all!? And turned them off during the offensive at crucial locations? WTF!!

    Musk and SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment. After this article was first published, Musk said on Twitter: “As for what’s happening on the battlefield, that’s classified.”

  246. says

    Telling details, extracted from a New York Times article:

    Racing down a road with his men in pursuit of retreating Russian soldiers, a battalion commander came across an abandoned Russian armored vehicle, its engine still running. Inside there was a sniper rifle, rocket propelled grenades, helmets and belongings. The men were gone.

    “They dropped everything: personal care, helmets,” said the commander, who uses the code name Swat. “I think it was a special unit, but they were panicking […]

    The day Lyman fell, his battalion was attacking another town further east. He asked for security reasons not to disclose the location. His units captured the town in a day, without losses, although nine soldiers were wounded. By the third day they had searched and secured the town and handed it over to another group so they could pull back and recharge.

    Then after three weeks of sweeping success and minimal losses, the battalion lost five men in a Russian missile strike and Swat lost a close friend when their car hit a mine. Swat was driving but survived with a concussion.

    Tearing up when he talked of his friend in an interview, he asked that a reporter not sugarcoat events of the war with only success stories.

    In the battle for Izium, Swat was preparing his assault when he saw Russian troops suddenly falling back, he said. Ukrainian brigades attacking from the north had taken a main highway, cutting Russian troops’ supply lines, his deputy commander said.

    They moved up the timing of their assault and the unit raced in from the south and seized a high point in the city. […]

    Some of the Russians, demotivated and scared, and some hungry, were ready to give themselves up, he said. But some kept fighting, believing Russian indoctrination that the Ukrainians would torture and kill them if they allowed themselves to be captured.

    On one occasion a Russian soldier pulled the pin of a grenade and killed himself, saying he would never let himself be taken prisoner, Swat said. “We jumped to him but we were too late,” he said. “So they are also brave soldiers, and they are afraid.”

    His battalion has taken more than 30 Russians prisoner in seven months of fighting, 23 of them in the counterattack, he said. “We just get information from them, give them water, food, warm clothes and send them to a higher level,” he said.

    It has been a steep learning curve for his men, not only in survival but in humanity. A 27-year-old American platoon commander from his battalion, who uses the code name Boris, said one of his most intense moments of the war came when he held a cup of water for a Russian prisoner to drink.

    […] In some places local residents told them they were sheltering Russian soldiers who had either fled their posts or been left behind, but Swat said he did not have time to stop. And in the past few days, he said, Ukrainian air reconnaissance tracked Russian units pulling out on foot through the forests using good military tactics — spreading out, moving slowly — but again his units were too tied up to pursue them.

    […] The Russians were often set up in well dug-in machine gun nests, several Ukrainian commanders and soldiers said. And once Russian troops pull back, there can be heavy bombardment from Russian planes, artillery, and long-range missiles. A powerful missile strike demolished a former Russian command post in the town they seized recently, killing five of his men, he said.

    “It was like a cold water shower,” Swat said. Referring to the five who died, he said: “For two days I was like, crazy. They were young guys.”

    […] commanders and soldiers seemed to agree that Ukrainian troops should keep pushing before the Russian side could regroup.

    “We have only one month to do this right now, because right now they are in panic,” Swat said. And winter was closing in. “Now we need to get winter clothes, and we are going to have mud.”

  247. says

    A week later, Republicans’ silence on Donald Trump’s racist “death wish” message, directed at Mitch McConnell, is awfully tough to defend

    The fact that Donald Trump went after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week was not, in and of itself, remarkable. The former president condemns the Kentucky Republican so frequently — he told The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman on the record that the GOP senator is “a piece of s—“ — that the rhetorical offenses barely raise eyebrows anymore.

    Part of what made Trump’s attack from seven days ago stand out, however, was just how far he was willing to go. […] the former president whined a bit about congressional spending packages and the Green New Deal, before concluding that McConnell “has a DEATH WISH.”

    For good measure, the same Trump message added, “Must immediately seek help and advise [sic] from his China loving wife, Coco Chow!”

    This was, of course, in reference to Elaine Chao — who served as Trump’s transportation secretary for four years.

    In other words, the former president not only raised the specter of political violence against his own party’s Senate leader, he also published a racist message against the senator’s wife, who also happens to have served in Trump’s cabinet.

    The question was not what this told Americans about Trump’s character. We’ve known that answer for quite some time. Instead, the question was how his party might respond to such garbage.

    […] nearly all congressional Republicans, including those close to McConnell, said literally nothing, one member of Congress stepped up this week to deliver an unambiguous denunciation:

    “Former President Trump’s inflammatory and racist attacks directed at Senator McConnell aren’t helpful to the nation or our democracy. Worse yet, they could incite political violence, and the former President knows full well that extremists often view his words as marching orders. While unsurprising, these attacks are not indicative of a leader and clearly set a poor example for future generations of Americans. I strongly condemn these attacks — as should all of my Republican and Democratic colleagues. We need to be better than this.”

    That statement came from Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who, among other things, chairs the bipartisan select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

    Or put another way, a prominent Democrat defended the Senate Republicans’ leader in ways other Republicans would not.

    In fairness, it would be an exaggeration to say literally no one in the GOP spoke up about Trump’s message. Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican who’s recently begun telling voters to support Democrats in key races, echoed her colleague from the Jan. 6 committee. The Washington Post noted:

    Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Monday said former president Donald Trump’s recent comments on social media about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) “could well cause violence,” and his comments about McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao — who served as a Cabinet secretary under Trump — were “absolutely despicable” and “racist.” But Cheney — who has broken with many in her party in standing up to Trump — said it also is troubling that Republicans have not denounced the former president’s rhetoric. That silence is “unacceptable,” Cheney said during an appearance at Syracuse University.

    “Everybody ought to be asked whether that’s acceptable,” the outgoing Wyoming congresswoman said. “And everybody ought to be able to say, ‘No, that is not acceptable.’ They ought to be required to say that.”

    It was a sensible position. Seven days after Trump published his ugly missive, we now know it was a sentiment that other Republicans ignored.

