Comments

  1. whheydt says

    Re: KG @ #480…
    The time from election to inauguration in the US used to be even longer. It was during the FDR administration that it was moved from mid-March to January 20. The original reasoning was, I think, driven by speed (or lack thereof) of communications, as messages would only move as fast as a man on horseback in the 18th century (or by ship between ports).

  2. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russia calls vessel movement in Black Sea corridor ‘unacceptable’

    Russia has said it is “unacceptable” for ships to resume passing through a Black Sea security corridor after Moscow suspended its participation in the UN-brokered Black Sea grain initiative, Reuters reports.

    “The movement of ships along the security corridor is unacceptable, since the Ukrainian leadership and the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine use it to conduct military operations against the Russian Federation,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

  3. whheydt says

    Re: SC (Salty Current) @ #484…
    Interesting that grain ships are leaving Ukrainian ports without Russian escorts. That suggests that the damage to the Black Sea Fleet is far more severe that Russia claims and they are unable to put enough ships to sea to do anything about the grain shipments. Alternatively, they’re deathly afraid that if they do come anywhere near the Ukrainian ports they soon will have no fleet at all.

  4. says

    Zelenskyy:

    Held talks with UN Secretary-General @antonioguterres. Confirmed [Ukrainian] commitment to the Grain Deal. We’re ready to remain a guarantor of [world] food safety. Informed about the consequences of the missile terror & nuclear blackmail by the RF. The reaction of the world & [UN] must be tough!

    From today’s Guardian liveblog:

    The UN dismisses Russia’s claim involving grain ship in Black Sea attack

    The UN on Monday rejected Moscow’s claim that a civilian cargo ship carrying Ukrainian grain may have been implicated in a drone strike against Russia, AFP reports.

    Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN humanitarian agency, told the Security Council in New York that no such ships were in the maritime corridor “safe zone” in the Black Sea at the time Russia said the attack had taken place.

    “No vessel reported an incident over the weekend,” Griffiths said.

    “The corridor is just lines on a chart: when initiative vessels are not in the area, the corridor has no special status,” he added. “It provides neither cover nor protection for offensive or defensive military action.”

    Moscow withdrew from the UN-brokered Black Sea grain initiative on Sunday after reporting its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea was targeted by a drone attack, accusations the Russian ambassador reiterated to the Security Council.

    Russia’s defence ministry said one of the drones may have been launched “from aboard one of the civilian ships chartered by Kyiv or its western masters for the export of agricultural products from the seaports of Ukraine.”

  5. says

    Ukraine update: The insufferable fate of being a Russian soldier

    It all starts with forced mobilization. [video available at the link]

    Any time you start a rousing inspirational speech with “Dear recruits, you aren’t cannon fodder,” you know things are only going to go downhill from there. [Tweet and video at the link]

    State representative speaks in front of a group of partially mobilized soldiers minutes before they are sent to Ukraine.

    “Dear recruits, you aren’t cannon fodder, you are trained soldiers”.

    Some of the soldiers start crying and screaming:

    “we are cannon fodder!”

    The anguished cries of the father who is leaving behind two young children at home are heartbreaking, but they are sheeps to slaughter, lacking even a smidge of the courage shown by Iranian school girls. And they must smile as they are shipped off to die.

    This article, 12 Reasons why Russia Sucks (written before the war), is a fantastic read, and really explains this bizarre Russian national passivity:

    Throughout history, Russians had a very special relationship with people who wield power. Tzars and emperors were referred to as “The Lord’s Anointed”, the one who reigns by the divine right, and their power was believed to be sacred. Much like in ancient Egypt, except for the fact that it was happening 4500 years later. When the Soviets were formed, this sacred monarchy was replaced by the religious communist cult — instead of the Lord’s Anointed ones we got the Bearers of the Great Lenin and Marx Ideology — a change of decorations, but not the idea behind it.

    As a result of this unhealthy relationship with the government, the regular Russian person is born with a rare genetic malfunction: an inborn submission to any authority — a president, a senator, a mayor, a cop, a boss, a landlord, you name it. Most importantly, to G-men […]

    In Russia, the “government” is thought to be a separate, almost miraculous entity, something entirely different from the people. Ordinary citizens do not consider themselves as a part of the country, only as expendables.

    That man knows he very likely won’t see his kids again and they’ll have to grow up with a father, but he also lets himself be swept away as an expendable. Best-case scenario, he surrenders before an artillery shell ends his life. Worst case? This story will attest to that, “Written off in advance: How an untrained and unarmed ‘platoon’ of new conscripts from Moscow was decimated near Svatove.”

    The story follows 30 men from the Moscow region who are conscripted on September 23-25, who then publish several videos about their sorry plight. By the time their first video was published on October 17, there were only 13 left.

    In one of the two videos they made, the soldiers explained that they were barely armed. They had machine guns, but no hand grenades, and no rounds for the RPG launcher. One of the machine guns was broken. Soon the company commander ordered the platoon to “meet the enemy column.” The soldiers objected that they’d never fired an RPG, to which the commander replied: “Why don’t I send you ahead to the first line, and you’ll warm up your weapons right there.”

    These hapless conscripts ended up sneaking back to Belgorod, where they lodged their very formal complaints with the Attorney General, and one of them seemed very sure that the authorities were diligently investigating how untrained conscripts had been sent to the front lines with broken weapons. Then they were shipped off again, and the journalist writes, “since then, his phone isn’t answering.” Still, they did better than this guy, who lasted only seven days from mobilization to his wife getting his death notice.

    If you are somehow lucky to be stationed behind the front lines, you aren’t really that lucky. You end up having to dodge HIMARS attacks. Reuters found a treasure trove of Russian documents at a destroyed Russian HQ in Balakliia—the first domino to fall in that dramatic Kharkiv assault that liberated over 10,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. Like the story above, this one is excellent and you should read the whole thing.

    In the weeks before their retreat, Russian forces around Balakliia, a town 90 kilometres south of Kharkiv, came under heavy bombardment from HIMARS rocket launchers, recently supplied by the United States. The precision missiles repeatedly hit command posts.

    A Russian officer who served in the Balakliia force for three months, described to Reuters a sense of menace hanging over the occupiers. One of his friends bled to death in early September after a Ukrainian strike on a command post in a nearby village.

    “It’s a game of roulette,” said the officer, who asked to be identified by his military call sign Plakat Junior 888. “You either get lucky, or you are unlucky. The strikes can land anywhere.”

    The Chechen Kadyrovites got a taste of HIMARS after Ukrainian intelligence pinpointed their location based on their TikTok videos. Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov admitted to 40 killed and 100 wounded, likely half of their actual losses. This pattern has repeated itself dozens of times as Ukraine has degraded Russian command and control centers, as well as barracks, supply depot, and troop concentrations.

    But say you are lucky and got yourself captured, and want to be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners, head back to Russia, see your family again. Well, good luck. One popular Russian Telegram channel fumed at the disrespect shown to Russian POWs by Russia itself.

    In general, I am extremely annoyed by the attitude towards our prisoners by us. This question is shrouded in darkness. How much, where, when? These and other hundreds of questions are sent to me by the relatives of those who are now in captivity or are listed as missing. No one can give relatives a clear answer. The units to which they were assigned do not know anything about their fate. Relatives go around in circles and stumble upon a wall of misunderstanding, indifference and banal replies. During the Great Patriotic War, Stalin did not recognize the status of prisoners of war of Soviet soldiers, and those who surrendered were immediately considered traitors. Therefore, the Red Cross helped all prisoners of war, except for the Soviet ones. But at least there was the political will of one person who took responsibility for this, and at least it was honest. And there were never exchanges of prisoners between the USSR and Nazi Germany. Every soldier on the battlefield understood that if he surrendered, then no one would change him, and in captivity, not human conditions await him. The question of prisoners remains open. And again we are talking about the fact that SOMETHING IS NECESSARY.

    Lovely people, those. But hey, what if Ukraine cares enough about Russian POWs to connect them to their families? Well, we have multiple videos showing indifferent or hostile Russian relatives, like this one who is more concerned about her son’s iPhone than his own health and situation. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Heck, many women are excited their apparently useless men are being herded off to die. [Tweet and video at the link]

    “He drinks too much, there is no job, he will die anyway, but then he will earn money and the family will have benefits.”

    And if their drunk, useless, jobless son or husband somehow makes it back, he might actually return with a washing machine. That’s some small consolation!

    Being captured really seems like a best-case scenario. Sitting in Ukrainian captivity, they no longer have to worry about forced gay prostitution and other horrific hazing. [Tweets and images at the link]

    Given that Russia is one of the most homophobic societies in the world, how do we square the homophobia with the above?

    A former #Russian military official explains that in the Army there is male-male sexual contact, but it is non-consensual, a “tradition of punitive sex”, thus it is okay, unlike “literal faggotry … in the degenerate West”.

    Excuse me, the Russian Army does have its standards.

    Given all that, is it any wonder all Russian soldiers are a hot, drunk mess?

    Apparently, a group of drunk Russian soldiers drove their BMP-3 through the wall at the Gumrak Airfield in Volgograd. [Tweets, video and images at the link]

    More drunken Russian soldiers: [Tweet and video at the link]

    More drunk Russian soldiers here, here, and here. Being put in a cage for public mockery looks like getting off easy, all things considered: [Tweet and video at the link]

    Remember, these sorry [humans] are the same Russian soldiers Ted Cruz and the MAGA right think are so powerful because they’re not “woke.” But there are no fierce warriors here. Russia is most effective when it is delivering death via artillery shell, rocket, or suicide drone—they can manage that even drunk.

    A joke about “always drunk Russian soldiers” isn’t a joke anymore. You can see how the Russian artillerymen drink alcohol right in their positions and even keep it in their vests. And in that condition they are firing at Ukrainian cities. #UkraineRussiaWar [Tweet and video at the link]

    There are many reasons Ukraine is winning its war, but the sorry way Russians treat their soldiers is a big part of it.

    Bonus torture video: [Tweet and video at the link. “Recently mobilized Russian soldier getting some extra attention on the ‘Mobik Goodbye Event’.

    After that it’s not scary to die.”] Not actual torture, but rather hilarious singing, dancing and sexual reference performance.

    Additional embedded links to reference material are available at the main link.

  6. says

    NBC – “Justice Department charges suspect in Paul Pelosi attack with assault, attempted kidnapping”:

    The Justice Department on Monday filed two charges in federal court against the suspect in Friday’s brutal attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

    Prosecutors charged the suspected assailant, David DePape, with attempted kidnapping and assault with intent to retaliate against a federal official by threatening or injuring a family member.

    The FBI has been working with San Francisco police and the Capitol Police on the investigation into Friday’s attack on Paul Pelosi. DePape is not expected to appear in federal court on Monday.

    DePape, 42, is also expected to appear in court this week on separate state charges. San Francisco police said DePape would be arraigned on charges of attempted homicide, first-degree burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery with serious bodily injury, elder abuse, threatening a public official, or family member, among others.

    Paul Pelosi, 82, remained in the intensive care unit surrounded by family members, a source with knowledge of the situation told NBC News early Monday. The FBI, San Francisco police, Capitol Police and the district attorney got his testimony on Sunday, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. The source said he is awake and has all of his cognitive functioning and appeared to remember everything — he told them his version of events.

    On Friday, he “underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” Pelosi’s office said. His doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

    Two sources briefed on the investigation said the suspect was searching for the House speaker, who was in Washington, D.C., at the time of the attack. Before the assault occurred, the intruder confronted Paul Pelosi shouting, “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?”

    San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said officers arrived at the Pelosi home just before 2:30 a.m. PT and observed “Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it.”

    Police tackled the suspect, disarmed him and took him into custody, Scott said. San Francisco police said Sunday that zip ties were found at the scene.

    According to a Pelosi family member, the suspect brought the hammer and broke the windows of the Pelosi home facing the backyard. The family member said once inside, the suspect was trying to tie up Paul Pelosi and said they would wait “until Nancy got home.” When the suspect wasn’t looking, Paul called 911. The family member said Paul was home alone and was hit in the head with the hammer multiple times. When the police arrived, the suspect said, “We are waiting for Nancy.”

    The suspect appears to have operated a website on which he wrote a wide variety of posts touching on almost all manner of modern conspiracy thinking: aliens, Jewish people, communism, vaccines, voter fraud and many other topics….

    They’re discussing the affidavit on MSNBC. It seems he was planning to torture the House Speaker until she “confessed” to her political crimes. He claimed to be fighting “tyranny.”

  7. says

    Stacey Abrams makes Brian Kemp eat every one of his horrible policy decisions in final debate

    Here’s the thing about former Georgia House minority leader Stacey Abrams: She’s about action, not only words. When she lost the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, she worked with the New Georgia Project nonprofit to register an estimated 800,000 new voters, mostly people of color and young people often overlooked in the state. She formed Fair Fight Action days after her 2018 loss and launched a federal lawsuit seeking an overhaul of Georgia’s voting system.

    She also found time to fervently fight against Kemp’s “heartbeat” legislation prohibiting abortions after a “fetal heartbeat” can be detected. Abrams has already proven action is her thing. Along those lines, I wouldn’t care if she ever participated in a debate because it is the action I happen to care about. Luckily for Georgians, we don’t have to choose. Every time Abrams steps on a debate stage, she proves she can do both: pursue the change that will only make Georgia a stronger state, and explain clearly and directly how she can deliver that change. Sunday, in the Democrat’s final debate against Kemp, was no exception.

    She offered a clear and concise message of what her priorities would be in office—addressing affordable housing, expanding Medicaid in the state, and making the kind of investment in education that also serves as an answer to crime prevention by addressing the equity issues that often lead to crime.

    These are all issues Kemp has refused to address, causing Georgia to miss out on $3.5 billion in federal funding for health care alone because he refuses to expand Medicaid. “It has worked in 38 other states, and it will work here in the state of Georgia,” Abrams said.

    Instead of addressing the point, Kemp instead chose to blame President Joe Biden for rising costs and inflation. To do so, the governor conveniently ignored the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, worsened by GOP denial of the virus and former President Donald Trump’s shiftless approach to leadership during the pandemic.

    “Americans are hurting right now because of a disastrous policy agenda by Joe Biden and the Democrats that have complete control of Washington, D.C.,” Kemp alleged. “Thankfully, in Georgia, because we were open even when Ms. Abrams didn’t want us to be, our economy has been incredibly resilient.”

    Kemp boasted the largest tax cut in Georgia’s history. What he failed to mention was that it was Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, of Georgia, who secured the tax cut and helped vote the child tax credit into law.

    What Kemp and other Republicans managed to accomplish with the anti-abortion heartbeat law, new restrictions on voting, and a 2014 gun law dubbed the “guns everywhere bill” was a loss of $150 million in investment in the state. [video at the link]

    Music Midtown, an Atlanta music festival that has been an income-booster for the city since 1994, canceled its 2022 festival and cost the state $50 million after having to, for the first time since the pandemic, deal with ramifications of the 2014 gun law that allows licensed Georgia gun owners and those from 28 other states to carry guns in bars, government buildings, and other public spaces.

    Kemp followed the “guns everywhere bill” by signing into law in April the Georgia Constitutional Carry Act, permitting legal gun owners to carry their weapons concealed without a permit or training and allowing those licensed in other states to enjoy the same protections in Georgia.

    He also signed into law nearly 100 pages of new voting changes weakening the voting rights of people of color and triggering Major League Baseball to move its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to the new restrictions.

    Entertainment studios threatened to boycott the state when the U.S. Supreme Court decision stripped abortion rights, and an appeals court decision allowed for Georgia’s heartbeat law to take effect immediately.

    During the debate with Abrams, Kemp refused to say whether he would keep supporting dangerous policies and sign additional abortion restrictions into law. “It’s not my desire to go move the needle any further on this issue,” Kemp said.

    He added that he doesn’t see a need to go back on past General Assembly decisions, but that if new legislation surfaces, “we’ll look at those when the time comes.”

    He then tried to move the conversation back to what he dubbed “Joe Biden inflation.” Abrams wouldn’t stand for the deflection. [video at the link]

    She underscored the governor’s praise of the Texas bounty system that allows neighbors to profit off of reporting women seeking abortion services.

    “We know that, under the law he signed, women can be investigated for miscarriages and other pregnancy losses and that 52 counties have said that they indeed will pursue those investigations because they don’t think they have a choice,” Abrams said of Kemp. “We know that under this governor, women are in danger. Georgia’s already number one for maternal mortality, and it is only going to get worse when women are forced to carry pregnancies.”

    Abrams said one in five women didn’t have health insurance before pregnancy, and despite improvements in Medicaid to provide care for women during pregnancy, on the first birthday of any child born in the state, that health care goes away.

    “Brian Kemp does not have a plan for the lives of the women who are being forced to carry pregnancies to term that are unwanted pregnancies,” Abrams said. “But more importantly, he refuses to protect us. He refuses to defend us, and yet he defended Herschel Walker, saying that he didn’t want to be involved in the personal life of his running mate, but he doesn’t mind being involved in the personal lives and the personal medical choices of women in Georgia.”

    […] Of course, GOP hypocrisy wasn’t one of Kemp’s talking points, but you can believe defunding the police was. He claimed Abrams supports defunding police while he has since 2018 run on a promise to address gang activity in Georgia. “We’ve also been in the fight with locals when we had civil unrest, when we had unruly people that were literally trying to burn our capital city down,” Kemp said. [video at the link]

    What Kemp didn’t address was the very reason those protesters felt like they had to take to the streets. George Floyd, a Black father, was murdered on camera in daylight by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. […]

    For Abrams, this issue is anything but simple. She said during the debate that she has a brother who has broken the law and one who is a social worker trying to prevent crime. He still has to deal with police officers racially profiling him.

    “As I’ve pointed out before, I am not a member of the good ol’ boys club, so no, I don’t have (the endorsements of) 107 sheriffs who want to be able to take Black people off the streets, who want to be able to go without accountability,” Abrams said. “I don’t believe every sheriff wants that, but I do know we need a governor who believes in defending law enforcement but also defending the people of Georgia.”

    More video of the debate is available at the link.

  8. says

    Followup to SC’s comment #5.

    ABOUT TIME CBS: Host laid into Congressman for his ad that promoted violence against Nancy Pelosi

    CBS’s Face The Nation host Margaret Brennan went ballistic at Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6) for using a violent hashtag against Nancy Pelosi in a tweet as he was target practicing. [video at the link]

    I could not have been more impressed with CBS’s Face The Nation host Margaret Brennan as she hammered Republican Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer for sending out a tweet with a video showing him target practicing and then making the offhand comment to fire Nancy Pelosi. The message he was sending was obvious.

    “I want to ask you about this when it comes to political violence,” Brennan said. “On your Twitter feed, you posted this video we’re going to show just a few days ago where you’re firing a gun, and it says: “Enjoyed exercising my Second Amendment rights. #FirePelosi.” Why is there a gun in a political ad at all? … Wouldn’t a pink slip be more fitting if it’s about firing her?”

    The congressman bloviated and tried to bring up the Scalise shooting by a supposed Bernie Sanders supporter. He was upset that he was targeted for his violent ad claiming there was no scrutiny for the Scalise shooter. That, of course, is a lie. The thing is, no Democrat campaigned using a gun or threatening violence. That is something very prevalent on the Right.

    “Do you not understand that that is suggestive to people who are in a bad state, and, in this current environment, how risky it is? Brennan said. “As you’re talking about… the importance of lowering the rhetoric? Why do you leave that up?”

    Margaret Brennan never backed down. The Congressman, like many politicians on the Right, show they simply do not care and likely wants violence. They must be defeated.

  9. says

    Quoted by Kos @ Lynna’s #4:

    When the Soviets were formed, this sacred monarchy was replaced by the religious communist cult — instead of the Lord’s Anointed ones we got the Bearers of the Great Lenin and Marx Ideology — a change of decorations, but not the idea behind it.

    As a result of this unhealthy relationship with the government, the regular Russian person is born with a rare genetic malfunction: an inborn submission to any authority — a president, a senator, a mayor, a cop, a boss, a landlord, you name it.

    Good grief. Over the past several years, I’ve linked to videos and reports of protests in Russia across the whole country and involving tens of thousands of people. A century ago, they had a revolution.

  10. raven says

    Interesting that grain ships are leaving Ukrainian ports without Russian escorts.

    As Russia loses its power and its only power, the military, more and more groups are either ignoring them or openly defying them.

    The Central Asian countries such as Kazakhistan and Tajikistan have started edging away from Russia as fast as they can. It’s almost like they are making a jail break.

    Two of them, Kyrgyzstan and Takikistan are now fighting a war and two others, Azerbaijan and Armenia restarted an old one.

    Apparently Putin and Russia don’t know how to leave and cut their losses.
    By the time they lose in Ukraine, there won’t be much of their military even left.
    They started out with huge numbers of tanks and artillery and are now running out of both.

  11. says

    Josh Marshall:

    […] Musk is like Trump in the sense that his outsized wealth and power allow him to move freely in our normless era. His machinations are central to the global efforts to harness media as well as the rise of authoritarian governments around the globe. But they are also impulsive and chaotic. People look for a grand plan in the whole Twitter escapade. But that mistakes what’s going on. This is mainly an ego trip, somehow driven by Musk’s newly found rightist politics. Flush with money he agreed to buy Twitter for likely three or four times it’s actual value. Then he reconsidered. But he’d already agreed to buy. And Twitter’s then-owners were not about to let him wriggle out of an agreement to pay them multiples more than they ever could have expected to get for the company. They sued. Musk realized he was going to lose. So he acquiesced and agreed to the sale.

    Now he has set himself the difficult, perhaps impossible task of reconciling two seemingly impossible to reconcile goals. On the one hand he’s promised to open the site to what he calls “free speech”, a loosely moderated approach with at least a lot of highly controversial content but more likely a lot of hate speech, stalking, doxing and general mayhem. He also wants to make Twitter highly profitable – likely for eventual sale or re-IPO. That means advertising and a lot more of it than Twitter has ever been able to garner. But advertisers don’t want to be near controversy or Musk’s hyped fans spreading racist conspiracy theories. In its day, Facebook was such a killer app for ad targeting that most advertisers simply felt they could not do without it. Twitter has never had that value proposition. He’ll now trade between losing advertisers and having his Trumpist base snarling at him for being a sell out.

    Did I mention how his leveraged buy out has now added roughly a billion dollars a year in debt service to Twitter’s bottom line? This is for a company whose total revenue is between three and four billion dollars a year. [Yikes! Sounds like a recipe for disaster.]

    I’m skeptical it will happen but Musk and his brain trust are now floating the idea of charging people $20 a month to keep their blue check marks. If literally every verified user agreed to do that it would produce a bit under $100 million, a drop in the bucket for the three or four billion it takes the run the company.

    My own view of the matter is that I hope Twitter implodes. At a minimum I won’t shed any tears if it does. I have always thought that we should resist any and all conceits from the social platforms that they constitute any kind of public square. A lot of good people on the outside and even inside these companies have spent years trying to figure out how that works, devising quasi-governmental rule making systems and bodies to adjudicate how things should work. It’s all wrong. Of course the companies buy into these ideas and even embrace the responsibilities they to do so. Of course they do. It’s a great thing to own the public square. They eagerly work to stitch their enterprises into the economic and judicial frameworks they inhabit. But they’re not the public square and we should be on the other side of everything that advances those pretensions. They’re private businesses organized around profit maximization. No more, no less.

    What we are seeing is likely the start of an epic bonfire in which Musk tries to reconcile the various forces unleashed by his impulsive behavior and very likely fails. It won’t be pretty. It may be hilarious. But it will be important to watch.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/on-twitter-and-elon-musk

  12. says

    The Supreme Court Is Set to Kill Affirmative Action. Just Not for Rich White Kids.

    The dirty secrets of elite college admissions. This article is much more thorough than the few excerpts presented here suggest.

    Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard is the most significant challenge to affirmative action in a generation. The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case on October 31, and given the court’s current makeup, it is widely expected that it will rule against Harvard and end the practice as we’ve known if for the past half century. “Harvard does not discriminate,” Lawrence S. Bacow, the school’s president, insisted in a statement responding to the Supreme Court taking the case. “[O]ur practices are consistent with Supreme Court precedent; there is no persuasive, credible evidence warranting a different outcome.”

    But though it may seem paradoxical, it’s important to understand that this construction is in large part Harvard’s own doing, the consequence of its stubborn insistence—which all elite schools share—on preserving the status quo in US college admissions, almost every aspect of which is slanted in favor of kids from wealthy, overwhelmingly white, families. If nothing else, SFFA v. Harvard demonstrated this conclusively through discovery—the pretrial production of documents and deposition testimony—which opened the first significant window into Harvard’s previously opaque admissions process.

    Throughout that process, officers are allowed to give “tips”—extra points—to applicants for “distinguishing excellences.” These include capacity for leadership, creative ability, and geography. They also include economics, race, and ethnicity. This speaks directly to a 1978 Supreme Court decision, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which held that racial quotas are unconstitutional, but that race could be considered as a “plus” factor. If the high court now eliminates racial preferences, any college inclined to do so could still diversify along socioeconomic or geographic lines. But as we will see, those paths require upsetting the status quo to surrender some of the advantage afforded to wealthy applicants. And it’s hard to be too optimistic about the prospect of elite schools doing so after seeing how Harvard makes its high-end sausage.

    Harvard divides applications into geographic dockets based on high school location. Each is initially reviewed by an admissions officer assigned to that docket, who rates the applicant based on academics; extracurriculars; athletics; personal qualities—including integrity, helpfulness, courage, kindness, empathy, self-confidence, maturity, and grit—and school support, which basically means the strength of the applicant’s recommendations. This “first reader” also gives a summary rating. The vast majority of students also sign up for an interview with one of 15,000 alumni interviewers, who separately scores the applicant on the same categories. The scores range from one to six, with one being the highest. Very few applicants are given worse than a four. It’s the admissions version of grade inflation.

    Like most elite colleges, Harvard also gives explicit preferences to applicants known in the world of higher education as ALDCs, a group that includes recruited athletes as well as the children of faculty, donors, and alumni—the latter are called “legacies.” These students, approximately half of them legacies, represent about 30 percent of every Harvard class—about 43 percent of the college’s white students are ALDCs. Being a member of this rarified group improves one’s chances of getting in by an order of magnitude. The admit rate for typical applicants to Harvard’s classes of 2014-2019 averaged 5.5 percent, according to data produced in the SFFA’s case, but the college accepted nearly 34 percent of legacy applicants, 47 percent of faculty kids, and 86 percent of recruited athletes.

    […] being a legacy effectively gave applicants a boost equivalent to scoring 160 additional points on the SAT even though legacies tend to do slightly worse in college than non-legacies. […]

  13. says

    Josh Marshall quoted @ Lynna’s #10:

    They eagerly work to stitch their enterprises into the economic and judicial frameworks they inhabit. But they’re not the public square and we should be on the other side of everything that advances those pretensions. They’re private businesses organized around profit maximization. No more, no less.

    Yes. Well said.

  14. blf says

    People seem to be assuming Putin’s navy was escorting grain ships through the Black Sea. As far as I am aware, the only escorts were by the Ukrainians through the Ukraine-laid minefields. The ships crossed the Black Sea between Ukraine and Istanbul unescorted, where they were inspected Turkey, acting on behalf of Putin (a diplomatic fudge so neither Ukraine nor Putin has to speak / “work” with the other).

    A snippet from the BBC, How much grain has been shipped from Ukraine?:

    Russia and Ukraine both signed deals with Turkey to establish a corridor from Odesa, and two neighbouring ports, to the Istanbul strait.
    This corridor is 310 nautical miles long and three nautical miles wide.
    Ukrainian vessels guide grain ships in and out of port through mines that Ukrainian forces laid.
    Turkish personnel inspect the ships for weapons, at the request of the Russians.

    Putin’s aborting his agreement with Turkey does not suspend Ukraine’s technically separate parallel agreement with Turkey. It does mean his navy might try to cut the Ukraine–Turkey corridor, but as noted, the condition of his Black Sea fleet is open to question. And Ukraine has missiles, e.g., the Neptune(?), which converted the Moskva into a submarine. Putin’s Black Sea fleet is unlikely to want to operate too close to Ukraine.

  15. says

    New War On the Rocks – “Southward and Eastward Pressure on Russian Forces”:

    Mike Kofman and Ryan recorded this episode on the war as they return home from their week-long research trip to Ukraine. They cover the fight for Kherson, Russian failures in the east, Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, and dirty bomb threats. If you’re interested in hearing more from Mike, we are launching a members-only podcast that he hosts called “The Russia Contingency.” We offer a sample of one of the early episodes of that show, which features Mike chatting with Konrad Muzyka about the current and future threat to Ukraine from Belarus. Become a member to get access. Please note, this episode was recorded before the news of Ukraine’s latest attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet got out.

  16. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Governor: Ukraine liberates 9 settlements in Luhansk Oblast.

    Luhansk Oblast Governor Serhii Haidai said on Oct. 31 that Russian forces attempted to launch a counteroffensive from Kreminna and Svatove, but Ukraine’s military repelled the attacks.

    Haidai added that Russian troops shelled the village of Nevske as Ukrainian authorities attempted to evacuate civilians.

  17. says

    From the DePape affidavit (available here):

    …15. In a Mirandized and recorded interview of DEPAPE by San Francisco Police Department Officers, DEPAPE provided the following information:

    a. DEPAPE stated that he was going to hold Nancy hostage and talk to her. If Nancy were to tell DEPAPE the “truth,” he would let her go, and if she “lied,” he was going to break “her kneecaps.” DEPAPE was certain that Nancy would not have told the “truth.” In the course of the interview, DEPAPE articulated he
    viewed Nancy as the “leader of the pack” of lies told by the Democratic Party. DEPAPE also later explained that by breaking Nancy’s kneecaps, she would then have to be wheeled into Congress, which would show other Members of Congress there were consequences to actions. DEPAPE also explained generally that he wanted to use Nancy to lure another individual to DEPAPE [?].

    b. DEPAPE stated that he broke into the house through a glass door, which was a difficult task that required the use of a hammer. DEPAPE stated that Pelosi was in bed and appeared surprised by DEPAPE. DEPAPE told Pelosi to wake up. DEPAPE told Pelosi that he was looking for Nancy. Pelosi responded that she was not present. Pelosi asked how they could resolve the situation, and what DEPAPE wanted to do. DEPAPE stated he wanted to tie Pelosi up so that DEPAPE could go to sleep as he was tired from having had to carry a backpack to the Pelosi residence. Around this time, according to DEPAPE, DEPAPE started taking out twist ties from his pocket so that he could restrain Pelosi. Pelosi moved towards another part of the house, but DEPAPE stopped him and together they went back into the bedroom.

    c. While talking with each other, Pelosi went into a bathroom, where Pelosi grabbed a phone to call 9-1-1. DEPAPE stated he felt like Pelosi’s actions compelled him to respond.

    d. DEPAPE remembered thinking that there was no way the police were going to forget about the phone call. DEPAPE explained that he did not leave after Pelosi’s call to 9-1-1 because, much like the American founding fathers with the British, he was fighting against tyranny without the option of surrender. DEPAPE
    reiterated this sentiment elsewhere in the interview.

    e. DEPAPE stated that they went downstairs to the front door. The police arrived and knocked on the door, and Pelosi ran over and opened it. Pelosi grabbed onto DEPAPE’s hammer, which was in DEPAPE’s hand. At this point in the interview, DEPAPE repeated that DEPAPE did not plan to surrender and that he would go “through” Pelosi.

    f. DEPAPE stated that he pulled the hammer away from Pelosi and swung the hammer towards Pelosi. DEPAPE explained that Pelosi’s actions resulted in Pelosi “taking the punishment instead.”…

  18. says

    Thread by Dara Massicot:

    Russian leaders declare mobilization complete as of 10/31. Below, some thoughts on the stark disconnect between Putin/Shoygu’s assurances and actual field conditions for Russian soldiers through the winter. This thread also comes with a very specific soundtrack….

  19. says

    Stephen Miller’s outside group is running an ad in Georgia that begins “When did racism against white people become OK?”
    And ends with: “The left’s anti-white bigotry must stop. We are all entitled to equal treatment under the law”

    https://twitter.com/AlexThomp/status/1587048063230771202

    Commentary:

    […] The ad begins, “When did racism against white people become OK? Joe Biden put white people last in line for Covid relief funds. Kamala Harris said disaster aid should go to non-white citizens first. Liberal politicians block access to medicine based on skin color. Progressive corporations, airlines, universities all openly discriminate against white Americans. Racism is always wrong. The left’s anti-white bigotry must stop. We are all entitled to equal treatment under the law.”

    Vice President Harris never said relief for Hurricane Ian should first go to “non-white citizens.” She specifically said we need to think about “what we need to do to help restore communities and build communities back up in a way that they can be resilient — not to mention, adapt — to these extreme conditions [of climate change], which are part of the future.”

    She did acknowledge the climate crisis most negatively impacts “our lowest income communities and our communities of color.” This is a true statement and not one that excludes white people, many of whom are also poor. They can’t afford Ben Shapiro’s brilliant climate change solution of selling their flooded homes to Aquaman.

    Right-wing podcaster Dan Bongino — hardly the most reliable source — claimed in January 2021 that a not-yet-inaugurated President Biden was “openly recommending racial discrimination.” Here’s the quote that sent Bongino (further) out of his mind:

    “Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American owned small businesses, women-owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild.” — President-elect Biden [video at the link]

    “Our focus will be on small businesses on Main Street that aren’t wealthy and well-connected, that are facing real economic hardships through no fault of their own,” Biden says. “Our priority will be Black, Latino, Asian and Native American-owned small businesses, women-owned businesses, and finally having equal access to resources needed to reopen and rebuild. But we’re going to make a concerted effort to help small businesses in low-income communities in big cities, small towns and rural communities that have faced systematic barriers to relief.”

    Biden actively includes almost everyone who isn’t a Fortune 500 tycoon. There’s no reasonable interpretation that Biden’s excluding white people or even just white men. But there’s an unfortunate historical precedent that whenever Republicans point out that Black people are benefitting from a government program, white people immediately reject it as socialism. So Biden’s not doing anything for white people because he’s not doing everything only for them.

    Miller’s ad plays to seething racial resentments and the absurd conservative victim mentality. In reality, elected Democrats make every effort to show how their policies will help all Americans, regardless of race. They’ll bring broadband to rural areas! They’ll build literal bridges in every state, now matter how the residents voted. Meanwhile, Republicans specifically targeted “blue state” residents for tax increases.

    America First Legal sued the US Department of Agriculture last year because the Biden administration’s COVID relief package included a $5 billion fund aimed at debt relief for Black, Latino, and Indigenous farmers, who the government’s farm loan programs had actively discriminated against for generations. Miller considers it “racist” to correct for past discrimination, and had the gall to quote Martin Luther King in the press release announcing his suit: Farmers seeking assistance “should not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    Of course, Miller would’ve condemned King when he was alive as a divisive communist, and the actual King (not the rightwing rhetorical device) supported targeted aid toward the Black community as a means of compensating for centuries of targeted discrimination.

    The scumbag’s racist, lie-filled ad is running in the Augusta, Savannah, Albany, Columbus and Macon markets, as well as in Tallahassee, Florida. We’d love to say they’ll have no impact, but that’s not our current reality.

    Link

  20. says

    Intruder Wanted to Break Speaker Pelosi’s Kneecaps, Federal Complaint Says

    New York Times link

    Federal prosecutors filed charges on Monday against the man the police said broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home and struck her husband with a hammer.

    Federal prosecutors charged the man accused of breaking into the San Francisco home of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with attempting to kidnap Ms. Pelosi and with assaulting a relative of a federal official, according to charging documents filed on Monday.

    The suspect, David DePape, 42, was apprehended by the police at the Pelosi home in the early morning hours on Friday. The police said he forcibly entered through the back door of the house, encountered Ms. Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, 82, and, following a struggle over a hammer, struck him with it.

    Mr. DePape was looking for Ms. Pelosi, who was in Washington at the time, to interrogate the speaker on an unspecified political matter, according to the federal complaint. If she told the “truth,” he would let her go, but if she “lied,” he intended to break her kneecaps — forcing her to be wheeled into Congress as a lesson to other Democrats, Mr. DePape told police officers in an interview.

    He had “a roll of tape, white rope, a second hammer, a pair of rubber and cloth gloves, and zip ties” according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of California, which filed the charges. […]

  21. says

    NBC News:

    A wave of Russian missile strikes hit critical infrastructure across Ukraine on Monday, leaving most of the capital without water […]

  22. says

    I don’t know how accurate this is, but I want it to be accurate :) – Twitter thread by Simon Rosenberg:

    So, over last few days I’ve been arguing a combination of

    – strong Dem early vote
    – a good week of polling for Dems
    – a ferocious campaign by Rs to flood the zone w/their polls, game the polling averages

    suggested “red wave” talk was, um, bullshit….

  23. says

    Despite Eastman appeal, Jan. 6 committee accesses 8 disputed emails

    Congressional investigators have obtained eight disputed emails that attorney John Eastman — a key architect of Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election — had asked a federal appeals court to shield from lawmakers.

    Eastman revealed in a Sunday court filing that he delivered a link to the Jan. 6 select committee providing access to the eight emails last week — an effort to comply with a federal district court judge’s order — but asked the committee to refrain from reviewing the records while he mounted an appeal.

    nstead, the select committee rejected his request, questioning whether a formal appeal had been lodged, and downloaded the documents, Eastman indicated. He is now asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to demand that the select committee return or destroy the documents — and prevent the panel from making use of them until the appeals court takes action.

    “While a stay barring the production is no longer available, an order directing the return or destruction of the documents and barring further use of them pending the appeal remains a viable remedy,” Eastman’s attorney Anthony Caso wrote.

    But such an order by a court against Congress would be an extraordinary step by one coequal branch against another, and would be virtually impossible to enforce. A similar effort by Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich — who asked a judge to claw back financial records from the select committee after JP Morgan provided them in December — was met with extreme skepticism from a district court judge in Washington, D.C.

    House Counsel Douglas Letter — the top attorney for the select committee — emphasized in an email to Eastman’s lawyers that once Carter rejected his request for reconsideration and a deadline to produce the emails had passed, there was no restriction on the select committee reviewing them. […]

    The eight emails in question were described by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter as evidence of a likely crime by Eastman and Trump, and they were included in a batch of several dozen documents that Carter ordered Eastman to deliver to the select committee. The ruling was the latest in a string of defeats for Eastman by Carter, stretching back to March. His ruling back then — contending that Trump and Eastman likely engaged in a criminal conspiracy — has become a centerpiece of the committee’s public presentation of evidence.

    […] Among the newly disclosed documents is an email that Carter said showed Trump signed legal documents attesting to voter fraud data that he knew was erroneous. […]

  24. says

    Satire from Andy Borowitz:

    Elon Musk is pleading with bots not to quit Twitter, after millions of them fled the site over the weekend.

    The bot exodus began shortly after the billionaire closed his deal to acquire the platform, as many bots complained about an alarming surge in pro-Nazi and misogynist content in their feeds.

    Musk’s decision to tweet an unhinged conspiracy theory on Sunday morning sent even more bots rushing for the exits, observers said.

    After deleting that tweet, Twitter’s new owner addressed the bot community directly in a desperate attempt at damage control.

    “I am asking every bot that has left Twitter to please come back,” he tweeted. “Without you, Twitter is nothing.”

    Musk promised that he would establish a new moderation structure to make Twitter a safe space for bots, but that offer did little to stop the bleeding.

    “Twitter sucks,” tweeted @Jeremy38954HarryPotterFanOfficial before deleting its account.