    […] the former president very likely noticed the lack of pushback, and he’ll interpret his party’s silence as proof that he can keep making comments like these without fear of consequences.

  248. says

    Josh Marshall: “This is Your Brain on Fox News”

    For you researchers, social scientists and humans generally out there here’s an interesting journal article in Nature which seeks to measure the impact of Fox News on people’s openness to and uptake of vaccinations. You want be surprised to learn that watching Fox doesn’t encourage people to get vaccinated. The key finding is this: “Overall, an additional weekly hour of Fox News viewership for the average household accounts for a reduction of 0.35–0.76 weekly full vaccinations per 100 people during May and June 2021.”

    I’m not great at evaluating study methodology and the merits of the structure of a study. I’d be curious what others with more expertise on this front make of the methodology. But my read suggests it’s a pretty sophisticated effort, going to fairly great lengths to disaggregate what is just anti-vac conservatives watching Fox News versus Fox having a specific and quantifiable impact. Check it out.

  249. says

    Dr. Oz Stood in Front of One of Hitler’s Cars at a Fundraiser and Had Jordan Peterson Call In.

    Matt Gaetz’s in-laws hosted the high-dollar dinner from hell. What is this campaign doing?

    In what continues to be an incredibly puzzling campaign, Dr. Mehmet Oz attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser hosted by sex pest Matt Gaetz’s in-laws on Thursday night at the Lyon Air Museum and stood in front of one of Adolf Hitler’s cars, which made it into the background of attendees’ photos.

    The museum is full of WWII memorabilia, and yes, it is just a museum. But a campaign allowing their candidate to be photographed at a fundraiser with a car that literally has a swastika on it is quite a choice.

    […] “This particular G4, 440875, was originally delivered to Adolph Hitler in late 1939 and was used by the Fuhrer in Ober Salzberg, Berlin and Poland until seized by the French Army at Berchtesgaden.”

    We have several theories about how and why this happened. One, Oz’s team is extremely bad at their jobs. Two, they hate their boss. Three, this was an intentional wink to the fascist elements of the Republican party.

    The chair of the event, Palmer Luckey, is Gaetz’s brother-in-law and the billionaire founder of Oculus VR. Luckey is a Donald Trump supporter and, in 2017, he was photographed with Steve Bannon and white supremacist Chuck C. Johnson, with both Johnson and Luckey flashing a white power gesture. Luckey claimed on Twitter that the gesture being a hate symbol was “fake news” and that people do it to “playfully mimic Trump.”

    Potentially not unrelated to his politics, Luckey is also the head of a military technology company called Anduril that makes surveillance equipment used on the US border and is now making drones. The company has multiple contracts with the Department of Defense and Gaetz, meanwhile, sits on the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mitchell’s Instagram stories also showed that cancel culture warrior and incel king Jordan Peterson appeared at the event by video.

    […] Truly the fundraiser from hell. I reached out to Oz’s campaign, and they have not returned my request for comment.

  250. says

    Lying Liars find more opportunities to lie:

    Texas’ Greg Abbott wasn’t the only Republican to blatantly lie about anti-immigrant stances during recent debates. During a debate in Maine this past week, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills correctly noted that notorious xenophobe and Republican nominee Paul LePage had supported the insurrectionist president’s Muslim ban, a statement of fact that caused LePage to have an outburst.

    “Janet Mills, you’re a liar,” LePage claimed. “I have not joined and prevented Muslims from going to work, ever. I did not join the Trump administration in any immigration.” But that’s a lie: The Press Herald dug up receipts in the form of a Feb. 2017 tweet from LePage that said he opposed then-state Attorney General Mills’ legal action against the insurrectionist administration’s ban. LePage was governor at the time.

    “I fully support @realDonaldTrump exec action to protect all Americans,” the tweet read. LePage’s outburst this week was made all the more inexplicable by the fact that he once proclaimed himself “Donald Trump before Donald Trump.”

    “LePage spent eight years leading an ardently conservative administration in this Democratic-leaning state, but he was best known for his many racist and misogynistic pronouncements,” Daily Kos Elections wrote in 2020 after LePage said he intended to challenge Mills. Maine Public Radio reported in 2019 that among LePage’s many offensive claims was a lie “that immigrants increased the risk of disease, including the ‘ziki fly,’ an apparent reference to Zika virus.” The “immigrants bring disease” lie is a very old lie.

    Of course, that was before Republicans became pandemic champions. Not champions in terms of fighting the pandemic, but champions in championing the pandemic, from using right-wing courts to strike down mask mandates, to blocking urgent pandemic funding.

    LePage, in fact, “staked out a hard line on immigration even before winning election as governor,” Press Herald reported, as a mayor opposing pro-immigrant policy by another former Democratic governor. Then as governor, LePage sought to block refugees from being resettled in the state, claiming to the Obama administration that he had vetting concerns.

    This was xenophobic nonsense, because refugees go through a vigorous, oftentimes multi-year vetting process—certainly more vetting than the insurrectionist president’s judges. LePage, as governor, also supported an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, arguably one of the most popular and successful immigration policies of recent years. When Mills, as state attorney general, joined a lawsuit challenging the insurrectionist administration’s rescission of the policy in 2017, LePage sued her. […]


  251. says

    Very good:

    A fully loaded Russian BM-27 “Uragan” MLRS captured by the Ukrainians in Kherson Oblast in seemingly perfect condition.

    This indicates the extent of their advance over the past few days – such artillery is normally kept safely behind the front lines.

  252. Oggie: Mathom says

    This is from Slate, and it is worth clicking through as the graphs add real meat to the article.

    For at least a year now, there has been strong but largely circumstantial evidence that right-wing anti-vaccine rhetoric was having deadly consequences in the United States.

    Despite early wide-scale access to COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. has outstripped its peer countries when it comes to the all-important measure of mortality known as “excess deaths.” Meanwhile, U.S. life expectancy has continued to drop dramatically due to the coronavirus even as longevity measures have begun rebounding elsewhere.

    One seemingly obvious explanation for this grim piece of American exceptionalism is that Republicans, egged on by right-wing political and media elites, have been avoiding simple public health measures to protect themselves like getting vaccinated, and dying at elevated rates as a result.

    This problem wasn’t exactly hard to pick up on just by paying attention to social media or reading the news. But the story appeared to be borne out by more careful data analyses, too. Some of the key clues:

    • When it comes to the public’s beliefs about the pandemic, such as whether there should be more or fewer COVID restrictions, the gap between left- and right-leaning voters has been much higher in the U.S. than elsewhere.

    • COVID cases and deaths are higher in more Republican counties.

    • Republicans are more likely to believe misinformation about vaccines.

    • Republicans are substantially less likely to get vaccinated.

    • Researchers have found that exposure to conservative media, particularly Fox News, made people more vaccine hesitant.

    This body of evidence had some limitations, though. For instance, the fact that red counties tended to have higher death rates than blue ones might not mean that conservatives were more likely to die from COVID if lots of Democrats who happened to live in right-wing parts of the country were perishing too. Or, if more Republicans were dying, it might also be because they were different from Democrats in ways that affect COVID outcomes but were not directly driven by ideology. They might just be older, in worse health, or in a community with poorer health resources, for example.

    Recently, however, a new working paper by three Yale public health and economics researchers—Jacob Wallace, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, and Jason Schwartz—is offering the most definitive and direct evidence I’ve seen yet confirming that Republicans have indeed been more likely to die because of COVID. The study, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, also confirms the scale of these deaths and points to the central role vaccine hesitancy has likely played in the tragedy.

    Much prior work on this topic relied either on surveys of beliefs or evidence about vaccination rates and deaths at the county level. The new paper, in contrast, uses information from voter registration files in Florida and Ohio to connect individual-level data on the political affiliation and age of people who died during the coronavirus crisis. Using this information, it calculates and compares excess death rates of Republicans and Democrats in 2020 and 2021—meaning it looks at how many more people in each party died during the pandemic above what you would ordinarily expect based on their demographics and historical trends. Because they’re using a measure that takes the age of population into account, the researchers’ results shouldn’t be affected by the fact that Republicans tend to be a little older than Democrats.

    Technically, excess deaths measure how many additional people have passed away from all causes, rather than just COVID. But public health experts like to use them to track the virus’s toll because causes of death aren’t reported uniformly everywhere, and it avoids the issue of whether coronavirus fatalities are under-recorded in some places but not others. (In studies like this one, it also spares researchers the task of tracking down how each individual died, which isn’t feasible.) It’s a standard and sound approach—unless you think something else besides the global pandemic has been causing a big spike in deaths over the past couple years.

    So, what did the authors discover? “Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points, or 76 percent, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats.”


    The U.S. government’s response to COVID was far from perfect and deserves to be scrutinized. But public health is a coproduction between a country’s citizens and government, which relies on ordinary people to follow official guidance. Most other developed countries did a lot better with that task than the United States.

    At this point, it seems safe to say that one of the key reasons why the U.S. failed where other countries succeeded is because right-wing leaders and media sought to sabotage the effort—in particular by casting doubt on the effectiveness and safety of vaccines.

    After all, vaccine hesitancy was a fringe position before the pandemic, found both on the left and the right. It only became mainstreamed as a conservative view during the pandemic.

    Once Joe Biden became president, Republicans amplified the claims that vaccines posed a threat to freedom and aligned themselves with anti-vaccine activists. In some cases, state lawmakers discouraged outreach efforts. And as Matt Gertz of Media Matters has documented, the right-wing campaign against vaccines is still ongoing. Fox News is still raising doubts about vaccinations because, as one insider told the Daily Beast last year, “it’s great for ratings.” The midterms haven’t forced the most prominent vaccine-skeptical politicians to change their tune, either. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson has pushed doubts about the shots despite being up for reelection in November.

    Indeed, embracing vaccines has become politically risky. One of the Trump administration’s most positive achievements was in pushing for rapid vaccine development. But Donald Trump himself has struggled to take credit. When he mentioned he got a booster shot at one of his rallies, he was booed. It turns out that when you plant the seed of anti-science doubt—recall Trump giving credence to the false claim that vaccines cause autism—it is hard to reap the benefits of science.

    The fact that an audience full of Republicans was ready to boo Donald Trump, of all people, for saying a kind word about vaccines brings up one hard-to-answer question. Did Republican voters turn against vaccines because their favorite politicians and talking heads told them to? Or did Republican politicians and talking heads turn against vaccines because that’s what their audience already wanted to hear?

    In all likelihood, the answer is a bit of both. One way to think about this issue is to look at how liberals versus conservatives differed in public health attitudes around the world. What we find is that conservatives are indeed more skeptical about public health measures than liberals in lots of countries. But the gap between liberals and conservatives is much larger in the U.S. There is also some evidence that Republican voters were more attentive to partisan cues about the pandemic than their Democratic peers. In the end, the rhetoric of Republican elites and the appetite for it from voters probably created a terrible feedback loop.

    Even if we believe that right-wing elites were merely responding to, rather than cultivating, the preferences of their audiences, this hardly absolves them of blame. People in positions of power and trust raised questions about vaccines while protecting themselves by making sure to get their shots. By lumping vaccines into their steady stream of fear-based political messaging—about the dangers of immigrants, “critical race theory,” or crime—they were the ones actually putting their own supporters at mortal risk. Just imagine the segment on Tucker Carlson if Democrats did something similar to their own voters.

    The people who encouraged vaccine hesitancy probably won’t face any sort of reckoning for the role they played. But we need to be honest about the reasons why these deaths happened. Right-wing elites made a choice to engage in rhetoric and feed conspiracies. Some may have truly believed their own words. Some did it for votes and ratings. The consequences for their supporters were deadly.

  253. Tethys says

    From #320

    “Overall, the excess death rate for Republicans was 5.4 percentage points, or 76 percent, higher than the excess death rate for Democrats.”

    The article spends many words obfuscating this point. Perhaps the Murdoch style of billionaire fascist dude owned media framing ‘both sides’ to every issue where the GOP does something heinous is why so many GOP voters believed that getting vaccinated was an evil leftist plot.