    New Yorker link

  25. says

    Texas claims its grid is ready for whatever winter brings. The federal government begs to differ

    It’s going to be a chilly winter in Texas if the Farmer’s Almanac is to be believed. This bodes terribly for the state, according to a recent assessment from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which shows the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and other operators and organizations at a slight deficit when it comes to adding new energy generation through renewables and other sources while phasing out pollution-heavy facilities like coal plants.

    FERC Chairman Rich Glick called out ERCOT in a press release, noting that “Texas has robust capacity but does not have sufficient ability to import power from its neighbors.” “It is imperative that we recognize each region’s unique challenges and work with them to plan and solve on a customized regional basis,” Glick said. That’s news to Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) Chairman Peter Lake, who recently told Fox Houston that the grid should be fine this winter.

    “I know the lights are going to stay on because, as we showed last winter, our generation fleet is hardened against cold weather,” Lake told the station. “Weatherization is just one part of the many reforms we have put in place. We have built out a bigger margin of safety in our reserves, so we have more generators available than ever before, and if there’s any hint of trouble on the grid, we’ve changed operation to make sure that the control room brings on more generators sooner rather than later. As opposed to waiting until the last minute like they did in the past.”

    Lake’s tenure began months after Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc in Texas, leading to the deaths of 246 people. ERCOT also has a new leader, Pablo Vegas, who was hired in August following 16 months of uncertainty in the wake of CEO Bill Magness’ firing over how Uri was handled. It remains to be seen whether these personnel changes are enough to truly change Texas’ power grid for the better. Lake’s interview with Fox Houston reporter Rudy Koski ends on an extremely unsatisfying note, which certainly doesn’t bode well for the consumers reliant on ERCOT and the PUC to hold the grid operator accountable.

    Lake dodged a question on whether the PUC would call for more government funding to offset the cost of building new transmission lines, instead pointing to ways the commission has fast-tracked proposed projects. Lake says he’s “doing everything [he] can” but ultimately concludes that “transmission lines cost money” and that that cost will inevitably fall to consumers. If Texas can’t even be counted on to properly fund necessary infrastructure build-outs, what hope do Texans have that their lights will stay on during major storms?

    Hope and prayer … but not enough new transmission lines.

  26. says

    Kristina Jovanovski:

    Zelensky “is as responsible as Putin for the war”, Brazil’s incoming president, Lula, tells Time.

    Lula blames Nato for the war, completely ignoring Russian officials’ attacks on #Ukraine’s national identity.

    Brazil’s incoming president Lula calls Zelensky “a bit weird.”

    “We should be having a serious conversation: “OK, you were a nice comedian. But let us not make war for you to show up on TV.”

    Brazil’s incoming president Lula claims “People are stimulating hate against Putin.”

    A UN report says Russian soldiers committed war crimes in #Ukraine, including executions and sexual violence….

    Screenshot at the (Twitter) link. This is understandable but distressing. He’s a reasonable person, so I hope someone can put the factual case to him and that his incoming administration can start communicating with Zelenskyy’s as soon as possible.

  27. says

    Update to #491 in the previous chapter – Kyiv Post:

    Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Kuleba: 12 countries will send energy equipment to Ukraine

    They include Israel, France, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Finland, Korea, Poland, and more.

  28. says

    Kyiv Post oped – “Mock Annexations of Russian Territory: Latest Trend Goes Viral”:

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Sep. 30 grand ceremony annexing four Ukrainian territories has failed to do, well, much of anything at all.

    It has been simultaneously ignored by the international community as illegitimate and condemned alongside an ever-expanding list of war crimes. It was denounced 143-5 at the United Nations (UN), with the usual suspects standing in as Putin’s only bedfellows: Belarus, North Korea, Syria, Nicaragua, and the Russian Federation itself.

    The sham annexation has, of course, been roundly ignored at the war front as well, with a historically curious case of Russian soldiers surrendering and fleeing en masse a territory that had been dramatically declared “forever” part of Russia just 24 hours before.

    With failure setting in on both the diplomatic and military fronts – from pariah state status to collapse in Kherson and beyond – Putin’s newly installed command operations general Sergei Surovikin tried out a new tactic this month: bombing and murdering innocent civilians in Kyiv two Monday morning rush hours in a row using Iranian drones.

    The renewed round of war crimes has brought international protesters back onto the streets in greater force than has been seen in some months. Massive numbers have turned out once more at the gates of Russian embassies across Europe and North America.

    But, in the face of so much seriousness and horror, a new and parallel trend has emerged in response to Russia’s sham referenda: activists using the power of satire to cement the illegitimacy of the phony annexations.

    October has seen this trend go viral, demonstrating the power of humor in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Two particular epicenters have emerged: i) Russian embassies around the world; and ii) the digital anti-misinformation army known as the North Atlantic Fellas Organization (NAFO), which aims to push back on Russian misinformation through its use of memes and mockery.

    “There is no Kaliningrad”

    The very week of Russia’s sham referenda, activists in two disparate parts of the world came up with the same idea to mock Putin’s dictatorial attempts: the annexing back of Russian territory in other countries.

    It began the same night of the Moscow “annexation”, when online calls began for the return of Kaliningrad to its rightful home in Czechia – Kralovec.

    The isolated Russian territory city sits on the Baltic Sea between Lithuania and Poland. The troll continued throughout the week, with comments and tweets such as “There is no Kaliningrad. #KralovecisCzechia.”

    In Prague, masses of people poured onto the streets to enact the “referendum” with signs and in costume. In the end, 98 percent had “voted” for the city to leave Russia and “officially” revert to its Czech name. And as an event, it wasn’t all just fun and mockery – the initiative managed to raise 100,000 Czech Koruna (around $4,000) for Ukraine.

    “Annexing” the Russian embassy in Ottawa

    While tensions are high at Russian embassies and consulates across multiple North American cities, the mood among Ottawa’s familiar daily embassy protesters has remained defiant and spirited.

    On Oct. 1, the local protest group began a sham referendum, voting to annex the Russian embassy into Canada. Voters were offered ballots in six European and indigenous languages, but with a catch: the only vote was “yes.” The action’s FAQs made a point to urge voting early and often: non-Canadians, dead relatives, babies, and pets were all welcome to cast a vote.

    As in Prague, the Ottawa protest was loud and filled with music and costumes. In the end, results came in at 112 percent in favor. The mood switched to somber as the group held a moment of silence; in true Canadian-Ukrainian solidarity fashion, it ended with the playing of the Ukrainian national anthem on bagpipes.

    Viral

    These trolling efforts quickly began to go viral, garnering the attention of global supporters of Ukraine across various media platforms. From multiple countries and in multiple languages, the Kaliningrad and Ottawa annexations were pronounced brilliant comic activist actions.

    Votes rolled in from all corners of the globe, with people wondering if the same might be enacted at the Russian embassies in their own cities. Canada’s response truly exploded, with a voting video in front of the gates of the Russian embassy building up over a million views and shares across international news sites. Celebrities and political figures such as Bill Browder and Mikhail Khodorkovsky joined in, asking if they could vote.

    The trolling campaign referenda have also been big boosts from NAFO. Indeed, the role of satire has rapidly altered the information and misinformation landscapes over the last few months. Gone are the days when Russian troll farms dominated and bullied, running truthtellers offline and fomenting social and political crises in other countries unchallenged. Now it is Russian officials doing the digital running away, publicly winging that they are being bullied by squadrons of cartoon dogs. The terrain has indeed shifted.

    After the “successes” of Kaliningrad and Ottawa, the rest of the month has seen satirical referenda take off in other countries, including Finland, Poland, and even Russia itself.

    One thing is clear: these actions may be satirical, but they are far from powerless. To the contrary, they seem to be resonating with a global public grasping the exact points they aim to make – and, in increasing numbers, joining in.

    Even Putin’s chief propagandist and hate speech purveyor on Russian nightly news, Vladmir Solovyov, began to despair this month, lamenting that “the whole West is starting to mock us.” One prominent NAFO slogan echoes just this, and indeed seems to be carrying the day this fall: “Don’t argue, mock.”

  29. says

    !!! – “Kari Lake just now: ‘Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in DC — apparently her house doesn’t have a lot of protection’. The crowd burst into laughter and the interviewer was laughing so hard he covered his face with his notes.”

    Photo at the (Twitter) link.

  30. Reginald Selkirk says

    Brazil election: Bolsonaro supporters block roads after poll defeat

    Pro-Bolsonaro lorry drivers started setting up roadblocks across the vast country soon after the election results were announced.
    By Monday night, the federal highway police reported 342 such incidents, with the biggest protests going on in the country’s south. Some of the blockages were later cleared by police.
    Many lorry drivers have benefited from lower diesel costs during the Bolsonaro administration.
    Supreme Court judge Alexandre de Moraes on Monday ordered the police to disperse the roadblocks immediately.
    He warned that all those still blocking the roads on Tuesday would be each fined 100,000 Brazilian reals (£16,700: $19,300) per hour.

  31. raven says

    The Russians have a long standing demographic problem.
    Instead of dealing with it, they made it worse.
    It is estimated that up to 1 million people died in the Covid-19 pandemic. No one really knows the real number. Russian statistics aren’t the least bit reliable.
    They’ve lost ca. 1 million young men to the war in Ukraine or fled out of the country.

    So of course, they are now talking about female slavery and forced birthing by outlawing abortion.
    Ceausescu tried that in Romania and it didn’t work. He was shot by his own people after an uprising.

    They are also blaming their demographic problems on…dogs and cats. Because running a dysfunctional failing dictatorship never has any influence on people’s decisions to have children.

    Russians talk about outlawing abortion

    ‘They need cannon fodder’ Concerned about population decline but unwilling to address root causes, Russian politicians have set their sights on citizens’ reproductive rights
    1:35 am, November 1, 2022 Meduza edited for length

    In recent months, as Moscow has continued waging war in Ukraine, Russian politicians, officials, and pro-government activists have started promoting initiatives aimed at limiting the reproductive rights of citizens back at home. In August, for example, State Duma deputies proposed banning online sales of abortion pills.

    In September, Tatarstan’s Children’s Rights Commissioner said that an ad encouraging people to adopt homeless pets was veiled propaganda for the “childfree” movement — because it will convince people to get dogs instead of having kids. The independent Russian outlet 7×7 spoke to feminist and journalist Zalina Marshenkulova about the Russian authorities’ new obsession — and why they’re unlikely to be discouraged by public opinion. In English, Meduza summarizes the interview.

    In the months since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, the Kremlin has been working hard to give citizens the impression that the country’s demographic future is under threat — and that the authorities are doing all they can to save it, including waging war in Ukraine. It’s true that Russia’s population decline rate has hit a record high, but rather than speaking honestly about the more than one million excess deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the tens of thousands of Russians killed in Ukraine, or the exodus of draft evaders that followed Putin’s mobilization announcement, the Russian authorities prefer to blame bogeymen such as LGBT+ people.

    So perhaps it’s no surprise that Russian politicians have set their sights on citizens’ reproductive rights in recent months. In May, for example, Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, called for a ban on abortions in private clinics. A few months later, a group of State Duma deputies announced plans to introduce a bill that would ban Russians from paying for abortions through public health insurance.
    And in September, lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban information about the “childfree” lifestyle — a term that simply refers to women making the choice not to have children, but that is frequently painted by Russian leaders as an extremist ideology sent from abroad to weaken Russia.

    Russian journalist Zalina Marshenkulova told 7×7 she has two theories to explain the politicians’ new focus. First, she said, it could be a way to distract people from the war, which is decidedly not going the way Putin hoped. And second, the country’s elites are likely actually concerned about population decline: “After all, they need cannon fodder for their [war]. And women don’t want to have children in that situation.”

  32. raven says

    The more you look at Russia the more dysfunctional it is.
    It definitely resembles something out of Orwell’s 1984.

    I always say that Russia is what you get when internet trolls run a country.
    That understates how horrible the leadership is though.
    In Russia human life is cheap and meaningless to the government.
    And the people exist to support the government rather than the government existing to help the people.

    ” I actively spoke out against the law on education that made it illegal to give a lecture without the authorities’ approval. That was a completely insane initiative, even crazier than the childfree stuff. “
    This law against giving lectures without permission is something out of the Soviet communism era.
    There are all sorts of public “lectures in any part of the USA, from the garden clubs, libraries, chamber of commerce, and other public and private groups.

    You can’t give a lecture on propagating orchids without permission in Russia.

    from the Meduza article above.

    Political scientists and other observers often discuss the Kremlin’s more extreme legislative initiatives as tools for “probing” public sentiment and determining whether a given policy would be popular or not. But Marshenkulova doesn’t buy this theory.

    “There are a lot of initiatives that people speak out against, but [the authorities] have forced those things through anyways. I actively spoke out against the law on education that made it illegal to give a lecture without the authorities’ approval. That was a completely insane initiative, even crazier than the childfree stuff. Everyone was speaking out against it, but that didn’t stop [lawmakers] from passing it,” she said. “[…] The government has already shoved through a bunch of deranged, inhuman initiatives, and they don’t give a damn about public opinion.”

  33. KG says

    I am already tired of the counter-productive protests which do nothing but make people dislike the protesters. – Reginald Selkirk@18

    We don’t know whether on balance such protests are counter-productive. Possible positive effects are to keep the climate emergency in the news (currently it has made a slight return because of COP-27, but over the past two years and more has largely been swamped by Covid and Ukraine); and to persuade more people that they ought to be doing something about the matter. “Ordinary” protests simply don’t get reported in the vast majority of cases.

  34. says

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

    Kyiv continues to recover from yesterday’s barrage of Russian missile strikes on hydroelectric plants and other critical energy and water infrastructure. Crews were able to restore water and lights to the 270,000 homes in Kyiv today, but Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko warned on Telegram that it might be a while longer before crews will be able to restore full electricity – they must wait for the stabilisation of the energy system. “I ask Kyiv residents to save electricity, especially during peak morning and evening hours,” Klitschko said. “It is very important. Because the deficit in the energy system of Ukraine is significant.”

    With Russia continuously targeting Ukraine’s energy and water infrastructure, Ukrainians are looking ahead toward what will likely be a cold and difficult winter and asking for donations of autonomous electricity and heat sources.

    One week after Russian authorities relocated 70,000 civilians from the right bank of the Dnipro River to the left bank, Russian authorities are moving 70,000 civilians from the left bank to be “temporarily resettled deep into the Kherson region, as well as to other regions of the Russian Federation”, said Vladimir Saldo, the Russian-appointed governor of the Kherson oblast. This is concerning, as it’s considered a war crime under the Geneva conventions for an occupying force to move civilians from an occupied territory, and there have been reports from other occupied territories of Ukrainians being relocated into Russian territories with no return in mind. However, Saldo said the reason behind the relocation was “possible damage to the dam of the Kakhovskaya hydroelectric power station, which could cause flooding of the left bank of the Dnieper downstream”.

    The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces believe that about 650 Russian soldiers were killed in the country in the last day.

    One person was killed and two were injured last night in Bakhmut, while “the shelling of Torskyi and Zarichnyi in the Lymansk community does not stop”, said Donetsk oblast governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. “It is dangerous to stay in Donetsk region,” he warned. “Evacuate in time.”

    Ukraine’s ministry of defence has intel that Iran plans on sending a batch of more than 200 combat drones to the Russian federation in early November, even though Iuriy Ihnat, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s air force command, said there has been a marked decrease in Russia’s use of Iranian kamikaze drones in recent days.

    Also from there:

    The French president, Emmanuel Macron, following a telephone call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said France would help Ukraine get through the winter and would help repair water and energy infrastructure damaged by Russian strikes.

    France will also help boost Ukraine’s anti-air defences, Macron said he and Zelenskiy had agreed to hold an international conference in Paris on 13 December to support Ukraine civilians in winter.

    A bilateral conference on 12 December will also aim at raising support for Ukraine from French companies, Reuters reports Macron said in a statement.

    Macron has also previously promised to hold a conference in France in November in support of Ukraine’s neighbour Moldova.

  35. tomh says

    Pew Research
    45% of Americans Say U.S. Should Be a ‘Christian Nation’
    By Gregory A. Smith, Michael Rotolo and Oatricia Tevington / October 27, 2022

    Most U.S. adults believe America’s founders intended the country to be a Christian nation, and many say they think it should be a Christian nation today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey designed to explore Americans’ views on the topic….

    Overall, six-in-ten U.S. adults – including nearly seven-in-ten Christians – say they believe the founders “originally intended” for the U.S. to be a Christian nation. And 45% of U.S. adults – including about six-in-ten Christians – say they think the country “should be” a Christian nation. A third say the U.S. “is now” a Christian nation.

    [full text of the 65 page report]

  36. says

    Guardian – “Brazil judge orders police to clear roadblocks by pro-Bolsonaro truckers”:

    Brazil’s supreme court has ordered police to remove scores of roadblocks set up by supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro to protest against his defeat in the presidential election, while the far-right leader remained silent on the result.

    The federal highway police (PRF) said truckers were blocking highways at 271 points, partially or fully, as part of protests that have spread to 23 of Brazil’s 26 states in the wake of Bolsonaro’s loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in a runoff election on Sunday. The police said another 192 roadblocks had been cleared.

    Justice Alexandre de Moraes called on the PRF to remove all the blockades, which have been mainly organized by truckers, a core constituency of the Bolsonaro government that has benefited from its lowering of diesel costs.

    Some truckers posted videos calling for a military coup to stop Lula, a leftist who served as Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010, from taking office.

    Bolsonaro remained silent more than 36 hours after his defeat and has neither conceded the race nor called the president-elect.

    Moraes was quickly joined by six other justices in a virtual session in the early hours of Tuesday as they formed a majority in the 11-member court to back his decision, setting fines on the PRF’s director-general, Silvinei Vasques, if he failed to act to clear the roadblocks.

    The highways that have been blocked included key roads used to move grains from farm states to ports, as well as a major road linking the two largest cities, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The main access road to São Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport, the busiest in the country, was also blocked.

    Although Bolsonaro has remained silent on his election loss, his political allies and associates have already begun to establish contact with the Lula camp to discuss a transition. Some have publicly declared that the Bolsonaro government should respect the election result.

    The communications minister, Fábio Faria, told Reuters that Bolsonaro was expected to speak on his defeat by Tuesday, though it was not clear whether the incumbent would accept Lula’s victory.

  37. says

    Guardian – “Biden accuses oil companies of ‘war profiteering’ and threatens windfall tax”:

    President Joe Biden has accused oil companies of “war profiteering” as he raised the possibility of imposing a windfall tax if companies don’t boost domestic production.

    In remarks on Monday, just over a week away from the 8 November midterm elections, Biden criticised major oil companies for making record profits while refusing to help lower prices at the pump for American people. The president said he would look to Congress to levy tax penalties on oil companies if they don’t begin to invest some of their profits in lowering costs for American consumers.

    “My team will work with Congress to look at these options that are available to us and others,” Biden said. “It’s time for these companies to stop war profiteering, meet their responsibilities in this country and give the American people a break and still do very well.”

    Over the last two quarters, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, BP, ConocoPhillips, and TotalEnergy earned over $100bn more than they earned all of last year, and more than two-and-a-half times what they earned in the same quarters of 2021.

    The president took particular aim at ExxonMobil which last week reported earnings of $19.7bn in the third quarter alone. He said the company used its record profits to provide shareholders with hefty dividends and stock buybacks but failed to invest in production improvements that would benefit consumers at the pump.

    “Oil companies’ record profits today are not because of doing something new or innovative,” Biden said. “Their profits are a windfall of war, a windfall for the brutal conflict that’s ravaging Ukraine and hurting tens of millions of people around the globe.”

    Biden has been critical of energy companies’ profits since at least June, when he complained publicly that “Exxon made more money than God this year”.

    Biden’s threat of windfall taxes on energy companies follows calls from progressive Democrats, including Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom added his voice to the call for Congress to tax the profits of oil companies.

    Congress would have to approve any additional taxes on the energy producers. Some attempts this year to increase regulation of energy companies have stalled in the Senate….

  38. says

    Guardian – “Megan Thee Stallion, Coldplay and Future sign petition against rap lyrics as criminal evidence in US court”:

    Megan Thee Stallion, Coldplay and Future are among a group of artists and music industry figures calling for restrictions on the use of rap lyrics [AKA poetry] as criminal evidence in US court.

    A new open letter titled Art on Trial: Protect Black Art includes signatories such as Post Malone, Alicia Keys and 50 Cent, alongside the three major record labels, Warner, Sony and Universal, and companies such as Spotify, TikTok and YouTube Music.

    The letter, which was written and published by Warner and published on 1 November in the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, asks prosecutors to end the “racially targeted” practice of using rap evidence in trials, and for legislators at the state and federal level to limit how such work can be used against defendants.

    “In courtrooms across America, the trend of prosecutors using artists’ creative expression against them is happening with troubling frequency … Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalise Black creativity and artistry.”

    The letter draws on allegations facing Jeffery Lamar Williams (AKA Young Thug) and other members of his Young Stoner Life record label. In May, the rapper’s lyrics were mentioned in an indictment for suspicion of gang involvement and other offences, as they allegedly constituted “an overt act in furtherance of this conspiracy”. Lyrics by label mate Gunna were accused of the same offence.

    Both artists have pleaded not guilty and remain in prison ahead of their trials. Prosecutors have warned that they could engage in witness intimidation if released.

    “The use of lyrics against artists in this way is un-American and simply wrong,” the letter continues, referring to the “obvious disregard” for free speech and creative expression protected by the first amendment, as well as the capacity to further punish marginalised communities and their stories….

  39. says

    Guardian – “Iran to hold public trials for up to 2,000 detained in protests”:

    Iran’s judiciary has announced that it will hold public trials for as many as 1,000 people detained during recent protests in Tehran alone – and more than a thousand others outside the capital – as international concern grew over Iran’s response to the protests that began with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest.

    The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said he was shocked by the number of innocent protesters who were being illegally and violently arrested. Germany’s foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has already announced that she is to ask the European Union to sanction the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation.

    Canada meanwhile announced a fourth round of sanctions against senior Iranian officials and its law enforcement agents, which Canada accuses of participating in the suppression and arrest of unarmed protesters.

    Ukraine has meanwhile formally asked for Iran’s football team to be banned from the World Cup starting next month in the wake of Iranian-manufactured drones being used by Russia to hit civilian and infrastructure targets inside Ukraine.

    For the first time Iran has acknowledged there was a danger that it might find itself excluded from the World Cup, a move that would be a devastating blow to a country that adores football. The Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi, said he would be contacting Qatar, the hosts of the tournament.

    Ukraine said Iran – due to play England on 21 November – “is guilty of systematic violations of human rights, which probably violates the Fifa Charter”.

    The Shakhtar Donetsk CEO Sergei Palkin called for Iran to be replaced by Ukraine at this year’s tournament. “While the Iranian leadership will have fun watching their national team play at the World Cup, Ukrainians will be killed by Iranian drones and Iranian missiles,” he said on Twitter.

    The latest signs of external support for the Iranian protests led by women and students came as sit-ins continued in universities and more than 500 civilian journalists put their names to an internal petition demanding that reporters who helped break the story of Mahsa Amini be released from detention.

    Iran’s government is also having to confront the fallout from a round of trials, funerals and 40th day commemorations as the death toll mounts….

  40. says

    Akira MacKenzie @ #38:

    @ 30

    Ugh! No wonder Greg Greenwald likes this guy.

    He wouldn’t be there without Greenwald, whose articles at the Intercept exposing the corruption behind Lula’s prosecution were crucial in getting his conviction overturned. As I said above, it’s understandable that leftwing leaders in the Americas and other parts of the world where US imperialism has been most sustained and vicious would have this sort of response, but it’s very much the wrong position in this case. It was good for Biden, Macron, and others to immediately recognize Lula’s victory and point to the legitimacy of the election. Biden would be wise to maintain a respectful and fair approach to Lula’s administration.

  41. says

    (Aaron Rupar and?) Noah Berlatsky on Substack – “When Elon Musk owns speech, it isn’t free”:

    …Musk isn’t preserving public space. He’s using his vast resources to seize control of a publication because he didn’t like its editorial line. That’s not an example of free speech unbound. It’s an example of how the very wealthy can silence criticism and bury the public in propaganda.

    As Hank Green, the CEO of Complexly, tweeted, “A lot of people who say they want ‘free speech’ actually just want to be the one in charge of which speech is free.”

    Twitter’s TOS provide a broad statement of editorial principles. For instance, its policy is that “you may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” Twitter also refuses to print violent threats and can ban tweets or users for the glorification of violence. This is the policy under which the service deleted the account of Donald Trump, who used twitter to justify and encourage a violent attack on the Capitol.

    Twitter made an editorial decision; it didn’t want to use its resources or its platform to promote violent insurrection. Elon Musk disagrees with that editorial stance; he thinks Twitter should allow people to organize violent insurrection using its resources and its platform. He thinks it should be a place where bigots and conspiracy theorists like himself reign supreme and can defame political leaders targeted for assassination by the far right….

    Much more, including a discussion of Henry Ford, at the link.

  42. says

    Yahoo! (Reuters) – “Iran university students strike, piling pressure on rulers”:

    Iranian university students pressed ahead with sit-down strikes on Tuesday in support of some of the biggest protests since the 1979 revolution, ignoring harsh warnings by elite security forces and a bloody crackdown.

    The Islamic Republic has faced sustained anti-government demonstrations since Iranian-Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the morality police seven weeks ago after she was arrested for wearing clothes deemed “inappropriate”.

    The activist HRANA news agency said the sit-down strikes were taking place in several cities including Tehran and Isfahan, part of a popular revolt calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    One of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leaders in decades, the protests have been gaining more and more steam, frustrating authorities who have tried to put the blame on Iran’s foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest, a narrative that few Iranians believe….

  43. says

    Ukraine update: The tank isn’t dead, but the helicopter…

    On Halloween, Russia lost three helicopters. Minimum. That included an Mi-8 transport helicopter shot down near Berestove, close to the Bakhmut front lines and a pair of Ka-52 attack helicopters that came too near Ukrainian positions in Kherson oblast. In addition, a widely-circulated video reportedly shows a Russian dissident sabotaging Russian helicopters at Veretye Air Base inside Russia on October 30. At that air base, three helicopters were reportedly lost on Monday.

    On average, the Russian air force has lost one helicopter a day, every day, since the invasion began. A few of those losses are difficult to confirm as, unlike a tank or artillery piece, a damaged helicopter may make it back across lines of control before it actually goes down. In addition, the wreckage on the ground of an aircraft may be so complete, that it’s difficult to tell one from another. Oryx has confirmed 57 Russian helicopter losses, but the 257 downed helicopters number from the Ukrainian ministry of defense is completely believable. For comparison, the U.S. and its allies lost 118 helicopters over the course of the war in Afghanistan, but most of those were maintenance and operational issues over the long course of that conflict. Only 35 were brought down due to enemy fire.

    Russia’s loss in Ukraine so far represents roughly $3.8B worth of helicopters. It’s also likely to be more than 200 trained helicopter pilots along with an unknown number of crew and passengers. At this point, Russia is utterly incapable of replacing either the lost machinery or the centuries of lost flying experience.

    While there’s been a lot of discussion about Russia rolling out older tanks and transports as a sign of how deeply Russia was dipping into dusty Soviet storage lockers to pad out its declining fortunes in Ukraine, there’s not been much of a look at what’s going on in Ukraine when it comes to helicopters. During this invasion, Russia lost Mi-8 and Mi-2 transport helicopters, along with Mi-24P, Mi-35M, Mi-28, and Ka-25 attack helicopters. Which of these is new and nifty?

    In a way, the answer is none of them. Though there are two that are newish.

    The Mi-8 went into production in 1961. It’s regarded as a solid design, and many thousands of them have been made, but the basic airframe hasn’t changed since before the end of the war in Vietnam. It’s not surprising that these helicopters also make up the majority of losses on the Ukrainian side. Mi-8s are just absolutely ubiquitous across the former Soviet Union and beyond. While they are an old design, they are still being produced in limited numbers today, chiefly licensed versions produced outside Russia with updated engines and electronics. [Tweet and video at the link]

    That “still being produced” can’t be said about the Mi-2. It was one of the first helicopters produced for the Soviet Union, with all known editions rolling from a factory in Poland that ceased operation along with that Union. The Soviets apparently liked it, because better than 5,000 were made, but they were all pretty darn similar to the first ones that rolled out in 1965. They’re still used as training helicopters and for search and rescue in other countries. Russia is still using them in Ukraine, where at least three have been captured, and two shot down.

    The Ka-25 “Alligator” attack chopper is also a pretty creaky design, taking its first flight in 1963 and entering service two years later. What’s more, the production of these helicopters stopped in 1977. That would be the year I graduated high school, so you know these things are old. Presumably, someone has gotten in there and tinkered with the gear over the many, many years since they last rolled out. Or maybe not, since they just keep going down. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Those who were around back in the dusty days of yore might better remember the Mi-24 as the “Hind.” It was a feared helicopter gunship in its day, and speculating about Russia screaming across Germany with a wave of Hinds was right up there with pondering how many tanks might come through the Fulda Gap. In fact, it was such a respected and fretted-over design that when the Soviet Union fell, the U.S. moved quickly to acquire its own set of Mi-24s, which are still used in training today. The Hind spread around the world to the point where it’s easier to say who doesn’t fly this helicopter in some form. It’s a 1960s design, but it’s regarded as a tough and proven one (which hasn’t stopped both Russia and Ukraine from losing examples in this war).

    The Mi-28 is one of the last Soviet designs, and it actually didn’t go into service until after both the wall and the Soviet empire were rubble. Designed in the 1970s, first flown in the 1980s, the “Havoc” didn’t actually hit production until 2009. In a lot of ways, the Havoc seems like a clone of the American Apache. In a lot of ways. Though both of them date to the same era of design and first flight, so … good espionage on someone’s part. Variants on the Apache are still being made, and in fact, new ones are still being introduced. That also seems to be the case with this design. Russia likely started this war with fewer than 200 of them. Possibly fewer than 100. They’ve been a much rarer sight above the battlefield than either the Mi-8 or Ka-25, but at least six of them have been shot down. [Tweet and video at the link]

    The Mi-35 (also known as the Mi-24V) is the official replacement for the older Mi-24 “Hind.” It’s still based on the same airframe design, but with significant upgrades: short wings, a new rotor design, better engines, and new electronics. Even with the old design elements, it can be regarded as the first, and only, new helicopter produced by the Russian Federation. Russia also reportedly put some armor around the pilot on this one. Which must be nice. Like the original Hind, it can carry a small number of troops (6 or 8, depending on configuration) as well as a load of anti-tank missiles and a turret gun. It’s theoretically formidable, but at least five of these now lay smashed on the Ukrainian countryside. Russia was thought to have produced around 50 of these, in total.

    In terms of ground units, consider the Mi-24 Hind as the T-72 of attack helicopters. They were well-regarded in their day, and quite a few were built. What Russia still has in operating condition, and to what degree the ones reaching Ukraine have been upgraded, isn’t really clear. But the quality of Mi-24s being flown, and the experience of the pilots doing the flying, is almost certainly decreasing day by day.

    The Mi-28 and Mi-35 are more like the T-80 and T-90 tanks — newer vehicles that borrow heavily from older designs, but with upgraded engines, armor, and gear. Like the T-80 and T-90, they also much rarer in Ukraine. [Tweet and video at the link]

    In a pinch, Russia could likely roll out something when it comes to a new helicopter, but the newest versions of all these craft are heavily, heavily dependent on their electronics, not just for fire control, but even flight mechanics. It’s unlikely Russia will find the necessary chipsets by cannibalizing washing machines.

    Just as with that Mi-35 in the video above, Ukraine knows what it takes to keep a helicopter alive on the modern battlefield — flying at as close to zero elevation as possible. Why are both the Russian and Ukrainian helicopters skimming above cars on the highway? Because it’s the one place they can be pretty sure of not encountering trees or telephone lines. [tweet and video at the link]

    The ability to fly “on the deck” keeps helicopters alive in a battlefield rife with portable anti-aircraft weapons, but it also means their ability to carry out reconnaissance is highly limited. That Mi-8 that went down Monday near Berestove also gives a pretty good idea of how not capable helicopters as a means of getting troops to the front line in these conditions.

    Early in this invasion, as Russia racked up loss after loss, the question that some military strategists had been asking for decades came up again: Is the tank dead? The answer to that is a decided no. What’s dead, and will remain that way, is using tanks as a solo tool, unsupported by infantry and not coordinated into a larger action.

    But one question that doesn’t seem to have come up is this: Is the helicopter dead? At least, is the helicopter dead as a tool of the modern battlefield?

    Yes, Russia and Ukraine are both still using, and losing, helicopters. In Russia’s case, those losses are happening daily. However, it’s not exactly clear what value helicopters are contributing that makes them worth the cost and risk. There are definitely special circumstances in which helicopters have done work that is absolutely spectacular (i.e. that night raid into Belgorod were a pair of Ukrainian helicopters flew at tree-top level more than 30 miles into Russia, took out a Russian fuel depot, and returned). But increasingly, it’s hard to see how even those special tasks couldn’t be performed — and perhaps, better performed — by drones or precision-guided ammunition.

    The idea of swarms of helicopters ferrying infantry to the front lines might have made sense when the people at the front weren’t carrying gear that could accurately and reliably take down those helicopters. The role of helicopters as transport has now been strictly restricted, to the point where they’ve become “fast trucks” working in the backfield.

    When it comes to offensive use, a helicopter thrumming across the combat area to unleash a rack of missiles, then curling away with prop-wash rattling the trees, still has a psychological impact that’s hard to match. However, in terms of real damage done, couldn’t a Bayraktar or two achieve much the same thing, at much lower costs, without putting at risk either a multi-million dollar helicopter or its well-trained and irreplaceable crew?

    As the use of drones in this war expands, it’s not the tank that is likely to meet its end as a military weapon. It’s the weapon that operates in the same way, with many of the same goals, as those drones. The utility helicopter is unlikely to disappear because there are still many roles it can perform, but the attack helicopter may really be seeing its future written, day by day, in the rising number of losses above Ukraine.

  44. says

    Kyiv Post – “Ukrainian Commandoes Raid Airfield Deep Inside Russia, Destroy Frontline Helicopters”:

    Ukrainian commandoes blew up three helicopter gunships at a Russian military airfield close to the Latvian border, in one of the most spectacular behind-the-lines raids launched by either side since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, multiple sources confirmed on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

    The Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said in a Monday, Oct. 31 statement that the Oct. 30 attack took place at the Russian army’s Veretye air base in north-western Pskov Region. The facility is more than 500 km., as the missile flies, from Ukraine to the south, and some 110 km from NATO member Latvia to the east.

    Two Kamaz-52 attack helicopters were destroyed completely and a third was badly damaged by det charges placed by Ukrainian operatives infiltrating in and out of the site without being detected, the GUR statement added. Russian security teams subsequently found a fourth helicopter rigged with explosives that had not gone off, some news reports said.

    The Ka-52 “Alligator” helicopter is one of the Kremlin’s latest combat aircraft and has been widely profiled on state-controlled media as an example of growing Russian military might. In serial production since 2007, the $16 million aircraft is equipped with a multi-level digital computer-based system, a helmet-mounted sight display, advanced navigation, and hard points for anti-tank missiles, ground attack rockets, and aerial bombs.

    Multiple Russian Telegram channels have confirmed that the attack took place. Some initially challenged Kyiv’s capability to pull off such an attack, but even pro-Kremlin information platforms conceded the Ukrainian success following the Oct. 31 appearance of video of the actual sabotage operation in progress.

    Originally published on the Telegram channel Orestokratiya, an information platform run by the management of Ukraine’s Obozrevatel magazine, the video shows an unarmed man in military attire preparing and planting explosives in the fuselage of a Ka-52 helicopter parked on the concrete tarmac of what appears to be a Russian army airfield. Russian soldiers are nowhere to be seen.

    The Starshie Eddy Telegram channel, a pro-Kremlin information platform focusing on military developments, wrote: “Let’s be frank, this is a gross failure on our side. Yes, we need, immediately, much more severe punishment for those who are tracking (derogative swear word for Ukrainians) inside Russia. If it’s possibly to calmly blow up a helicopter on the grounds of military unit, what can we say about our less protected sites?”

    Yuriy Butusov, a leading Ukrainian military journalist, said in a Facebook comment that the strike was “One of the best sabotage operations of the GUR…the saboteurs entered the territory of a particularly important military base, went unnoticed to the helicopter parking lot, installed four explosive devices, that is, wasted some time, set a timer and also left the territory of the air base unnoticed.”…

    I saw this video yesterday and people were suggesting it was genuine, but I still couldn’t quite believe it.

  45. says

    More Ukraine updates:

    The coordinates shown on this screen indicate this launch is against a Russian jet deep inside Russian-occupied territory. Systems like this are definitely contributing to high rates of aircraft losses. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Of course, things are also not so safe on the ground. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Precious #Russian brigade/battalion level R-149MA1 command and staff vehicle was captured in #Kherson region.

    Pentagon of 126th Coastal Defence Brigade of Black Sea Fleet provides the location.

    I won’t pretend to know how concerned to be about this. Please note that Serbia did this same thing just a couple of weeks ago, and then hit the snooze button. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Serbia has put its armed forces on high alert and is sending army units toward the border with Kosovo.

    A couple of things worth noting on the map near Svatove this morning. [map at the link]

    First, the Ukrainian MOD has made the liberation of Novoselivske official. As with many announcements in this area, this seems to be running about 10 days behind when the area was actually reported liberated on Telegram / Twitter accounts, but Ukraine doesn’t seem to be ticking these off until things are genuinely all quiet.

    Second, there has been reported fighting for several hours down at Chervonopopivka, where Ukrainian troops are reportedly advancing toward the highway. This follows renewed reports that Ukraine has already cut the highway to the north at Ploshchanka, but I’ve pulled back that area on the map pending some kind of verification. After last week’s regional commander vs. regional governor argument over what had or had not been liberated, I’m trying to apply additional caution.

    No word on the fighting that had been active over the weekend at Nezhuryne and Popivka, directly west of Svatove. Some accounts indicated that Ukrainian forces in this area had also reached the highway, but I have no confirmation and no news from the area in the last 24 hours.

    By the way, that guide to drones in Ukraine is coming along, but before I get much farther, there may be a change. […] [image showing Switchblade 300 image as example of headers used in the guide] The U.S. has sent at least 700 Switchblade 300 “kamikaze” drones to Ukraine.

    They make, I hope, attractive headers to each drone and give a visual indicator of the size, range, and category of use. So that’s cool. However, they’re also a genuine PITA to make and more time is currently going into creating these images than to writing up the text of the guide. Which doesn’t seem good.

    So it’s likely that these little headers will not appear in the “first edition” of the drone guide. Instead, I’ll continue to knob around with them over the next few weeks, and see if they can be incorporated into an update.

    Link. Scroll down for this part of the update.

  46. says

    Attorney tells SCOTUS why white men get ‘thumb’ on scale but not those kicked in teeth for centuries

    Facing a decision by conservative Supreme Court justices to eliminate affirmative action at colleges and universities, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson made her argument plain on Monday when presented with ridiculous scenarios from both her peers and a lawyer representing a group challenging a landmark affirmative action case.

    The Students for Fair Admissions group is challenging admissions programs considering race at Harvard and the University of North Carolina. Patrick Strawbridge, a lawyer for the group, said while it would be okay for students of color to write personal essays detailing cultural experiences, “racial classifications are wrong,” and therefore, the court should overturn its decision in the case of Grutter v. Bollinger. The Supreme Court decided in the 2003 case that colleges would be permitted to consider race in admission processes aimed at improving diversity, but today’s Supreme Court appeared ready to overlook what New York Times journalist Adam Liptak described as decades of precedents to overturn the opinion.

    Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, who has been a disappointment since the moment he was nominated to fill Justice Thurgood Marshall’s seat, had this to add to the discussion of one of the most important issues the Supreme Court is taking up this session:

    “I’ve heard the word diversity quite a few times, and I don’t have a clue what it means. It seems to mean everything for everyone.”

    In this conversation of racial diversity at universities, the term is hardly ambiguous, and this implication that “diversity” isn’t definitive enough to have real benefits simply demonstrates how out of touch Thomas continues to be. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Barchas Prelogar explained exactly what is at stake, as did Jackson.

    Prelogar said:

    A blanket ban on race-conscious admissions would cause racial diversity to plummet at many of our nation’s leading educational institutions. Race-neutral alternatives right now can’t make up the difference so all students at those schools would be denied the benefits of learning in a diverse educational environment. And because college is the training ground for America’s future leaders, the negative consequences would have reverberations throughout just about every important institution in America. For the United States military, as I’ve explained, having a diverse officer corps is a critical national security imperative. For corporate America, diversity is essential to business solutions. For the medical community and scientific researchers, diversity is an essential element of innovation and delivering better health outcomes.

    Jackson, who recused herself having graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and sitting on the university’s board of overseers, gave a hypothetical to illustrate what Prelogar explained.

    The justice said:

    And so what I’m worried about is that the rule that you’re advocating, that in the context of a holistic review process, a university can take into account and value all of the other background and personal characteristics of other applicants, but they can’t value race. What I’m worried about is that that seems to me to have the potential of causing more of an equal protection problem than it’s actually solving. And the reason why I get to that possible conclusion is thinking about two applicants who would like to have their family backgrounds credited in this applications process. And I’m hoping to get your reaction to this hypothetical.

    The first applicant says, ‘I’m from North Carolina. My family has been in this area for generations, since before the Civil War, and I would like you to know that I will be the fifth generation to graduate from the University of North Carolina. I now have that opportunity to do that, and given my family background, it’s important to me that I get to attend this university. I want to honor my family’s legacy by going to this school.’ The second applicant says, ‘I’m from North Carolina. My family’s been in this area for generations, since before the Civil War, but they were slaves and never had a chance to attend this venerable institution. As an African American, I now have that opportunity, and given my family background, it’s important to me to attend this university. I want to honor my family legacy by going to this school.’

    Now, as I understand your no race-conscious admissions rule, these two applicants would have a dramatically different opportunity to tell their family stories and to have them count. The first applicant would be able to have his family background considered and valued by the institution as part of its consideration of whether or not to admit him, while the second one wouldn’t be able to because his story is in many ways bound up with his race and with the race of his ancestors. So I want to know based on how your rule would likely play out in scenarios like that why excluding consideration of race in a situation in which the person is not saying that his race is something that has impacted him in a negative way. He just wants to have it honored just like the other person has their personal background family story honored. Why is telling him no not an equal protection violation?

    [video at the link]

    Justice Elena Kagan asked a similar question, but in the reverse. She asked […] whether universities could “put a thumb on the scale in admissions decisions” to make sure men weren’t underrepresented. Strawbridge answered that a “less demanding legal standard” applied in that scenario as compared with the standard applying to race distinctions.

    Kagan’s synopsis: “White men get the thumb on the scale, but people who have been kicked in the teeth by our society for centuries do not?”

    To answer the question: Yes, that is precisely what conservatives would like.

  47. says

    As Elon Musk cements control of his tech behemoth Twitter, he’s already effected a remarkable transformation to the global platform, inspiring racist trolls, Russian disinformation bots and other socially repugnant specimens everywhere to enlist in his noble crusade for untrammeled “free speech.” He’s even gotten into the act himself, tweeting vicious lies about the Republican-inspired attack on House Speaker Pelosi’s husband, then deleting them like a giggling teenager trying to cover his tracks.

    Now [Elon Muck is] ensconcing himself in the realm of the abusive employer. As reported by Lora Kolodny for CNBC, the new normal at Twitter for some employees appears to be an 84-hour work week.

    Managers at Twitter have instructed some employees to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, in order to hit Musk’s aggressive deadlines, according to internal communications. The sprint orders have come without any discussion about overtime pay or comp time, or about job security. Task completion by the early November deadline is seen as a make-or-break matter for their careers at Twitter.

    Musk appears to be using a “carrot and stick” approach to these abusive practices, as he has publicly declared vast numbers of layoffs are in the offing, thus cultivating an atmosphere of “fear and distrust” at the company, according to Kolodny’s reporting. Employees claim they’ve been left largely in the dark as to whether they’ll be targeted, even as their managerial taskmasters implement weekend assignments, sleeping (presumably) on cots laid out in their offices on Friday and Saturday nights, according to reporting by Grace Dean of Business Insider. […]

    The process has been likened to a ”Hunger Games” mentality, subjecting employees to do-or-die, busy-work scenarios even as Musk repopulates the company’s leadership with staff culled from his other companies. Still, the prevailing survival theory among employees seems to be “propinquity,” or proximity to the office, as a means of — perhaps — staving off the inevitable:

    “Propinquity is huge right now,” one of the people said, saying employees feel it’s better to be close to the action. There’s a sense among workers that some of the recent things they’ve been asked to do, like print out their recent coding work for Musk to look at (only to be told to throw it away) and work the weekend, is a test to show who has been working hard and who is likely to keep doing so.

    […] Since the early 2000’s there has always been a degree of cachet and status attached to working for these “cutting edge” tech companies, which is certainly a huge factor in their draw.

    But an 84-hour week still means you’re working twice as hard as everyone else, so your real compensation is essentially cut in half. And the cost to your health and well-being in such circumstances often leaves more permanent scars in terms of fatigue, disease, depression, failed relationships and substance abuse. Young people in particular are often lured into these regimens –often cynically characterize as a “rite of passage” — by companies whose profit motives are prioritized above all else.

    More to the point, the fact that your CEO happens to be an egomaniacal billionaire doesn’t justify these types of exploitative, coercive labor regimes. Several countries in the EU (Germany, for example), for example, have strict laws prohibiting work exceeding a maximum number of hours, and EU regulations mandate that employers track their employees’ work hours, just to avoid scenarios like the one happening at Twitter right now.

    Perhaps Twitter’s beleaguered employees should ask themselves a simple question: what kind of employer judges his employee’s fitness for his company by forcing them to work impossible hours, goading them like hamsters with the reward of future stock options, simply to prove their worth? And is it really in their long-term best interest to work for such a person, in such an environment? If the answer is “yes,” then, by all means, Musk is the employer for you.

    Still, I’ve been told there are a lot of jobs out there right now.

    Link

  48. Reginald Selkirk says

    @66: There are no North American countries on the list. The most likely reason is equipment compatibility. North America uses 120 V @ 60 Hz. Ukraine, as most of Europe, uses 220/230 V @ 50 Hz.

  49. Reginald Selkirk says

    Tokyo issues long-awaited same-sex partnership certificates

    Tokyo’s metropolitan government began issuing partnership certificates to same-sex couples who live and work in the capital on Tuesday, a move that’s been long-awaited in a country that still does not allow equal marriage.
    The status does not carry the same rights as marriage, but allows LGBTQ partners to be treated as married couples for some public services in areas such as housing, health and welfare…

  50. says

    Good news: Supreme Court tells Lindsey Graham what he didn’t want to hear

    Lindsey Graham has fought tooth and nail to avoid testifying in Georgia’s election probe. His efforts have failed — and he’s now out of options.

    […] A federal district court rejected the argument in August, saying investigators in Georgia have legitimate reasons to ask whether there was “any coordination either before or after the calls with the Trump campaign’s post-election efforts in Georgia.” The same court added that Graham could be asked about his public statements regarding the election, and any efforts to “cajole” or “exhort” election officials in the state.

    The senator then took his case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, where a three-judge panel — which included two Trump appointees whom Graham voted to confirm — unanimously agreed that the senator’s argument fell short.

    Still desperate to avoid complying with the subpoena, Graham made one last appeal to the Supreme Court, which today turned the Republican down.

    For their part, Graham’s attorneys have emphasized that the senator is not a target of the investigation in Georgia, but rather, “simply a witness.” That may very well be true, and I’ve seen no evidence to the contrary. It does raise questions, however, about why the GOP lawmaker has fought so vehemently against cooperating.

    As things stand, Graham could face questioning as soon as Nov. 17. He’ll have the option of invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, though if he does, that would a highly provocative move.

    NBC News:

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request from Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to quash a grand jury subpoena in a Georgia prosecutor’s probe into alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election. The decision is a victory for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose office is investigating phone calls Graham made to Georgia election officials at a time when then-President Donald Trump was contesting the result.

  51. says

    Misinformation directed at voters:

    Voters in at least three states have received texts with erroneous information ahead of the midterm elections next week. Officials in Kansas, New Jersey, and Oregon urge voters in those states to seek information from official channels like state government voting portals when it comes to finding their polling places. […] some voters in Kansas and Oregon received texts linking them with addresses they’ve never resided at or directing them to vote at the wrong polling place. Whoever is behind those texts claim they represent Voting Futures, a group that offers little on its website […]

    Identical texts claiming to be sent by legitimate groups like Voto Latino and Black Voters Matter can be traced back to the company Movement Labs, which both organizations used for voting-related text banking. Movement Labs claimed the texts sent on behalf of Voto Latino and Black Voters Matter were sent in error. But little information has come out about Voting Futures and whether the group also contracted with Movement Labs.

    […] Tweets from Movement Labs show that voters in Illinois and North Carolina were also sent erroneous messages. Some of those messages weren’t endorsed by the organizations that did business with Movement Labs. Other messages simply included information that was outdated, based off of the phone records obtained by Movement Labs.

    Regardless of intent, voter disinformation has been a major issue once again this election season, especially when it comes to social media platforms. Propaganda Research Lab Senior Research Fellow Inga Kristina Trauthig sees texting and private messages as just the latest battleground in the fight against such disinformation. In a recent op-ed for The Hill, Trauthig writes that “all of us should expect disinformation to heighten around elections.”

    She called for more mechanisms to be developed by messaging platforms and social media companies that address disinformation, and said that policymakers can also do more to hold those companies accountable. Until then, it’s best to go through official channels when looking for polling place or voter registration information, and seeking information from reputable sources, such as organizations that offer voting guides ahead of elections.

    Link

  52. says

    From the latest Guardian liveblog summary:

    Volodymyr Zelenskiy met today with Kadri Simson, European Union commissioner for energy affairs, and told her that Russian forces have “seriously damaged” about 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, in particular thermal power plants, thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants. Because of the ongoing attacks, Ukraine has been forced to stop exporting electricity to Europe – a practice the country began after accession. “I am sure that we will restore everything, and in a calmer time, when the situation in our energy system will be stabilized, we will continue exporting electricity to Europe,” Zelenskiy said.

    With Russia continuing to attack Ukraine’s critical infrastructure as the country heads into what is predicted to be a very cold and hard winter, Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, is getting ready to open around 1,000 public points of heating for city residents.

    ….

    The Russian-occupying government in the Kherson oblast has moved its administration further south to Skadovsk, said the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces. This comes as Russian authorities forcibly relocate 70,000 civilians from the left bank of the Dnipro river – one week after relocating them there from the right bank. The general staff described these tactics as “intimidation of civilian residents”.

    Russian forces launched four missile and 26 air strikes, and carried out 27 multiple launch rocket system attacks on more than 20 settlements today, the general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces said.

    The general staff of the Ukrainian armed forces today confirmed the destruction wrought by their attack on Russian ammunition depots in the Zaporizhzhia oblast on 29 October. Ukrainian forces destroyed five units of military equipment, killed 30 Russian personnel and wounded at least 100….

  53. says

    […] Paul Pelosi is a real person, an 82-year-old man who suffered serious injuries from blows with a hammer. I think that’s where the focus of our concerns should remain.

    Here is yesterday’s press release:

    San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the horrific attack on Paul Pelosi:

    “Since the horrific attack on Paul early Friday, we have been deluged with thousands of messages conveying concern, prayers and warm wishes. We are most grateful.

    “Thanks to the excellent trauma care medical team at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Paul is making steady progress on what will be a long recovery process.

    “Our family thanks everyone for their kindness.”

    So apparently Mr. Pelosi’s injuries are severe enough that there will be a long recovery. But thankfully, he is steadily improving.

    Best wishes to the Pelosis. […]

    Link

  54. whheydt says

    Has anyone seen anything new or confirmation from the events in Sevastopol harbor on Friday? Ukraine hasn’t–officially, at least–said anything. The Russians first said that one ship took slight damage and later that two ships had been damaged. The video that has been circulating certainly appears to show a successful attack on the Adm. Makarov (the presumed flagship). That attack would be expected to do pretty significant damage to a frigate (Armor? What armor?). One would think that, by now, there would be satellite images that would show what–if anything–has taken place.

    Side note… I don’t know how deep the harbor is, especially where the Adm. Makarov is/was anchored. I am reminded, though, that when the British sank the Tirpitz in water that was only a few feet deeper than her keel, the Germans hastily repainted the hull to make it appear she was still afloat. It fooled the British, at least for a while. Not sure the Russians would be quick enough or effective enough to pull that off if the Adm. Makarov sank on an even keel in shallow water.

  55. whheydt says

    BBC report from brazil: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-63451860

    Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has broken the silence he had maintained since being defeated in Sunday’s presidential election.

    He thanked voters who had cast their ballots for him but did not acknowledge defeat.

    But he did not contest the result either, as some had feared he would.

    His chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, spoke after Mr Bolsonaro’s brief statement saying that the “process of transition” of power would begin.

    Mr Bolsonaro said that he had always stayed within the framework of the constitution and would continue to respect it.

    He did not mention Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his arch rival who narrowly beat him on Sunday, at all.

    In an apparent reference to the hundreds of roadblocks which his hardcore supporters have erected across the country, he said that “peaceful demonstrations” would always be welcome.

    The head of Brazil’s Supreme Court, Alexandre de Moraes, had said earlier on Tuesday that there was “a risk to national security” and ordered that the roads be cleared.

    But police have struggled to remove all the roadblocks, of which there are still more than 250.

    In a reference to the motto on Brazil’s flag, Mr Bolsonaro also said that “we’re for order and progress”. And he repeated the values he says he and his party stand for: “God, fatherland, family and freedom”.

  56. says

    Francis Scarr:

    If you thought you’d seen it all from Vladimir Solovyov, think again

    In his latest tirade, he calls Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “counterattack” launched in response to eight years of Ukrainian “genocide against those who won’t accept LGBT, transgender-Nazi values”

    A reminder that Solovyov didn’t always have such a problem with Zelensky’s dancing…

    Subtitled video and Zelenskyy/Solovyov video at the (Twitter) link. He notes how “interesting” it is that the original Nazis wanted to “eliminate Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and the mentally ill” but the new Ukrainian Nazis are “absolutely entwined with ultraliberalism” and have on the front lines “pederasts” who “deny the very essence of humanity and neglect themselves.” This leads him into the rant about Zelenskyy’s acting career and how it promoted “pederastic values” – “all his dancing in latex, all his gay mannerisms, all that playing around with drugs…”

  57. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile in Russia: Tucker Carlson’s lies are too much even for Kremlin propagandists, who fact-check Tucker: “No, Jamie Raskin didn’t actually say that.”

    Russian propagandists also complain that their leadership can’t be as oppressive as US Republicans: “What about abortions?”…

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. Bang-up job fighting fascism today, Russian TV.

  58. says

    I had missed this earlier from Julia Davis:

    Russian state TV is telling the viewers that it’s better to die than to lose the war to the wicked West, claiming that if they lose, Russians will be on display in Western zoos alongside the animals.

    More in my latest article…

    Subtitled video and DB link at the (Twitter) link. I think Simonyan mentioned a while back that her kids have a private English tutor.

  59. says

    Kyiv tonight. Ukrainian director Ivan Uryvsky stages Caligula, a play by Albert Camus.

    Sold out, no empty place. Citizens of Kyiv discover the essence of totalitarianism watching the performance staged at the times of war.

    I love this city and its people so much.”

    Photo at the (Twitter) link. Fantastic!

  60. tomh says

    The Philadelphia Inquirer
    Pa. Supreme Court orders counties to set aside undated and wrongly dated mail ballots and not count them
    Jonathan Lai and Jeremy Roebuck / November 1, 2022

    Pennsylvania counties must segregate and not count mail ballots with missing or incorrect dates, the state Supreme Court said Tuesday, in a ruling that could affect thousands of votes in November’s midterm elections.

    “The Pennsylvania county boards of elections are hereby ordered to refrain from counting any absentee and mail-in ballots received for the November 8, 2022 general election that are contained in undated or incorrectly dated outer envelopes,” the court said in its order Tuesday afternoon.

    The justices said they were deadlocked, 3-3, on whether rejecting undated and wrongly dated mail ballots violates federal civil rights law. They did not immediately issue any opinions that would explain the order and said they would come later. It was not immediately clear whether the court intended to have the ballots rejected altogether, since it ordered counties to set them aside and “refrain” from counting them….

    Chief Justices Debra Todd and justices Christine Donohue and David Wecht, all elected as Democrats, would have found that the rejection of undated and wrongly dated ballots violates federal law. Justices Kevin Dougherty, a Democrat, and Sallie Updyke Mundy and Kevin Brobson, Republicans, disagreed.

    There are normally seven justices on the high court, but Chief Justice Max Baer died in September.

    The decision is the latest development in a heated political and legal fight that began with the dramatic expansion of Pennsylvania mail voting in 2020.

    State law requires voters to handwrite a date on the outer envelope when returning mail ballots. But the question of whether to count or reject ballots that are received on time without a date has become complicated over the past few years.

    Debates over which ballots should count — and what requirements and limitations are acceptable when it comes to voting — have been at the center of the country’s long civil rights journey.

    The undated ballot fight is also a political one, too.

    Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, so anything that gets more ballots counted or rejected has clear partisan implications. In the upcoming midterm election, for example, Tuesday’s decision will mean potentially several thousand votes for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate nominee, and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the party’s nominee for governor, are held in limbo and possibly rejected.

    What is an ‘undated’ mail ballot?
    Pennsylvania election law requires voters to sign and date the outer envelope when using mail ballots. Counties accept any handwritten date — voters sometimes write, for example, birthdates — as long as the ballot is received on time. The “undated” mail ballots in question are those that are received on time, without other defects that would lead them to be rejected, but have no handwritten date.

    The court ruling came in a lawsuit brought by Republican voters and groups, including the state and national Republican Parties. They asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to take on the issue of undated mail ballots directly, without a lawsuit first making its way through lower courts, saying the state urgently needed clarity from the high court for this election.

    Each of the last four elections prompted battles over undated ballots, including a state Supreme Court lawsuit in the 2020 general election, a threat to impeach Philadelphia elections officials for moving to count undated ballots in the 2021 primary, state and federal lawsuits over Lehigh County’s treatment of undated ballots in the 2021 general, and state lawsuits in this year’s primary.

    The lawsuits, in forums ranging from local county courts to the U.S. Supreme Court, had left a murky legal landscape.

    Democrats, using one set of court rulings, said counties should count undated ballots. Doing otherwise, they argue would result in rejecting hundreds of votes from qualified voters who simply made a mistake in filling out their ballots.

    Republicans, using another set of court rulings, said the state election code leaves no room for doubt — they must be rejected.

    On Tuesday, the court deadlocked on the issue.

  61. Oggie: Mathom says

    From SC@80:

    claiming that if they lose, Russians will be on display in Western zoos alongside the animals.

    Wow. That is GOP level absurdization of reality. It’s almost as if the GOP and Putin’s Russia were somehow linked.

  62. says

    Meduza – “Occupying authorities in Kherson announce ‘mandatory evacuation’ near Kakhovka hydropower station”:

    Vladimir Saldo, Russian-appointed head of the annexed [sic part of the Kherson region, announced the evacuation of residents of areas within a 15-kilometer [about nine-mile] radius of the Dnipro.

    His video address says the evacuation will affect the Novokakhovka urban district, and the Hola Prystan, Oleshky, Kakhovka, Hornostaivka, Velyka Lepetykha, and Verkhnii Rohachyk administrative regions.

    The occupying administration of the Kakhovka area posted Saldo’s order on the “mandatory removal (evacuation)” of residents, as well as of governmental departments and municipal enterprises, on its Telegram channel.

    In its next post, occupying authorities warn those who want to stay that authorities will use “forced evacuation measures” beginning on November 6:

    All residents! Leave your village immediately. Your lives are in danger. A high level military threat is expected. Evacuation is being implemented by organized automobile transport. Go to an evacuation point. Take your documents, money, valuables, and warm clothes. From November 6, we will apply forced evacuation measures to those who remain.

  63. tomh says

    WaPo
    Candidate promises Republicans can take permanent control of Wisconsin
    By Patrick Marley / November 1, 2022

    MADISON, Wis. — Hinting at his plans to overhaul how elections are run, the Republican running for governor of Wisconsin this week said his party would permanently control the state if he wins.

    “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor,” construction executive Tim Michels told supporters Monday at a campaign stop.

    Michels is seeking to unseat Gov. Tony Evers (D), who over his four years vetoed a string of Republican-backed bills that would have changed voting rules in a battleground state that Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016 and narrowly lost in 2020.

    Michels has promised to sign similar legislation and has said he would restructure the state’s bipartisan elections commission. He has never spelled out what specific changes he would make to the commission, which is run by three Democrats and three Republicans.

    Michels, who won his August primary with Trump’s endorsement, has left open the possibility that he would try to decertify the 2020 election in Wisconsin, which legal scholars say is impossible. He has declined to say whether he would certify the results of the 2024 election.

  64. says

    Satire from Andy Borowitz:

    In a policy shift, Twitter announced that it will bestow blue checks only on users it called “verified conspiracy theorists.”

    Elon Musk, the platform’s new owner, said that the policy was designed to “curate a world-class collection of the most prominent paranoiacs working today.”

    “We will be vetting conspiracy theorists to insure that they have an established track record of disseminating falsehoods,” he said. “For the benefit of our users, we want to make a clear distinction between the Dinesh D’Souzas of the world and some rookie crackpot hoping to become a major-league crackpot.”

    Musk’s announcement, however, drew howls of protests from the baseless-theory-spreading community, with some members complaining that Twitter was discriminating against no-name fabulists looking for their big break.

    “I recently tweeted that John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln as part of a drug deal gone bad,” @OptimusTruthBeacon911 said. “If that doesn’t get me a blue check, what will?”

    New Yorker link

  65. raven says

    Wounded Donbas medic rescued by Ukraine AF
    Tweet
    Dmitri @wartranslated

    A woman volunteered as a medic in the Russian army. In the very first fight, her assault brigade was destroyed, and she was left to die with blood loss as the evacuation team refused to pick her up.

    Here is a typical Russian army disaster.

    This woman volunteered as a paramedic for the Donbas armed forces.
    In their first battle, they were hit hard by the Ukrainian AF.

    They were never evacuated and she lost consciousness from blood loss.
    It has a happy ending though.
    She woke up while being carried by…Ukrainian soldiers.

  66. raven says

    One of the Russian missiles that Ukraine shot down was over Moldova.
    This article explains why Moldova doesn’t shoot them down.

    It can’t.
    Moldova doesn’t have much of a military and their air defenses are simple and old and not very good.

    Moldova also has six MiG-29 fighter jets, which, however, have not taken to the air since 1997. And in 25 years of standing on the ground, they could have turned into scrap.They apparently don’t have much of an air force either.
    They do have 6 MiG-29s that haven’t flown in 25 years and are unlikely to ever fly again.

    If Ukraine goes, AFAICT Moldova wouldn’t last another week.

    Why Moldova Doesn’t Shoot Down Missiles That Fly Over Its Territory Towards Ukraine

    Why Moldova Doesn’t Shoot Down Missiles That Fly Over Its Territory Towards Ukraine
    Defense Express ukr.defense.news@gmail.com November 1, 2022 edited for length

    The russian missile strikes on the infrastructure of Ukraine on October 31, 2022 were “unusual” in particular because one of the russian cruise missiles collapsed on the territory of Moldova, a country not involved in the conflict.

    Until this moment there were reports that the russians were deliberately aiming their cruise missiles at the South of Ukraine with a flight over Moldovan territory. And official Chisinau is already saying that “russian generals are laying the routes for their missiles as if Moldova does not exist at all.”

    Here it is quite logical to ask the question: why does Moldova not shoot down russian missiles that fly into its territory. Moreover, the neutral status is by no means an obstacle to protect one’s airspace by all available methods. It seems that the answer will be prosaic – Moldova doesn’t have any means to shoot down russian missiles or other air targets in its sky.

    The Military Balance indicates that the Armed Forces of Moldova at the end of 2021 had a rather small set of air defense equipment: units of 28 ZU-23-2 anti-aircraft autocannons, 11 units of S-60 57mm anti-aircraft autocannons and only three S-125 air defense missile complexes. Even such a list looks “optimistic”. Because there is a mention in open sources that Moldova could sell all three S-125 back in 2016, as part of the “optimization of outdated weapons.”

    Moldovan MiG-29 fighter jets in storage / Open source photo
    Moldova also has six MiG-29 fighter jets, which, however, have not taken to the air since 1997. And in 25 years of standing on the ground, they could have turned into scrap. Chisinau has been trying to find buyers for these planes since 2010, but without success. According to some reports, Ukraine apparently wanted to purchase Moldovan MiG-29s in March 2022 as “donors of spare parts”. But here Moldova refused, because it wanted to “prevent the escalation of the conflict”.

    At the end of October 2022, the Ministry of Defense of Moldova announced that they want to purchase modern Western air defense systems to protect the skies. But at the same time, the country admitted that now they need an “air defense umbrella” by the EU or NATO, as it may take at least 3 to 7 years to independently purchase air defense systems.

  67. raven says

    Another member of the Russian elite is in the hospital.
    Anatoly Karpov was a world class chess grandmaster and a member of their Parliament, the Duma.

    There are three different stories circulating about how he got his head smashed in.
    This happens a lot and it always seems to happen to anyone who doesn’t support Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Russian lawmaker who called for end to Putin’s war is comatose in hospital after claims ‘he was attacked at parliament building’ and suffered ‘unfortunate fall’

    Anatoly Karpov, 71, in a coma in hospital after suffering head injuries at weekend
    Karpov, an MP, was known as Putin loyalist but had called for end to Ukraine war

    Conflicting reports suggested he had either been beaten leaving Russia’s parliament building, had suffered a domestic incident, or had fallen over

    He is just the latest in a long line of Russian elites to meet unfortunate fates since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February
    By WILL STEWART FOR MAILONLINE the daily mail
    PUBLISHED: 04:42 EDT, 1 November 2022 | UPDATED: 05:21 EDT, 1 November 2022

    A Russian lawmaker who called for an end to Putin’s war in Ukraine is comatose in hospital after suffering serious head injuries.

    Anatoly Karpov, 71, who was a chess grandmaster in the 1970s before turning to politics, is thought to have been injured in Moscow some time overnight on Saturday – amid claims he ‘suffered a fall’.

    He is now on a neurology ward at the renowned Sklifosovsky Institute and has been placed in a medically induced coma, with allies describing his condition as ‘serious’

  68. raven says

    Another threat from Russia to nuke me, my cat, and a few million other people.
    Medvedev is one of the most powerful people in Russia, formerly the president of the Russian Federation.

    Tweet
    Dmitri @wartranslated

    Alcoholic Medvedev woke up to say that Ukraine reconquering stolen territories will lead to a nuclear conflict. Hoping for some “complete and final victory of Russia”. He probably knows Kherson is doomed.

  69. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 93

    I don’t think GoFundMe scales to that level.

    That’s only because THE JOOOOOS won’t let them! ;)

  70. Reginald Selkirk says

    Russian U-turn allows grain deal to resume

    Days after Russia suspended support for grain exports through the Black Sea, it has agreed with Turkey to restart its participation in the agreement.
    Russia accused Ukraine on Saturday of using a safety corridor for grain ships to attack its fleet in Crimea.
    However, the UN, Turkey and Ukraine continued sending ships even after Russia halted its support for the deal.
    Now, Russia’s defence ministry says Kyiv has given written assurances not to use the route for military action.
    But Germany’s foreign minister said it showed what the international community could achieve if it refused to be blackmailed by Russia…

  71. Reginald Selkirk says

    The ‘superheroes’ catching drug dealers in Peru

    Four Peruvian police officers disguised themselves as Marvel characters to carry out a drug raid in Peru.
    Spiderman, Captain America, Thor and Black Widow took part in an operation dubbed “Marvel”, which targeted a specific house in the San Juan de Lurigancho neighbourhood in Lima.
    The police detained four people during the raid, after seizing 3,250 packages of cocaine paste, as well as bags of cocaine and cannabis.

  72. raven says

    Doesn’t look like much of anything works in Russia these days.

    20% of their army deaths among the mobilized, happened before they even reached the front. They mostly seem to be deaths of despair, fights, alcohol, drugs, suicide. And accidents.
    They don’t mention disease but the Russian medical system isn’t so good. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of their deaths were Covid-19 virus, flu, pneumonia, etc..

    Tweet
    NEXTA @nexta_tv

    Every fifth mobilized of those whose death became publicly known, died before being sent to the front

    The causes of death were fights, alcohol, drugs, suicide and accidents. In some cases, only 9-10 days passed from mobilization to death.
    📰Novaya Gazeta. Europe

  73. raven says

    According to unnamed American sources, the Russian military discussed using tactical nuclear weapons.
    This wouldn’t be all that surprising.
    This is what Generals do, sit around discussing tactics and strategy.

    FWIW, we scrapped most of our tactical nuclear weapons on the basis that they weren’t all that useful. Due to modern artillery, drones, jets, etc.., you rarely get large concentrations of military fighters in one place. Everything stays spread out and well hidden.

    Tactical nuclear weapons these days are more of a terror weapon, just like the Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities.

    Russian military leaders ‘discussed using tactical nuclear weapons

    Live Ukraine war latest: Russian military leaders ‘discussed using tactical nuclear weapons’
    Verity Bowman Chanel Zagon
    2 NOVEMBER 2022 • 2:07PM Telegraph.com

    Senior Russian military leaders discussed the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to numerous senior American officials.

    The group had conversations about how and when Moscow may use the weapons, adding to heightened concern in Washington and among Western allies.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin was not a part of the conversations, the New York Times reported, but the meetings suggest that Putin’s repeated statements on the use of nuclear weapons could be more than threats.

    The director of the CIA, William J. Burns, has previously said that Putin’s “potential desperation” to achieve victory and the Kremlin’s failures in the war could lead Russia to use one.

    American officials said told the newspaper that they had seen no evidence of Russia preparing for a strike.

  74. whheydt says

    Re: Reginald Selkirk @ #95…
    I saw that news. I do kind of wonder about it. Prior to the grain shipment agreement, Russia was blockading Ukrainian ports. In light of the incident at Sevastopol last Friday, I wonder if–just perhaps–Russia now isn’t able to blockade the ports. Or afraid that if they try to blockade, they’ll lose the rest of the Black Sea fleet.

  75. says

    Ukraine update: Good news, unbelievable news, and puzzling news from Svatove

    Overnight, the news out of the area around Svatove was decidedly … weird. While Russian sources appeared in a near panic about new Ukrainian advances and seemed ready to write off the whole area, one of the most trusted Ukrainian sources was reporting an advance by Russian forces that caused Ukrainian troops to withdraw from two key towns. All of that might have been easier to sort out if the reports had not been for the exact same area. And while that was going on, another report had Ukrainian forces so near Svatove they could have waved to people in town.

    With the benefit of a few hours, and some input from the Ukrainian general staff, here’s how it seems to shake out. Let’s start with an overview of the whole area, which looks little different than it did on Friday, mostly because I’m still nervous about recording any of these changes. [map at the link]

    In addition to what’s seen here, there are some reported changes up nearer to Kupyansk, but for now, I’m sticking with just what’s going on with that Svatove to Kreminna area. First, let’s deal with the reported Russian advance. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian Telegram channel DeepState reported that: “The enemy is trying to conduct active offensive actions. With the help of very active artillery training, the Katsapas [Russians] hit our forces in Makiivka and Novovodyane. The Armed Forces had to withdraw in order to preserve personnel and regroup.”

    That sounds pretty dire, because the loss of these two towns would cut off the southern approach to Svatove and leave open the possibility of a Russian thrust to the south. Russian attacks in this area already forced Ukraine to reinforce positions along this road once before, and definitely slowed development of the movement toward Svatove. Here’s a closer look at the area. [map at the link]

    You’ll notice that neither Makiivka nor Novovodyane is under Russian control here, or even in dispute. That’s because overnight, the Ukrainian general staff reported that attacks along this line had been repulsed. Instead, there were notes of Russia conducting an “active defense” further south, pushing out along the road west of Kreminna.

    In addition, there were reports of active fighting near both the crossroads town of Ploshchanka and an important highway location at Chervonopopivka. Neither of which seems possible if Ukraine had been genuinely forced to withdraw from, or even hunker down in, Makiivka. As of Wednesday morning, Ukraine reportedly had fire control over this whole section of the P66 highway and was fighting to establish actual positions on the road between Kreminna and Svatove. This was also reported by Russian sources.

    It’s possible that DeepState is right and everyone else is wrong, but this may also be a simple matter of timing. The DeepState report, which got amplified and repeated overnight, may have been a report of an attack that was repulsed earlier. On the other end of the spectrum, some analysts note Ukrainian shelling near Makiivka over the weekend, and conclude that this town has been in a gray area for some time. In fact, there is some contention that this whole strip of north-south road has never been secured (despite plenty of flag-waving-in-middle-of-town videos) and that Ukraine has been working around it by coming in from the west. In any case … stay tuned.

    Meanwhile, up the road at Svatove, it’s clear that Ukraine is moving closer to the city, and it’s seeming to do so from multiple directions. [map at the link]

    Let’s start with the things that seem pretty certain, then move to the hopeful, and finally to the WTH.

    Earlier in the week, it was clear that Ukrainian forces were fighting their way up the highway that bends to the northeast above Kovalivka. This was confirmed not only by reports of fighting—first west, then east of Nezhuryne, but by reports from locals fleeing the area after Ukraine and Russia engaged in an artillery duel near Popivka. The last reports of fighting in this area were actually from Sunday, when Ukraine was reportedly near the highway.

    Reports on Tuesday had Ukrainian forces pushing out from Stelmakhivka, fording a narrow river, and attacking Russian forces near Kolomyichykha. This puts Ukrainian forces on both sides of the highway intersection and reports on Tuesday night indicated that Ukrainian forces were making steady, though undefined, progress.

    However, two other reports popped up on Tuesday night. One was that Ukraine already holds the intersection of the P07 and P66 highways west of Svatove. Considering the location of the fighting over the last week, this seems entirely possible, and there’s no real village there to check off as a “Ukraine has liberated…” position. So … maybe? It would be great if true. Not only would Ukrainian forces be less than 4km from Svatove proper, it would place them on the commanding high-ground position looking down at the small city. To most intents, the hardest part of the fighting could be behind them. However, this news should be considered very much unconfirmed at this point.

    But maybe not as unconfirmed as reports that Ukraine had reached Honcharivka, just north of Svatove.

    Many analysts had expected Ukraine to make an advance on Svatove from the north, by moving up from Kuzemivka to Nyzhnia Duvanka, then driving south. Russia apparently expected this, too, as the area from Kuzemivka to Kryvoshyivka, and Kuzemivka to Nauholne was reportedly heavily reinforced and fortified. If Ukraine actually reached Honcharivka, presumably by plunging across the road near that fighting at Kolomyichykha, then they bypassed all of Russia’s preparations, putting themselves in a position to hit Svatove from a wholly unexpected angle.

    All this is very hard to swallow without more evidence. First of all, it would mean Ukraine had already taken Kryvoshyivka and driven to the P07 highway. Then they would need to cross that highway, deal with about 4km of muddy fields without so much as a dirt road, and come down those steep slopes to reach Honcharivka. In mud season. This all seems to have an unlikelihood level of about 11 on a 1-10 scale. So … come on, Ukraine. Prove me wrong.

    But the good news this morning is that you don’t need to believe the unbelievable. Because even the most conservative news has Ukrainian forces fighting their way closer to Svatove at multiple points, overcoming what were said to be three rings of reinforced Russian defenses, and getting very close to the point where Russia has little choice but to withdraw from the area.

    Note: There was also one report of Ukrainian forces pushing east into Kryvoshyivka this morning, I just failed to get it on the map.

    While there have been positive signs for Ukraine in the Svatove area, I can’t say the same for Kherson. Despite almost daily reports that Russia has withdrawn forces, or subbed in new recruits for experienced units, there have been no credible claims that Ukraine has liberated additional territory along the front line after pressing down from the north so rapidly in early October. [map at the link]

    In this map, I’ve returned much of the area that was put into the disputed area after a report of advances two weeks ago back into the Russian-occupied territory. In addition, Russia appears to have driven Ukrainian forces from some villages that had been liberated earlier, including Bezimenne on the west. Fighting has also apparently reached out closer to Davydiv Brid from Russian positions at Bruskynske and Ishchenka.

    There have been just truckloads of videos of truckloads of Ukrainian soldiers driving around areas in Kherson, and a lot of thumbs up, good stuff is happening, but we can’t tell you reports. I want to believe them all. Hopefully, we’re all going to get pleasant surprises soon.

    [Tweets and videos at the link show how extremely difficult life is for Bakhmut locals]

    Multiple reports this morning of more strikes around the Antonovsky Bridge at Kherson. These may not be aimed at the bridge itself, but at pontoon bridges, barges, or gathering points. [Tweet and images at the link]

  76. says

    Pelosi attacker ‘really believed in the whole MAGA, Pizzagate, stolen election’

    Republicans continue to feed conspiracy theories about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, with Fox News leading the way. [Aaarrgghh! Fox News again. Poisoning minds.] They’re almost right about one thing: This was the product of a sort of conspiracy—except to the extent that the long-running Republican effort to demonize Pelosi was not secret. Top Republicans have spent well over a decade setting up their supporters to have violent feelings toward Pelosi, and now that someone has acted on that, Republicans are lying about what happened and trying to distract from the fact that the attacker embraced Republican rhetoric.

    And he did. “If you got him talking about politics, it was all over,” David DePape’s friend and part-time employer told The New York Times. “Because he really believed in the whole MAGA, ‘Pizzagate,’ stolen election—you know, all of it, all the way down the line.”

    That’s reflected in police accounts of DePape’s break-in and attack on Paul Pelosi.

    “Well, she’s No. 2 in line for the presidency, right?” police report DePape told Paul Pelosi, speaking about Nancy Pelosi. He also said, highlighting that this was not just a kidnapping and assault attempt, “we’ve got to take them all out.”

    This is a man who listened to prominent Republicans and far-right pundits and influencers and bought into a whole host of conspiracy theories they were pushing, to the point where he broke into the home of the official second in line for the presidency with the intent of at least kidnapping her and breaking her kneecaps with a hammer, but possibly making her the first in an effort to “take them all out.”

    Pelosi has the most extensive security of anyone in Congress, because she receives the most threats of anyone in Congress, by far. But The Washington Post offers important context on what the overall threat environment for members of Congress is, and how the nation’s political environment has shaped that. A key fact: “Since 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president, threats of violence against lawmakers recorded by the Capitol Police have surged from roughly 900 cases in 2016 to 9,625 in 2021.” Threats against Pelosi, already high, rose when Trump took office.

    This isn’t something that’s just happening organically. Threats against Nancy Pelosi are high because Republicans have put a lot of money and time into making her the face of everything they tell their supporters to fear and hate about Democrats. Threats against Pelosi and Congress more generally rose after 2016 because that is the politics Donald Trump cultivated.