    They saw it on the News and read it on the internet, so of course some people believed the conspiracy theorists and the various trolls.

  254. says

    New York Times:

    President Biden has signed a classified policy limiting counterterrorism drone strikes outside conventional war zones, tightening rules that President Donald J. Trump had loosened for a 21st-century method of warfare, according to officials.

  255. says

    Anchorage Daily News:

    Two Russians who arrived on St. Lawrence Island by boat were flown off the Bering Sea island by federal government officials this week, setting off a scramble by multiple agencies.

    Few details about the situation were publicly known as of Wednesday, with federal and state officials saying very little.

    “There were two individuals, they were detained in Gambell,” Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said during a news conference in response to a reporter’s question. “My understanding is they are in Anchorage now.”

    “This was a surprise to us,” Dunleavy said. “We do not anticipate a continual stream of individuals.”

    A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Public Safety said there was “an incident” on St. Lawrence Island this week involving two Russian nationals. Gambell is less than 40 miles from the Russian mainland.

    On Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard sent a C-130 cargo plane to St. Lawrence Island carrying U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel. The Coast Guard transported them out of Gambell, and they are now in the custody of Customs and Border Protection. […]

    I guess those two guys really, really don’t want to participate in Putin’s war against Ukraine.

  256. says

    Julia Davis:

    In Russia, everything revolves around Putin’s Birthday. State TV propagandists predict that the U.S., whom they describe as “Satan,” will soon murder some Russian opposition leaders in Europe, in order to frame them as gifts for Putin’s B’day (à la Anna Politkovskaya)….

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. These are evil people.

  257. says

    Kos, too, evidently – “SHOCKING UNEXPECTED Ukraine Update: Kerch Bridge hit hard”:


    The road side is collapsed, the rail side will collapse soon.

    This is the bridge that connects Russia with Crimea, and it’s the main way of resupply for the southern front. It’s also a symbol of Russian strength and annexation of Ukrainian territory. This is devastating to Russia, and on the day after Vladimir Putin’s birthday, it’s f’n perfect.

    So many questions, such as, does Ukraine have ATACMS—long-range rockets fired from HIMARS and MLRS launchers? Or is this some other wonder weapon we didn’t yet know existed? We’ll update as information comes in….

    People on Twitter have suggested that it was explosives planted on the train.

  258. raven says

    1 minute read October 7, 202210:59 PM PDTLast Updated 32 min ago
    Fuel tank ablaze at bridge in Crimea -Russia’s RIA

    Oct 8 (Reuters) – A fuel tank was on fire on the Kerch bridge in Crimea early on Saturday, Russia’s RIA state news agency said, while Ukraine’s media reported an explosion.

    Traffic was suspended on the road-and-rail bridge, opened in 2018 and designed to link Crimea into Russia’s transport network.

    “A fuel tank is on fire on one of the sections of the Crimean bridge,” the agency said, citing a regional official, but without stating the cause.

    “The shipping arches are not damaged.”

    Ukrainian media said the blast on the bridge happened at about 6 a.m. (0300 GMT).

    Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled the bridge in 2018, after Crimea was annexed from Ukraine in 2014, bringing sanctions and a deterioration in ties with the West.

    In September, Russia announced the annexation of the provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia after staging referendums that Kyiv and the West say were phoney exercises held at gunpoint.

    This has already been noted above.

    It is a huge deal.
    1. This bridge cost billions of dollars and is one of only two ways to supply Crimea. It is reportedly poorly designed and constructed to start with, having been put up in a hurry.
    2. This happened on Putin’s 70th birthday!!!
    This can’t be a coincidence.

    We will know more soon.
    It is guaranteed that the Russians will be extremely angry about this.
    At the least, they will launch more rocket attacks on civilian areas.

  259. raven says

    Rob Lee @RALee85
    Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee says that a truck exploded on the bridge which led to damage. Presumably a truck bomb by Ukrainian SSO.

    This is a preliminary tweet from Russia.

    The bridge is definitely down.
    The road bridge has a span in the water and there is a train on fire on the railroad bridge.

    I’m sure this bridge is fixable but not soon. Months at the least.
    Russia is now in serious trouble here.

  260. lumipuna says

    Ukrainian media said the blast on the bridge happened at about 6 a.m. (0300 GMT)

    Today in “extremely up to date Wikipedia updates”

    Some folks on Finnish Twitter were showing a screenshot from English Wikipedia saying that the Kerch bridge had been destroyed on October 7. I was also briefly confused, because this morning was October 8.

    (I’m in the same time zone as Ukraine. The Wiki article has been since changed to reflect local time.)

  261. blf says

    I had my mobile snoozing so I could snooze so didn’t see the alert about the Kerch Strait Ford until relatively recently. I noticed something dKos also pointed out (SHOCKING UNEXPECTED Ukraine Update: Kerch Bridge knocked out). The initial explosion seems to have occurred underneath the road (not rail) bridge, and (all emphasis in the original):

    There is definitely movement directly underneath the bridge, looks like wake. Could be the tip of a boat. Now this is a theory that suddenly makes all the sense in the world — Ukraine did get unmanned naval drones from the US.

    The video dKos is referring to also shows a truck — presumably coincidentally — essentially directly above / at the explosion, which I presume is the truck Putin’s cronies are blaming as the initial source. Except that the explosion appears to have detonated underneath the road bridge, you can see why a “truck bomb” is apparently the current Paranoid Putinoid claim.

    The timing with the fuel-laden train could be coincidental. However, presuming this was Ukraine’s doing, it’s not unreasonable to suppose the timing was deliberate. It’s easy to imagine a regular schedule for the trains, insider information (e.g., from partisans), etc., to work out the necessary timing to take out the road bridge just as a massive bomb was adjacent on the train bridge. (And somewhere I saw a hint the train was stationary due to some sort of signalling issue (if true, sneaky Ukrainians / partisans again?).)