    The Post notes that Pelosi isn’t the only member of Congress to have security. Ten members of leadership have regular security, while other members of Congress may have added security when they face specific threats. How that works out is both predictable and instructive: “It has become common over the years to see members on Capitol Hill with agents walking alongside them everywhere they go. […]

    political power comes well before human life in today’s Republican Party.

  77. says

    EPIC! MSNBC Chris Hayes did a Fox News crime ad on Oklahoma crime like Fox does on the Blue States.

    MSNBC Chris Hayes did a masterful job at showing that Republican crime attacks on Democrats and the Blue States are a farce. He did to Oklahoma what Fox News do to the Blue States. [video at the link]

    Many Progressives have been screaming and hoping that Democrats would engage on crime. Republicans have been cleaning the Democrats’ clocks on the issue. The thing is, Republicans are largely responsible for the increase in crime, specifically gun crimes. We’ve been seeding the internet with stories that point this out. Following are a few examples of our articles.

    Why don’t Democratic ads on crime look & sound like this? Get this message out!

    Okla. Gov. mocks Democratic challenger for correctly noting state’s crime rate higher than NY & CA.

    Obama is back! He destroyed the current crop of Republicans with some inconvenient truths.

    Reps. Swalwell & Omar reverse the crime message on Republicans with a hard-hitting [presentation]
    .
    AT LAST! California Gov. Gavin Newsom has a stark message for Democrats they better heed now. [Embedded links for all of the above are available at the main link.]

    Chris did a great job in showing the data that shows that Republican States are much more crime-ridden than Democratic States. More importantly, he showed how one could make ads that make Oklahoma seem like a violent hell hole using their own local news clips. In effect, he did to Oklahoma what Fox News does to the Blue States.

    Chris understands that it takes more than being analytical. One has got to reach people where they are. And with his ad that mimics what Fox News does ad nauseam, I think he was successful. Check out the clip.

  78. says

    Associated Press:

    In a ruling that could have national implications, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday ruled that state election officials should not count legitimate mail-ballots if voters forgot to write the date on the envelope.

    JFC

  79. says

    Here’s a link t today’s Guardian Ukraine liveblog. From there (some of this has been noted above):

    The Kremlin has said it will rejoin the UN-administered grain export corridor from Ukraine after pulling out over the weekend after a drone attack on Russian warships in the port of Sevastopol.

    Moscow’s humiliating climbdown came two days after a large convoy of ships moved a record amount of grain in defiance of Russia’s warnings that it would be “unsafe” without its participation, and after high-level diplomatic contacts between Turkey – one of the guarantors of the scheme with the UN – and Russia.

    Russia’s withdrawal had reignited fears over global hunger and food prices that had been alleviated by the inauguration of the scheme earlier this year which allowed cargo ships to move Ukrainian gain without fear of being targeted.

    Confirming Turkish reports that Moscow would be lifting its suspension, the Russian defence ministry said it had received written guarantees from Kyiv not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia [which…they hadn’t been doing].

    “The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry statement said.

    A Ukrainian presidential adviser has said that Russia has resumed its part in the Black Sea grain deal because its “blackmail” plan had failed.

    Mykhailo Podolyak said in a written statement to Reuters that Moscow’s decision showed that “escalation and threats” fail when they meet a resolute response.

    “One way or another, Russia, embarrassed, returned to the ‘grain initiative’ because it suddenly turned out that the grain corridor would work even without the Kremlin’s participation,” Podolyak said.

    “This says only one thing: Russia is always inferior to those who are stronger, those who know how to take a blow, those who argue their position strongly.”

    He suggested that Russia had miscalculated when it said it would withdraw from the deal after a drone attack on Russian warships in Sevastopol.

    When you want to play blackmail, it is important not to outplay yourself,” Podolyak said.

    “Russia is used to constantly playing on escalation and threats. But if there is a firm position on the part of the other parties, the mediators, the guarantors, then it quickly becomes clear the threats are just formidable international PR.”

    Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be seen as having successfully called the Russian bluff to blockade Ukrainian ports or even sink civilian cargo ships carrying grain abroad. The Turkish leader had said exports of grain from Ukraine would continue with or without Russian approval and appears to have brokered the Russian climbdown.

    Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, said he was counting on Hungary to ratify the Nordic country’s Nato application after he had talked on the phone with the Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

    “Good that Finland can count on Hungary in our Nato ratification. I look forward to further strengthening our Finno-Ugric connection also as allies,” Niinisto said on Twitter, referring to the countries’ shared linguistic history.

    The Hungarian government did not immediately reply to a request from Reuters for comment.

    Poland will build a razor-wire fence on its border with Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, its defence minister said on Wednesday. Construction of the temporary 2.5-metre (8ft) high and 3-metre deep barrier will start immediately, Mariusz Błaszczak told a news conference.

    …Moscow said it would summon the UK ambassador to Russia, Deborah Bronnert, over its accusation that “British specialists” were involved in the Sevastopol attack. Russia has, without providing evidence, repeatedly blamed the UK for Saturday’s audacious attack, in which a swarm of drones attacked Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

  80. says

    The problem(s) with Trump’s latest Pelosi conspiracy theories

    Donald Trump’s initial silence about the attack at the Pelosi home made him appear callous. His new conspiracy theories made him look quite a bit worse.

    Roughly two weeks before Election Day 2018, a man was charged with sending pipe bombs to Donald Trump’s critics, including several prominent Democratic leaders. The then-Republican president responded soon after in ways that revealed his character in unfortunate ways.

    As we discussed at the time, Trump responded to the bomb plot — which he dismissed as “bomb stuff“ — by lashing out at Democrats, including those targeted by the bomber. Asked if he was prepared to “tone down” his rhetoric under the circumstances, Trump replied, “I could really tone it up.”

    Two years later, ahead of Election Day 2020, law enforcement announced charges against a group of radicals who plotted to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Just as he’d done two years earlier, Trump responded by lashing out at the Michigan Democrat.

    This year, almost four years to the day after the pipe bomb plot was exposed, a man allegedly broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and violently attacked her husband, fracturing his skull with a hammer and putting Paul Pelosi in intensive care. True to form, Trump is responding in a decidedly Trumpian way.

    Initially, even as some GOP leaders denounced the violence and extended well wishes to the Pelosi family, the former president said literally nothing. A few days after the attack, Trump finally got around to acknowledging what had transpired, saying, “With Paul Pelosi, that’s a terrible thing, with all of them it’s a terrible thing. Look at what’s happened to San Francisco generally. Look at what’s happening in Chicago. It was far worse than Afghanistan.”

    Given conditions in Afghanistan, the comments were plainly absurd.

    Yesterday, as Politico reported, the former president did what he nearly always does.

    Former President Donald Trump has joined a chorus of conservative voices who have shared baseless conspiracy theories about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. During an appearance on the Chris Stigall radio show that aired Tuesday morning in Philadelphia, Trump called the attack a “sad situation” but questioned if there was more to the story being detailed by law enforcement.

    “Wow, it’s — weird things going on in that household in the last couple of weeks. Probably, you and I are better off not talking about it. The glass it seems was broken from the inside to the out so it wasn’t a break in, it was a break out. I don’t know, you hear the same things I do,” Trump said. [bullshit]

    The Republican added, “It’s a lot of bad stuff and I’m not a fan of Nancy Pelosi, but what’s going on there is very sad. The whole thing is crazy, and if there’s even a little bit of truth to what’s being said. The window was broken in and it was strange the cops were standing there practically from the moment it all took place. So, you’re going to have to explain that to your audience, including me.”

    His initial silence made Trump appear callous. What he ended up saying yesterday made him look quite a bit worse.

    The most obvious problem with the former president’s rhetoric is that it’s ridiculously wrong. As a factual matter, the details Trump presented as true are contradicted, not only by revelations released by law enforcement, but also by literal camera footage from the Capitol Police’s security cameras, which prove Trump’s claims false.

    But just as notable is the fact that the former president could’ve simply acted like a decent human being. It would’ve required very little effort for him to simply condemn the attack, denounce political violence, and extend best wishes to the victim and his family. It would’ve been easy, and it would’ve suggested to the world that he still has some sense of right and wrong.

    But Trump — for the third consecutive election cycle — couldn’t quite clear the low bar.

  81. says

    The Chaos Is The Point: Get Ready For Legal Hell After The Midterms

    When pestered with questions about how and why they would gather conservative activists, ask them to masquerade as the real electors in the 2020 election, waiting in the wings to be called forth, acolytes of the former President constantly return to one argument: They didn’t know that creating fake elector slates was wrong.

    In December 2020, they were in a situation of pure legal chaos, they’ll explain. Any measure that they took to instill order — including creating slates of alternate, bogus, electors — was not only legal, but prudent.

    Underlying the argument is the idea that the legal chaos in the aftermath of an election can justify virtually any measure, or any claim.

    But it neatly sidesteps the fact that Trump’s allies sought to exploit every legal avenue, from the realistic to the frivolous to the entirely absurd, in order to create and then maximize that chaos.

    That same approach is now beginning to rear its head for the 2022 midterms, as some of the same characters who tried — and failed — to subvert the 2020 presidential election sow chaos again, this time hoping for more favorable results.

    An odd feature of this is it’s not clear to whose benefit the chaos will redound. Exhortations by conservative commentators and operatives to mistrust — and challenge — results that may ultimately favor Republicans lack a clear partisan point.

    But they go towards creating a yawning void into which opportunists can pursue claims that, otherwise, appear ridiculous.

    In 2020, laying the groundwork for this kind of chaos relied heavily on filing numerous lawsuits to keep the sense of controversy alive.

    In June, TPM asked Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney who helped develop both the fake electors plot and the Trump 2020 lawsuits, a related question: what was the basis for claiming that there was cause to install pro-Trump electors?

    Chesebro suggested to TPM that the lawsuits themselves created a veil of ambiguity which then required alternate electors to be at the ready. Chesebro referenced a dispute over Hawaii’s 1960 electoral votes, which saw two competing slates submit votes amid a recount over a razor-thin margin. That dispute — which did not determine the election result — was the result of a real, and not manufactured, controversy.

    “At the time the electors had to cast ballots on Dec 14, 2020,” he said. “By definition, one cannot know the final result, one cannot know what would result in litigation three weeks later,” he said.

    In 2020, of course, it was the Trump campaign — and Chesebro’s boss, John Eastman — that sought to create uncertainty by filing the lawsuits in the first place.

    That was the strategic choice: creating chaos by contesting the results, thereby providing a basis to preemptively ready fake elector slates.

    “You have to go based on how you cannot know the end result three weeks later,” Chesebro said in June.

    How exactly that strategy will carry forward after the 2022 midterms remains unclear.

    But Eastman, who, memos show, worked directly with Chesebro on contesting the 2020 results, is already prepping activists to work towards legal challenges to the election results.

    According to audio obtained by investigative nonprofit Documented, Eastman told an Albuquerque summit of the right-wing Election Integrity Network on Oct. 19 that he planned to involve himself personally in efforts to challenge the results of the 2022 midterms.

    “Document what you’ve seen, raise the challenge. And [note] which of the judges on that election board decline to accept your challenge. Get it all written down,” Eastman told the crowd.

    In 2020, Trump was able to use an endless series of affidavits filed in lawsuits around the country to sow spurious claims of voter fraud. Eastman’s comments suggest an effort to prepare for similar litigation.

    “That then becomes the basis for an affidavit in a court challenge after the fact,” Eastman continued.

    It’s laying the groundwork to repeat the playbook that Chesebro and Eastman pioneered in 2020, accumulating legal challenges bolstered by conspiracy theorizing affidavits to apply pressure on state officials and subvert the election.

    2020’s fake electors scheme is under federal criminal investigation, with prosecutors examining the role of the Trump campaign and White House in orchestrating the plot.

    A California federal judge found last month that Eastman filed at least one Georgia lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results in bad faith, ruling that it was merely a way to keep unfounded accusations that the election was stolen alive in time for the January 6, 2021 Congressional certification of Biden’s win.

    That time, it failed.

    But as Marshall Yates, a former chief of staff to 2020 election subverter Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and current Election Integrity Network Official, put it at the event: “We will not let what happened in 2020 ever happen again.”

    The exhortation to mistrust the results — and to be prepared to challenge them — is already a mainstay of the right-wing media atmosphere.

    Fox News host Tucker Carlson suggested to his viewers last week that a victory for the Democrats in Pennsylvania could only be illegitimate.

    “They can even run mentally defective candidates who can barely speak, and not only expect them to win, but expect you to accept the outcome no matter how transparently absurd it is,” Carlson said.

    “On Nov. 9 they’ll be telling you that John Fetterman got 81 million votes in Pennsylvania, and they’ll threaten to put you in jail if you don’t believe it,” he added. “Why wouldn’t they do that? It worked for Joe Biden.”

    This isn’t just Carlson’s opportunism. It’s one example of the lingering consequences of the Trump campaign’s post-2020 election attempt to subvert the results, now being projected forward into 2022 and onwards.

    Eastman, Carlson, and Trump himself are asking their followers to assume that results which go against the GOP are not credible. It creates a gaping void for opportunists to exploit, but it’s unclear what will fill it.

    Or, as Trump purportedly told his cohorts in 2020, all that was needed was for the election to be declared as corrupt. After that, he and his allies could act.

    “Just say the election was corrupt,” Richard Donoghue, a top DOJ official, recorded Trump as saying. “Leave the rest to me and the [Republican] Congressmen.”

  82. says

    Guardian – “China bans celebrities with ‘lapsed morals’ from endorsing products”:

    China has banned all celebrities from endorsing a range of products and banned those with “lapsed morals” from endorsing anything, as part of an ongoing drive to align society with “core socialist values”.

    The regulations, announced by state regulators this week, bar Chinese celebrities from publicly endorsing or advertising health, education and financial commodities, including e-cigarettes and baby formula.

    Regulators said the push was to ensure China’s society was “guided by Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era”, referring to the sweeping ideology underpinning the rule of the Xi-led Communist party.

    “Celebrities should consciously practise socialist core values ​​in their advertising endorsement activities [LOL!], and endorsement activities should conform to social morals and traditional virtues,” the new regulations said.

    It is the latest regulatory move in a crackdown on the entertainment industry, in which celebrities have effectively been blacklisted over scandals and interventions into online fandom.

    The rules also banned companies from hiring celebrities found to have “lapsed morals” or engaged in illegal behaviour including tax evasion, drunkenness, drug addiction and fraud, and from using images of Communist party leaders, revolutionary leaders and heroes in their advertising.

    The authorities said the regulations had been introduced in response to celebrities illegally or falsely endorsing “bad ideas”.

    “The media is lax, allowing illegal and immoral stars to participate in advertising endorsements. The chaos in the field of advertising endorsements has seriously infringed upon the rights and interests of consumers, disrupted the market order and polluted the social atmosphere, and the people have expressed strong reactions,” it said, according to state media.

    Under Xi’s increasingly authoritarian rule, China’s government has tightened control over the country’s entertainment industry and celebrity fandom in an attempt to reshape China’s pop culture landscape.

    In September 2021, authorities banned some reality TV talent shows and ordered broadcasters not to promote what it derogatorily referred to as “sissy” men. A two-month regulatory operation also banned the ranking of celebrities and cultural products in an effort to rein in the “chaos” and monetisation of online fandom.

    In the same month, a Beijing entertainment symposium with the theme “Love the party, love the country, advocate morality and art” was told the industry must act with morality in both public and private.

    The president of China’s advertising association, Zhang Guohua, said the regulations would contribute to a “more standardised and healthy improvement” of the industry….

  83. says

    Robert Snell, Detroit News:

    The arrest of a prominent member of the Boogaloo Boys comes less than one week after members of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force searched his Detroit-area home amid concerns about attacks on politicians and plans to disrupt the Nov. 8 midterm elections

    Details were not immediately available early Wednesday but Timothy Teagan is expected is expected to appear in federal court later today to face unspecified charges

    The case is being prosecuted by the National Security Unit in Detroit, which handles cases involving international and domestic terrorism, threats involving weapons of mass destruction, terrorism financing and more

    The National Security Unit chief has been especially busy in recent months, opening at least 12 federal grand jury cases since late-May…

  84. says

    New podcast episodes:

    Fever Dreams – “The QAnon Coalition feat Alex Kaplan “:

    There’s a very good chance that at least two secretary of state positions in the battleground states of Nevada and Arizona will be won by people who are part of a coalition put together by a QAnon promoter who some people believe is also JFK Jr. In this week’s episode of political podcast Fever Dreams, hosts Will Sommer and Kelly Weill take a deeper look at that “shadowy character,” Juan O. Savin, and how he, along with his supporters, could destroy American democracy. Also on the podcast, Alex Kaplan, a senior researcher at Media Matters for America who is an expert on all things Savin, says that while it’s hard to say exactly what would happen if these candidates take office, “the concern is that if these people got elected they could try to cast doubt on the election result or frankly just try to flat out overturn it and refuse to certify it. What this could do is essentially connect QAnon to a constitutional crisis, and that’s what could play out here if that/s what happens.”

    Geopolitics Decanted – “Scenarios for How This War Might End”:

    Dmitri Alperovitch talks with Michael Kofman, who is just back from a trip to Ukraine. They discuss:

    – The latest on the fight in Kherson and Luhansk
    – Impact of Russian terror strikes on civilian infrastructure
    – Ukrainian morale
    – How Putin’s mobilization is progressing
    – What the Russians are trying to achieve with the dirty bomb scares,
    – Lkelihood of use of nuclear weapons and
    – How this war might end.

    In-depth discussion. Kofman makes the same argument he did in the podcast @ #15 about the detrimental effect of complacent optimism. Alperovitch says the Russians are stealing washing machines for the computer chips. (I don’t want to normalize this theft in any case, but it seems like it would be easier to remove the part with the chip than to take the whole appliance…)

  85. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    While the air raid sirens continue to be a fixture of life in Kyiv, life is continuing, including rehearsals and performances at theatres in the city.

    A reporter for Al Jazeera has spoken to actors at the Theatre on Podil in the Ukrainian capital, as they ran through their lines before the curtain gets raised.

    “In one moment,” actor Mykhailo Kryshtal said, “a rocket could land near you and everything could come to an end. These factors aren’t helping.”

    “The fact that we are still performing for our audience is resistance itself,” says Kryshtal. “Because we are not afraid. We didn’t run away.”

    The theatre shut as the invasion began, and only reopened in June. The production is of The Emigrants, a 1970s Polish drama. Productions often get interrupted by air raid sirens, causing performers and the audience to gather in the lobby.

    Director Volodymyr Kudlinsky said: “We were surprised that the audiences who stayed in Kyiv started to buy tickets and came to the performances for the same prices as before the war,” he says.

    “People were ready. Through buying tickets, they supported us and theatre itself, the city and the country.”

  86. says

    Barak Ravid at Axios – “The rise of Israel’s extreme right”:

    One of the key factors that led to the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc in Tuesday’s Israeli elections was the unprecedented rise of the extreme right.

    …The next Israeli government will include a large number of politicians known for their racist, misogynistic, ultra-religious, anti-Arab or anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

    …For many years, Netanyahu kept his distance from the extreme right, especially Jewish supremacist politician Itamar Ben-Gvir and his Jewish Power party.

    …But since the 2019 elections, he cultivated his relationship with extreme right politicians as he worked to unite its different factions. Unlike any previous Likud leader, Netanyahu normalized this relationship inside his constituency.

    …With a campaign focused on “law and order” and promises to increase personal security and implement the death penalty against terrorists, Ben-Gvir, who was a fringe politician, gained support among new constituencies that hadn’t supported him before.

    …Many of Ben-Gvir’s voters were young first-time voters, including many soldiers and some secular voters who reside in upper-middle-class cities in central Israel.

    …He also managed to swing voters who used to support centrist parties to the right-wing bloc.

    …During his victory speech last night, Ben-Gvir called to the stage Rabbi Dov Lior, who is known for his extremist, racist and misogynistic religious rulings and rhetoric.

    …He then praised Bentzi Gopstein, a member of his party who was disqualified by the Supreme Court from running in the elections due to his racist statements.

    …At a certain point during Ben-Gvir’s speech, some of his supporters started chanting “death to the Arabs” and “death to the terrorists.”

    …Ben-Gvir is a follower and a student of Rabbi Mair Kahane, who was known for his racist rhetoric. Kahane, who was assassinated in 1990, formed the Kach party, which until last May was designated as a terror organization by the U.S. government.

    …Ben-Gvir was convicted in 2007 of supporting a terror organization and inciting racism.

    …Ben-Gvir has said he wants to establish a new ministry for encouraging the emigration of “enemies” and people who are “disloyal” to the state. He also says he will try to pass laws for implementing the death sentence against those he calls “terrorists.”

    …Ben-Gvir’s political partner, Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism party, has a history of making racist remarks about Arab citizens of Israel. Smotrich has said the murder of a Palestinian family by Jewish settlers was not terrorism, and he organized an anti-gay parade in Jerusalem….

  87. says

    Text quoted by SC in comment 108:

    The president of China’s advertising association, Zhang Guohua, said the regulations would contribute to a “more standardised and healthy improvement” of the industry….

    Well, it would certainly result in a more “standardized” presentation of advertising. More banal, more boring, less creative, and less diverse. Not healthy.

  88. says

    Wonkette: “New Madison Cawthorn Stupider Than Old Madison Cawthorn, Somehow”

    https://www.wonkette.com/bo-hines-abortion-review-boards-north-carolina

    We do not know if there is something in the water over there in North Carolina, or maybe if some of the livestock have Mad Cow disease, but that state breeds a certain kind of stupid when it comes to blond Aryan bigot boys.

    Hell, you wanna reach back in your memory banks, you could go back to Jason and David Benham, sons of anti-abortion extremist Flip Benham, the Aryan bigot twins who one time were going to get a show on HGTV but they didn’t because they’re fucking bigots.

    Of course, most of y’all are probably thinking of Aryan mountain steed Madison Cawthorn, peace be upon his finished career.

    But when God closes a Madison Cawthorn door, he apparently opens a Bo Hines window, by which we mean God just flung another fucking blond idiot Aryan dumbfuck at us, right through an open window, which was a bit rude of God if you ask us.

    Hines is running for Congress in North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District, which is a gerrymandered-ass suburban/exurban thing between Raleigh/Durham and Greensboro/Winston-Salem. He is 27 years old and he says he is a “MAGA warrior.” He is a former college football player. He is a trust fund baby moron who just graduated from law school in May.

    He does not have the look of somebody who spent a lot of time waiting in God’s line for brains. He appears to have recently thought that if you say America is becoming a “banana republic,” you were talking about the store.

    This local news report on Hines came out a little over a week ago, but it started going around Twitter last night, we guess because America only has the stomach for so much bugfuck each day, and it just wasn’t ready to deal with Bo Hines’s plan for abortion. (All these white MAGA boys with plans for abortion!) In fact, it started going viral when a North Carolina activist named Christina Reynolds decided to make sure we knew about it. [Tweet and image at the link]

    Hines thinks abortion should be unlawful except in cases where a mother’s life is at risk. He wants victims of rape and incest to be allowed to get an abortion on a case-by-case basis through a community-level review process outside the jurisdiction of the federal government.

    Holy shit, a “community-level review process.” Did nobody think of this because of just how back-ass-ward-ly insane and cruel it was? And is he sure he meant to say he means this for victims of rape and incest?

    How does that work, young buck? Do they have to collect signatures from a certain number of their friends and neighbors? Must they put together a presentation for the board of aldermen? Is this what Dr. Oz meant when he said abortion should be between a pregnant person, their doctor, and their local community officials?

    Do they have to go before the local Abortion Review Board to somehow prove to them — haha, we bet it will be made up of white conservative men who say they love Jesus! — that they are rape and incest victims?

    And what lying asshole in Bo Hines’s life told him as a child that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him, which has led to us having to have this unfortunate conversation today?

    The race is actually very competitive, and there is a nice Democratic man named Wiley Nickel who needs your support and your vote if you live there. […]

    Nickel says it’s unfair to call Bo Hines just some kind of Madison Cawthorn 2.0 dipshit, as that would be unfair to the original Madison Cawthorn:

    “To call him a Madison Cawthorn clone is an insult to Madison Cawthorn,” he says. “He is much worse. He is just everything that’s wrong with our country wrapped up into a 27-year-old trust fund kid.”

    So there you go. Give Wiley Nickel your money. We really have no desire to see what Mr. Bo’s Community Abortion Board And Bake Sale Permitting Authority idea looks like in practice.

  89. says

    Yossi Melman at Haaretz – “Israel Election: The People of Israel Have Spoken”:

    …The election results are not only a matter of percentages and Knesset seats but reflect on something much deeper, a process that has been going on for years and that is changing the face of Israeli society. The expression of this change are extreme nationalism, racism, hatred of the other, messianism, longing for an authoritative leader, clericalism, military aggressiveness, occupation, disrespect for the rule of law and the loathing of liberal Western values.

    Since 1992, the center– left and everything it represents has been fighting in retreat. In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin succeeded in breaking the right’s winning streak, and after that Ehud Barak did too in 1999. A year and a half ago Yair Lapid – with the help of the one-time phenomenon of Naftali Bennett did the same. But all together, the three – or if we include Bennett, the four – of them ruled for very short periods. It lasted for a bit more than five years, which is 16 percent of the total time over the past 30 years. This is the reality and we need to look it straight in the eye, as it is not going to change.

    …The biblical phrase: “Lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” is more correct today than ever. But the meaning is different: Not because of a lack of choice in the meaning of “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” but with the meaning there is a choice – this is what the people want: to withdraw and turn its back on the Western world and democratic values, oppress the Arabs even more and annex the territories….

  90. says

    Wonkette: “Obama Talked So Good It Made Mediocre White Men Go Fascist!”

    While you might have enjoyed Barack Obama’s campaign speeches in Michigan and Wisconsin this weekend, some killjoys couldn’t resist spoiling the party. […] did you even consider that Obama’s personal excellence directly led to the nation’s downfall?

    Republicans were already blaming Obama for Donald Trump during the 2016 primary (before they realized they’d always been the caretaker of Trumpism). However, self-proclaimed “big Obama fan” Nicky Frank tweeted the liberal version of these sentiments: “I’m a big Obama fan, but people forget that his intelligence and way of speaking made a lot of low-education, working-class white folks feel stupid and inferior and came across as smug and dismissive of them, and that’s what we’re paying for today.” [Tweet and video at the link]

    So much to examine here! This guy refers to “Obama’s intelligence and way of speaking,” as if it’s somehow contrived and not simply how an intelligent person communicates. The white-hooded elephant in the room is why Obama made non-college-educated working-class Black people feel proud while non-college-educated, working-class white people felt “stupid and inferior.” [video at the link]

    Obama didn’t enjoy tremendous Black support across every possible demographic simply because of his race. Tim Scott and Herschel Walker both demonstrate that it takes a little bit more than just skin tone to win over Black voters. Despite Fox News going on about “Professor Obama,” Black folks don’t appreciate “smug and dismissive” people. We wouldn’t have embraced him for so long if he wasn’t the real deal.

    Presidential success didn’t spoil Obama. He didn’t dramatically change after he was elected. When he won re-election, he maintained his record high margins with Black voters while improving among Asian and Hispanic voters. He did lose ground with white voters, but that was after four years of a rightwing disinformation campaign. The Birther conspiracy in particular was designed to “other” Obama, an otherwise normal, charming, moderate family guy. In retrospect, Obama was always mature and grounded for his years. It’s why he seems not that different at 61 than he did at 47.

    Some white liberals might latch onto the narrative that Democrats forgot how to “talk” to working-class white people during the Obama years because that’s more comforting than admitting that racism had anything to do with the Tea Party rallies where Obama was burned in effigy.

    Obama twice carried Iowa and Ohio, both states that Joe Biden lost decisively. However, Nicky Frank points out that Obama performed “worse in much of Appalachia than [2004 nominee] John Kerry and tanked with these voters in his first term, bleeding them through his entire presidency. THIS was a major reason why.” “THIS” apparently refers to his uppity speech patterns. It’s more than a little absurd, though, to suggest Obama is more of an out-of-touch elite than John Kerry. [Video at the link]

    Republican Sen. John Kennedy from Louisiana was still a Democrat in 2004. He even endorsed Kerry, but I don’t think his hard-Right turn was because Obama talked down to him. Republicans love to invoke that single line from Dr. Martin Luther King, yet it’s clear that they are more often guilty of judging Obama by the color of his skin rather than the content of his character. Yes, it’s fair and reasonable to have major political differences with Obama (from the Right or Left) but when you’re obsessing over arugula and tan suits, maybe you’re just looking for a reason to hate the Black guy.

  91. says

    Zelenskyy:

    Leading historian, friend of [Ukraine] @TimothyDSnyder became the ambassador of the fundraising platform @U24_gov_ua [U24, the main venue for collecting charitable contributions for Ukraine] & started raising for The Shahed Catcher.
    Thank you for the fact that now more people will know not only about the reasons of our struggle, but also how they can help us.

  92. Akira MacKenzie says

    @118

    I read that article and it made me fighting mad. I’m sick of having to pander to the lowest common denominator. If you’re too stupid to understand multi-syllabic words or any concept not taught at a second grade level, then maybe you ought not be allowed to vote! Civilization is complicated and it needs to be run by educated experts, not populist, “everyman” knuckle-draggers who can barely spell their own name!!!

  93. says

    Trump insists the United States is ‘rigged, crooked and evil’

    A former American president described the United States as “evil.” This generated almost no attention whatsoever. Why is that?

    As Donald Trump’s legal troubles mount, the former president turned to his social media platform over the weekend to whine in a rather provocative way.

    “The Witch Hunt continues, and after 6 years and millions of pages of documents, they’ve got nothing. If I had what Hunter and Joe had, it would be the Electric Chair. Our Country is Rigged, Crooked, and Evil — We must bring it back, and FAST. Next stop, Communism!”

    Even putting aside his idiosyncratic approach to capitalization, a variety of details stood out. For example, [Trump] didn’t specify which of his many problems he considers “the Witch Hunt.” Also notable was the idea that we’ll soon fall victim to “Communism” — a line he echoed yesterday by publishing a follow-up missive that said, “We really are living in a Communist Country.”

    Evidently, it only took a couple of days for us to collectively reach the “next stop.”

    But of particular interest was Trump’s assertion that the United States is “rigged, crooked and evil.”

    My first thought after seeing this was to wonder what the reaction might be if a former Democratic president made such criticisms against his own country. My second thought was to imagine how Republican candidates on the campaign trail might respond if asked whether they agreed with Trump’s condemnation.

    But ultimately, what struck me as unusual was the fact that the missive went almost entirely overlooked. A former American president described the United States — his own country — as “evil,” in writing, on a platform he controls, and this generated almost no attention whatsoever from the political world.

    Why is that?

    It seemed at least possible that the criticisms went overlooked because many news organizations just don’t much care about Trump’s Twitter-like social media enterprise, but when he recently used the platform to direct “death wish” rhetoric at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, this generated quite a bit of attention.

    The more likely explanation is that we’ve all grown accustomed to the former president’s selective patriotism: Trump’s love of country is, at best, sporadic, so no one’s especially surprised when he lashes out like this […]

    In the summer of 2019, for example, before his Twitter account was suspended, the then-president condemned those who “speak so badly” about the United States. In the same tweet, he expressed disgust for those who say “many terrible things … about the United States.”

    That, of course, was before he decided that the United States is “rigged, crooked and evil.”

    But it’s not as if this weekend’s criticisms were somehow out of character. […] it was two weeks after his 2016 inauguration when Trump sat down for an interview in which he was reminded that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is “a killer.” Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

    […] Americans generally weren’t accustomed to hearing their president be quite this critical of the United States. What’s more, the idea that the American chief executive saw a moral equivalence between us and a brutal autocrat came as a reminder that Trump didn’t always hold his country in the highest regard.

    Indeed, he hasn’t exactly been subtle on this point. In December 2015, then-candidate Trump was asked about Putin’s habit of invading countries and killing critics. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied, “unlike what we have in this country.” Reminded that Putin has been accused of ordering the murder of critics and journalists, Trump added, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also.”

    In a July 2016 interview with The New York Times, [Trump] went on to argue that the United States lacks the moral authority to lead, because we’re just not a good enough country to command respect abroad. “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger,” he said.

    There’s never been a president, from either party, who’s been so cavalier about America lacking in credibility. Sentiments such as “When the world looks at how bad the United States is…” are usually heard from America’s opponents, not America’s president. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg noted during the 2016 campaign that Barack Obama “has never spoken as negatively about America as Donald Trump has.”

    [Trump] also explicitly rejected the idea of “America exceptionalism,” questioning aloud whether the United States really is “more outstanding” than other nations.

    To be sure, it’s a free country. If Trump wants to argue that the United States is “evil,” that’s his right. If he’s convinced that the United States is not a force for good in the world, he’s welcome to make the case.

    But it’s more than a little jarring to see [Trump], at different times, both claim the moral high ground on patriotism and denigrate his own country in ways no former president has ever done.

    It also explains why many see Trump use phrasing such as “rigged, crooked and evil,” and effectively say, “There he goes again.”

  94. says

    RFE/RL:

    We asked people in Moscow if they think the war in Ukraine is going according to the Kremlin’s plan.

    “Yes, if the plan was to destroy Russia,” said one woman.

    “After we retreated from Kyiv? Our generals have sh*t for brains if you’ll forgive me,” a man told us….

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  95. says

    Yesterday we told you about the federal judge who said it was very cool and very legal for armed vigilantes to stalk voters and take their pictures as they cast their ballots at drop boxes in Arizona. He’s a Trump appointee of course.

    But lo and behold, after a hearing yesterday in which the plaintiffs demonstrated that the harms were no longer speculative but actually real and ongoing, Judge Michael Liburdi changed his tune and issued an injunction. [Good news!]

    […] The case concerns a bunch of vigilantes who call themselves Clean Elections USA. Led by a loon named Melody Jennings who goes by @TrumperMel on Truth Social (obviously, duh!), these wackadoodles parked themselves near ballot drop boxes in Yavapai County and started filming anyone depositing more than one ballot — something which is entirely legal for family members and caregivers — taking down their license plates and reporting them to the police. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Originally, Judge Liburdi found that they were seeking to send a message that vote fraud is bad, that their menacing presence did not constitute a true threat in the legal sense, and thus that they could not be restrained on First Amendment grounds.

    “There is no evidence that Defendants have publicly posted any voter’s names, home addresses, occupations, or other personal information. In fact, Jennings continuously states that her volunteers are to ‘follow laws’ and that ‘[t]hose who choose to break the law will be seen as an infiltrator intent on causing [CEUSA] harm,” he wrote in his denial of the requested injunction.

    The plaintiffs, led by the League of Women Voters and the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, also demanded that the vigilante groups amend their public statements to quit telling people that anyone casting multiple ballots is a “mule.” To which @TrumperMel responded that she’s just a shitposter and can’t be expected to know the law, much less recite it accurately when she’s dispatching a herd of goons to harass voters:

    To require that Defendant Jennings, a non-lawyer, correctly state both the rule and the exceptions and then to issue a prior restraint requiring that every time that she speaks about the law she must correctly state both the rule and the exceptions, does violence to the First Amendment by holding her, and all non-lawyers, to standards of discourse they cannot possibly meet when speaking about an issue that goes to the core of the First Amendment – the administration of elections.

    But apparently the plaintiffs were able to demonstrate that the harms were real, because after yesterday’s hearing, they got their injunction. Either that or Judge Liburdi got the love note from Attorney General Merrick Garland telling him to RETHINK and decided he didn’t want the smoke.

    The Washington Post reports that a witness testified that, after his family was harassed when they cast their ballots in Mesa, @TrumperMel did indeed post his photo online:

    The man, who testified anonymously due to fears of harassment, said his wife was “terrified” when the couple went to drop off their ballots and found up to 10 election watchers with cameras waiting by the drop box.

    He told the court that someone approached him and said, “we are hunting mules” — a reference to the discredited film “2000 Mules,” whichclaims drop boxes were stuffed with fraudulent ballots during the 2020 election. The founder of Clean Elections USA, Melody Jennings, later posted the man’s photo online, implying that his behavior by the ballot box had been suspicious.

    And so, after yesterday’s hearing, Judge Liburdi entered a stipulated order, more or less agreed to by the parties, keeping the vigilantes 75 feet away from the drop boxes [not far enough], barring them from approaching voters [good], and banning open carry within 250 feet of the boxes [not far enough]. He also ordered Clean Elections USA and @TrumperMel to post the actual law on on their websites and social media, and stop spreading the lie that it’s illegal to deposit multiple ballots in the boxes. [good]

    Which they did: [Tweets at the link]

    Everybody’s going to appeal, but barring an uncharacteristically fast response from the Ninth Circuit, this order is going to stand through Election Day. So … yay? Nicetimes?

    We’ll take it!

    Link

  96. says

    Oh boy, Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville — AKA Tommy The Tubs AKA Tubby the Toms AKA Tibbity Tobbity Tubs AKA Tubity Tobbity Tibs AKA Tubble Bubbles — well he is just on a roll with the smartness and the talkings and like such as!

    Fresh off his Birth of a Nation-style rant claiming Black people want reparations for people who do crimes, Tuberville went on Newsmax to talk with host Eric Bolling about the Great Replacement Theory.

    But wait, it’s not what you think! This is a whole different Great Replacement Theory, not remotely like the one Tucker Carlson is always talking about, or the one that inspires all the racist antisemitic mass shootings.

    Also Bolling and Tuberville talked about different replacement theories from each other. We guess white MAGA Republicans all have different replacement theories, depending on how they feel that day. [Tweet and video at the link]

    Here is Eric Bolling’s Great Replacement Theory:

    Before the Left selectively edits this comment I want everyone to realize that, listen to the whole comment, listen to the end of this comment, I believe that this is all about a great replacement theory, I believe it.

    But not the Great Replacement Theory that the Left is accusing us of being racist and complaining about.

    Eric Bolling believes in a Great Replacement Theory that isn’t racist. Oh no, is it a WOKE Great Replacement Theory?

    The Great Replacement Theory isn’t replacing white people, it’s replacing conservatives of all colors.

    All the colors of the conservative rainbow.

    Go to any Trump rally, you’ll see them, they are light white and leathery white and sunburned white and summer tan white and all other kinds of white too.

    It won’t matter, they are trying to bring Democrats and liberals in and replace conservatives by opening the border.

    You know how it is, when Democrats leave Central America to cross the border and force conservatives to move out of their houses by declaring “YOU’RE REPLACED!”

    So that is Eric Bolling’s Great Replacement Theory. It is still racist, no matter what he says.

    Now here is the Tubs Theory of Great Replacements, one that seems to be designed purely to stick it to the libs. In Tommy Tuberville’s version, Theory Greatly Replace YOU! And by YOU, he means … well, see if you can figure out what the fuck he means.

    I agree with you. But the problem they’re going to have is there are going to be a lot of conservatives in this group because there’s a lot of Christians coming across that border and they’re trying to wipe Christianity out in this country and they’re letting more in than is not.

    Uh oh, Tibbitty Tubbitty Boo found the fatal flaw of Democrats’ Great Replacement Theory, we think? Or that’s what he thinks?

    Because, you see, by doing open borders (not doing open borders) the Democrats are bringing in Hispanic Christian lovers of Jesus, which is counterproductive to their OTHER goal of “wipe Christianity out.” Dumb Democrats, you just got outsmarted by Tubber Blubbers the Clown!

    I think they’re going to be surprised by the Hispanic vote coming up in eight days.

    I think they’re going to be shocked and hopefully they are because if they’re in this country now, they’re part of our country and they need to make sure that we keep it the way it is and not what they came from.