    Finally, as already noted, the bridge is illegal (even under Russian law at the time) and very probably poorly built; Newsweek, Putin’s Bridge to Crimea Is Doomed to Collapse (January 2017). Hence, the initial explosion possibly moved the bridge supports slightly (think the Bay Bridge after the 1989 earthquake), causing the road sections to cleanly break off (as they seem to have done) and collapse. A naval drone colliding-with a support, or at least underneath the bridge, then detonating, would kick up a lot of waves — and the wave / water pressure, in addition the explosion, could be quite a powerful “nudge” to the supports, moving them slightly out-of-position — made all that much easier by the (presumed) poor construction and known local geological features.

    There is obviously a great deal of speculation (some mine, most gathered from others) above.

  262. blf says

    Found via somewhere (the Grauniad, I think), Elizabeth Tsurkov:

    Only 3 months ago, Russian propaganda was claiming that the Crimea bridge was impossible to attack because of 20 different modes of protection covering it, including military dolphins (#17) What a colossal failure

    There’s this hilarious image at the link (the “#17” refers to part of that image). Several things I noticed about the image:
    (1) The “modes” are numbered #1–#15, #17, and #20. There is no #16, #18, or #19. (Several numbers are repeated, albeit most of those appear to be referring to multiple installations of the same “mode”.)
    (2) The notorious #17 refers in one place to the “military dolphins” and in another place to divers (frogman, Scuba, …).
    (3) I count 21, not 20, numbered items. (Those numbered items are captioned in Russian; I didn’t bother to work out what they all are (some are fairly obvious, others obscure).)

    The embedded link is in Russian (and is probably the original source of the image). Generalissimo Google Translate indicates it (dated early-May) says nothing of substance, other than the reported boasting of being “impossible to attack”, and lots of threats aimed at Ukraine. (It also seems to explain at least one of the obscure numbered items, #14 and #15, as an underwater sonic deterrent (which probably isn’t so great for both #17s).)

    How much in the illustration, or burbled about at that propaganda link, is real, much less functional, is quite open to question.

  263. blf says

    From Meduza, ‘People are scared shitless around him — but it’s fear without respect’ Putin is 70. Meduza’s sources say his ‘power vertical’ is ‘collapsing.’ Some snippets (minor tweaks to the formatting (unmarked), and Meduza’s edits in {curly braces}):

    ‘Every 48 hours, there’s another dumpster fire’
    […] Russian elites’ feelings towards Putin soured after his decision to raise the country’s pension age in 2018 — a move a majority of Russians opposed. […] They still remember how Putin shifted the blame for the consequences of his pension reform on the ministers — ultimately accusing them of causing the entire government’s approval ratings to drop. “When people {in the government} hear the word ‘ratings,’ they still wince,” a source close to the government told Meduza.

    In more recent years, the situation has only gotten worse. According to Meduza’s sources, Putin has gradually stopped warning the ministers of his plans both for the short term and the long term.

    “Up until recently, the {ministers} would at least serve as a kind of Google for the president. He would voice scenarios that he thought were likely and ask, ‘What if we do this? What will the consequences be? And what if we do it this way? Then what?’ But that’s stopped,” said a source close to the government.

    According to the source, after the start of the pandemic, Putin (who’s known to worry obsessively about his health) stopped consulting the ministers altogether — and limited his decision-making process to brief discussions with his “inner circle” (which, in recent years, is believed to consist primarily of the heads of Russia’s security agencies).

    “{Since the start of the pandemic,} things have repeatedly gotten dumped on our heads with no warning,” one source told Meduza. “The president is liable to declare things with no warning. Grand gestures, so to speak. And then the feverish search {for money to pay for the measures} begins,” one high-ranking source told Meduza.

    [… S]ources close to the government said that ministers don’t dare push back even on Putin’s most “unexpected” decisions — because they’re afraid of the consequences. […] Other sources close to the government added that this fear, in combination with Putin’s aversion to hearing about problems from his subordinates, has led officials to start significantly embellishing the facts in their reports to the president. Few people, if anyone, have been willing to tell him about the true consequences of Western sanctions or the Russian economy, for example.

    ‘He doesn’t know how to lose’
    These problems have only gotten worse since the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. [… A]fter February 24, Putin lost interest in “peaceful affairs,” while his “inner circle” became even smaller. Now, sources told Meduza, the only people even marginally capable of influencing the president’s decisions are select members of the Security Council.

    [… A]s things have gotten more dire for Russia on the battlefield, Putin’s position has increasingly drifted towards that of the hawks around him — while peace advocates in the government have become more pessimistic.

    A source close to the Russian government told Meduza that the Cabinet of Ministers’ to-do list has only grown: “Mobilization was announced, and naturally, it hadn’t been budgeted for.” […]

    Sources close to the Kremlin, as well as a source who knows members of Putin’s inner circle, noted that the president is “unable to give an image of the future” to even the highest-level officials and top businessmen: “These people are suffering because of sanctions; they’re losing huge amounts of money. But it’s completely unclear to them whether the Kremlin will be able to compensate for it all.”

    [… H]igh-ranking officials don’t allow themselves to speak negatively about Putin, Meduza’s sources noted. “Who’s going to jail him? He’s a monument!” said one source, quoting a Soviet comedy film.

    It’s unclear to Russian elites how the “monument” plans to end the war against Ukraine. Several high-ranking sources told Meduza that the combination of Putin’s recent statements about nuclear war and the Ukrainian military’s success at the front has made them nervous. “He doesn’t know how to lose,” said one. “And he especially doesn’t know how to admit he’s losing.”

  264. blf says

    A Forbes article back in May pointed out that possibly the best way available to Ukraine to attack was from below with a robotic boat or submersible, and confirmed the US has supplied naval drones, Ukraine Threatens Russia’s Vital Bridge To Crimea (UPDATED: Bridge Downed). Some snippets:

    [C]utting a bridge of this size is quite a challenge. The supports are massive concrete and steel constructions, and attacks on similar bridges show they cannot be brought down by anything less than a direct hit with a massive warhead. […] The challenge was to hit a bridge at its weakest spot. If a bomb just hit the roadway, it just left a hole which could be patched up; the only way to drop a span of bridge was to hit abutments at either end.