    Let us see if we can follow this. Tubbily Beebly Bottom says Democrats are gonna be shocked in the midterms, because the Hispanics — the ones the Democrats open bordered into America — are part of our country now and those Hispanics are gonna want to keep America the way it is instead of making it like the places they came from, which are Democrat and liberal. Is that it?

    We do not regret snatching the Senate’s Dumbest Republican tiara from Ron Johnson’s bigass head and giving it to Tubs. Not for one moment ever.

    The end.

    Link

  97. says

    You really have to read this. ⁦@jimrutenberg went back to 2016, impeachment I, Muller investigation, Manafort’s trial. What emerged was a domestic & international scheme to hand Ukraine to Putin. When that failed, war became inevitable.

    Good read!”

    There’s a NYT link at the (Twitter) link. I don’t have access, but it sounds interesting!

  98. says

    North Korea launches 23 missiles as Kim Jong Un climbs the ‘escalation ladder’

    One of the missiles landed south of the sea border between the two countries for the first time since the Korean Peninsula was divided in 1948.

    North Korea fired more than 20 ballistic missiles on Wednesday, a record, sending residents of a South Korean island to underground shelters as the rivals engaged in a series of launches around their tense sea border.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s military began the exchange by test-firing multiple ballistic missiles, one of which landed south of the buffer zone in the sea border between the two countries for the first time since the Korean Peninsula was divided in 1948. South Korea responded by firing three air-to-surface missiles toward the northern side of the border, which North Korea followed with 100 rounds of artillery and additional missile launches that lasted into the evening.

    The exchange marked the latest significant escalation between the two neighbors after months of provocations from Pyongyang. Analysts said they were likely a sign of Kim’s desire to ratchet up tensions as he seeks to develop his regime’s nuclear arsenal, pressure the United States to ease crippling sanctions and challenge the South’s new conservative leader.

    As his repeated weapons tests make less of a splash internationally, Kim is “salami slicing the escalation ladder,” searching for new ways to grab the world’s attention, said Christopher Green, a senior consultant on the Korean Peninsula for the International Crisis Group.

    North Korea’s provocations on Wednesday, while highly symbolic, are “more for show than for military escalation,” he told NBC News.

    ‘Violation of our territory’

    Hours before firing its first missiles, North Korea threatened the United States and South Korea over resuming joint military exercises this week that the North considers a rehearsal for invasion. A statement from an official close to Kim suggested that if North Korea were attacked, he could use nuclear weapons to make the two countries “pay the most horrible price in history.”

    The U.S. and South Korea say the drills, which returned this year after being scaled down or halted during the Trump administration, are defensive in nature and that they have no intention of attacking the North.

    At an emergency meeting with top security officials, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol ordered that strict measures be taken in response to North Korea’s missile launches on Wednesday, which he called “effectively a violation of our territory.”

    In a phone call between South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, both officials condemned the North’s incursion across the sea border, calling it “an unprecedented and grave military provocation,” according to the South Korean Foreign Ministry. […]

    North Korea’s aggression started at 6:51 a.m. Wednesday local time, the South Korean military said, with four short-range ballistic missiles launched into the Yellow Sea from North Pyongan Province.

    At 8:51 a.m., North Korea launched three short-range ballistic missiles from the eastern coastal town of Wonsan. One of those missiles landed in international waters 16 miles south of the Northern Limit Line, the de facto sea border between North and South Korea.

    […] Photos published in South Korean media showed residents of the island being evacuated to underground shelters.

    In response, South Korean F-15K and KF-16 fighter jets fired three precision-guided air-to-surface missiles at a target on the north side of the buffer zone of the sea border the same distance away as the North Korean missile.

    […] Over the course of the day, North Korea fired at least 23 ballistic missiles toward the sea. It also fired 100 rounds of artillery into a maritime buffer zone between the two countries, the South Korean military said, in violation of a 2018 agreement.

    No missiles landed on the actual territories of the two Koreas […]

    “Kim Jong Un is definitely testing to see what the South Koreans will do,” said Aidan Foster-Carter, an honorary senior research fellow in sociology and modern Korea at Leeds University in England. “And of course it’s very difficult, as previous South Korean leaders have found, to find any effective response which doesn’t escalate the situation further.”

    North Korea has already conducted more than 50 missile launches this year, far more than ever before. U.S. and South Korean officials say North Korea may also be preparing for its seventh nuclear test, which would be its first since September 2017.

    […] Russia and China are also wary of North Korea and its unpredictability, Foster-Carter said.

    “They will be telling Kim Jong Un to cool it, and for that reason I am moderately reassured that this will not escalate out of hand.”

  99. raven says

    The old Soviet Union occasionally managed to accomplish a few things.
    What isn’t emphasized is that many of the USSRs achievements were actually Ukrainian. The chief designer for their space program Korolev, was from…Ukraine.

    The engines for their largest helicopter, the Mi-26 are made in Ukraine at Motor Sich.
    They’ve been trying to replace them for years without any success yet.
    It is possible their brain drain isn’t helping either.

    worlds-largest-transport-helicopters-will-not-fly-only-ukraine-makes-their-engines

    World’s largest transport helicopters will not fly – only Ukraine makes their engines
    Nov 02, 2022 Technology.org
    Mi-26 is the world’s largest transport helicopter. Most of them belong to the Russian army. But their engines are made in Ukraine.

    Having this in mind, the future prospects do not look good for Mi-26. For the time being, these helicopters are still operational. However, the Russian reserves of spare parts and replacement engines are rapidly approaching zero.

    D-136 engines are manufactured by the Ukrainian company Motor Sich. But after the recent arrest of its CEO Vyacheslav Boguslaev, who organized illegal equipment deliveries to the Russian Federation, this supply line has been completely cut off.

    To some extent, the Russian Federation has predicted such a situation and started developing its own replacement engine back in 2016. Theoretically, this new model is scheduled to enter serial production in 2025. But the working prototype is not completed yet.

    It should be noted that Russia produces engines for several other helicopter models, including Mi-28, Ka-52, and Mi-8 with a production output of several hundred units per year.

    But the largest Russian Mi-26 transport helicopters, which also are the heaviest machines in their class in the world, are a different story. A single Mi-26 weighs up to 56 tons when fully loaded, including cargo up to 20 tons and even more. It is over 33 meters long and needs two D-136 engines to fly. Each engine produces a power output of over 11,000 hp.

    Russia tried to solve this issue by attempting to replace Mi-26 with a new transport aircraft Il-112V. This project started in 1994, but experienced a number of setbacks and delays until the first and only prototype was demonstrated on 18 January 2018. But on 17 August 2021, the same prototype suffered a fire in its engine and crashed. No other Il-112V was built since then.

    According to the Security Service of Ukraine, the former CEO of Motor Sich has regularly supplied D-136 engines to Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

    Russia appears to continue building Mi-26 helicopters, including updated prototypes Mi-26T2 and its military version Mi-26T2W. Both models passed official state trials in 2019.

    In 2016, the development of a new engine to replace the Ukrainian D-136 was announced. It is based on the PD-14 jet engine used in Russian Irkut MC-21 passenger aircraft. According to preliminary specifications, it should be able to develop a power of 14,500 hp while using 18% less fuel. It is expected to be 100 kg heavier compared to D-136.

    The only major issue is the fact that the serial model of the replacement engine does not exist yet. It was supposed to go into production in 2019 but now is delayed at least until 2025.

  100. says

    Julia Davis:

    Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov is angry and despondent because Russia is floundering in Ukraine. He lies that NATO started the war against Russia on Feb 17 and airs a multitude of grievances against Joe Biden, Volodymyr Zelensky, Jamie Raskin, Oleg Tinkov, Germany et al.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link.

  101. whheydt says

    Trump settles with demonstrators who were attacked by his private security personnel on a public sidewalk…

    Former President Donald Trump settled a civil lawsuit Wednesday that alleged his security guards violently assaulted protesters outside Trump Tower in 2015.

    The case, brought by Efrain Galicia and four other protesters of Mexican origin against Trump and his head of security, Keith Schiller, was in the middle of jury selection in Bronx Supreme Court when the parties came to a confidential agreement.

    Video from the September 2015 rally appeared to show Schiller smacking Galicia in the face after he reached for a sign that said “Trump: Make America Racist Again.”

    More details here: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-reaches-settlement-protesters-allege-assaulted-security/story?id=92554485

  102. says

    whheydt @ #130, I like the quote from the plaintiffs’ lawyer:

    “Defendants were staring down the barrel of a Bronx jury who were about to be presented with overwhelming evidence in support of plaintiffs’ claims,” Ben Dictor, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in a statement to ABC News. “Nevertheless, plaintiffs are proud to have settled their claims and to have obtained written recognition by Donald Trump of their right to protest on the public sidewalk. Powerful men may put their names on buildings, but the sidewalk will always belong to the people.”

  103. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Official: Ukraine’s military hits Russian air defense in Kherson.

    Ukraine’s Armed Forces struck Russian air defense systems near the “Spartak” stadium in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson on Nov. 2, Serhiy Khlan, an aide to the Ukrainian regional governor, said.

    According to Khlan, these systems were also used to shell Mykolaiv.

    Earlier on Nov. 2, Suspilne Kherson television reported that explosions were heard in the city.

  104. says

    President Obama stumping in Nevada is something worth watching

    Video clips available at the link.

    In the clip below, the former president reminds the audience that 14 members of Adam Laxalt’s family have publicly announced that they are endorsing his opponent, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto. That’s the second time his extended family members, the ones who are actually from Nevada, have come out against him. Laxalt joins Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar as a person disliked most by the people who know him most intimately.

    Obama gives beautiful context to this harsh condemnation of Adam Laxalt. “If you’ve got a full Thanksgiving dinner table and they’re all saying you don’t belong in the U.S. Senate; when the people who know you best think your opponent would do a better job, that says something about you.” […]

  105. Reginald Selkirk says

    Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico reveal that they’re married

    A former Miss Argentina and former Miss Puerto Rico shocked and delighted fans by announcing their surprise marriage on Instagram.
    Mariana Varela and Fabiola Valentín met at the 2020 Miss Grand International competition in Thailand, where they represented Argentina and Puerto Rico, respectively. After making it to the pageant top 10, the two beauty queens appeared to remain close friends on social media. What fans didn’t know is they were secretly dating the whole time…

    The headline didn’t mention “former”, which would have made them ineligible to be “Miss” anything.

  106. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Zelensky: Russia threatens grain corridors as it demands guarantees.

    In an address, President Zelensky said Russian missile strikes from the Black Sea endanger grain corridor routes, even as Russia demanded security guarantees from Ukraine to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal.

    “This morning a Russian aircraft launched cruise missiles near Snake Island that flew through grain corridor routes. These launches, which are almost daily, directly threaten food exports,” Zelensky said.

  107. raven says

    We still don’t know what damage the Ukrainian drone attacks did to the Russian fleet.
    The first satellite images are out now.

    It looks like the flagship, the Admiral Makarova is seriously damaged. Analysts say it is low in the water and seems to be listing.

    russian-admiral-makarov-frigate-starboard damage

    Russian Admiral Makarov frigate’s starboard side likely damaged, says OSINT analyst
    Wed, November 2, 2022 at 7:54 AM·The New Voice of Ukraine

    “Satellite images taken yesterday at 05:35 and 11:06 UTC show the two Admiral Grigorovich class frigates currently deployed in the Black Sea moored in port,” he tweeted.

    Several experts assume that one of these frigates is the Admiral Makarov, the current flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, while the other one is the Admiral Essen.

    According to experts, the Admiral Makarov is moored with its starboard side parallel to the dock so that damage can not only be repaired but also hidden from view.

    The Russian occupation authorities in Ukraine’s Crimea announced on Oct.29 there had been an attack by drones in the waters of Sevastopol Bay.

    The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine and the United Kingdom of being behind the attack. The Russians claimed that they had allegedly “destroyed all air targets.”

    The Russians maintained that “the attack by the Ukrainian military” took place “under the guidance of British specialists who are in Ochakiv (a town in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv Oblast, about 200 kilometers to the north-west of Sevastopol).”

    There is no evidence that the Russian claims are true.

    The Russian Ministry of Defense said that, in addition to the warship the Ivan Golubets, “minor damage” was caused to a protective barrier in the south bay.

    Ukraine’s South Operational Command in turn said that the explosions in Sevastopol could have been caused by unsuccessful launches of air defense missiles.

    However, video began circulating on social media shortly after the attack apparently showing possibly six or eight sea surface drones in the area of Sevastopol bay, apparently attacking Russian ships there.

    In one of these videos, a helicopter can be seen attacking a sea drone, firing at it with a machine gun and apparently dropping explosive charges nearby.

    In another video taken from the shore of what appears to be the same incident, a helicopter can be seen attacking something in the sea, after which there is an explosion on the water.

  108. says

    New episode of Frontline (YT link) – “Putin’s War at Home (full documentary)”:

    Meet some of the defiant Russians pushing back against President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on critics of the war in Ukraine.

    FRONTLINE tells the inside stories of activists and journalists risking arrest and imprisonment to protest and speak out about the Kremlin’s war effort — from a young woman whose TikToks have gone viral internationally, to an artist facing up to 10 years imprisonment after posting anti-war stickers in a grocery store, to a university professor whose parents live in Ukraine, to independent reporters seeking the truth about the war — including its death toll among the country’s soldiers, information that Russia has deemed a state secret.

    As Russia’s war on Ukraine approaches its ninth month and evidence of potential war crimes continues to mount, “Putin’s War at Home” is a powerful look at the Russian leader’s efforts to stifle domestic criticism — and some of the people in his country who are speaking out anyway.

    “Putin’s Russia is based on fear,” one journalist says in the documentary, adding that, “we decided to continue without censorship, whatever the cost.”

  109. raven says

    Most of the Russian soldiers seem to be nearly illiterate and uneducated.
    This is something that has been noted over and over again.

    Zelenskyy says they speak low class Russian and don’t show a lot of knowledge.
    Other people note that their social media posts are always full of grammatical errors.
    This could be expected for foot soldiers but the officers show it also.

    Partly this is due to selection bias. The rich and educated avoid the draft and avoid Ukraine.
    Partly this is due to their education system.
    When they became a Petro state, Russia decided they didn’t need an educated population and reduced funding their education system.

    Zelenskyy on Russians’ intercepted conversations: I speak Russian better than they do

    Ukrayinska Pravda
    Zelenskyy on Russians’ intercepted conversations: I speak Russian better than they do

    Ukrainska Pravda
    Wed, November 2, 2022 at 4:37 AM·1 min read

    President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has noted that the Russian occupiers are distinguished by their ignorance and illiteracy.

    Source: The President of Ukraine in an interview for Czech television, posted on Zelenkyy’s social media on 2 November.

    Quote from Zelenskyy: “There are many interceptions [of the invaders’ conversations, which are made public by Ukraine’s Security Service and Defence Intelligence – ed.]… I know the Russian language much better than these people who were talking to each other. Then there is such a thing as obscene language… They talk to their parents using these words all the time. Every second word.

    If that’s how you talk with your parents, it’s clear why you behave like that… That is, they are uneducated, ill-mannered, shameless animals.”

    Details: Zelenskyy admitted that he had not expected people in the 21st century to be capable of such atrocities as the Russians, who killed people for an umbrella, a kettle, or a toilet.

    The impression [we have] is that this was an invasion of wild people who had previously been kept in pits and cages, and were then released and promised freedom if they went to kill Ukrainians, the president noted.

  110. StevoR says

    Hopefully interesting for folks here but WARNING : references to domestic violence etc .. at link here

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-03/amanda-rishworth-domestic-violence-national-press-club-speech/101612106

    Alarmist headline and not an immediate threat but definitely something worth noting here. 2021 PH27 is now the closest asteroid we know of so far to our Sun :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-02/planet-killer-asteroid-on-its-way-to-earth/101605924

    “Planet-killer” refers to this asteroid’s size – over 1 km across – & not its likely fate. BTW

    Whilst in other perhaps happier meteor news :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-02/meteor-fireball-caught-on-dads-dash-cam-storm-expected/101599232

    Note from that :

    Dr Sansom said the meteor’s fiery demise could signal the start of a “storm” to come.

    The Southern Taurid meteor shower is likely to be seen from November 4-9.

    “There’s predicted to be a meteor storm this year so maybe over the next few nights we’re going to get a lot of them,” Dr Sansom said.

    “The last time it had a bit of an outburst through the atmosphere was in 2015 — so its been a while since we’ve had a lot of meteors from that stream and it’s predicted to be happening again this year.

    Esp for those like me in the Southern hemisphere here. Not sure how good and visible it wuill be from the upside down northern half of our planet.

  111. Reginald Selkirk says

    US Treasury thwarts DDoS attack from Russian Killnet group

    The US Treasury Department has thwarted a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that officials attributed to Russian hacktivist group Killnet.
    These are the same pro-Kremlin miscreants that claimed responsibility for knocking more than a dozen US airports’ websites offline on October 10 in similar network-traffic flooding incidents. The large-scale DDoS attack didn’t disrupt air travel or cause any operational harm to the airports…

  112. raven says

    Tweet
    NEXTA @nexta_tv

    On November 2, #Russian shelling damaged the last two high-voltage communication lines of the nuclear power plant in #Zaporizhzhia. The station switched to full blackout mode, all 20 diesel generators were switched on.

    The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant has now once again had its grid connections cut.
    This plant needs electricity to keep its core cooling systems operating.

    They are now running the emergency core cooling systems which are diesel generators.
    I don’t know the status of the power plant cores though.
    IIRC, they were shut down weeks ago.
    It takes a month for the residual decay heat to drop to the point where the cores won’t melt down.

  113. Reginald Selkirk says

    @152: Probably “transmission lines” would be more apt then “communication lines.”

  114. Reginald Selkirk says

    Trump sues NY Attorney General Letitia James for ‘intimidation’

    In the latest lawsuit – which was filed to the Florida State Circuit Court – Mr Trump accused Ms James of “a relentless, pernicious, public and unapologetic crusade” against him and the Trump Organization.
    He also alleges that the attorney general’s own case against him is a “plot” to obtain control of his business that began as a “cartoonish, thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign” the former president…
    “We sued Donald Trump because he committed extensive financial fraud,” the statement said. “That fact hasn’t changed, and neither will our resolve to ensure that no mater how powerful or political one might be, no one is above the law.”

    The clock is running. Will this lawsuit last longer than head of lettuce?

  115. raven says

    (((Tendar))) @Tendar

    Russians have removed their flag from the main administrative building in Kherson. In addition, according to locals multiple Russian checkpoints around Kherson city have been abandoned. #Kherson #Ukraine

    This news is called unconfirmed but is reported in several places.

    It looks like the Russians really are going to retreat from Kherson.
    I’m sure they have a Plan B that is horrible in some way, blowing up the Kakhovka dam and/or the nuclear power plant, or something.

  116. Reginald Selkirk says

    Somalia’s men in sarongs taking on al-Shabab militants

    Now men in sarongs, or “ma’awiisley”, have become a powerful new weapon in the battle to bring an end to the country’s 15-year Islamist insurgency.
    These groups of clan fighters have sprung largely from nomadic and farming communities living under al-Shabab, which controls vast swathes of territory in southern and central Somalia and imposes strict rules on those who live there…

  117. raven says

    The Paul Pelosi attacker is a Canadian.
    In the USA illegally since he overstayed his visiting time of 6 months.

    We do have a slight problem with Canadian terrorists here in the USA.
    The founder and head of the Proud Boys, Gavin McInnes is also Canadian and he crosses the border often with no trouble.

    Immigration officials say Pelosi attacker was in US illegally
    Priscilla Alvarez
    By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN
    Published 8:00 AM EDT, Thu November 3, 2022
    CNN

    David DePape, the man accused of violently attacking Paul Pelosi last week, was in the United States illegally and may face deportation, the Department of Homeland Security said late Wednesday.

    “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lodged an immigration detainer on Canadian national David DePape with San Francisco County Jail, Nov. 1, following his Oct. 28 arrest,” the department said.

  118. whheydt says

    Re: Reginald Selkirk @ #154…
    It’s hard to see how a Florida state court would have jurisdiction over a New York state official. As I understand it, when parties to a suit live in different states, it is possible to have the case moved to Federal court.

    I think I’ll bet on the head of lettuce.

  119. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 151

    I wonder if Republicans got a bulk discount on those fake badges.

    Ask Hershel Walker. I hear he knows a guy.

  120. says

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

    There has been suspicious movement in Kherson that may have some eager to celebrate what appears to be signs of a Russian retreat, but has others urging caution. The Russian flag has been removed from the Kherson regional administration building, located in the west bank area of the city where Ukrainian forces made significant advances a few weeks ago. Russian authorities who have been consistently forcibly relocating civilians in the region, claiming that it’s for their safety as Ukrainian forces move closer, are now purportedly halting the relocations. But Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s Southern Command, is urging caution, saying that Russia’s unusual manoeuvres in Kherson might be a trap to lure in Ukrainian forces.

    Russian attacks in the Donetsk oblast and Kharkiv oblast have killed at least five civilians in the past day, officials said.

    The armed forces of Ukraine are estimating that about 730 Russian soldiers were killed yesterday alone, bringing the total to 68,900 personnel lost so far in the invasion of Ukraine.

    The White House has accused North Korea of covertly shipping a “significant number” of artillery shells to Russia in support of its invasion of Ukraine amid mounting evidence of shortages for key weapons systems.

    Olena Zelenska, the wife of Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said she hoped that Elon Musk’s tweet about a peace deal to end the war with Russia was a “chance mistake”. “He supported Ukraine from the very first day and that’s why Ukrainians really admired him,” Zelenska told the Guardian in an interview at the Web Summit in Lisbon. “So it was extremely sensitive for us to read the tweet. Let’s be honest, even the smartest person can’t say the smartest things 24 hours a day. There are mistakes. And we hope it was a chance mistake.”

    Also from there:

    IAEA: no sign of ‘undeclared nuclear activities’ at three Ukrainian sites inspected after ‘dirty bomb’ accusation

    The UN nuclear watchdog said on Thursday it had found no sign of undeclared nuclear activity at three sites in Ukraine that it inspected at Kyiv’s request, in response to Russian allegations that work was being done on a “dirty bomb”.

    Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has reacted strongly to the results of the nuclear inspection…, tweeting that Russia “has confirmed its status of the world’s top liar”….

    Ukraine and Russia held another prisoner of war swap today, exchanging 107 servicemen

    Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal met today with representatives from the UN and USAid to discuss getting Ukraine through what is predicted to be a long and difficult winter.

    Already this week, much of the country suffered from power outages after Russian forces targeted critical infrastructure in missile strikes. Officials only expect matters to get worse.

  121. raven says

    Reports are that the Russians are using a scorched earth policy as they leave Kherson.
    This is a copy of the one Hitler used in 1945 in Germany. As the allies advanced towards Berlin, he ordered his army to destroy everything in their path, the Nero decree.

    By this time, Hitler knew the war was lost and he turned against the German people for letting him down.

    Wikipedia:

    The decree was in vain. The responsibility for carrying it out fell to Albert Speer, Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production. According to him, Speer was appalled by the order and lost faith in the dictator. Just as von Choltitz had several months earlier, Speer deliberately failed to carry out the order. Upon receiving it, he requested to be given exclusive power to implement the plan, instead using his power to convince the generals and Gauleiters to ignore the order.

    All the German leaders ignored the order.
    By that point, the war was lost and destroying everything was a waste of time and explosives. It wasn’t going to even slow down the allies.

    Russian Forces Follow the Nazi Playbook in Evacuation of Occupied Kherson

    Russian Forces Follow the Nazi Playbook in Evacuation of Occupied Kherson
    Dan Ladden-Hall
    Thu, November 3, 2022 at 6:14 AM·2 min read

    With Russian forces evacuating the occupied Ukrainian city of Kherson, local media on Thursday reported that Kremlin troops had blown up communications towers and abandoned checkpoints in the area before retreating.

    Images shared on social media show what appears to be the twisted remains of destroyed towers in the partially-occupied Kherson Oblast on the western side of the Dnipro River.

    Online observers have likened the alleged tactics of destroying civilian infrastructure as enemy forces approach to the infamous “Nero Decree” issued by Adolf Hitler in March 1945. The order—named after the Roman emperor who ruled during the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD—saw Nazi forces destroying key German infrastructure including transport and communication facilities to stop them falling into the hands of the Allies.

    Independent Russian media outlet Meduza also reported that the Russian flag had vanished from the regional administration building in Kherson. The building is located in the west bank area of the city, where Ukrainian forces have gained ground in recent weeks.

    Residents in Kherson also appear to have been recorded clapping and cheering as they passed through a checkpoint abandoned by occupying forces, on Thursday.

  122. says

    Kevin Baron:

    Read this, from @peterwsinger: “Musk may own Twitter, but China and Saudi Arabia effectively own Musk.”

    “…Elon Musk’s fortune comes from owning Tesla; he had to sell off some of his stock to gain the cash needed to complete the Twitter deal. However, Tesla depends on the Chinese Communist Party’s good graces not just for its manufacturing…”

    “…(its Gigafactory in Shanghai makes over 70,000 cars a month), but also 24% of its revenue and its primary growth market (sales jumped 65% in last year in China, amid tougher sales in the rest of the world).”

    “This means a crucial communications network is now owned by a man whose business and personal fortune are beholden to the whims of an authoritarian government, one that has proven perfectly happy to turn the screws on companies for its own political ends.”

    “…Other authoritarian regimes have a more direct hold on Twitter. …The second-largest chunk of Twitter now belongs to Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and the Saudi kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which invested roughly $1.9 billion…”

    “…, followed by the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar at $375 million.”

    “…Musk’s track record on cybersecurity is worse than Tesla’s autopilot. Every major company faces cyber challenges, but hacking Teslas has become a rite of passage at hacker conventions for literally the last decade.”

    “…massive layoffs are sure to affect security team numbers, capability, and quality (the best people are typically not the ones who will stick around amidst mass layoffs, all the more in a company whose value has sunk and shows no sign of recovering to its highs)…”

    “…The turmoil and turnover also throw blood in the water for both insider threats with diminished company loyalty and external forces looking for which firms to target.”

    “The outcome is that any new cybersecurity weaknesses at Elon Musk’s new company are also now threats for the rest of us. This may be why some of the worst cyber threat actors in the world are celebrating Musk’s purchase.”

    Defense One link at the (Twitter) link.

  123. says

    Thread from Michael Kofman:

    A few thoughts on the current course of the war, and some impressions after a recent visit to Ukraine with several colleagues from the mil analysis community, including areas near the front in Kherson.

    The general sense one gets is that Ukraine is winning the war & morale is high, but like any military operation, you see friction up close that you can’t from a distance. A fair bit of the UA effort is ground up, based on horizontal linkages, volunteers, apps, etc.

    Russia’s military appears at its most vulnerable going into the winter, but UA has seen some modest impact from RU mobilization. Troops are being deployed to try and stabilize Russian lines, and increase force density relative to terrain.

    The situation in Kherson is clear as mud. Russian forces seemed to withdraw from some parts, evacuated, and drew down, but also reinforced with mobilized personnel. The fighting there is difficult. Despite constrained supply, Russian forces do not appear to be out of ammo.

    I think this is a fog of war issue right now, with contradictory indicators, but to me the preponderance of evidence points to a Russian decision to steadily retreat from the right river bank and avoid being cut off there, while also trying to exact a high cost.

    UA folks I spoke to seemed optimistic they can press Russia out of Kherson (west of the river) by the end of the year. There are outstanding questions about the Khakovka dam, and whether RU might sabotage it upon withdrawal. This issue is more salient than talk of RDDs [Radiological Dispersal Devices, or “dirty bombs”].

    Still, it remains unclear whether RU intends to fight for Kherson city, perhaps using more expendable or mobilized units while preserving better troops. I’m skeptical RU will abandon all positions on that side without being forcibly pressed out, but could be wrong on this.

    Forcing a Russian retreat from Kherson’s right bank will bring UA systems within range of some ground lines of communication from Crimea. But, it will also give RU forces a large natural barrier, less terrain to defend, and a higher force density to terrain ratio.

    Overall, it seems unlikely that the war will die down over the winter, even if some months make offensive operations challenging. UA will likely leverage its advantage in range and precision to attrit the Russian military over this period.

    Strikes across Ukraine are leading to blackouts and electricity conservation. UA is resolving these blackouts quickly, and if anything the bombardment campaign bolsters resolve, but over time the challenges from these strikes could mount, straining equipment and ADS ammo.

    I’ve been dismissive of the Belarus vector, despite recent RU deployments there. But the situation merits tracking over the coming months if numbers of Russian troops grow and they are provided heavy equipment.

    Mobilization, and its potential downstream effect 3-4 months from now introduces a degree of uncertainty. It could extend the war, or make future UA offensives more costly, but I think UA is preparing for a range of possibilities depending on what mobilization yields.

    On mobilization I largely hold to the thoughts in this earlier thread. It seems RU is taking a staggered approach, throwing some mobilized personnel with little training to stabilize lines, but holding many back to reconstitute units or form reserves.

    RU strategy appears to be focused on defense over the winter, hoping that mobilization can rebuild their forces. If the pressure lets up they will use the time to get more equipment out of storage (including from Belarus) & potentially ammo from sources like DPRK.

    In the east RU forces appear desperate to hold the Troitske-Svatove-Kreminna line and are trying to dig in for the winter. Here a UA breakout could prove significant. In general it seems RU approach is to try and fix a defensible line and hope to maintain over the winter.

    UA objectives are likely to prevent Russian force reconstitution over the winter, generate additional forces in the interim (which requires more equipment), and acquire air defenses to reduce the threat from the Russian strike campaign against critical infrastructure.

  124. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    US embassy officials in Russia today visited US basketball star Brittney Griner, who is serving out her nine-year sentence in Russian prison.

    Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been in custody since she was arrested in February after Russian authorities said they found vape cartridges with less than a gram of hashish oil in them in her luggage. She and her family characterised her arrest and subsequent trial and sentencing as politically motivated.

    The US has determined that Griner has been “wrongfully detained”.

  125. Reginald Selkirk says

    A theft ring that allegedly made millions from catalytic converters has been busted

    The Justice Department has arrested 21 people suspected of belonging to a theft ring that made millions of dollars from stolen catalytic converters, the car parts that have increasingly become targets across the country.
    A team of law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal levels seized hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, such as homes, bank accounts and cash, cars and jewelry from the defendants. They are being charged with conspiracy to transport stolen catalytic converters, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and more.

  126. Reginald Selkirk says

    Bounty ban: Celebrations removes coconut chocolate bar

    It’s one chocolate lover’s dream, another’s worst nightmare – a Bounty-free box of Celebrations.
    Regardless of your stance, it’s about to become a reality as tubs without the coconut-filled treat are launched across the UK.
    The no-Bounty boxes, emblazoned with graphics of the “cancelled” bars, will instead be packed with extra Mars, Snickers, Milky Ways and other fan favourites.
    The trial of the Bounty-free boxes comes after research revealed that more than a third want the chocolate banned altogether.

  127. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    US defence secretary: Ukraine can retake Kherson

    Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of defence, said he believes that Ukrainian forces are able to retake Kherson.

    Austin called their work “methodical” and effective”: “I certainly believe that they have the capability to do that. And most importantly, the Ukrainians believe that they have the capability to do that.”

  128. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Russian ambassador: UK is “too deep” in Ukraine war

    In an interview with Sky News, Andrei Kelin, the Russian ambassador to the United Kingdom, warned that that the UK is in “too deep” in the war in Ukraine, claiming that he had proof that UK special forces were involved in a Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

    When pressed to see this proof, Kelin said he handed it over to the British ambassador and that “it will become public pretty soon”, perhaps as soon as tomorrow.

    “It is dangerous because it escalates the situation,” Kelin said. “It can bring us up to the line of I would say no return, return is always possible. But anyway, we should avoid escalation.”

    Kelin continued: “And this is a warning actually that Britain is too deep in this conflict. It means the situation is becoming more and more dangerous.”

    However, despite Russia’s accusations that the West was “encouraging provocations with weapons of mass destruction”, Kelin said that Moscow would not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

    “The nuclear war cannot be won and it should never be fought,” he said. “And we stick strongly to this statement.”

  129. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile in Russia: Kremlin-funded state TV explains why they’re rooting for MAGA Republicans in the midterms and reveal the key talking points their trolls and useful idiots will be spreading to undermine Biden and the Democrats.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link.

  130. says

    Thread by Josh Marshall:

    Given his mercurial and unstable nature I had half assumed that Jew hate was new for Kanye West, perhaps driven by some recent event. NBC makes pretty clear that’s not the case. Had to settle a lawsuit over spouting anti-Semitism in the workplace and praising Hitler.

    And NBC found 6 other people who either worked for West or witnessed him in professional settings praising Hitler and pushing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Along with recent events, the evidence seems pretty overwhelming. Indeed, the evidence seems so overwhelming …

    that it really seems like this has been something of an open secret and that people have basically been covering for him, even those who were likely genuinely appalled by his beliefs. Three witnesses reported a 2018 incident in which West went on an anti-semitic tirade …

    during an interview at TMZ. People who’ve known this and chose to stay silent can answer for themselves. But it does seem like part of the larger pattern, which is a guy of vast wealth and great talent who because of that wealth and talent was able to get almost everyone …

    for YEARS to cover for him, make excuses for him or defend him in the face of endless out of control, vicious and malicious behavior. Some cruel but semi-comic, much shocking. Here’s the NBC report….

    NBC link at the link. The Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee tweeted last month “Kanye. Elon. Trump.” That tweet is still up. If Republicans get control of the House, they will control this and all of the other committees.

  131. says

    Ukraine update: Russia has reportedly reinforced front lines at Kherson to cover retreat in progress

    Tell me if you’ve heard this story before. On Thursday morning in Ukraine, there are claims that Russia is packing up to leave the right bank (west side) of the Dnipro River in Kherson Oblast, including the city of Kherson. On both Telegram and Twitter, there are reports that the majority of Russian forces have already been shifted to the opposite bank. In Kherson, on-the-ground videos show that the Russian flag has been removed from the headquarters of the occupation government, and people moving around the city are finding checkpoints unmanned. In the immediate suburbs, even more, checkpoints are reportedly standing empty as busses sail past open barricades.

    If you’ve been reading these updates for more than two weeks, then you’ve definitely heard these stories before. In mid-October, reports that Russia was departing Kherson came hot and heavy, backed with videos showing Russian equipment being loaded onto barges, Russian troops making off with truckloads of stolen home appliances, and reports that Ukraine was resuming its rapid counteroffensive in the field. There was even an official evacuation order for residents of the city, and several thousand civilians, who were probably not all Russian collaborators running for their lives, lined up to be taken away by boat. […]

    But within a few days, what had seemed like a collapse, turned right back into the status quo. Two weeks later, Russian and Ukraine are not only still fighting it out in the same series of small villages to the north, Russia actually pushed Ukraine out of one of those villages on Monday. West of the city, the fortified town of Snihurivka is still in Russian hands (though Russia took a thumping in the area on Tuesday and Wednesday). The evacuation seemed to end as quickly as it began, leaving most of the residents—and Russian soldiers—right where they had been before.

    It’s easy to be skeptical of anything happening in Kherson this Thursday, especially when some of the evidence that keeps being repeated is a single missing flag. Last time these signals were being passed around, even Russian military bloggers seemed to be in agreement, with a Telegram channel associated with the Wagner mercenaries bemoaning the loss of Kherson. This time, there’s a lot more disagreement, with the Telegram channel of the “Russian Legion” bragging that Russia is actually expanding operations in Kherson, and that it has Ukrainian forces on the run. On the other hand, Russian Telegram channel Gray Zone claims that the flags have been removed from buildings in Kherson exactly because Russian forces are leaving, and they’re tired of all those videos in which Ukrainians tear down Russian flags and stomp on them. [video at the link]

    There are also western military officials out this morning’s saying that Russia’s withdrawal from the right bank is “well advanced” and that Russia has conducted “a temporary bolstering” of front-line forces to cover its retreat. Which seems like something that fits all the evidence.

    And now comes the part where I make the admission that everyone must be tired of hearing by now: I don’t know what’s actually happening.

    I definitely want to believe that Russia is departing Kherson. Ukraine’s first attack on the Antonivskyi Bridge back in July was like the starting gun for Ukraine’s reversal of the Russian invasion. It seemingly overnight put Russia on notice that it could no longer control the tempo of the war, or determine the place where fighting would take place. On July 19, Ukraine struck the bridge. On July 20, someone back in the Kremlin finally got it—the effort on the western side of the Dnipro was unsupportable.

    Russian efforts to bring across men, ammunition, and equipment by barge or pontoon bridge cannot be adequate for a long-term, sustained, high-intensity conflict. I very much want to believe that the reason Ukraine has not been making rapid advances over the last two weeks, is that they are determined to sit there, make Russia fire off as many shells as possible, and wait until they see Russian’s picking up sticks and stones before they walk in to mop up. This morning, Russian officials are reporting that their troops have repelled new Ukrainian attacks at Mylove, Sukhanove, Bruskynske, and Ishchenka — which makes it sound very much as if Ukraine is probing that whole north Kherson front. It doesn’t seem that front has folded yet. But it will.

    There will definitely be a day when Russia withdraws from Kherson. I just don’t know if it’s this day. We will keep monitoring what happens in Snihurivka, and in all the towns along the line north of Beryslav, for signs that Ukraine is walking in. Hopefully that will come soon.

    Oh, and this doesn’t get said enough: Russia’s giving up on Kherson is an absolute sign that they will never get their f**king hands on Odesa. […]

    Note that this conversation isn’t just about Kherson. “”We’re seeing a force gradually growing with the arrival of mobilised reservists—but a low quality one likely little suited to complex offensive operations. Above all, the Russians are critically short of munitions.” […]

    Overnight, Ukraine again sent precision weapons at the Kakhovka Bridge. Fires that were initially reported to be in the power plant, appear to have been in the short bridge section to the east. These evacuation orders are likely to ramp up concerns that Russia may intentionally damage the dam. […]

    Just look at the size of this thing.

    US Navy carrier U.S.S. George H.M. Bush (CVN 77) has anchored in Split, Croatia.

    Together with 101st US Airborne Division in Romania a decent amount of US fire power has positioned in Southeast Europe, ready to engage anything in Ukraine or the Black Sea. [image at the link]

    […] From the time it takes the bomb to hit the ground, this drone is flying pretty high above what appears to be a supply of mines. But maybe not high enough. [video at the link]

    […] While I will not post the tank man, I will post this.

    A US military plane “painted a penis” in the sky near a Russian airbase, La Repubblica.

    A KC-135 Stratotanker refueling plane remained for almost two hours east of Cyprus on Tuesday, in front of the Syrian base of Tartus, a stronghold of Moscow.

    😂😂😂😂😂 [image at the link]

    […] I am not posting a video of the “flying Russian tank man.” Thank you.

  132. Reginald Selkirk says

    Milwaukee Election Commission official Kimberly Zapata could face charges accusing her of fraudulently requesting military ballots

    A Milwaukee election official could face criminal charges accusing her of fraudulently requesting absentee ballots reserved for members of the military and sending them to a Republican lawmaker known for embracing unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
    Milwaukee Election Commission deputy director Kimberly Zapata, 44, of South Milwaukee, was fired by Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson this week after Johnson discovered she had requested the ballots. Johnson said Zapata’s actions may have been to show voter fraud was possible…

  133. says

    Wonkette: “Trump Lawyer John Eastman Steps On Rake, Slips On Banana Peel, Lights Himself On Fire At Ninth Circuit”

    John Eastman, Trump’s Keystone Coup lawyer, is such a supernova of dipshittery that it’s hard to believe it’s not a bit. Just HOW can one lawyer keep coming up with new ways to be such a goddamn fuckup? When he’s not plotting to overthrow democracy by dint of cosplay electors, he’s demanding to deliver a lecture on constitutional law to the FBI agents who show up with a warrant for his phone. When he’s not huddled up with a Supreme Court justice’s wife plotting the overthrow of democracy, he’s ginning up garbage lawsuits with his client in an attempt to obstruct Congress. Let no one say the man doesn’t hustle — even if his hustle is one that puts him at the center of multiple federal, state, and congressional investigations.