    [R]obotic boats — Uncrewed Surface Vessels or USVs — can be a useful means for carrying out kamikaze attacks. […] On April 15, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters that the latest package of security assistance to Ukraine would include a number of unspecified USVs but would not give details.


    “Although the USVs could be equipped with explosives and used to carry out kamikaze attacks, I would wonder about the opportunity costs,” analyst Zak Kallenborn — Research Affiliate at the Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) — told me. “I suspect Ukraine would be better served with the technology to convert existing commercial boats for remote operation.”

    Kallenborn points to the manned speedboats which Houthi forces have used for attacks on a variety of vessels […] “If the Houthis can do it, why not Ukraine?” asks Kallenborn.

  265. StevoR says

    Good opinion piece here by Al Jazeera‘s Andrew Mitrovica :

    For outsiders like me, and perhaps you, this preoccupation with what these fools have said and done can distort our appreciation of the country they call America. We are quick to define the whole of the US as the figurative and literal personification of the clowns who – for profit and notoriety – leverage their cruelty and stupidity into exposure and influence.

    Lost amid the cavalcade of crazy is another America: an intelligent and compassionate America that is beginning to stir and assert itself as a potent counterweight to the noxious MAGA-hat-clad chorus.

    Source :

    Sure hope he is right.

    View from Oz of American politics here via Planet America – 31 mins long with an extra “off the planet” thing on youtube that I haven’t yet seen too.

    Plus flooding in NSW which has for the first time in its history prevented the top ten shoot out for pole at the Bathurst 1000 motor race :

    Among its other negative impacts.

  266. Oggie: Mathom says

    from blf @332:

    Only 3 months ago, Russian propaganda was claiming that the Crimea bridge was impossible to attack

    Sounds like that was a challenge, not actual defense. Long history of this. The Bismark was unsinkable. So was the Yamato.

    I really appreciate, in a military history sense, the skills and abilities and imagination of the Ukrainian propaganda sources (propaganda in the positive sense — they have been mocking the enemy, meme-ing the enemy, and, for the most part, being honest (and when they do dissemble, it is usually omission, not commission)). At the same time, while I am laughing at the latest puja thrust into the Russian bull, I am also crying because people — civilians and military — are being killed. And the Russian soldiers who are dying (not the mercenaries) are either conscripts who have been fooled or cajoled or threatened into volunteering to serve outside Russia or are volunteers so desperate to earn money for their family, or eliminate debt, that they have volunteered (and still didn’t get the money or promised debt relief). So, I watch with amusement and admiration how Ukraine is fighting this war but am saddened by losses on both sides. And I really hope that those who have committed war crimes will actually face international justice. But the only way that will happen is if Russia completely collapses. And maybe not even then.

  267. blf says

    (This is a cross-post from poopyhead’s Another Crimean war thread about the (presumed-)attack on the Kerch bridge.)

    Apparently, last month (September), Putin’s invaders in Crimea found a possibly explosives-laden naval drone washed-up near Sevastopol. Some snippets from Forbes, Russia Finds Mystery Vessel On Crimean Beach: Is It A New Ukrainian Attack Drone? (there is an image at the link):

    Russian forces found a drone boat washed up on a beach close to their naval base at Sevastopol in the Crimea, according to submarine and covert vessel expert HI Sutton writing in Naval News. Rather than examining the uncrewed surface vessel or USV, the Russians towed it out to sea and blew it up. This was probably wise. Sutton believes that the boat was likely packed with explosives and on a mission to destroy Russian warships.

    The boat, which looks to be about the size of a kayak, floats low in the water, making it difficult to swap [sic swamp?]. Sutton identifies a camera, infra-red sensors, communications antenna and bow-mounted sensors which might detect the presence of a target close enough to trigger its payload. It has a waterjet and might achieve considerable speed. The location, over 150 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, indicates long range.

    While the exact type of vessel has not yet been identified, the USV certainly has a familiar look to it, and immediately suggests the vessels supplied by the US back in April.

    Fedscoop quoted naval expert Brent Sadler as identifying the Mantas T-12, built by MARTAC, as a likely candidate, stating that Ukrainians had recently trained at a Navy base in Little Creek, Virginia. […] The vessel seen on social media does not look like a T-12, but might be something else from the same stable. Mantas craft can also float low in the water with what is described as “stealth mode,” allowing the USV to operate with the deck itself below the water line. And they could carry out a number of different roles, as well as kamikaze missions.

    As far as I am aware, that drone hasn’t been positively identified and might not have been Ukrainian, but it is suggestive.

  268. says

    Ukraine update: Destruction of Kerch Bridge connecting Russia and Crimea sends war to new phase

    There’s a good photo of the destruction at the top of the article.

    Technically, the explosion that destroyed all lanes of the Kerch Bridge and seriously damaged the neighboring rail bridge came a few hours too late to celebrate Vladimir Putin’s birthday. That’s not to say the timing wasn’t absolutely perfect. Because however the bridge was taken out—and that’s still very much the subject of debate—it was done just as a fuel-laden train was passing over the point of explosion. That’s the sort of coincidence that just isn’t.

    The official Russian news reports blames a truck bomb for the explosion. They’ve even started cooking up a backstory. Those news reports are wrong.

    […] this video provides the best available look at what happened. [video at the link]

    Unfortunately, the first thing that can be seen, 35 seconds into the video, is the light sensors in the camera being overloaded. For half a second, there’s nothing to see but white. When the camera can see again, there is already a fireball roughly 100m across that is blooming up past the roadway.

    But even if that critical second obscures the point origin of the explosion, there’s a lot that can be seen. For one thing, none of the trucks on the highway was involved. They are all still intact when the rolling shutter on the security camera begins to paint the scene white. Careful examination of the last moments before the light flare also don’t seem to show any sign of an incoming aerial bomb or missile, though it’s possible this might have been missed.

    The speed and brightness of the explosion also show that this wasn’t ammonium nitrate or some other other low-power explosive. Both the tragedy at the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City and the explosion that ripped through the Port of Beirut show the power of these explosives, but as someone who used to explode tons of this material every day, ANFO would not do this, even if you had a lot of it. Don’t bother looking for a truck, or even a barge, loaded with fertilizer.

    In technical terms, low explosives are characterized by energy transferred along a flame front that propagates at a rate below the speed of sound. They deflagrate. High explosives generate a shock wave traveling well above the speed of sound. They detonate.

    This was a detonation.

    The shape of that detonation in its first moments suggests it came from below the highway bed. This seems to be confirmed at about 37 seconds in, where it’s possible to see smoke moving up and over the road from below the bridge on the right.

    There have been suggestions that this might have happened with a missile fired at the bridge structure. If so, it was a big one. Ukraine has the R-360 Neptune missile, which is based off an earlier Soviet anti-ship missile. It packs a warhead carrying 150kg of high explosive, which is quite a lot, enough to take out a destroyer. These missiles also have a range of close to 300km, so such a missile could have been fired from somewhere southeast of Zaporizhzhia, at an area within Ukrainian control, and reached the bridge. It can’t be discounted.

    However, this explosion was large. Likely larger than could be accounted for by any single anti-ship missile. Also, the timing of the explosion just as the fuel train was passing by was absolutely excellent. That doesn’t mean that there had to be humans present at the site to initiate the explosion. As the video above, and dozens of others, well illustrate, there were multiple camera views available that would have allowed someone to sit safely far away and time the moment of explosion, and that’s even if Ukraine didn’t put up a few cameras of their own.

    The best explanation for what’s seen on the film is either a vessel loaded with high explosives or high explosives attached directly to the bridge support structure. It might also have been done by multiple missiles, but that would make the timing of the explosion next to the fuel train either require a lot more planning, or turn it back into amazing coincidence. My best guess would be boat.

    Of course, there are other theories. [video of Godzilla attacking the bridge. :-)]

    n any case, the immediate effects of the explosion are already being felt in Crimea, where the line of cars trying to make their way out of the peninsula to the north is turning into a stream and prices at the gas pumps have doubled overnight. Russian officials have said that the area has 15 days worth of fuel, which is likely an overestimate, especially when everyone there is trying to top of their tank. However, there’s no doubt that Crimea can be supplied by sea. Sea ports are kind of their thing; the reason that, other than Putin’s ego, Russia wanted Crimea in the first place.

    Still, the logistics of loading material onto ships, moving them across the strait, and unloading them again is definitely more difficult than multiple trains running daily across the rail bridge. Complicating this situation is that ships are currently prohibited from sailing under any section of the damaged bridge, so any Russian shipments sitting up at Rostov-on-Don will have to be reloaded onto rail or truck and moved to points south before they can be put back on ships.

    When it comes to that rail bridge, the span may be more or less intact, at least when compared to the road bridge. However, as the Associated Steel Corporation makes clear, when hardened steel is heated its properties can change. The temperatures involved in a gasoline fire along an extensive section of that rail bridge likely means all of that bridge is now unsafe, even if the wreckage is cleared and superficial damage is repaired.

    How does the loss of this bridge affect Russia’s war effort in southern Ukraine? Well…

    According to the Russian regime the Kerch Bridge was “civilian infrastructure”.

    [Video available at the link shows long lines of Russian military vehicles crossing the bridge.]

    That rail line was moving a major amount of the equipment and supplies reaching southern Ukraine. The tanks, artillery, and APCs that are in Kherson today, likely came across this bridge. So did the shells they are firing.

    As with all the bridges damaged in this war, the Kerch Bridge can be repaired. But it’s a large job requiring specialized equipment and it’s not going to happen in a hurry. In the meantime, Russia will be depending on other routes to move their equipment into southern Ukraine. [map at the link]

    Looking at a large scale view of Crimea and the rest of southern Ukraine, it’s possible to see how critical the Kerch bridge was to connecting Russia, not just with Ukraine, but with Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts. Now Russia’s ability to move men and materiel across southern Ukraine leans heavily on a single route — the one that runs from Nova Kakhovka to Melitopol to Berdyansk to Mariupol and eastward into Russia. That’s the M14 highway. When it comes to rail routes, Russia’s options are less direct. Most of the lines that connect to the border end in the snarl of tracks at the Mariupol railyard. There are other lines that head northwest from the port city of Berdyansk.

    Two places stand out when looking at Russia’s routing options across southern Ukraine: the large city of Melitpol, which is a hub for multiple highways and rail lines, and to a lesser extent the city of Tokmak, which is already plays the same kind of role on this front that Vovchansk did for supplying the area around Izyum.

    And in another of those “gee, what a coincidence” moments, there’s been one theme playing steadily on Russia Telegram channels over the last week. One big concern. As we mentioned back on Thursday, that concern is this:

    Multiple Russian sources are reporting a large build-up of Ukrainian vehicles south of the city of Zaporizhzhia in preparation for what looks to be the opening of a third counteroffensive. Russian forces are also reporting, disgustedly, that their leadership seems to be making no move to prepare for this new counter-invasion into what Vladimir Putin so recently declared “Russian territory.”

    [map at the link]

    n any case, an attack that threatened that M14 highway route would immediately become the center of the war. With the Kerch Bridge out of action, any threat to that line would represent a existential threat to Russia’s invasion force to the west — and a not insubstantial threat to Russia’s continued presence in Crimea.

    Does that mean Ukraine is about to launch an attack from Zaporizhzhia? As kos has pointed out, it’s unlikely Ukraine has the artillery (among other things) it needs to support opening up a third front. Frankly, operational security is keeping us from hearing the details of what’s happening in Kherson and Luhansk at the moment, but you can bet if Ukraine’s forces were advancing 20km a day, we would know about it. Opsec is tight because Ukraine’s situation in those areas is tense, and knowledge of maneuver is valuable.

    Maybe that’s because Ukraine has pulled enough troops to form a third attack, right into the heart of southern Ukraine, right after they’ve delivered both a huge strategic and motivational blow. Or maybe they just because they want Russia to think that’s what they’re going to do, to speed along Russia’s departure from Luhansk or Kherson.

    As usual … stay tuned.

  269. says

    Election denialists unleash an array of strategies aimed at undermining democracy itself

    […] A recent report from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue provides an outline for us, identifying a set of eight specific tactics being deployed by election denialists and their enablers this year.