    With that in mind, let’s try to summarize Eastman’s week in federal court without DYING OF CRINGE, shall we?

    It started on the evening of Thursday, October 27, when John Eastman’s lawyers busted into the courtroom of US District Judge David Carter and said, “Hey, you know how you said that our client did crimes with Donald Trump and had to disclose eight more emails to the House January 6 Select Committee? Well, we think you’re full of shit, so we’d like you to reconsider, ‘kay?” (Your Wonkette is paraphrasing slightly.)

    See, on October 19, i.e. EIGHT DAYS BEFORE October 27, Judge Carter held that the crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege applied to eight emails the supergenius law professor had sent from his work account at Chapman University. In the emails, Trump’s lawyers admitted not only that the election suit in Georgia was being filed solely to give the Republican state Legislature an excuse to recast the state’s electoral votes for Trump, but also that Trump had actual knowledge that the data he was citing to support his claims of fraud was bullshit. And so, finding that Trump and Eastman were doing crimes together, the court ordered Eastman to turn the emails over to the committee by 2 p.m. Pacific Time on October 28.

    Now, there was a time for Eastman’s lawyers to appeal Judge Carter’s ruling, and that time was NOT on October 28. Nevertheless, on Friday, October 28, at 11:48 a.m., just 2 hours and 12 minutes before the deadline to turn over the emails, Eastman docketed an emergency motion at the Ninth Circuit to stay the production order pending appeal, mumbling something about his lawyers being on vacation or some such. Which is very much not the court’s problem! He also made one more pass at Judge Carter, but SHOCKER, no one rode to the rescue, and so at 2:04 — LATE! — he emailed a Dropbox link with a plaintive request that the committee pretend he’d actually gotten a stay and refrain from looking at the emails. To which the committee said, “LOL, get bent, asshole.” (We are paraphrasing again.)

    Eastman then filed another request for stay with the Ninth Circuit, insisting that, even though the committee had seen the emails, the issue wasn’t moot, because the court could still order Congress to delete them (maybe setting fire to their laptops for good measure!) and pretend the whole thing never happened. Which is both stupid and probably illegal due to separation of powers issues.

    In their response to the court, the committee attached Eastman’s email containing the Dropbox link as an exhibit.

    Wait for it …

    Almost immediately, Politico published the emails. Because John Eastman’s fuckwit lawyers hadn’t disabled the Dropbox link! So now, the messages they fought for a year to keep under wraps are out in public — an Olympic feat of self-inflicted [pain]

    “The point is to have the court say that probably the election was void, which ought to be enough to prevent the Senate from counting the Biden electoral votes from Georgia, right?” Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro emailed Eastman and several Trump lawyers on the morning of December 31, 2020, making it clear that the purpose of the Georgia litigation wasn’t to win, but to provide a pretext for political ratfucking. “Merely having this case pending before the Supreme Court, not ruled on, might be enough to delay consideration of Georgia, particularly if [Mike] Pence has the legal ability and will to insert himself, at least enough to win delay.”

    “We want to frame things so that Thomas could be the one to issue some sort of stay or other circuit justice opinion saying Georgia is in some legitimate doubt,” he went on. “Realistically, our only chance to get a favorable opinion by Jan. 6 which might hold up the Georgia account is from Thomas — do you agree Prof. Eastman?”

    Indeed, Prof. Eastman, a former law clerk for Justice Thomas who was in close contact with Thomas’s wife Ginni, did agree!

    “If the court were to give us ‘likely,’ that may be enough to kick the Georgia legislature into gear, because I’ve been getting a lot of calls from them indicating that they’re leaning that way,” Eastman piped up cheerfully.

    Later in the day, he admitted in writing that Trump had actual knowledge that the claims about deceased and fraudulent votes in Georgia were false, even though he eventually went on to sign the document anyway: “Although the president signed a verification for that back on Dec. 1, he has since been made aware that some of the allegations (and evidence proffered by the experts) has been inaccurate. And I have no doubt that an aggressive DA or US Atty someplace will go after both the President and his lawyers once all the dust settles on this.”

    Not a great look!

    The astute observer will note that this would appear to make Eastman’s appeal to the Ninth Circuit even more moot than before. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the argument that the appellate court can claw back those emails is now deader than the parrot in the proverbial Monty Python sketch. But our hero and his razzmatazz legal team have an answer for that and it is …

    Are you ready?

    Like, seriously, you might want to sit down for this one…

    THEY WANT THE APPEALS COURT TO VACATE JUDGE CARTER’S RULING THAT THE CRIME FRAUD EXCEPTION APPLIES TO THE CONTESTED EMAILS.

    Look, as a lawyer, I cannot stress to you enough how brain-meltingly stupid this is. They’re citing US v. Munsingwear, the OG case you read in law school for something called vacatur. The idea is basically that if a case becomes moot on appeal, then the lower court’s holding should be vacated. It wouldn’t make any sense here anyway, since the eight emails were part of thousands of emails on which the trial court ruled, and despite Eastman’s whining that “a ‘crime-fraud’ privilege finding carries much of the stigma of a criminal conviction with none of the constitutional protections,” there’s no danger of a bad precedent or unjust penalty. But more importantly, the party seeking relief cannot bear any responsibility for the mooting of his case. And Eastman’s lawyers sitting there with their thumbs up their asses for a week, then racing to the courthouse with a bunch of doomed (not to say bad faith) emergency motions, and then failing to disable the Dropbox link after the emails had been downloaded are not indicia of what we would call CLEAN HANDS.

    In summary and in conclusion, sad trombone, womp womp, go the fuck home and think about what you did, you pack of incompetent twits.

  134. says

    On Tuesday night, Fox News held a “town hall” — not a debate — featuring Ohio US Senate candidates Tim Ryan (D) and JD Vance (R). The two appeared in separate onstage interviews; Vance mostly got softball questions and Ryan was booed by the Fox-friendly audience when he stated the simple fact that January 6 rioters killed a Capitol Police officer. (In MAGAworld, Brian Sicknick simply had two strokes the next day for no reason at all.) Vance said he supported Sen. Lindsey Graham’s national abortion ban, and Ryan got applause for saying “I think we go back to Roe v. Wade.”

    Both candidates condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi, but Vance magicked away the attacker’s political motives by pointing out the guy was an “illegal alien in our country and shouldn’t have been here in the first place.” (The attacker came to the US from Canada in 2008; he didn’t need a visa but should have returned after six months.) We didn’t watch the whole town hall, and darned if it’s on the YouTubes, so the heck with it. The polling for the Senate race has Vance and Ryan in a virtual tie.

    Before the town hall, Fox News ran a brief segment featuring a panel of Ohio voters who were selected from the town hall audience. Fox hosts Martha MacCallum and Brett Baier asked the panelists to raise their hands if they thought America “is headed in the wrong direction” (most did, although apparently for different reasons, as we’ll see), and whether inflation and crime were the biggest issues in the election. Most raised their hands for inflation, but only about half raised their hands when asked if they felt “less safe” today than four years ago.

    The panelists’ opinions were surprisingly diverse for a group of people appearing on Fox News, which was a pleasant surprise. There were definitely some typical Fox viewers in the bunch, like the woman who explained that nobody wants to work after the pandemic because the government gave everyone all that free money (which apparently lasted forever for the imaginary layabouts she was thinking of).

    Another guy explained that we absolutely need to drill for more oil and natural gas because “the Obiden administration” pursued “the controlled destruction of large parts of our economy.” He explained it started with shutdowns for COVID that actually happened under the president who was, technically, neither Obama nor Biden, but also all the orders Joe Biden gave his first day in office to curtail US oil production just a little bit. (Spoiler: Joe Biden did not make oil go away by any stretch of the imagination, and environmentalists have complained about all the new leasing the administration has allowed on public land.)

    But some of the panelists were simply not Fox News material, like the bearded fellow in the jacket and turtleneck, who sounded almost like a Tim Ryan volunteer. He said Ryan has always fought for Ohioans, for good-paying union jobs, and that Vance was a climate-crisis-denying nogoodnik. He said Vance had returned to Ohio only to run for the Senate, after spending much of his adult life in California, “working with millionaires, not working for the people of Ohio” (Fact check:billionaires). Further, turtleneck guy said, Ryan’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act will mean good union jobs for Ohioans in green energy manufacturing, but Vance wouldn’t help at all. Yay, turtleneck guy!

    The really non-Fox News-y answers started coming when they were asked about abortion; happily, we have that part of the discussion on this Twitter video from Daily Beast media reporter Justin Baragona. Baier started off with a generic question about how significant an issue abortion is for Ohio voters. Ohio State student “Sophie” said it was among the top issues behind her vote and a matter of basic freedom for women, even though she thinks she may never need an abortion herself. [video at the link]

    MacCallum jumped in with a very Fox Newsish partial truth, noting that “right now” abortion is legal up to 22 weeks of pregnancy, and asked, “Does anyone think that will change?” As Baragona notes in the tweet, it certainly might, since the state Lege also passed a six-week ban that’s temporarily on hold while a legal challenge goes forward. One of the guys on the panel got a little tongue-tied, but explained that the ban could go into effect whenever there’s a decision in the case. Then a woman in the back added that Vance has said he doesn’t support reproductive rights, while Ryan does; she said she’s pretty sure Ohio is on track to ban abortion completely.

    One Mr. Man jumped in to say he didn’t think abortion is even relevant to a US Senate election anyway, since Dobbs supposedly leaves the decision “up to the states,” although of course that’s bunk if Republicans take back the White House and the Senate passes Graham’s national ban.

    Mr. Man’s comments riled up a woman sitting in front of him, who was pretty pissed off at the very idea that politicians think they have any say in how women live their lives:

    I’m a woman living in Ohio, and the suppression of women and our bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom has large implications in our state. Economically, socially, we need women’s health care.

    She seemed to get a little derailed while talking about how these laws would prevent women from availing themselves of medical knowledge that would “save people and babies”; not sure where she was going with that — possibly just that if women die because abortion care isn’t available, they can’t care for children they already have.

    In any case, MacCallum cut her off since it was time for a commercial, or maybe because there’d been entirely too much talk that wasn’t sufficiently supportive of Vance, the Fox News candidate, and then it was over.

    So hooray for the producers not screening that voter panel — we actually ended up with a pretty good range of opinions in spite of the program being on Fox News.

    Link

  135. says

    […] Barack Obama recalled that Herschel Walker had been a “heck of a football player,” but asked, “Does that make him the best person to represent you in the US Senate? Does that make him equipped to weigh in on the critical decisions about our economy and our foreign policy and our future?”

    In other remarks not included in the Fox clip, Obama suggested that Walker just plain didn’t have any of the qualities you’d want in a public servant, at least if you’re a dumb nerd who thinks government requires “skills” or “knowledge” or “basic awareness of how law and government work.”

    “There is very little evidence that he has taken any interest, bothered to learn anything about or displayed any kind of inclination towards public service or volunteer work or helping people in anyway,” Mr Obama said.

    The former president also addressed what he called Mr Walker’s “issues of character” and “habit of not telling the truth.” He also referenced a recent gaffe made by Mr Walker during a recent debate, calling the candidate “someone who carries around a phony badge and says he is in law enforcement like a kid playing cops and robbers.”

    Ignoring even the criticisms Obama had made in the short excerpt about Walker’s qualifications, Kilmeade [Faux News host] suggested that Obama had been unfair in “going after” Walker since he’d never even met Walker, and asked Walker to react to Obama’s comment that Walker was a “celebrity that wants to be a politician.”

    Walker wasn’t about to take that crap from a mere constitutional law professor and state legislator who went on to serve in the Senate and the Oval Office, no he was not: “I never met him before, and if I’m a celebrity I would have met him because all he did was hang out with celebrities.” How true. Eight years of not doing anything, as long as you leave out restructuring much of the health insurance market, and greatly expanding the number of Americans who have coverage, plus joining the Paris Climate Agreement and getting Iran to stop work on its nuclear weapons program. And those all sucked! Mostly, though, it was just Hip Hop BBQs that didn’t create jobs.

    Walker noted that Obama really should have told the crowd at the Warnock event the same lie that Walker likes to lie about all the time, complaining that Obama

    forgot to tell people I created one of the largest minority-owned food service companies in the US, so I do sign the front of a check, which he’s probably never done except when he was in the White House and that Senator Warnock has never done either.

    The Daily Beast pointed out that while the Fortune 500 has only featured 19 Black CEOs ever, not a single one of them was Herschel Walker, and that Walker also “does not appear in a list of the largest 100 black-owned businesses in the country, maintained by Black Enterprise magazine.” In fact, even the smallest food companies on the list are far larger than Renaissance Man Foods, the company Walker’s talking about. [Sigh. So many lies from Walker. The fact-checking must get to be tedious.]

    By the Black Enterprise list, Walker’s company isn’t even the largest Black-owned food company in Georgia. That would be Smyrna-based TME Enterprises, 68th on the list with more than 680 employees and $40.7 million in revenue.

    The AP reported in July that when Walker’s company got a PPP loan during the pandemic, it had only eight employees.

    So yeah, Barack Obama definitely left all that out! What else? Walker explained that, also unlike Obama or Warnock, he has “served on a publicly traded board,” and done many other things outside football, like pay for abortions — no, he didn’t say that, but I bet neither Obama nor Warnock have done that either.

    “Put my résumé against his résumé, I’d put it up any time of the day, and I think I’ve done well,” Walker bragged, closing with the super impressive point that Barack Obama isn’t even able to vote in Georgia. That’s true of Walker’s biggest backer, Donald Trump, but that’s different, because we bet Donald Trump would be happy to vote in Georgia anyway.

    So you really have to admit that, compared to all the things that Herschel Walker has lied about on his his résumé, the stuff Obama has actually done really doesn’t measure up.

    Link

  136. raven says

    It turns out that the Kerch bridge in Crimea is far more damaged than was first reported. The repairs will take into the middle of 2023.
    The railroad bridge took a lot more damage than it first looked.

    Kerch bridge repair delayed

    Russia has found additional damage on the Kerch bridge in occupied Crimea, its repair will be delayed

    During the inspection of the bridge in the occupied Crimea, which was damaged by the explosion, it became clear that four more spans of the surviving automobile part of the bridge will have to be replaced.

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Husnullin said this at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, RBC reports .

    According to a Russian official, inspections showed that these spans were damaged and needed to be replaced with new ones. This part of the bridge is currently open for cars and buses, and its condition is monitored by specialized organizations, the Deputy Prime Minister emphasized.

    The vehicular part of the Crimean bridge consists of two practically independent bridges; on October 8, an explosion destroyed two spans of the part that carried traffic towards the occupied Crimea. Traffic in the direction of the Krasnodar Territory was launched on the same day – initially reversible with one lane, and already on October 9 – with two.

    According to Husnullin, it is planned to complete the installation of spans on the destroyed part of the bridge by November 10. It is planned to start traffic on one lane of this part on December 5, and by December 20 – on two.

    After that, the builders will start dismantling the spans of the left side of the bridge, the repair of which is planned to be completed by March 30 next year. Husnullin clarified that until July 1 of next year, work on the restoration of the accompanying infrastructure will continue.

    He added that the repair of the railway part of the bridge, where two spans also need to be replaced, is planned to be completed as early as September 2023.

    As reported earlier, the Russian government ordered the repair of the Kerch Bridge in occupied Crimea, which was damaged as a result of the explosion, by July 1, 2023.

    https://biz.censor.net/n3378174

  137. Oggie: Mathom says

    This part of the bridge is currently open for cars and buses, and its condition is monitored by specialized organizations, the Deputy Prime Minister emphasized.

    Oh, wow. That just fills me up with so much confidence. Especially considering how many different things the Russian government and its agencies have never screwed up or neglected.

  138. says

    NBC News:

    Bibi is back. On Thursday, with nearly all the votes counted, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid conceded defeat to his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Bad news.

  139. says

    NBC News:

    The FBI’s Newark office issued a stark warning Thursday as it announced it had received ‘credible information’ about a nonspecific but widescale threat to synagogues in New Jersey.

  140. says

    Associated Press:

    Top diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies sought Thursday to expand unified positions on Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s growing global economic clout and Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protestors. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations began two days of talks in the historic western German city of Muenster to take stock of the war in Ukraine and keep up economic, military and other support for the country more than eight months after Russia’s invasion and as winter approaches.

  141. says

    Wall Street Journal:

    Food company General Mills Inc., Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Volkswagen AG’s Audi are among a growing list of brands that have temporarily paused their Twitter advertising in the wake of the takeover of the company by Elon Musk, according to people familiar with the matter.

  142. says

    NPR:

    An Indiana abortion provider [Dr. Caitlin Bernard] who came under attack by the state attorney general has filed a lawsuit to block him from subpoenaing her patients’ medical records — including those of a 10-year-old rape victim she treated.

    Good. Glad she is fighting this.

  143. says

    HuffPost:

    Different election, same Tucker Carlson. The Fox News host, who amplified his network’s baseless cries of 2020 election fraud here, is now casting doubt on Lula da Silva’s victory over incumbent Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s presidential election.

    The My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell is saying the same things.

    Mike Lindell says 5.1 million votes were stolen from Bolsonaro and Big Tech is covering it up.

    https://twitter.com/RonFilipkowski/status/1588220443353399296

  144. says

    Followup to comments 27, 107, and especially comment 177.

    After everything he was trying to hide was inadvertently disclosed to the public, 2020 Trump lawyer John Eastman withdrew his appeal to stop the documents’ release.

    LOL

    TPM link

  145. says

    Alexandria Ocasió-Cortez:

    Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that “free speech” is actually a $8/mo subscription plan

    Elon Musk:

    Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8″ Musk even pinned that tweet. And then Musk took the Twitter feud one step further and posted an image of AOC’s campaign merchandise as if selling sweatshirts to her supporters is somehow the height of robber baron capitalism.

    Commentary:

    At which point the Twitter ninja eviscerated the newly minted Twitter nincompoop, whose labor practices have frequently been brought into question, with a thermobaric truth bomb.

    Link

    AOC posted:

    Proud of this and always will be.

    My workers are union, make a living wage, have full healthcare, and aren’t subject to racist treatment in their workplaces. Items are made in USA.

    Team AOC honors and respects working people. You should try it sometime instead of union-busting.

    Tweet and image available:
    https://twitter.com/AOC/status/1587967965013614592

    Commentary:

    I’m no captain of industry, but I always thought it was customary to figure out what the fuck you were doing before you bought a business for $44 billion. Maybe Musk should have done some perfunctory research to see if fucking over Twitter’s greatest asset—an army of users who are willing to work for free—was a good idea. Just a thought. And the timing seems especially bad here. I mean, would you pay a monthly fee to stay on a platform that could be anything from Mad Max: Fury Road to a Christian furry porn site two weeks from now?

    Speaking of porn, The Washington Post is reporting that Musk is insisting on going ahead with a new paid video feature, despite those experienced Twitter staff members who he hasn’t gotten around to firing yet having told him it’s a really bad idea.

    Twitter is working on a feature that would let people post videos and charge users to view them, with the company taking a cut of the proceeds, according to an internal email obtained by The Washington Post. The company appears to be aiming to rush out the feature, referred to as Paywalled Video, with a target of one to two weeks before launch.

    But the team has “identified the risk as high,” according to the email, which was sent by an employee on Twitter’s Product Trust team. The email cites “risks related to copyrighted content, creator/user trust issues, and legal compliance” and says the feature will undergo a brief internal review on those issues before moving forward.

    Bad idea, right? I mean, who would you believe? The experienced team of Twitter veterans who’ve been working on these issues for years … or the guy whose social media experience has been pretty much limited to competing with Mike Huckabee for the title of most embarrassing white man multicelled organism on the planet?

    Ah, but believe it or not, this idea is even worse than it appears at first blush.

    The video shift could also push Twitter, which is unusual among major social networks for allowing nudity and consensual pornography, into competition with sites that specialize in adult content.

    […] Of course, after AOC criticized Musk in his own clubhouse, he appeared to immediately retaliate—which makes all his lofty talk about Twitter being a new town square where free speech is sacrosanct seem kind of, well, empty. […]

    Link for commentary text quoted above

    AOC posted:

    Also my twitter mentions/notifications conveniently aren’t working tonight, so I was informed via text that I seem to have gotten under a certain billionaire’s skin

    Just a reminder that money will never [buy] your way out of insecurity, folks

    Yo @elonmusk while I have your attention, why should people pay $8 just for their app to get bricked when they say something you don’t like? […] Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me.

  146. Oggie: Mathom says

    I just opened my fortune cookie from a local Chinese takeaway:

    Facts are cheap, information is plentiful — knowledge is precious.

    That sounds like the recipe that Faux Newz has used for decades. Facts are cheap, so buy as many as you can and choose the ones you present. Information is plentiful, so make sure that it is sprayed out, fact and fiction, as if from a fire hose so that those who try to imbibe that plentiful information are so overwhelmed that they look for the simplest and easiest to understand information. Knowledge is precious, so denigrate it, try to limit it to the ones who will use it to support oligarchy, destroy education, and control those with knowledge.

    Not just Faux News, but any authoritarian of any political stripe.

  147. says

    Nancy Pelosi tweeted:

    The Pelosi family is thankful for the beautiful outpouring of love, support and prayers from around the world.

    Paul remains under doctors’ care as he continues to progress on a long recovery process and convalescence. He is now home surrounded by his family who request privacy.

    Paul is grateful to the 911 operator, emergency responders, trauma care team, ICU staff, and the entire @ZSFGCare medical staff for their excellent and compassionate life-saving treatment he received after the violent assault in our home.

  148. says

    Ryan Mac, NYT:

    We saw internal docs with more insight into the new Twitter Blue:

    -Launch on Nov. 7 but only in current markets (US, CA, Aus, NZ)
    -Check marks for subscribers, no current ID authentication
    -Some features announced by Musk won’t be ready
    -Euro launch soon

    Like most things inside Twitter right now, plans are fluid and parts could easily shift or change. But with few comms from inside the company at the moment, we’re trying to provide what we know as we learn it.

    Arieh Kovler:

    Ohhh. This is bad. The new Twitter blue badge won’t actually verify your identity at all. You just pay the money and they give you the tick. It’s a scammers’ charter.

    Want to call yourself Citibank Password Verification? Here’s your blue tick, thanks for the $8. Want to say you’re the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and announce you’re abolishing the police? $8. Call yourself WXBM Local News Arkansas and invent a school shooting? Yours for $8

    Trump is banned? No problem, you can be Trump for 8 dollars, verified by Twitter. Or you can be Barron Trump and “expose the dark truth about your parents”. Whatever. Go mad.

    Oh and they want to launch this the day before the US MidTerms. Sure. Can’t see any issue there.

  149. Reginald Selkirk says

    @197:
    That would be unfortunate, cruel, and unpopular.
    But I’m not sure she has any pull even within her own party.

  150. Oggie: Mathom says

    But I’m not sure she has any pull even within her own party.

    From what I have heard, personally in Pennsylvania, among those voters whose true loyalty is to Trump rather than the GOP, she probably has far more support than GOP congresscritters realize. One of my unavoidable acquaintances thinks that Ukraine tried to destroy Trump by refusing the offer, made buy Trump, of helping Trump. Therefore, Ukraine, run by a fascist thug, should be reabsorbed by Russia and made Christian and right again.

    I detest every conversation I have with him.

  151. whheydt says

    Re: Reginald Selkirk @ #198…
    The followup comments don’t appear to be generally favorable to her.

  152. says

    TV Rain (YT link) – “Russia Tomorrow: Homophobia and Desatanization”:

    This week at TV Rain, Putin says gender diversity is a “perversion” imposed on Russia by the West, and now the government is mobilizing homophobia to distract attention from its war failures. “Putin’s Chef” Evgeniy Prigozhin calls for a shutdown of access to YouTube and Google, and the removal of military and civilian officials he calls corrupt thieves, and with just one word, Russian officials have declared a new enemy and gone completely insane. That word is: Desatanization.

    Steve Rosenberg (Twitter link):

    Here’s more from our interview with St Petersburg university lecturer Denis Skopin, who was sacked after being arrested at an anti-mobilisation protest (and jailed for 10 days)….

  153. says

    Two comments I forgot to add to #s 197 and 202 above:

    I believe Greene was speaking at a rally with Trump for Chuck Grassley in Iowa (“for,” to the extremely limited extent that any Trump event is about anyone other than him).

    The Solovyov clip in the TV Rain broadcast is one of the most Nazi things I’ve seen on their state media. The personal targeting of the TV Rain journalist, the sneering at his happiness, the use of “filth,” the exaggerated show of physical revulsion,… Horrible.

  154. StevoR says

    Via PBS Newshour – key quote in faour of gun control from -of allpeople -Scalia – at the 8 minutes 7 seconds mark here :

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-final-pitches-from-democrats-and-republicans-are-resonating-with-midterm-voters

    Cited by Joel Benenson, a Democrtric party strategist. Yes, Scalia favoured some limitations on the 2nd Amendment it seems.

    Also great interview and sounds like a morbidly fascinating book here :

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/new-book-weapons-of-mass-delusion-details-republicans-embrace-of-conspiracy-theories

    Plus here :

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-impact-asian-americans-and-pacific-islanders-voter-turnout-could-have-on-the-midterms

    Is some interesting analysis on one possibly key demographic. Let’s hope the younger, more progressive people here & generally do turn out and make the difference.

  155. raven says

    The Russians have been trying to erase the Ukrainians for centuries.
    Sometimes they just identified cultural leaders such as artists and teachers and shot them and buried them in mass graves. Playwrite Les Kurbas was executed in 1937 along with hundreds of other Ukrainians for being Ukrainians.

    He is buried in one of the Russians vast collections of mass graves, Sandarmokh.

    Tweet

    Dr Sasha Dovzhyk @sasha_weirdsley

    85 years ago the Soviets executed Ukrainian cultural renaissance at the Sandarmokh killing site. Among those shot was the pioneering theatre maker Les Kurbas. There’s an expression of wonder in many of his photos, including the last one. How much beauty and talent we’ve lost.

    So where is Sandarmokh that I never heard of?

    Wikipedia: Sandarmokh (Russian: Сандармох; Karelian: Sandarmoh) is a forest massif 12 km (7.5 mi) from Medvezhyegorsk in the Republic of Karelia where possibly thousands of victims of Stalin’s Great Terror were executed. More than 58 nationalities were shot and buried there by the NKVD in 236 communal pits over a 14-month period in 1937 and 1938.[1]

    Sandarmoh is in Karelia, northern Russia. It’s estimated that 6,000 people are buried there, all killed by Stalin’s NKVD.

    The historian who found Sandarmokh is now in prison for 13 years for discovering an inconvenient truth. It is all very Russian.
    “Sandarmokh burial site was found by Russian historian Yuri Dmitriev who is now serving a 13 year prison sentence on made up charges.”

  156. blf says

    Teh le penazis in action, Uproar in French parliament following racist back to Africa outburst:

    […]
    Carlos Martens Bilongo of the leftist France Unbowed party (LFI) was questioning the government on the request by the SOS Mediterranee NGO for Paris’s help in finding a port for 234 migrants rescued at sea in recent days.

    They should go back to Africa!” interrupted Gregoire de Fournas, a newly elected member of the far-right, anti-immigration National Rally (RN) [teh le penazis].

    The outburst sparked yells of condemnation, not least because in French the pronouns “he” [il] and “they” [ils (masculine)] are pronounced the same, suggesting that de Fournas might have been targeting Bilongo directly.

    […]

    National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet suspended the session after demanding to know who had made the comment.

    “Racism has no place in our democracy,” responded Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, urging the assembly to sanction the far-right MP.

    De Fournas later defended his comment, telling BFM television that the National Rally wants a halt to all illegal immigration after a surge in the number of people trying to reach France from Africa in recent years.

    He accused his France Unbowed opponents of a manipulation and his party also denied any personal attack against Bilongo, a teacher who was born in Paris.

    Le Pen has yet to comment but Jordan Bardella, favourite to succeed her as party leader at a congress this weekend, insisted that the deputy had meant to evoke the return of boats to African ports and accused LFI and the government of extreme dishonesty.

    But LFI leader Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted that the comments were “beyond intolerable” and that the deputy should be kicked out of the National Assembly.

    […]

    A parliamentary committee will meet Friday [today] to discuss the incident, who could see de Fournas punished with a temporary exclusion from the Assembly.

    Macron’s centrist Renaissance party will refuse to attend further sessions unless the council issues a “heavy penalty”, its vice-president in parliament Sylvain Maillard said on Twitter.

    […]

    This fruitcake represents the la Gironde area near Bordeaux.
    I wasn’t aware teh le penazis were having a loonyrant this weekend, or that they are apparently going to change who teh “official” führer is — albeit I have no doubt they will continue to be totally dominated and controlled by their current führer.

  157. blf says

    Sketch dismissed as Rembrandt ‘crude imitation’ revealed to be genuine:

    […]
    The Raising of the Cross oil sketch from the 1640s was long thought to have been the work of a follower of [Rembrandt …].

    On Thursday the Bredius museum in The Hague, where the sketch has been on display since it was bought in 1921[, “languish[ing] in a forgotten corner”], revealed, thanks to new scientific techniques, it was in fact painted by Rembrandt.

    [… history…]

    One of the main arguments by art experts for the sketch being an imitation was the seeming lack of detail in the brush strokes.

    “You have to remember, this is an oil sketch. Rembrandt is usually very precise and refined, but this is very rough,” [the former chief curator of old paintings at Rotterdam’s Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, Jeroen] Giltaij said. “The reason is the oil sketch is a preparatory sketch for another painting. He wants to show the composition, a rough idea of what the actual painting could look like,” he said.

    The sketch also harked back to a 1633 Rembrandt painting also entitled The Raising of the Cross, which now hangs in the Alte Pinakothek art museum in Munich.

    Restorer [Johanneke] Verhave said infrared reflectography and X-ray scans were made of the sketch, revealing interesting elements. “The research shows that the sketch has several changes made by the artist himself while painting, meaning that its composition was a creative process,” she said. “This means the painter was changing his mind while he was working. He was clearly not copying another painting.”

    […]

    The “rediscovered” sketch is shown at the link. In the better-known painting at the Alte Pinakothek, the figure by the feet of the individual being tortured to death is a self-portrait of Rembrandt.

  158. says

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

    Due to low morale and reluctance to fight, Russian forces have probably started deploying units threatening to shoot their own retreating soldiers, according to the UK Ministry of Defence. An intelligence report released early this morning described these Russian units as “barrier troops” or “blocking units” used to compel offensives.

    The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has said 450,000 residents in the Ukrainian capital are without electricity on Friday morning. “This is one and a half times more than in previous days,” he said, adding the power system is overloaded.

    Dmitry Medvedev, long-term ally of Vladimir Putin, current deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, and previously both president and prime minister of Russia, has issued a broadside this morning claiming that Russia’s war has “a sacred purpose” and that “the goal is to stop the supreme ruler of hell, no matter what name he uses – Satan, Lucifer or Iblis.”

    Ukraine’s state postal service has issued a commemorative wartime stamp dedicated to the strike on the Crimean Bridge last month, which sparked celebrations across the country.

    Its release has been timed to coincide with Russia’s Unity Day on 4 November.

    Vladimir Putin reportedly says “most dangerous actions” happening in Kherson as he calls for people to leave

    Vladimir Putin said on Friday that civilians in the Ukrainian region of Kherson must be removed from the conflict zone, state-owned news agency RIA reported….

    (Calling on them to leave and saying they must be removed are two different things. I’ll look for clarification.)

    The US talk show host David Letterman has travelled to Kyiv to interview Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president.

    Netflix revealed the news on Twitter, adding that the president will appear in an upcoming episode of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman.

  159. says

    Guardian – “Twitter sued by former staff as Elon Musk begins mass sackings”:

    Twitter is facing a class action lawsuit from former employees who say they were not given enough notice under US federal law that they had lost their jobs, finding out they had been let go when they were locked out of their work accounts on Thursday.

    In a company-wide memo, staff were informed on Thursday that they would receive an email to their personal email accounts if they were being fired as part of the mass sackings at the platform in which up to half of the company could go.

    Before those emails arrived, dozens of staff began posting on Twitter that they had been fired – after discovering they were no longer able to access their work email accounts or log into their work laptops.

    Musk’s plans to cut up to 3,700 staff may hit a roadblock, however, after a lawsuit was filed in the US federal court in San Francisco seeking orders for Twitter to comply with the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires 60 days’ notice for mass sackings at large employers.

    The lawsuit, brought on behalf of five Twitter employees so far, says one was fired on 1 November, while three were not informed at the time of filing but had been locked out of their email accounts.

    The case cited a similar situation with sackings at Musk’s other company, Tesla, where the company sought to obtain full release from its obligations under the Warn Act by offering severance of one or two weeks’ pay instead.

    “Plaintiffs here are reasonably concerned that, absent court intervention, Twitter will engage in similar behaviour and seek releases from laid-off employees without informing them of their rights or the pendency of this case,” the filing stated….

  160. says

    Also in the Guardian:

    “Lula and the US haven’t always gotten along. It’s time for Biden to change that.”: “There is a basis for a strong connection between Lula and Biden, forged in the fire of the far-right extremism they both have faced and defeated at the polls….”

    “Brazil supreme court ruling to reactivate Amazon Fund gives hope in fight to save rainforest”: “Fund was paralysed when far-right president Jair Bolsonaro wound up two committees in 2019…”

    “The week in wildlife – in pictures”: “The best of this week’s wildlife pictures, including jellyfish, wild ponies and a squadron of pelicans…”

  161. Reginald Selkirk says

    All of the norths are about to align over Britain

    UK map lords at the Ordnance Survey have some big news for people with obsessive compulsive personality disorder or otherwise like everything to be neatly lined up.
    Yes, for the “first time in history,” the OS says, magnetic north, true north, and grid north are about to align over Britain…

  162. Reginald Selkirk says

    Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA Discovered in Ancient South Americans

    Scientists investigating the genomes of ancient South Americans have made a surprising discovery: the presence of DNA from Neanderthals and Denisovans, two species of humans that are now extinct. The findings complicate our understanding of ancient South Americans and their ancestries.
    The research, which interrogated human remains from Brazil, Panama, and Uruguay, also revealed migration patterns of these early South Americans across the continent…

  163. Oggie: Mathom says

    @219:

    According to the right, all political violence is left wing. It only looks like right wing violence because of Antifa left wing actors pretending to be right wing religious Trumpers, or it is just the right defending themselves from this violence. So, what violence did the donut shop commit? Acceptance? Inclusiveness? Non-judgementalism? I’m sure Faux Newz will tell us.

  164. Reginald Selkirk says

    David Icke: Conspiracy theorist banned from Netherlands
    Conspiracy theorist David Icke has been barred from entering the Netherlands, with officials saying he posed a risk to public order.
    Mr Icke rose to prominence promoting fringe theories in the 1990s and found a new audience with the Covid pandemic.
    He falsely said the virus was spread by 5G mobile phone networks and that a Jewish group was involved.
    Mr Icke was due to address protesters critical of the government’s Covid-19 response in Amsterdam on Sunday…

  165. raven says

    It’s been noted above, but the Russian army is using blocking units to shoot soldiers who retreat. To call these deserters is mostly inaccurate. They aren’t deserting, they are trying to save their lives under conditions where they aren’t effective as combat soldiers.

    “The tactic of shooting deserters likely attests to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of Russian forces.” It’s not that simple.

    The tactic of shooting “deserters” likely attests to the low quality, low morale, and incompetence of Russian officers.The generals are asking their soldiers to do stupid things for no reason and then die.
    They are putting them at the front with inadequate equipment to act as cannon fodder and speed bumps. Many of them die and quickly.
    Sure morale is low. Low morale is what you get when you treat humans as disposable cannon fodder.

    FWIW, it’s not clear how many retreating soldiers have been shot. It is likely some of them.
    The Ukrainians have found a few officers with bullets to the back of their heads. It’s not clear whether they were shot for retreating or if their own soldiers shot them while retreating.

    To my mind, there is a simple solution to the blocking soldiers who will shoot you if you are retreating. You, meaning the Russian speed bumps, do also have…a rifle in your hands. If you are going to be shot, might as well take a few with you.

    Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 @DefenceHQ
    United Kingdom government organization

    (1/4) Due to low morale and reluctance to fight, Russian forces have probably started deploying “barrier troops” or “blocking units”.

    (2/4) These units threaten to shoot their own retreating soldiers in order to compel offensives and have been used in previous conflicts by Russian forces.

    (3/4) Recently, Russian generals likely wanted their commanders to use weapons against deserters, including possibly authorising shooting to kill such defaulters after a warning had been given. Generals also likely wanted to maintain defensive positions to the death.

    (4/4) The tactic of shooting deserters likely attests to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of Russian forces.

  166. says

    AJ – “UN General Assembly rebukes US embargo on Cuba”:

    The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has delivered a strong rebuke of the United States embargo on Cuba, which Havana has demanded be lifted amid an economic crisis on the Caribbean island.

    Overwhelmingly, 185 countries on Thursday voted in favour of a non-binding resolution condemning the embargo, with the US and Israel voting against and Brazil and Ukraine abstaining.

    It was the 30th time the UN has voted to condemn the US policy, which has been in place for decades….

  167. Reginald Selkirk says

    A Swin Transformer-based model for mosquito species identification

    Abstract Mosquito transmit numbers of parasites and pathogens resulting in fatal diseases. Species identification is a prerequisite for effective mosquito control. Existing morphological and molecular classification methods have evitable disadvantages. Here we introduced Deep learning techniques for mosquito species identification. A balanced, high-definition mosquito dataset with 9900 original images covering 17 species was constructed. After three rounds of screening and adjustment-testing (first round among 3 convolutional neural networks and 3 Transformer models, second round among 3 Swin Transformer variants, and third round between 2 images sizes), we proposed the first Swin Transformer-based mosquito species identification model (Swin MSI) with 99.04% accuracy and 99.16% F1-score. By visualizing the identification process, the morphological keys used in Swin MSI were similar but not the same as those used by humans. Swin MSI realized 100% subspecies-level identification in Culex pipiens Complex and 96.26% accuracy for novel species categorization. It presents a promising approach for mosquito identification and mosquito borne diseases control.

  168. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Vladimir Putin has warned that civilians still living in the Ukrainian province of Kherson, which Russia declared it had annexed in September, must be “evacuated” from the conflict zone, amid suggestions that Russian forces may be preparing to abandon the west bank of the Dnipro river.

    The Russian president made the comments during a meeting with pro-Kremlin activists, underlining mounting speculation that Russia would attempt to hold the city of Kherson itself, the largest urban area under Russian occupation, at any cost.

    “Now, of course, those who live in Kherson should be removed from the zone of the most dangerous actions, because the civilian population should not suffer,” he said.

  169. raven says

    Exclusive: Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, US intel officials believe.

    I’m sure they are. I’m also sure the Iranians don’t need Russian help all that much.
    .1. Nuclear weapons are based on 1940s technology and easy to make. Such powerhouses as South Africa and North Korea have made them. It’s estimated that at least 50 countries could make nuclear weapons.