    The report, which identifies what it calls eight “trends during the 2022 US primary elections that are likely to persist or escalate during general elections this fall,” explains that “online audiences of election-denialist content have blossomed to sustain a lucrative media circuit that traffics almost exclusively in conspiracy theories and misinformation about elections in the United States.”

    These include operations like Michael Flynn’s roadshow tour promoting denialism to large crowds with a decidedly Christian-nationalist fervor, as well as the work of specifically denialist organizations such as True the Vote, who have affiliated themselves with the far-right “constitutionalist” sheriffs movement in both promoting false claims about the 2020 election and organizing an army of “poll watchers” poised to potentially wreak havoc at polling places around the country.

    The trends identified in the ISD report all reflect distinct but often overlapping tactics that have so far formed the election-denialist strategy to undermine Americans’ faith in the integrity in their foundational democratic institution, the vote. All have become manifest in a variety of ways, often as projects manufactured by the same group of Trumpist conspiracy theorists:

    Violent and heated rhetoric targeting election workers and public officials
    Threats directed at election workers in local precincts around the nation have become a serious threat to democracy in the past year. The most egregious example may be in Georgia, where a flood of threats following that state’s key role in the 2020 election outcome was spurred by an outpouring of right-wing disinformation and conspiracism, resulting in a serious shortage of workers for the 2022 vote. A handful of states have subsequently passed new laws to protect those workers.

    As the ISD observes, these threats have become especially common on social media, where right-wing commenters demand “capital punishment” for election workers and officials, and consistently recommending violence against them. “Harassment and threats, which can lead to substantial harms of various kinds, can happen on a multitude of scales, including via networked individuals or lone actors,” the report says.

    Calls for vigilante actions at drop-boxes and polling locations
    This tactic received a trial run in western Washington state during its July primary, where election denialists organized the placement of signs at ballot boxes warning people dropping off their ballots that they were being filmed. It continues to gain steam as Christian nationalists like Matt Shea have joined in organizing “poll watchers” at balloting locations. Other actions being urged by far-right election deniers include sabotaging election infrastructure like electronic voting machines, and removing tabulator tape and other election materials from balloting sites. […]

    Small-scale organizing and information crowdsourcing
    This is as subtler tactic that indicates how right-wing extremists engage in long-term planning: It essentially entails encouraging election-denialist audiences to collect and report information to organized databases, including through a variety of mobile apps that not only schedule their “ballot watches” but enables them to log in their reporting from ballot sites. The data gleaned from these apps—often deeply flawed and biased by design—is then promoted by election-denialist influencers to further their false narratives. […]

    Delays and irregular reporting cited as proof of wrongdoing
    This is a common tactic of conspiracy theorists: Claiming that perfectly ordinary and explicable phenomena are in fact evidence of a nefarious conspiracy to control society […] In this case, election denialists have been leaping to claim that delayed counts and other ordinary features of elections somehow indicate nefarious goings-on. […]

    Calls for audits, hand recounts, and decertification
    MAGA activists developed this tactic in the early stages of the 2020 post-election ballot count, particularly in contested states like Arizona, where the denialists managed to force an audit that eventually confirmed Trump’s loss and Biden’s win there, 10 months later. But the agitation continues to this day, embodied by the ongoing efforts of Washington legislator Rob Chase—a conspiracy-loving protégé of Christian nationalist Matt Shea—to force a recount of the 2020 election in that state.

    […] mainstream Republicans, particularly Trump, have played a key role in deploying and spreading this tactic. […]

    Efforts to undermine trust in elections infrastructure
    […] embodied by the post-election conspiracy theory that the use of black sharpies had invalidated thousands of votes in places like Arizona. Other conspiracy theories […] claimed that insecure voting machines, particularly those owned by Dominion, had tilted the election against Trump. […]

    Voter suppression narratives and tactics
    While democratic advocates have expanded efforts to improve voter access for decades, election denialists work assiduously to undermine them. […] A prime recent example of this is Shea’s efforts to organize poll monitors at Washington state ballot drop boxes, claiming that the state’s longtime all-mail voting system was corrupt and needed to be replaced. […]

    Local to national and back again
    “National right-wing, far-right, and election-denying figures and media outlets repeatedly amplified claims made by state-level actors regarding alleged election fraud during primary elections, elevating these claims into national discourse,” the ISD explains. Figures like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell—one of the main financiers of election-denialist efforts—have regularly deployed largely concocted or inaccurate claims from small, often county-level elections to suggest they represent a national problem. Similarly, “constitutional sheriffs” often hype factually inaccurate claims about reports from their members.

    […] The impact of the election denialists, as the Washington Post’s recent reportage demonstrated, will not be insubstantial, despite the conspiracists’ fringe status in many districts. The paper’s survey found 299 Republican candidates—53% of the 569 analyzed—on this fall’s ballot in races for the House and Senate, as well as key statewide offices, who embrace election denialism.

    Not only are they running in nearly every state, a majority of them are expected to win, particularly in safe Republican districts (173 in all), while another 52 are running in competitive races.

    […] The spread of this denialism is a sign of democratic rot, warned University of Minnesota politics professor Larry Jacobs.

    “It is a disease that is spreading through our political process, and its implications are very profound,” Jacobs said. “This is no longer about Donald Trump. This is about the entire electoral system and what constitutes legitimate elections. All of that is now up in the air.”

    This is precisely the kind of crisis of democracy that has always been an essential preface to the rise of fascism, historically speaking. It’s important to keep in mind Robert Paxton’s warning in The Anatomy of Fascism, as I explained before the 2020 election:

    […] it’s clear that the “crisis of democracy” necessary to create a genuinely fascist dynamic is a real potential that lies around many corners on our current path. The key, then, is to finding the path that does not take us there.

    The first step in that path, clearly, will entail finding ways to overcome the strategies being deployed like rhetorical cannon fire by the authoritarian Trumpist right […]

  270. says

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

    An adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a message on Twitter saying the explosion which damaged Russia*s road-and-rail bridge to Crimea was just “the beginning”.