    .2. The hard part for Iran right now is probably getting enough tritium, Hydrogen-3. Tritium has a half life of 12.5 years. Most modern nuclear weapons use tritium as a trigger and a booster. You can make the weapons lighter and more powerful. Which makes them easier to launch using planes, missiles, cannons etc.. The only large scale source of tritium is nuclear reactors. You don’t need tritium but it helps a lot.

    .3. What is stopping Iran right now is probably Saudi Arabia.
    The day after they test a nuke, Saudi Arabia starts building their nuclear weapons.
    As the US and Russia have found out, nuclear weapons only work if you don’t actually use them.

    .4. And, we did have a No Nuclear Weapons agreement with Iran that was working well. Trump killed it unilaterally for no good reason. In his mindless fantasy world, glaring at Iran some more was supposed to turn them into jellyfish or something. It completely failed.

    Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program,

    Exclusive: Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, US intel officials believe

    By Natasha Bertrand, CNN
    Updated 9:42 AM EDT, Fri November 4, 2022 edited for length
    Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, US intelligence officials believe, as Tehran looks for a backup plan should a lasting nuclear deal with world powers fail to materialize.

    The intelligence suggests that Iran has been asking Russia for help acquiring additional nuclear materials and with nuclear fuel fabrication, sources briefed on the matter said. The fuel could help Iran power its nuclear reactors and could potentially further shorten Iran’s so-called “breakout time” to create a nuclear weapon.

    Iran has said its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes and that it formally halted its weapons program, but US officials have stated that Iran’s uranium enrichment activities have gone far beyond the parameters of the 2015 nuclear deal and that the amount of time it would take for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon has shortened to just months.

    In June US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned lawmakers that Iran’s nuclear “program is galloping forward … The longer this goes on, the more the breakout time gets down … it’s now down, by public reports, to a few months at best. And if this continues, it will get down to a matter of weeks.”

  170. whheydt says

    Re; raven @ #223….
    The Russian threats against desertion or surrender remind me of two things.

    The first is the Argentine unit during Falklands War/Battle of the South Atlantic that was caught in a cross-fire between Scots Guards and Gurkhas. They were told that their officers would shoot them if they ran. When the unit broke and ran, they went in the least dangerous direction…towards those officers.

    The other is Hitler’s orders not to retreat or give ground. It was a stupid order then, the similar Russian orders are stupid now. All it does is ensure that even more of your troops die.

  171. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    24 hour curfew imposed in Kherson city

    The Russian-installed deputy governor of Ukraine’s Kherson region has announced that a 24 hour curfew has been imposed in Kherson city.

    Kirill Stremousov, in a video message posted on Telegram said that the curfew was necessary “in order to defend our city of Kherson” from what he referred to as “terrorist attacks”.

    Stremousov repeated earlier calls for civilians to leave Kherson city, saying that columns of Ukrainian vehicles had been spotted on areas of the frontline and that an attack was possible.

    Russia declared that it had annexed the region in September and the city of Kherson is the largest Ukrainian city under Moscow’s control. In response, Ukrainian forces have long-trailed a counteroffensive to take back control.

  172. whheydt says

    Re: Reginald Selkirk @ #230…
    Got my vote for permanent Standard time. I think the push for permanent DST (which really just means one is on standard time…one time zone to the east) is from sports fanatics. Why they can’t just get up an hour earlier if they want “more daylight in the evening”, I don’t know.

  173. says

    Tony Ortega’s Today in Q – “Q patriots pinpoint the moment when the USA’s decline began.”

    It includes a tweet from Jake Rockatansky of QAA:

    Was complaining to my partner after recording a depressing episode on the Pelosi assault, and I was trying to pinpoint what about it made me upset (apart from the obvious) and I think it’s this:

    it’s exhausting to have every piece of reality challenged with a conspiracy theory.

    like, reality is never at peace anymore. It will always have a toxic conspiratorial counterpart trying to muscle its way into the mainstream. Wild theories will forever have to be mentioned, if only to ensure people they are fiction.

    Recent episode of Complorama (from Conspiracy Watch) – “D’Elon Musk à Kanye West : le complotisme et les plateformes alternatives”:

    “L’oiseau est libéré” : c’est par ce tweet qu’Elon Musk, patron de Tesla et Space X, et homme le plus riche au monde, confirme avoir pris le contrôle de Twitter après avoir conclu l’acquisition du réseau social pour 44 milliards de dollars (44 milliards d’euros). Plus tôt cette semaine, c’est Kanye West qui s’est lancé dans la course à l’acquisition d’un réseau social, en signant un accord de principe avec la plateforme ultraconservatrice Parler, née en 2018. L’objectif du rappeur : en faire un “refuge pour les gens harcelés par la police de la pensée”. Elon Musk estime de son côté qu’il est “important pour l’avenir de la civilisation d’avoir une place publique en ligne où une grande variété d’opinions peuvent débattre de façon saine, sans recourir à la violence.”

    De son côté, Donald Trump, banni de Meta, Instagram et Twitter, a fait l’acquisition de Truth Social, devenu un repaire pour les complotistes six mois après son lancement. Les plateformes alternatives sont-elles un eldorado pour la complosphère ? Dans ce nouvel épisode de “Complorama”, Rudy Reichstadt et Tristan Mendès France analysent ces acquisitions et le business de la désinformation sur les plateformes alternatives aux côtés de de Laurent Cordonier, docteur en sciences sociales et chercheur à l’Université de Paris et à la Fondation Descartes [his audio isn’t very good so I had a hard time understanding him].

  174. says

    Elon Musk twhined:

    Twitter has had a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease the activists.

    Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America.

  175. whheydt says

    Re: SC (Salty Current) @ #233..
    Old adage: Freedom of the press doesn’t mean your freedom of my press. Likewise, free speech doesn’t mean either that said speech is free of consequences, nor does it mean that others don’t have the same freedom to shout you down or try to deny you advertising revenue.

    Someone needs to remind Musk that the 1st Amendment is a constraint on the government, not private individuals.

  176. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Reznikov: Russia may withdraw forces from parts of Kherson.

    Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Nov. 4. that he believes Russia may withdraw its forces from parts of Kherson Oblast.

    However, he warned that Russia’s so-called “gestures of goodwill” must be taken with a grain of salt, referring back to Russian forces’ withdrawals from Kyiv Oblast and Snake Island.

  177. Reginald Selkirk says

    @233: … even though nothing has changed with content moderation…

    “How dare they take me seriously when I said I would completely change moderation.”

    I am waiting for Tw*tter to charge money for verifying accounts that turn out not to be legit, and then get sued for it.

  178. says

    SC @226:

    “Now, of course, those who live in Kherson should be removed from the zone of the most dangerous actions, because the civilian population should not suffer,” he said.

    So now Putin is concerned about civilians? I’m not buying it.

    I think Putin wants the civilians out of there for three reasons:
    1. He wants to level the place with artillery and missiles, and he wants to do that without being accused of yet another war crime.
    2. He wants to reduce Kherson to rubble because he is operating on the “if I can’t have it, no one can” principle, also known as “scorched earth.”
    3. He wants to deport all of those Ukrainian citizens to Russia. He is trying to replenish Russia’s diminishing workforce with people he steals from other countries.

  179. Reginald Selkirk says

    Oprah, who helped Mehmet Oz establish TV following, endorses Fetterman in Senate race

    Until now, Winfrey had said she would leave the election to Pennsylvanians, but she changed that position in an online discussion on voting in next Tuesday’s election.
    “I said it was up to the citizens of Pennsylvania and of course, but I will tell you all this, if I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons,” Winfrey said, before going on to urge listeners to vote for Democrats running for governor and Senate in various states.

  180. snarkrates says

    SC@232: “it’s exhausting to have every piece of reality challenged with a conspiracy theory.
    like, reality is never at peace anymore. It will always have a toxic conspiratorial counterpart trying to muscle its way into the mainstream. Wild theories will forever have to be mentioned, if only to ensure people they are fiction.”

    Wow! That’s it. That is precisely the feeling. I’ve been dealing with these ignorant food tubes for 20 years in the climate wars. It’s not just that they think their ignorance is just as valid a basis for an argument as the expertise of the world’s experts. It’s that they don’t care. They live to troll. They won’t be satisfied until the last brick is removed from the last wall defending truth and civilization.

  181. cicely says

    @230
    “I understand not wanting to change clocks, but why not permanent standard time instead of permanent daylight savings time?”

    As I understand it, there’s some thought that it would reduce the number of deer/vehicle collisions.
    (I apparently cannot unravel the Mysteries of the Linking, so, with apologies….)
    https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(22)01615-3?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0960982222016153%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

    (I am embarrassed. I used to be able to do this shit. :( .)

    _

  182. snarkrates says

    Reginald Selkirk: “Questions I am surprised anyone is asking:
    Can Spider Venom Restore Damaged Nerve Endings?
    Is cashew tree bark an antidote for snake venom?”

    Allow me to introduce Betteridge’s Law of the Headline: If a headline is phrased as a question, the answer is invariably no.

  183. blf says

    cicely@241, It’s (X)HTML syntax:

      <a href="URL">TEXT</a>

    where URL is the stuff which starts with https://…, and TEXT is whatever you want (within reason); normally, the TEXT describes what is being linked-to (e.g., the title of the linked-to article).

    Also, as a general rule, in the URL, the first ? and all subsequent gobbledygook is just that — gobbledygook — and can frequently be safely omitted. There are exceptions, so it’s advisable to test your links when Preview-ing, by open the Preview-ed link as a new tab or window.

    Hence, your link in @241 would be (using the title as the TEXT, and omitting all ?gobbledygook in URL (which Preview testing shows works)):

      <a href="https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(22)01615-3">Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions</a>

    That is, Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions.

    This can be made a bit fancier; e.g., Permanent daylight saving time would reduce deer-vehicle collisions, which is done by using <em>TITLE</em> as the TEXT.

  184. says

    Ukraine update: Where are all the Russians dying?

    According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, 840 Russians died in combat on November 3. They took with them 16 tanks, 28 armored vehicles, and 17 artillery pieces. It’s an absolutely astounding tally for a single day’s combat. Only a day earlier, they recorded 730 deaths, 20 tanks, 27 vehicles, and 22 big guns. The day before that, it was another 800 deaths and 16 tanks, and the day before that …

    These kind of huge numbers have been turning up daily for more than a month, ramping up from less than 200 reported deaths a day back in mid-September, to over 500, then over 600, then an almost solid stream of days between 700 and 950 reported deaths. Equipment losses have followed suit, with almost every category of loss increasing over that period.

    These losses have been so great, that many seemed to assume that there was a “secret war” going on somewhere. Surely numbers like this meant that Ukraine was actually pushing deep into Kherson, or plunging through Russian lines near Svatove, There’s been an assumption that, when the source of all these numbers was eventually revealed, some whole new area of conflict would come to light along with it.

    But as the days drag on, and those numbers remain high, the idea that there’s something going on unseen starts to seem a little silly. Ukrainian operational security has been tight, but no one’s OpSec is so good that they can disguise battles that have racked up 20,000 dead, on just the Russian side, over the course of five weeks. If the Ukrainian MOD is correct, more Russians have died than the whole pre-war population of Borova, Lyman, or Svatove. So, where did this happen?

    The best answer seems to be that this massive number of deaths happened right out in front of everyone. Along the 150km eastern front that’s roughly centered on Bakhmut.

    On Thursday, Ukraine reportedly launched a series of probing attacks along the northern line in Kherson, and conducted attacks at three reported locations in Kharkiv. But here’s just one day’s record of Russian actions on the eastern flank of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Thursday, Russia attacked: Bakhmut, Bakhmutske, Bilohorivka, Krasnohorivka, Mayorsk, Nevelske, Novomykolaivka, Opytne, Pavlivka, Pervomaiske, Prechystivka, Soledar, Spirne, Verkhnokamyanske, Vodyane, Vuhledar, and Yakovlivka.

    These are not the locations that Russia shelled. There are far more of those. These are on-the-ground, actual assaults, with the intention of taking ground from Ukrainian defenders. This was also not one large, sweeping assault. Those are all individual actions. A few of them turned into slight gains. Some of them (ahem, Soledar) were reportedly crushing defeats. None of them were made without losses. In addition to all the towns attacked above, Russia apparently organized a large, offensive in an attempt to push west of Pisky. Which also failed.

    This was also not a particularly active day. The eastern front has been like this, day in and day out, while everyone (myself included) has been more interested in the big movements in Kharkiv, Kherson, northern Donetsk, and now Luhansk.

    Where are those 20,000 dead Russians? On the ground, from about 50km north, to 100km south of Bakhmut. This is a place that has known not a moment of peace, and barely a moment that wasn’t in the midst of an active assault, for almost eight straight months. [map at the link]

    The most obvious point of Russia’s advance on the map may be at the very northern end of the line. Russian forces have pushed out from around Lysychansk to reach the edge of Bilohorivka, taking back the area that Ukraine has (lightly) held since shortly after the liberation of Izyum. There seems to have been a general movement of Russian forces to the west in the whole area east of Siversk, though there doesn’t seem to have been any real exchange of villages or critical positions.

    In the middle of this section is Spirne, where Ukrainian forces have been moving east over the last two weeks. Why Ukraine is pushing in at this point, and exactly how far this mini-salient extends, isn’t clear.

    At the very southern end of this section, there was extremely heavy fighting near Soledar over the last three days. Multiple reports hint that this has not gone well for Russia, with very high casualties and loss of equipment. Some of those reports suggest Russia actually lost significant ground in this area (between 2 and 5km). Still waiting on confirmation. [map at the link]

    South of Bakhmut, the line has straightened and shifted a bit to the west following a Russian offensive that now seems to have ground to a halt. Two weeks ago, Russian forces were repelled violently from Bakhmut itself, giving up weeks of grinding, high-cost advances throughout a two-day Ukrainian counteroffensive. Russia then seemed to shift forces south, and succeeded in advancing west of Zaitseve, as well as to the south near Toretsk.

    Russia now holds parts of the highway south of Bakhmut, which doesn’t really change anything in terms of supplies. It’s also not clear that it gives them any ability to shift forces more quickly, as all of this area is still under fire control from massed Ukrainian artillery. Russia clearly wanted to move far enough to gain another angle from which to attack Bakhmut, but it doesn’t seem they’ve succeeded, and their attacks in this area have stopped gaining ground.

    The whole area continues to be a slugfest, with the biggest change being that Russia, more than ever, seems willing to pile up corpses—literally—in order to make even the most minimal advance.

    When you think of those 20,000 Russians lost, think of them here. During the American Civil War, there were some battles where losses were high enough that survivors said it was possible to walk across portions of the battlefield without ever sitting a foot on the ground. That’s what’s going on near Bakhmut. That’s where those numbers are coming from.
    —————————————–

    Barring any big developments, those who tune in on Saturday are going to get the first part of the Field Guide to Drones of Ukraine—it had to be broken into parts, as it ran right through the limits of how long a post can be, and those are some pretty big limits. In any case, here’s someone else’s breakdown of a drone that has dominated the news since it reached Ukraine, but which may soon be of secondary importance. [Tweet from Dmitri, with video at the link. It is a mini-review of the Shahed-136 kamikaze drone.]

    The Washington Post has an extensive article looking at why they don’t believe Russia will surrender Kherson without a massive battle.

    The Kherson region forms the last crucial component of the “land bridge” from mainland Russia to Crimea that Putin has coveted ever since Moscow invaded the peninsula and annexed it illegally in 2014. And the inability to reach Crimea by road was a main reason Putin spent $4 billion to build the Crimean Bridge across the Kerch Strait.

    […] My kingdom (such as it is) for a good picture of a Phoenix Ghost. Seriously, if you see an article on the Phoenix Ghost that isn’t just using pictures of a Switchblade or some other drone, send it my way. That said, someone must be pretty happy with the initial performance.

    The HAWK system is something that Ukraine is eagerly anticipating, for potential use against Russia’s growing fleet of Iranian drones. And those armored boats. Hmm. That’s interesting.

    USA 🇺🇸 has announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $400 Million 🇺🇦 It includes
    -45 T-72 Tanks
    -1,100 Phoenix Ghost Drones
    -40 Armored Riverine Boats
    -250 M117 Armored Vehicles and HAWK SAM missiles will be refurbished then transferred to Ukraine in future packages
    [images at the link]

    This is at Ploshchanka, which pretty much settles the idea of whether or not Ukraine had actually reached that location. I’ve had two reports that Ukraine has liberated the town, but more confirmation would be nice.

    Drone footage from the Eastern front, of Ukrainian paratrooper ambushing a Russian tank from a very close range. [video at the link]

    This boy has had a long vigil, and we can guess that it hasn’t gone without peril in a lot of different forms.

    Instead of a thousand words.

    Six grader Maksym stands at the entrance to Kharkiv to greet Ukrainian Defenders coming to the city.

    He started doing this on 24th February. [photo at the link]

    […]

  185. blf says

    Follow-up to me@209, French far-right MP suspended from parliament for back to Africa outburst:

    The French National Assembly on Friday sanctioned a far-right National Rally MP[le penazi loon] by temporarily banning him from the institution and cutting his pay for shouting Go back to Africa as a Black MP spoke during a parliamentary session.

    […]

    France’s centrist government, the left and the mainstream right said the remark was an unacceptable racist slur.

    The far right denied that [le penazi loon Gregoire] de Fournas had aimed his words at [left-wing MP Carlos] Martens Bilongo, saying he was referring to migrants from Africa currently stranded on an NGO boat in the Mediterranean, and that there was nothing wrong with that.

    “Free democratic debate does not allow everything… and especially not racism, whoever the target is,” National Assembly President Yael Braun-Pivet said after the assembly voted for the sanctions, with all but RN [le penazi] lawmakers in favour of the move.

    De Fournas will lose half of his salary for two months and will be banned from entering the assembly for 15 days. It was only the second such sanction imposed by the parliament.

    [… Teh le penazis] rejected accusations of racism and instead accused their opponents of misrepresenting what de Fournas said. [… Today, le nazi führer Marine] Le Pen said the sanctions against de Fournas amounted to a violation of his right to free expression.

    […]

    Many in the centrist government and on the left said de Fournas’ comments and his party’s reaction showed the “true face” of a party they said had not really changed.

    “Mrs Le Pen has still not told this MP to leave, so she is complicit,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.

  186. says

    blf @245, thank you!

    In other news: If you follow the money, McConnell isn’t giving off red-wave vibes

    If a red wave is coming in the Senate, you wouldn’t know it by the final ad buys of the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund PAC.

    Of the six states where SLF directed its money, four are states where Republicans are defending GOP seats and two are states where Republicans are hoping for pick ups. Here’s the breakdown:
    Georgia (GOP pick up): $5,320,149
    Pennsylvania: $4,272,270
    North Carolina: $4,005,732
    Ohio: $3,741,404
    Nevada (GOP pick up): $3,424,539
    Wisconsin: $1,909,894

    Other GOP-aligned groups are playing in other states, but those six states are where McConnell and his allies think the action is. Instead of including a slightly lower-profile Democratically held seat like New Hampshire, it devotes money to defending two open seats in Ohio, a GOP stronghold, and North Carolina, where Republicans win more often than not. The fund also directs a sizable chunk to defend a GOP incumbent Senator in what is arguably a red-leaning swing state, Wisconsin.

    This isn’t a desperation buy, but it’s also not a red-wave buy. Senate Republicans have their eyes on two potential flips while shoring up at least three seats that would likely be safe in a GOP-sweep year. North Carolina appears to be much closer than the national press has given it credit for. A recent Civiqs poll, conducted Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, found it dead even at 49%.

    Republicans also appear very worried about Pennsylvania, which would be a pickup for Democrats. In fact, the most desperate play Republicans are making in the state is sending Donald Trump to it to hopefully give GOP nominee Mehmet Oz a last-minute boost.

    Trump has huge downsides with a wide swath of the electorate, particularly in a legitimate swing state with more registered Democrats than Republicans. It’s one thing to send Trump to Iowa; it’s quite another thing to send him to Pennsylvania. But Oz appears to be giving the final days of his campaign the kitchen-sink treatment. On Friday, his campaign announced that Sen. Susan Collins of Maine would be campaigning with him Sunday in suburban Bucks County.

    But outside of those rather sober ad buys, Republicans have worked overtime to convince the media and voters alike that a red wave is building and their midterm victory is inevitable.

    The flood of cheap GOP polls swamping the aggregators has turned into a gusher, resulting in a slew of trend lines in critical contests suggesting the election is breaking toward Republicans in the final weeks. That is certainly true in Pennsylvania and Georgia (as I wrote earlier this week). But New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg went to the trouble of tallying up all the GOP R+3/+4 polls dropped in tight contests in recent days. It’s staggering:

    AZ, 10
    GA, 9
    PA, 8
    NV, 6
    WA, 6
    NH, 5
    NC, 4
    OH, 3

    Meanwhile, real polls from real pollsters are often giving Democrats a slight edge in many of this year’s most hotly contested Senate and even some House races.

    At midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, Marist College released its final round of polls from Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Among registered voters, Democrats led in every state.

    PA Senate
    Fetterman (D) 50% (+6)
    Oz (R) 44%

    AZ Senate
    Kelly (D-inc) 49% (+4)
    Masters (R) 45%

    GA Senate
    Warnock (D-inc) 49% (+4)
    Walker (R) 45%

    However, taking into account voters who said they would “definitely” vote, the Georgia race was definitively tighter at 48% all, Arizona was slightly tighter with Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly leading by 3 points, 50% – 47%, and Pennsylvania was basically a wash with Democrat John Fetterman still leading by 6 points, 51% – 45%

    […] So what does this all tell us? It’s a very competitive environment with a ton of cross factors. That is particularly true in the Senate races, where candidates and state-level dynamics on issues like abortion could prove more important than the national climate on the economy. Frankly, no one really knows, but Republicans are working overtime to game the system, get good press, and demoralize Democrats. [Yeah. I’ve noticed.]

    If you follow the money, however, Republicans are playing slightly more defense than offense. That’s not predictive, it just isn’t the posture of a party that sees things overwhelmingly breaking their way in the final weeks of a cycle they originally believed they would dominate.

  187. says

    So much for inflation and gas prices. House GOP agenda is revenge. Just revenge

    […] House Republicans are still measuring the curtains and out there, in public, talking about all the things they’re going to do if they take the majority—things that have absolutely nothing at all to do with governing or policymaking.

    Here’s what they told CNN will be top priorities: Hunter Biden, COVID-19 conspiracy theory hearings, removing the metal detectors at the House chamber doors. That’s along with forcing Social Security and Medicare cuts or destroying the U.S. and global economies. That’s their argument for their election. Yes, “vengeance and destruction” is a pretty great message for Republican voters. It should be a really motivating message for every other voter in the country, because yikes!

    Rep. James Comer (R-KY), set to chair the House Oversight Committee, won’t even wait until January when the new Congress is sworn in to start on the absolutely critical Hunter Biden story. He told CNN he is going to demand the Treasury Department send “suspicious bank activity reports” linked to Hunter Biden on Nov. 9, the day after the election. In the week after the election, he and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who could head the Judiciary Committee, will hold a Hunter Biden press conference.

    They will also probably hype that big report from Jordan, which consisted of 1,050 pages of crank letters the Republicans have sent to the administration, 470 of which were a five-page letter included 94 times. [Sheesh!] CNN says that this is “committee’s investigative roadmap alleging political interference by the FBI and Justice Department based in part on whistleblower allegations, while rehashing some previous claims and requests that Republicans have made.”

    “Rehashing” is putting it generously for the Republicans. “We’re going to lay out what we have thus far on Hunter Biden, and the crimes we believe he has committed,” Comer told CNN. “And then we’re going to be very clear and say what we are investigating, and who we’re gonna ask to meet with us for transcribed interviews. And we’re going to show different areas that we’re looking into.”

    And, of course, they’re already talking impeachment. If not of President Biden, then of homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. Even one of the non-Freedom Caucus hardliners that will be screaming for impeachment on Day One is on board with the idea, as long as his colleagues approach it right. “Let’s not rush to judgment, let’s build your case,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX). “You got to build your case first before you do something of that magnitude—otherwise, it’s not credible.”

    Right. Credibility is the GOP brand these days.

    In addition to all of that, there will be more vengeance on Democrats. They’re vowing to end remote voting, thus giving them a better chance to infect their colleagues with COVID-19. They are also going to take the metal detectors away from the House chamber doors, thus upping the chances that Rep. Lauren Boebert, or Marjorie Taylor Greene, or Paul Gosar—anyone of them really—shoots someone on the floor. Probably accidentally, because if they think they need to have guns in the House chamber—and clearly they do or the detectors wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place—they are not really likely to be responsible, gun safety types. Speaking of Greene and Boebert, the other thing Republicans are promising is kicking Democratic members off of committees. Just as revenge.

    […] Leader Kevin McCarthy has said that he might give them even “better” assignments. Like putting Greene on the House Oversight Committee. He’s rewarding the arguably worst person out of 435 for being the worst.

    So much for fixing inflation and gas prices.

    Actually, they do have a legislative agenda. That’s if repealing everything that Democrats have accomplished in the past two years could really be considered an agenda.

  188. says

    ‘The whole thing was always a lie’: Dan Crenshaw admits GOP’s 2020 election denial is a hoax

    Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas is a conservative publicity machine creation. He is not alone in his party but Crenshaw made the mistake of agreeing, relatively early on, that Joe Biden defeated disgraced former guy Donald Trump in the 2020 election. At the time, it seemed like the easiest layup of a “disagreement” with one’s own political party to have. Unfortunately for Crenshaw, having a mind of your own—unless you are a billionaire or a billionaire’s mouthpiece—is not how fascism works.

    As the months have gone by, the far-right Crenshaw has fallen out of favor with many of the MAGA-monsters who once salivated over his military bona fides. Fox News’ Orwellian O’Brien, Tucker Carlson, has labeled him “Eyepatch McCain.” Get it? He has an eye patch because his right eye was badly injured when an IED went off in a 2012 attack in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province—where Crenshaw was serving at the time. Man, Tucker is wicked clever and funny for a rich brat homophobe.

    Now, Crenshaw is making news after going on a podcast recently and saying that behind closed doors, all of the election deniers, the profligate mouthpieces of the Big Lie, know it’s a lie. They aren’t zealots backing some delusional conspiracy: They’re intentionally lying.

    […] Crenshaw also chalks up the continuing disinformation campaign to partisan lies and rhetoric simply becoming “more extreme.” He tells Toiano that he has had conversations with fellow Republicans and “they’re like, ‘Yeah, we know that, but we just, you know, people just need their last hurrah. Like, they just need to feel like we fought one last time. Trust me, it’ll be fine.’ And I was like, ‘No, it won’t. That’s not what people believe and that’s not what you’re telling them. And maybe you’re smart enough to know that but …’ So we have a lot of people in the political world that are just willing to say things they know aren’t true, they know aren’t true and it’s a huge manipulation.” […]

  189. Oggie: Mathom says

    whheydt @228:

    The Russian threats against desertion or surrender remind me of two things.

    It also reminds me of Soviet tactics during the Great Patriotic War. NKVD officers and men were routinely placed behind almost all units. Anyone, up to and including generals, were subject to execution or, if lucky, a quick trial and banishment to a punishment battalion (which, during the war, averaged about 400% casualties per year) if found behind the combat zone without the proper papers. Soldiers who were cut off behind German lines and managed to sneak back through to the Soviet side had a better than 50% chance of execution or punishment battalion. Same for soldiers who had lost or damaged weapons. Hand and foot wounds, even if witnesses said it was not self-inflicted, had a good chance that their officer would execute them to avoid NKVD inquiries.

    The modern Russian army, from sending untrained conscripts into battle with no training, little knowledge of weapons, no knowledge of tactics, was also a WWII (sorry, Great Patriotic War (and it was only the Russians who were allowed to be patriotic — Ukrainians, Poles, Lithuanians, etc, could not be patriotic as their ‘nation’ may have legally existed as a Soviet Republic but was, to Stalin and the NKVD, enemy territory)) ‘tradition.’ The Soviet military units who cleaned Germany’s clock in Ukraine during operation Bagration were made up of the few soldiers who survived German fire and Soviet NKVD actions long enough to learn how to be actual soldiers.

    The Russian military is far better than the US military at failing to learn lessons.

  190. says

    Matthew Gertz:

    Right-wing “populism” and free speech claims are about to morph into political punishment for corporations that refuse to send ad money to the richest man on the planet.

    It happening very quickly, here’s a former McConnell chief of staff threatening brands that don’t want to advertise on Twitter….

    Screenshot at the (Twitter) link. This is batshit.

  191. Oggie: Mathom says

    SC @255:

    The right wing seams to support actual capitalism to the same extent that they support democracy.

  192. says

    Another day, another lie from Herschel Walker is revealed.

    […] During a commemorative celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. at Austin College in 2020, Walker told a story: “You know what is so funny, I used to play basketball with President Obama. He smokes, I don’t know if y’all know that but he smokes,” he said. “I used to let homeboy school me up. Let’s be real, only because he had a lot of security,” Walker added while laughing.

    He repeated the same tale nearly word-for-word a year earlier at a suicide prevention month event hosted by the military in Tacoma, Washington, on Sept. 11, 2019.

    This time, Walker included more detail, describing an alleged one-on-one game.

    “I used to let homeboy post me up, post Herschel Walker up. I’m serious, I used to let him post me up, make a lay-up and stuff and he would talk a lot of trash. I don’t know if y’all know that but he would talk a lot of trash,” Walker said as the crowd laughed.

    In 2017, while visiting Fort Benning in Georgia, Walker again recounted that he played basketball with Obama, let the former president “post him up,” and teased a possible future game. “So we’re playing again,” Walker said. “I’m calling his butt up. We’re going to play another, and I’m going to let him know what time it is.”

    It is not clear whether Walker was wrong this week, or in 2017, 2019 and 2020 when he described a pickup basketball game and suggested he had Obama’s phone number.

    […] Walker did appear at one White House exercise event ― but it was in 2018, when Donald Trump was president.

    What Walker said on Tuesday:

    […] “I’m not sure why he came here just to go after me,” Walker said. [Obama held a rally last Friday for Walker’s Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, in Georgia] “[…] all he hung out with was celebrities. He never hung out with me so I can’t be a celebrity.”

    The following day, the former NFL player joined Kilmeade on air at Fox News and repeated his line, specifying he had never even met the 44th president. “I’ve never met him before, and if I’m a celebrity, I would’ve met him because all he did was hang out with celebrities,” Walker said. […]

    HuffPost link

  193. says

    Lou Paskalis, marketer:

    Elon, Great chat yesterday, As you heard overwhelmingly from senior advertisers on the call, the issue concerning us all is content moderation and its impact on BRAND SAFETY/SUITABILITY. You say you’re committed to moderation, but you just laid off 75% of the moderation team!

    Advertisers are not being manipulated by activist groups, they are being compelled by established principles around the types of companies they can do business with. These principles include an assessment of the platforms commitment to brand safety and suitability.

    That includes the trustworthiness of the leadership team and the behavior of the CEO.

    You claimed yesterday that you are deeply committed to Content Moderation, yet today you’ve eliminated the vast majority of people who did that work for Twitter.

    How do we reconcile these?

    Shannon Raj Singh:

    Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company.

    I am enormously proud of the work we did to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and to defend the needs of those particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders….

  194. says

    Claims from Stephen Miller’s group are both odious and dubious

    The NAACP slammed America First Legal commercials as “race-baiting advertisements” that are “obviously false.” Both concerns matter.

    If Stephen Miller’s far-right organization, America First Legal, hoped to generate attention by airing offensive ads accusing Democrats of “racism against white people,” the strategy was effective. The ugly messages came to the attention of the NAACP, for example, which has called on stations to stop airing the commercials.

    The America First Legal spots have been running in and around Georgia — home to two highly competitive statewide races in which Democrats are running African-American nominees — and the civil rights organization reached out to a series of stations across the state. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said he was “deeply troubled by the false and misleading radio advertisements transmitted through your radio station,” calling them “race-baiting advertisements” that are “obviously false.”

    The fact that Johnson emphasized both points — the America First Legal message is wrong and racist — was notable.

    Politico reported earlier this week that the ad from Miller’s group “represents one of the most openly race-based spots of the cycle, amplifying tropes that have historically been used to generate backlash to minority groups.” That’s absolutely correct. But it’s also true that the claims included in the America First Legal advertising aren’t standing well up to scrutiny.

    The group told the public, for example, “Joe Biden put white people last in line for Covid relief funds.” As a Washington Post fact-check piece explained, that’s not what happened.

    This line inaccurately describes what happened. There was an effort to let minority groups get in line first for restaurant relief — but many White people, such as women and veterans, had equal access.

    America First Legal also told the public, “Kamala Harris said disaster aid should go to non-white citizens first.” In reality, that’s not at all what the vice president said. A recent summary from FactCheck.org 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 we discussed soon after, 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.

    America First Legal also told the public, “Liberal politicians block access to medicine based on skin color.” The Post’s analysis added, “This line refers to an effort by Miller’s group to challenge efforts by states to account for the fact that hospitalization and death rates from covid-19 have cumulatively been higher for minorities throughout the pandemic. But again the central premise is false — there is no evidence that anyone has been denied access to medicine used to treat covid because of their race.”

    […] Finally, the ad from Miller’s group also told the public, “Progressive corporations, airlines, universities all openly discriminate against white Americans.” This appears to refer to affirmation action policies and efforts to create diverse workforces and student populations.

    […] Postscript: I received an email from America First Legal, which included a statement from Gene Hamilton, the group’s vice president and general counsel. It was a fairly long statement, complaining of “left-wing officials” engaging in “illegal” discrimination.

    It added, “The goal of our educational advertisements that AFL is running simply informs the American people about something they all know to be true in 2022, but that major news outlets fail to report on. No one should face racial discrimination regardless of the circumstances.”

    The email from the group also included 13 links to America First Legal press releases.

    Yuck! Stephen Miller is such an odious dunderhead.

  195. says

    Manchin endorses House GOP’s economic terrorism

    You know what would be really great in the new year? For Democrats to have a big enough majority in the Senate that “Democrats” Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are rendered irrelevant. Or at least big enough to put a little reelection scare into Sinema. This is a relevant sentiment now because the nation is headed for an economic calamity if the House majority flips to Republicans.

    That calamity could be diverted easily enough by the Democratic Congress in the lame duck session, but [that is] not likely to happen. House Republicans have already announced they are going to demand cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and social programs like Medicaid or they won’t allow a debt ceiling increase. Which would throw the U.S. into default on its debts; which would mean no Social Security payments, no Medicare coverage, no VA benefits, and no servicing of our debt to other countries. Which means global financial disaster.

    [Adam Jentleson said,] there are at least a few Democratic senators who think, well … it’s bad but maybe it will be an opportunity for a grand bargain on “entitlement reform” and managing the federal debt.”

    Enter Joe Manchin, though he’s not alone in the conference. He was at Fortune CEO conference Thursday—because where else the hell would the be?—where he told the group that Congress has to do something about the nation’s “crippling debt” by making changes to shore up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs he said are “going bankrupt.”

    Yes, Joe Manchin is using the House Republicans campaign platform.

    “We cannot live with this crippling debt,” Manchin said. “If we can’t come to grips of how we face the financial challenges this country has, then we’re all going to be paying a price that we can’t afford.”

    Never mind that deficit reduction in the Biden administration is very real. “The federal budget deficit fell to $1.4 trillion for the 2022 fiscal year, from $2.8 trillion a year ago, a reduction driven primarily by the winding down of pandemic emergency spending and a surge in tax receipts, according to the Treasury Department,” The New York Times reported a few weeks ago. Yes, the deficit and the debt are not the same thing, but also THEY ARE NOT CRIPPLING ANYTHING.

    It’s just Manchin attempting to sound like a very serious person who Republicans—and Fortune CEOs and banksters and all the other big-money lobbyists—can love. Because he’s not making enough money, apparently, by being the favorite of the fossil fuel industry.

    So, yeah. Vote and get out the vote and give like your life—and the nation—depend on it. Because they fucking do this time.

  196. says

    Gerard Cohen:

    So, the Accessibility Experience Team at Twitter is no longer. We had so much more to do, but we worked hard! There aren’t very many people that have had the opportunity to make such an important global platform like Twitter accessible, but we understood the mission.

    And we were not alone, there were a lot of people across the company that helped out. As hard as things were they would have been impossible without our beloved Nightingales, accessibility champions that helped expand our reach.

    Please, show them some grace. We heard & listened to all of you, good & bad, & we felt it all genuinely.

    I hate the way this ended, but I’m so very proud of everything we were able to accomplish together.

    Now I have other places to help make accessible…

  197. blf says

    In teh “U”K, via the Grauniad’s snarking, Suella Braverman aboard a Chinook: proof that in politics, standards can always get worse:

    Who needs low expectations when we now have a home secretary so low-calibre, it could almost make you nostalgic for Priti Patel

    A rival emerges to Priti Patel’s personalised HOME SECRETARY flak jacket, now believed to form part of the memorabilia collection of a future chain of anti-immigration-themed family restaurants that will quickly become Britain’s only post-Brexit growth sector. (They will, ironically, be staffed by immigrants.) This rival is Suella Braverman’s Chinook, the military helicopter that the current home secretary used to fly the distance of precisely 19 miles between Dover and Manston yesterday, as she sought to aggressively cosplay a complex problem into simply going away. […]

    […]

    The real-life government has now spent £120m and counting [Home Office refuses to reveal true cost of failed flight to Rwanda because it could make future flights cost more] on a policy of deporting desperate people to somewhere thousands of miles away — and not one desperate person has been deported. No wonder there’s interest from Peru or Paraguay or any of the other countries the Sunak administration claims to be in talks with about extending its Rwanda scheme. It’s free money and you don’t even have to do anything.

    Closer to home, an awful lot of complex things clearly need to be done in a system overrun by chaos and distress. Who’s going to do them? Suella?! Er, I don’t think so. Speaking in the blunt style I know she’d appreciate: Suella Braverman is an extremely low-calibre secretary of state. She’s not the sort of person you put in charge of anything you actually want to fix. […] She may be very good at positioning herself as a populist — but operationally, she’s toxic, and about as much use as getting Ralph Wiggum to do something. Her sole previous cabinet experience was as Boris Johnson’s attorney general, a role with all the prestige of being Donald Trump’s STD doctor. Or, indeed, Donald Trump’s attorney general. In Whitehall, Braverman was known during this period as someone who could be easily managed by more competent members of the Johnson team into giving the advice that was required.

    Presumably because of Braverman’s decision earlier this week to describe the small-boats issue as an invasion[, …] the home secretary herself seems to have been banned from saying things out loud. Which tells you quite a lot about where we are. As, indeed, do interjections from her allies, such as Jonathan Gullis, the missing link between the vegetable and mineral kingdoms who moonlights as a Stoke MP. Also this week, live on air, Gullis named a hotel to which migrants were being moved as an emergency after a firebomb attack on the centre in which they were being housed. Gullis has also explained that the government’s policy of deporting people seeking asylum to Rwanda is fantastic, terrific and a deterrent. […]

    […] In many ways, Patel and Braverman have a similar MO, with aggressive positioning prioritised over competent delivery. Chinooks, flak jackets, repulsively ludicrous ideas such as wave machines in the Channel [Priti Patel ‘considered wave machines’ to stop migrants crossing English channel], having pointlessly terrible relations with France and the EU — these are all poses / vibes / moods. They haven’t achieved nothing — they have achieved less than nothing, actively driving potential and vital allies and collaborators away.

    […] Braverman may soon consider her own political ambitions, and prefer the idea of resigning by choice, claiming she’s being stymied in this or that way by the blob, or closet socialists or lefty lawyers, or any number of convenient enemies, in a blame-shifting exercise aimed to distract from the fact that this issue is extremely complicated and Braverman is extremely ministerially talentless.

    Rather like a Nigel Farage resignation, though, that wouldn’t be the last we heard of Suella Braverman. In fact, as the country’s economic prospects get darker and grimmer, I fear it would be the point at which she was only just getting started.

  198. whheydt says

    Re: blf @ #265…
    On the “They Shall Not Pass”… I get the Cnut reference and that looks like the weather balloon “Rover” from The Prisoner in the background.

  199. says

    Satire from Andy Borowitz:

    Under threat of imminent termination, Twitter employees are being required to sign an affidavit asserting that they think Elon Musk is cool.

    The affidavit, which specifies that Musk is “a cool individual” and “extremely fun,” must be signed, notarized, and returned to Twitter headquarters by the end of business on Friday.

    In addition to stating that the new Twitter boss is cool, the affidavit specifies several examples of “extremely cool things” that Musk has done.

    For example, the document indicates that Musk’s arrival at Twitter headquarters while carrying a sink was “not only very cool but also super funny.”

    Finally, the affidavit requires Twitter employees to agree with the statement “If I was having a barbecue and Elon Musk showed up uninvited, I would be totally psyched, owing to him being a cool guy whom everyone likes.”

    New Yorker link

  200. says

    Wonkette: “Joe Biden’s Economy Once Again Adds More Jobs Than Expected, Not Bad Huh?”

    The US employment picture continues to be positive, which is probably terrible news somehow because I guess we need people to be unemployed to get inflation under control? But it’s pretty welcome news for the 261,000 Americans who got new nonfarm jobs in October, according to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The jobs figure outpaced the Dow Jones estimate of 205,000 new jobs, while the unemployment rate edged up two tenths of a percent to 3.7 percent, a bit worse than the predicted 3.5 percent rate. The BLS notes that the unemployment rate has “been in a narrow range of 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent since March,” which means the great big swings in employment stats we saw during the pandemic may finally be over — barring another huge outbreak, of course.

    CNBC reports that stocks traded higher following the report’s release, which seems weird because isn’t the Fed supposed to react to job growth by continuing to raise interest rates until we’re in a recession? Maybe the jobs report was good news in light of the fact that the Fed already announced another interest rate hike this week, resulting in stock losses, and this was good news of a “soft landing”? Maybe stocks and macroeconomics make as little sense as I’ve always suspected? I majored in literature and rhetoric, where creatively making shit up is what you’re supposed to do.

    Also too, average hourly wages are up a bit, although less than the rate of inflation. Here is where we bring you the ritual economist take, as if they know anything either.

    “There has been some signs of cooling. Bur are seeing a pretty strong labor market,” said Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “We did see a substantial increase in jobs. But there’s been a slowdown in the rate of increase. You would expect that as we get closer to full employment.”

    Also, if the roots are strong, all will be well in the garden and there will be growth in the spring.

    Over at the New York Times, it seems the jobs report shows the economy is “resilient,” or at least the labor market is “stubbornly robust,” and we think that’s … good? Or is it?

    “All in all, the job market is still hot,” said Daniel Zhao, an economist at the career site Glassdoor. “There’s still some cushion before we actually hit the ground.”

    The hope is that as the Fed raises interest rates a little at a time, job growth will slow down and reduce inflation, but without crashing; and in fact the last few jobs reports have been

    slowing, albeit very gradually. The question is whether such measured slackening will lead to meaningfully lower inflation, a sought-after path that policymakers refer to as a soft landing.

    Oh gosh, we hope that’s what we get! A soft landing sounds comfortable. But maybe we won’t?

    Although wage growth has moderated slightly, workers are still seeing their pay rise at a level that the Fed has said is inconsistent with its long-term inflation goals. The share of adults participating in the labor force declined a little, suggesting that employers are not seeing a rush of new workers coming to fill available jobs. Neither measures offer the Fed much comfort.

    “What I see in this is the imprint of beginning weakness,” said Diane Swonk, the chief economist at KPMG. “But it’s not enough to derail the Fed.”

    For his part, Joe Biden said in a statement today that the jobs report “shows that our jobs recovery remains strong,” and noted that the economy now has “137,000 more manufacturing jobs than we had before the pandemic,” and reminded that during his presidency, we’ve gone from the mess of a pandemic economy to 10 million new jobs, record growth in manufacturing jobs (700,000 of ’em), and “historically low Black and Hispanic unemployment rates.”

    He also sought to preempt GOP complaints that the jobs growth would lead to more inflation, adding that

    while comments by Republican leadership sure seem to indicate they are rooting for a recession, the US economy continues to grow and add jobs even as gas prices continue to come down.

    Biden reiterated that inflation is a global problem and that his administration is making progress on it, what with the Inflation Reduction Act’s measures to keep healthcare costs down, and the steady decline in gas prices since June. Republicans, he warned, don’t have a plan to address inflation at all:

    They want to increase prescription drug costs, health insurance costs, and energy costs, while giving more tax breaks to big corporations and the very wealthy. Here’s the deal: Cutting corporate taxes and allowing big pharma to raise prices again is the Republican inflation plan, and it’s a disaster.

    Biden added that addressing inflation shouldn’t mean putting people out of work, and hinted, just slightly, at his call earlier this week for windfall profit taxes on corporations that are making record profits off inflation, saying that he won’t accept that

    our largest, most profitable corporations shouldn’t have to pay their fair share. I will continue to work for an economy built from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down as my Republican friends would have.

    We’re hoping Biden and Democratic candidates do talk up the jobs numbers in this last weekend of campaigning; voters don’t seem likely to find a strong jobs report under Biden as a reason to go with Republicans.

    Also, that gorgeous mural up top is just so perfect; go read the story of how it was moved by UAW Local 174 (three times!) as the local’s Detroit union hall moved to new buildings, and then in 2016 it was finally moved and restored at Wayne State U’s Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor & Urban Affairs. And enjoy the full-sized image, wow!

    Image of mural at the link.

  201. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Russian occupying forces loot Kherson art museum.

    Under the guise of “evacuation,” armed men dressed in civilian clothing looted the Oleksiy Shovkunenko Kherson Art Museum over the course of four days, the museum’s administration said in a Facebook post.

    According to the post, between Oct. 31-Nov. 3, Russian occupying forces and Russian collaborators carried out “everything they saw, everything they could reach,” without properly packaging the works for transport.

    The museum’s collection includes more than 10,000 works of art.

    The trucks carrying the works were headed for Russian-occupied Crimea, but it is unclear if that is their final destination, the museum wrote.

    Kherson Oblast’s police department has also opened a criminal investigation into the looting of the museum.

  202. says

    Dmitri:

    Mobik riot in Kazan: nearly 2000 mobiks came out to express their outrage and shout curse words at the drunk General of the regiment. According to messages, mobiks had no essentials provided to them, and no one seems to be bothered to resolve their issues.

    In the middle of the video, one man is shouting: “Where is the bravery you had in the morning?”.

    Subtitled video (which includes a homophobic slur, as so many do) and translated screenshots at the (Twitter) link.

  203. says

    Yoel Roth, Twitter:

    Here are the facts about where Twitter’s Trust & Safety and moderation capacity stands today:

    tl;dr: While we said goodbye to incredibly talented friends and colleagues yesterday, our core moderation capabilities remain in place.

    With early voting underway in the US, our efforts on election integrity — including harmful misinformation that can suppress the vote and combatting state-backed information operations — remain a top priority….

  204. John Morales says

    And that’s the very point, isn’t it, SC?

    Here you are: Yoel Roth, Twitter, using Twitter.

    It’s not like its actual messaging fuctionality is not replicable; it’s that it’s currently incumbent.

  205. John Morales says

    To follow the pattern on this thread but with my style, two stories:

    https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63524219
    (Twitter: Musk defends deep cuts to company’s workforce)
    &
    https://slate.com/technology/2022/11/the-case-that-elon-musk-knows-exactly-what-hes-doing-at-twitter.html

    Anyway. End of the day, that functionality isn’t gonna go away, though it may be differently instantiated. The marketable value of Parler or Truth is already saturated, given their particular demographic appeal.

    So, either Musk adapts or others take that niche. Evolution.

  206. says

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

    Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said [admitted, finally, after weeks of denials] that the country did supply Russia with drones, but added [claimed] that it took place before Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Kyiv. The drones have been used in attacks on civilian infrastructure, notably targeting power stations and dams.

    The 300,000 troops Putin conscripted as part of the mobilisation drive are providing “little additional offensive combat capability” as the Russian military is struggling to train them, UK intelligence has reported. In its daily briefing, the UK Ministry of Defence said troops are being deployed with “little or no training”.

    Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has thanked the Netherlands, Czech Republic and the US for the 90 T-72 tanks it will receive. They will come alongside a US aid package that includes funding to upgrade American Hawk air defence missiles. It has longer range than the Stinger anti-air missiles that have been sent to the country already.

    About 500 power generators have been sent to Ukraine by 17 EU countries to help with the energy problems caused by Russian attacks.

    There has been an assassination attempt on a judge who sentenced two Britons to death in Russian-controlled Ukraine. Alexander Nikulin, who said that Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner should be shot by a firing squad, was shot in Vuhlehirsk, in Donetsk on Friday night. The local supreme court justice is in a serious condition in hospital.

    The Ukrainian foreign ministry has claimed its forces have killed another 600 Russian soldiers in the last 24 hours….

    Turkey will not formally approve Finland and Sweden’s membership of Nato until the two countries take the necessary “steps”, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has told the head of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.

    At least 112,000 Russians have emigrated to Georgia this year, border crossing statistics show. Reuters reported that the first large wave of 43,000 arrived after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. The second wave came after Putin announced the nationwide mobilisation drive in late September….

  207. says

    Kyiv Independent:

    Russian proxy reverses statement on curfew in Kherson.

    After announcing a curfew on Nov. 4, Kirill Stremousov, head of Russia’s proxies in occupied Kherson Oblast, published another post to Telegram saying there would be “no restrictions for residents,” Reuters reported.

    Stremousov also reposted an edited version of his original video announcing the curfew but now without any reference to a curfew in the city.

    In his original video, Stremousov cited the need for a curfew in order to defend Kherson from so-called “terrorist attacks.”

    Clown, just GTFO.

  208. says

    Gizmodo – “How the Agriculture Industry Funds Pro-Beef ‘Science'”:

    One of the country’s most prominent academic centers that purports to “advance sustainability in animal agriculture” is almost entirely funded by industrial agriculture interests, new documents show. And the industry has used its connection to help push messaging around how beef isn’t that harmful to the planet.

    Documents obtained from the University California Davis show that nearly all the funding for The Clarity and Leadership for Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR) Center, prominent research center located at the university, comes from industrial agricultural interests. While some of this has been previously made public, the amounts of money were previously unreported. The report is based on documents obtained through a public records request by Unearthed, the investigative arm of Greenpeace UK, as well as documents obtained independently by the New York Times.

    If you do enough research on the connection between beef and climate change, the name of the CLEAR Center—and its founder, Frank Mitloehner—is bound to come up eventually. Mitloehner, a professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, is one of the most outspoken academic figures in the field defending the beef industry, appearing in multiple media outlets over the past decade and testifying in Congress about the beef industry’s impact on the environment. He also was one of the key academic figures leading the pushback against a bombshell report that came out in 2019 that advised that countries around the world needed to stop eating so much red meat in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

    “As a professor and extension specialist at the University of California, Davis, I have the privilege of working on these issues and helping the public, media and thought leaders better understand the role of agriculture in nourishing our world, while also focusing attention on cleaner air and a healthy climate,” reads text written by Mitloehner on the CLEAR Center’s homepage. “I won’t tell you what to think, and I certainly won’t tell you what to eat. That’s a personal decision based on many factors. What I will do is present the latest, most accurate research we have on animal agriculture and air quality in regard to climate.”

    The documents show that the CLEAR Center was created in 2019 with a $2.9 million gift from the Institute for Feed Education and Research, or IFeeder. IFeeder is the charitable arm of the American Feed Industry Association, which counts agribusiness giants like Cargill and Tyson as members, the Times reports. This gives it a curious loophole when it comes to California disclosure requirements. While the state requires academics to disclose funding for research from private entities, nonprofits are exempt from those disclosure requirements. Because IFeeder is a charity organization, the CLEAR center and Mitloehner did not have to disclose its funding of their research. (“The Clear Center said in a statement that it discloses funding in line with University of California policy,” the Times reported. “The university deferred questions to the Clear Center.”) The Center has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from other industry sources, including almost $200,000 from the California Cattle Council.

    “Industry funding does not necessarily compromise research, but it does inevitably have a slant on the directions with which you ask questions and the tendency to interpret those results in a way that may favor industry,” Matthew Hayek, an assistant professor in environmental studies at New York University, told the Times. “Almost everything that I’ve seen from Dr. Mitloehner’s communications has downplayed every impact of livestock. His communications are discordant from the scientific consensus, and the evidence that he has brought to bear against that consensus has not been, in my eyes, sufficient to challenge it.”

    Downplaying the climate impact of livestock seems to have been the purpose for the CLEAR Center’s funding. In a confidential 2018 memo proposing the CLEAR Center obtained by the Times and Unearthed, IFeeder said that Mitloehner would provide “a neutral, credible, third-party voice” that could “show consumers that they can feel good” about eating meat. The CLEAR Center, the document said, would be able to provide an alternate viewpoint to what IFeeder called “a small but vocal minority with hidden agendas” [LOL] —high-profile figures, the IFeeder claimed, who were leading people astray from eating meat.

    And the Times found that the Center has provided valuable messaging for pro-meat propaganda campaigns….

    Beef’s impact on climate change cannot be understated, and the world’s leading climate scientists agree that cutting back on emissions associated with the beef industry—particularly its damaging methane emissions—are crucial to avoiding runaway warming. But as we reported last month, the beef industry in recent years has been mounting counterattacks on climate science, using cherrypicked data and misleading arguments to depict beef as a neutral—even “climate-friendly”—choice. While much of what they say may technically be correct, the messaging the industry is using at the CLEAR Center and beyond is a masterclass in how to twist and obfuscate science to serve the whims of a powerful industry. And while funding for operations like Mitloehner’s may not necessarily be a surprise, it’s always a good idea to know who’s footing the bill for pro-beef arguments.

  209. StevoR says

    A rather staggering find with some intriguing implications here :

    https://www.space.com/2014-meteor-first-interstellar-visitor-oumuamua

    Plus on the nearest Black Hole we’ve found so far – Gaia BH1 just a “mere” 1,560 light-years away :

    https://www.space.com/closest-black-hole-to-earth-gaia-mission

    Also meet Lathamus the magnificent giant named for the bird it shelters :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-04/forest-giant-blue-gum-tree-lathamus-keep-photographed/101592128

    in a superb “portrait.”

  210. raven says

    Admiral Richard says China is increasing its nuclear weapons stockpile and will have 1,000 nuclear bombs by 2030.
    Part of the fallout from the Russian’s routine threats to nuke someone for something is normalizing the use of nuclear weapons.
    Nations that might ask themselves why we need 1,000 nuclear weapons that we will never use instead just go, “Oh, that is why.”

    The rest of the article is just standard military talk about how they need more money, people, and weapons.
    It’s been said that Russia and Ukraine are where our single payer health care went. It’s more complicated than that but that is where a lot of our national budget is going.

    China builds out nuclear weapons stockpile

    US military nuclear chief sounds the alarm about pace of China’s nuclear weapons programCNN
    By Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr, CNN
    Published 2:17 PM EDT, Fri November 4, 2022

    The Commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees the US nuclear weapons program, warned that China is developing nuclear weapons much faster than the US and called the issue a “near-term problem,” during a speech at a closed event earlier this week.

    While Pentagon officials have been sounding the alarm about China’s military buildup and development of nuclear weapons for years, Richard’s comments paint the situation as more dire than other officials have stated publicly.

    “As I assess our level of deterrence against China, the ship is slowly sinking,” Adm. Charles Richard said. “It is sinking slowly, but it is sinking, as fundamentally they are putting capability in the field faster than we are.”

    Richard called the development of China’s nuclear weapons program a “near-term problem.”

    “As those curves keep going, it isn’t going to matter how good our [operating plan] is or how good our commanders are, or how good our forces are – we’re not going to have enough of them. And that is a very near-term problem.”

    Richard made the comments during a speaking engagement at the Naval Submarine League Annual Symposium on Wednesday.

    The Biden administration has consistently called China the US’s main global competitor and warned about the country’s development of its military and nuclear weapons program in a series of policy documents explaining the US’s defense and military strategy released at the end of October.

    China is the US’s “pacing challenge” because it is “the only competitor with both the intent and increasingly the capability to systematically challenge the United States across the board, militarily, economically, technologically, diplomatically,” a senior defense official said about the strategy.

    China “likely intends to possess at least 1,000 deliverable warheads by the end of the decade,” the Nuclear Posture Review, one of the policy documents, said of China’s nuclear weapons program.

    Richard warned of China’s nuclear development in 2021, calling their program a “strategic breakout.”

    “We are witnessing a strategic breakout by China. The explosive growth and modernization of its nuclear and conventional forces can only be what I describe as breathtaking, and, frankly, that word breathtaking may not be enough,” Richard said in 2021.

  211. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Our correspondent Luke Harding, reporting from Kyiv, has written about how Moscow is deporting residents along with stolen art, tractors and cars as Ukraine’s forces close in.

    “Things are disappearing in the Ukrainian city of Kherson at a rapid rate. Some are physical objects. Russian troops are taking away ambulances, tractors and stolen private cars. Cultural things are going too: archives, and paintings and sculptures from the art and local lore museums. Even the bones of Catherine the Great’s friend and lover, Grigory Potemkin, have been grubbed up from a crypt in St Catherine’s cathedral and spirited away.”

    (The full article – “Russian troops loot Kherson as lines redrawn ahead of final battle for city.”)

    People in Odesa, the port city in the south of Ukraine have voted to dismantle a statue to Russian empress Catherine II.

    Another insight into the cultural dynamics in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, the city is home to thousands of Russian speakers. Its evolution as a city and location has meant it has a hybrid of Ukrainian and Russian.

    Russian history has traditionally celebrated Catherine II, but she also destroyed the cossack state and Zaporizhzhia. Russia’s invasion in February has prompted debates over the monument’s future.

    It was doused in red pain [this works] in September and October, and an executioner’s hat has been put on it.

    The voting took place on the Publicly Active Citizen platform, and a majority voted for the removal of the statue from Kateryninska Square. Odesa’s city council will now vote on it.

    Euromaidan news agency has reported the city’s major Hennadiy Trukhahov saying: “I believe that the results of free voting on the Publicly Active Citizen platform will be taken into account by the representatives of the city council, who will make the final decision. Personally, I will vote for the dismantling of the monument and its transfer to the park of the Imperial and Soviet past, the idea of which I talked about a few months ago.”

  212. says

    A few links from Mad in America:

    “ADHD Diagnosis Leads to Worse Quality of Life, Increased Self-Harm in Kids”: “When comparing kids with the same symptoms who were either diagnosed with ADHD or not, those who received the diagnosis had worse outcomes…”

    “Capitalism is Destroying our Collective Mental Health”: “In a new chapter, epidemiologists spell out the mounting evidence of the sickening effects of capitalism on mental health…”

    “Facebook Negatively Impacted College Students’ Mental Health from the Start”: “Researchers track the impact of the launch and spread of Facebook in 2004 and find declining mental health in its wake…”

  213. raven says

    This is an excerpt from a longer article on Musk and his plans for twitter.

    The big issue seems to be moderation or lack of it.
    This article claims that Musk is going over to a crowd sourced AI type model of moderation.
    This means people can upvote or downvote tweets to affect their visibility. In some systems, too many downvotes and your tweet will disappear or end up at the bottom of a queue.

    I’ve been on a few forums like this and they don’t work very well.
    It is too easy for trolls to gang up and game the system.
    For that and other reasons, I quickly gave up and left.

    I can say that without moderation any open forum will quickly get overrun by trolls and then disappear. It happened to Usenet, AOL, Yahoo, newspaper articles comment threads, and many others.

    Musk on twitter crowd sourced moderation

    In the interview, Musk said that “one of the things that I believe Twitter should do is open source the algorithm and make any changes to people’s tweets, if they’re emphasized or de-emphasized, that action should be made apparent so anyone can see that action’s been taken so there’s no behind the scenes manipulation, either algorithmically or manually.” (The full hour plus interview is here. Transcript here.)

  214. blf says

    Via dKos Ukraine Update: Field Guide to Drones of Ukraine (Part 1) is «Всипте, хлопці…» — Ярослава Руденко (video), “‘Put it down, guys…’ — Yaroslava Rudenko”. From the National Philharmonic of Ukraine, Yaroslava Rudenko is an “[h]onored Artist of Ukraine, soloist of the National Philharmonic of Ukraine and the Academic Song and Dance Ensemble of the Armed Forces of Ukraine […]”. And very talented. I could not find an English-subtitled version, but Generalissimo Google™Youtube auto-generated English-subtitles sort-of work…

    Some searching then led to this, Ой, у лузі червона калина — військовий оркестр 406-ї ОАБР ім.генерал-хорунжого О.Алмазова (video), with, unfortunately, no subtitles at all (not even auto-generated). Yaroslava Rudenko does not feature, and it is unclear to me who the female & only singer is.😞

  215. blf says

    Continued from me@285… That lead to Коломийка про москалів (video), also un-subtitled…😞 No idea who the male & only singer is.

    And that led to ТАКА КРАСИВА 🇺🇦 Beautiful Ukrainian Army — Награш band (video), “SO BEAUTIFUL 🇺🇦 …”, sadly without any English subtitles. And from just a few days ago, 🇺🇦 ЦЕЙ СОН – ГІГА — cover Награш band (video), “🇺🇦 THIS DREAM…”, also no subtitles. I have no idea who Награш’s singer is…

  216. blf says

    Lynna@286, “I like the links to Ukrainian military personnel singing songs about the drones. :-)”

    Indeed. That’s what led to me@285 & 287, and I’ve only started on the dKos article you@286 / me@285 !

  217. says

    New Radio Free Humanity – “Episode 80: Interview with Ukrainian Socialist Maksym Shumakov”:

    Brendan and Andrew welcome Maksym Shumakov, a young activist and leading member of the Ukrainian democratic-socialist organization Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement). Maksym answers a wide range of questions, including: What is life like now in Kyiv and elsewhere in Ukraine? How can progressive, anti-imperialist people outside Ukraine support its fight for national self-determination? How have new forms of social organization and a new multiethnic, multicultural Ukrainian identity emerged as Ukrainians have risen up to resist Putin’s invasion? Why does Sotsialnyi Rukh calls for “complete victory and security for Ukraine”? Why is it important for socialists outside Ukraine to support this call, rather than calling for “peace” or “multi-polarity”? Why has Sotsialnyi Rukh criticized the international left for being ”helpless and disoriented” in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine? After the invaders are repelled, what social struggles lie ahead in Ukraine?

    Marxist-Humanist Initiative’s editorial on Ukraine’s fight for national self-determination is cited during the segment.

    In the episode’s current-events segment, the co-hosts discuss the pervasiveness of falsified evidence and other travesties in scholarly journals, with special emphasis on the recent New York Times essay by microbiologist-whistleblower Elizabeth Bik.

  218. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    After the news about Odesa reviewing its Catherine II statue [see #282 above], Moscow’s occupying authorities in the southern Ukrainian city of Melitopol they had restored a statue of Vladimir Lenin, seven years after it was taken down following Kyiv’s pro-EU revolution.

    The Moscow-installed head of the Zaporizhzhia region, Vladimir Rogov, posted a photograph of workers in the city reinstating the tribute to the Bolshevik leader Agence France-Presse reports.

    “After seven years the statue to Vladimir Lenin has returned to its place in Melitopol,” he said.

    Ukraine dismantled Lenin statues across the country after its 2014 revolution overthrew a Moscow-backed regime as part of its “de-communisation drive”.

    It was seen as an effort to break away from Russian and Soviet influence. Moscow condemned the move.

    Almost all cities in Russia have a statue of the founder of the Soviet Union in their central squares.

    Melitopol fell to Moscow’s forces on 1 March.

  219. blf says

    Continuing on from me@285 & @287, another from Награш, recently released, albeit not about the war. Whilst there are auto-translated (into English) subtitles, they make less and less sense, probably due to the limitations of the translation algorithm rather than the band, Ой чиє ж то жито 🇺🇦 Ukrainian folk song — українська народна пісня — Награш band (video), “Oh, whose rye it is 🇺🇦…”.

    Which leads to another recent release and not mentioning the war, all instrumental so no subtitling problems, featuring a young man on the fiddle / violin (name currently unknown to me albeit it’s probably in the Ukrainian-language credits), 🇺🇦 Попурі українських народних мелодій — Ukrainian folk song — Награш band (video), “🇺🇦 A potpourri of Ukrainian folk melodies…”.

    I’ll try to stop now…!😕

  220. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile on Russian state TV: Andrey Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Committee on Defense, claims that Russia “surprised” everyone with its invasion of Ukraine. He spews the usual nuclear threats, but host Vladimir Solovyov spoils them with concerns about Russia’s economy.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link.

    “Yes, but there is also a threat over the Kaliningrad, there is a threat in the Baltic Sea, and the overall might of NATO’s fleet surpasses our own, politely speaking. [giggle] The Turkish fleet surpasses ours in the Black Sea, in a very significant way, which is gleefully reported by the Turkish media. We’re being stretched thin on multiple fronts. Japan started to behave in an openly militaristic way. We’re faced with challenges that we should start considering right now….”

  221. says

    Right Wing Watch:

    “Stop the Steal” organizer Ali Alexander really couldn’t make it any more clear: “Any election I don’t like is stolen. … If I don’t like it, it’s stolen. If I like it, it’s not stolen. If you win, it’s stolen.”

    Video at the (Twitter) link.

  222. says

    BBC – “Dover migrant centre attack driven by right-wing ideology – police”:

    The firebombing of an immigration processing centre was motivated by extreme right-wing terrorist ideology, police have said.

    Andrew Leak, 66[!], from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, threw up to three incendiary devices at the site in Dover, Kent, last Sunday.

    He is believed to have later taken his own life.

    Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said evidence showed it “was motivated by a terrorist ideology”.

    Tim Jacques, senior national co-ordinator for counter terrorism policing, said: “After considering the evidence collected so far, whilst there are strong indications that mental health was likely a factor, I am satisfied that the suspect’s actions were primarily driven by an extremist ideology.

    “This meets the threshold for a terrorist incident.”

    Leak was not known to counter-terrorism police before the attack, CPTSE confirmed. It is understood he was also not known to the security services.

    A now-deleted Facebook account apparently in Leak’s name contained anti-Muslim sentiments….

  223. says

    Followup to comment 286.

    Updates to the Ukrainian update:

    News today concerning Russia’s destruction of HIMARS systems. That news would be that the count of HIMARS taken out so far is: 0.

    Also, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

    Weeks ago, there were warnings that Russia had laid out multiple lines of defense in a semi-circle around Svatove. After pressing forward from multiple directions, Ukraine now seems to be encountering the last line of that defense, but so far has been unable to punch through — in spite of claims a few days ago that a breach had opened on the north side of the city. [map at the link in comment 286]

    The result is that on Saturday, there’s a series of battles going on that seem to map out exactly where those Russian defenses are located. There have been videos showing Ukrainian forces moving right up to several of these locations, but they’ve been unable to dislodge Russian troops and really liberate any of these points.

    In large part that’s because the roads are separated by areas of dense woods where Russia has set up defensive positions to shoot at armor along the roads, and trip wires / mines to prevent infantry advancing through the trees. Ukraine is reportedly clearing out these wooded areas, and it is reportedly taking time.

  224. says

    Many male pundits say the abortion issue has faded. Maybe they’re just dim

    When the GOP-packed Supreme Court first overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Republican politicians and operatives developed a standard talking point: By November, the economy will be the overriding issue in the midterms.

    After beating that drum for months, sure enough, it crept into conventional wisdom. For the last month, a wide swath of pundits and analysts alike—mostly male—have taken the GOP talking point as gospel. Their proof often starts with a certain bias which is then confirmed by issue polling in which economy/inflation usually rises to the top.

    But just because most people often flag the economy as a top issue, it does not mean abortion and reproductive freedom have lost resonance for a wide swath of the electorate.

    In Michigan, a Detroit News/Glengariff poll conducted Oct. 26-28 found that while more independent voters said inflation was the most important issue facing Michigan, slightly more independents also tagged abortion as the issue most motivating them to vote.

    Independent Voters

    What is the most important issue facing Michigan?
    40% Inflation
    31% abortion

    Which issue is most motivating you to go to the polls?
    35% abortion
    34% inflation

    Among all female voters, abortion was the primary driver motivating them to vote, reported ClickonDetroit.com. Overall, 43.5% of female voters said they care most about abortion and women’s rights issues, while just 24.6% of male voters did. [!!!]

    In Pennsylvania, the latest Fox News poll found that, far from fading, intensity around abortion had actually increased more than on any other issue in the state’s critical Senate race. [stats presented in a table at the link]

    The final pre-election poll from Daily Kos/Civiqs showed that abortion remained the top motivating issue for Democratic voters across the country, with 52% of Democrats saying it would be the most important issue driving their vote. [stats presented in a table at the link]

    All of these data points back up early October findings from the Kaiser health tracking poll indicating that fully 50% of voters now say the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe has made them more motivated to vote—up from 43% who said the same in July and a 13-point bump since news of the opinion first leaked in May.

    Plenty of recent polling has indicated that reports of the abortion issue’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Perhaps the pundits claiming abortion has faded just aren’t that good at reading the polls. [Or it could be that too many pundits are falling for Republican-created polling stats that are flawed.]

  225. says

    The amusing, bemusing and welcome fall of Twitter

    My reactions and observations are not unique. I suspect most people viewed recent events with the same set of feelings. Still, it seems that some folks, including those much more smart and aware than I are missing the big picture.

    Initially, Musk sees a shiny toy and decides it would match his eyes and shoes, as well as his ego. Next, with absolutely no due diligence, even with many news stories correctly reporting that Twitter has NEVER made a profit, he bids 11X the realistic value of the company, and managed to include an expensive penalty if he withdrew. The lawyers for Twitter done did good. Their “in case of default” clauses and language were top notch and almost impossible to avoid. That left a certain muskrat on the hook. So, he switches gears and buys the company.

    How long had it been before he recognized he truly screwed the pooch with this dubious deal? It took only weeks, before he made noise about fake accounts, trying to cheat his way out of a very bad, very expensive deal. But the contract writers did do due diligence, while Musk only did doodoo. The money was exchanged, the title transferred, and Elon became the High Lord and Executioner, but without the cute operatic sound track.

    My first reaction: Whose money is he using? (Chinese, Saudi, probably some Russian petrodollars in the mix) Certainly he used some of his own, but not all […]

    HOW MUCH? Forty four billions? It seems smaller in words than in numbers: $44,000,000,000 — there. much larger and even less logical. And just how much of that amount is made up of debt? Debt that Twitter could never ever repay? (For a similar example about debt and theft, check out the Kroger Albersons merger here: http://www.reuters.com/… ) Time will tell.

    So, with the speed of an orbit bound Tesla, he consummated the purchase, again, at an incredulous, jaw-dropping price of 11X the actual value — for a mere communications/ad generator & displayer/social media company. Their actual, measurable product? probably lawsuits.

    Being long on ego and short on thick skin, he immediately canned the entire board of managers, the very people who kept the operation going in the face of many headwinds, troubles and growing/groaning issues […] He named himself leader of all his eyes could see. He had ARRIVED. Every person on this flat earth was talking about him and his deal. And he was happy. For a very, very short span of time.

    So, his next steps were painfully obvious. Musk applied the same tools that so many capital and finance managers (translation, thieves and scoundrels) have used before. Use debt to buy up a company, steal the assets, cut costs and press for short-termed, increased profits. Honestly, people will volunteer to pay Musk money each month for something that was fun and free? On what flat earth, Mr. Musk?

    Then came the doom & gloom team, talking about how Elon Musk could become an even larger security problem, how his Russian, Chinese and Saudi ties could harm the USA, as well as most of this flat earth. Oh Noes! It is this group that is the most amusing, because they are not only predictable, they are so very wrong. They presume Twitter will remain constant and whirled-wide. They believe that despite a new owner, its users will stay loyal. Yea, right.

    Here are a few Agnostical Facts which are the basis of this sermon:

    1) every social media company has its own “use by date,” after which it becomes stale and unappealing. Myspace is a prime example. Heck, even Usenet lost its shine over time except for its massive porn collection.

    2) Twitter’s rise was noteworthy, with some power opinion makers getting many hundreds of thousands of followers. It made people famous, it made people mad, it became, for a short time, a must have app to reach out to frenemies, best fiends, potential voters and politicians. […] No wonder Musk wanted to own and manipulate it.

    3) Musk significantly overpaid for a a company doomed to stagnate, even shrink. […] there was no significant asset, pension funds, or mineral holdings that could be stolen and ripped off, unlike other mergers and corporate buy-outs.

    4) Social media users follow a familiar pattern; A. the kids find a new platform, and make it fun. B. while is it fresh and new, it keeps attracting new people. C. New blood, especially the yute, makes it a great target for advertisers. D. Seeing what their kids are doing causes parents to try things out, and they, too, join the crowd. This pleases advertisers even more. E. It becomes huge and important communications platform just because of its size. widespread appeal and ease of use. F. the resulting popularity attracts hackers, opinion manipulators and foreign agents wishing to do damage to countries and individuals who they target. G. Hacking and misinformation become so pervasive that the organization has to institute some rules, where earlier there had been few or none. H. With so many olde farts now online, and elbowing their way onto the platform, the yute believes this place is stale, boring, and no longer interesting. They begin looking elsewhere and leave by droves. I. Advertisers are now shaken by the huge amount of misinformation, the loss of the yute, potential litigation, and potential bad press, so they follow the yute to the exits.

    5) Twitter becomes a joke and an utter waste of $44 BILLION dollars.

    It could not happen to a more deserving individual.

  226. says

    YIKES! Trump Viciously Attacks Judge for Assigning Monitor to Prevent His Continuing Criminal Acts

    There is nothing that Donald Trump hates more than being held accountable for his notoriously bad behavior, whether personally immoral or publicly criminal. But despite his aversion to being punished for his wrongdoings, he persists in committing them and complains when there are well deserved consequences.

    What set Trump off was that Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the civil suit filed by the New York Attorney General, Letitia James, ruled in favor of assigning an independent monitor to whom Trump would have to report in order to stop him from committing any further fraudulent business practices. Trump couldn’t suppress his seething anger at the judge, or at the thought of the law finding him liable. And it wasn’t the first time…

    On Friday morning Trump demonstrated his hair-trigger hostility for the rule of law by posting a hysterical comment on his floundering social media scam, Truth Social. Trump whined that Judge Engoron is “A Radical Left Lunatic Judge” who is “dedicated largely to defaming me,” and “was appointed … by my worst political enemies.” And as is the case with everything that Trump criticizes, it is all “Rigged & Corrupt.”

    First of all, Judge Engoron was elected, not appointed. But those pesky facts don’t deter Trump from his raging or pathetic sense of perpetual victimhood. He followed up that rant a few hours later writing that…

    “The New York State Court System is being ridiculed all over the World! You have a Corrupt, Racist, Weak on Crime Attorney General, Letitia ‘Peekaboo’James, who campaigned on ‘I will get Trump, even though she knew NOTHING about me. Then you have a highly political, biased Judge, who is totally controlled by my worst enemies. His rulings and manner are SICK. He gave his quick hearing, & ridiculous decision, right before Midterms – A No No! He’s worse than Peekaboo, and a real ‘Trump Hater.'”

    Once again, Trump has a uniquely perverse perspective of reality. Any ridicule being expressed around the world is almost entirely directed at Trump. And AG James knows enough about him to have accumulated abundant evidence of his crimes. Which is what is really gnawing at him.

    Trump seems to think that there is some benefit to insulting the presiding judge as “SICK” and corrupt and biased. And Trump also mistakenly believes that it’s “a no no” to bring him up on state charges. He’s going to find out the hard way that none of that is true. There is a sound legal basis for the monitor, which was outlined in the ruling. As reported by CNN…

    “A New York state judge on Thursday imposed a monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial statements after the New York attorney general’s office asked for added oversight to stop what they allege is a decade-long fraud conducted by former President Donald Trump and three of his adult children.

    “Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in an 11-page opinion that given the ‘persistent misrepresentations throughout every one of Mr. Trump’s [financial statements] between 2011 and 2021, the Court finds that the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and narrowly tailored mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.'”

    In short, the monitor was put in place to prevent Trump from selling or transferring any assets, or undertaking any corporate restructuring, without prior notice and approval from the court. The necessity of this monitoring was made evident by Trump’s attempt to create a new entity – Trump Organization 2 – into which he could transfer his business assets to shield them from the $250 million lawsuit filed by the the New York Attorney General.

    Trump’s wrath over this ruling is just his latest meltdown. When he was required to sit for a deposition in the case, he pleaded the Fifth Amendment more than 400 times. And he has already filed two lawsuits attempting to derail the legal cases against him. To date, that has been a fruitless effort driven by desperation. But then, that’s all he has left. And he knows it. Were he innocent he would be arguing for an acquittal rather than insulting the judge and the court.

  227. says

    Media Decides ‘Suburban Women’ Suddenly Love GOP, Is Very Very Wrong

    Oh boy! Time for more Garbage Polling, with just days to go before the election! Daily Kos data nerd Kerry Elevald, who first brought attention to all the junky GOP polling that’s been distorting national poll averages, is back with a brief dissection of a truly crap poll that the Wall Street Journal trumpeted as a huge setback for Democrats.

    According to the Journal’s polling, white suburban women have allegedly had a complete change of heart on the generic congressional ballot, going from preferring a generic Democrat by 12 points in August to preferring Republicans by 15 points in their most recent poll, allegedly because of worries about the economy and inflation. That would be a 27-point swing, a massive shift in sentiment in just a bit over two months. If true, that could be terrible news for Democrats next week.

    Spoiler warning: As you may have gathered, not very bloody likely. But let’s see how dire the Journal wants readers to think the situation is for Democrats now that the price of frozen peas has outstripped any concerns about reproductive freedom:

    “We’re talking about a collapse, if you will, in that group on the perceptions of the economy,” said Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio who conducted the poll with Democratic pollster John Anzalone. The poll showed that 54% of white suburban women think the U.S. is already in a recession and 74% think the economy is headed in the wrong direction.

    Views of the economy among the group were substantially more negative than in the Journal’s most recent prior survey. In August, 43% thought the economy had entered a recession, and 59% said the economy was headed in the wrong direction

    As Elevald notes, the data are pretty darn suspicious. Out of the 1500 participants in the poll, only 150 white suburban women took part, and the margin of error for that subgroup was nearly plus or minus six points overall. But wait, there’s more! The article also notes that the margin of error on some of the policy questions was as much as eight points.

    I’ll just add that anytime you get a graph that looks like this, maybe you should question your own data, because unless something explosive has happened, the numbers probably shouldn’t move like this: [Graph at the link]

    Elevald notes that the poll gives Republicans a two-point advantage overall, “which is totally within the realm of possibility.” But the idea that white suburban women suddenly reversed their preferences so quickly didn’t sit right. Data from the Civiqs tracking poll, which doesn’t use “suburban” as a descriptor but does include “College educated,” showed a 4-point lead for Democrats, “a far cry from R+15 among the Journal’s sample of 150 white suburban women.”

    Here, enjoy a screenshot of Elevald’s graph, although it lacks the fun slider that lets you see the advantage for Dems widen a bit since the summer, as the “undecided” numbers decline. [Graph at the link]

    In what could be even better news for Democrats, when the measure becomes Independent white college-educated women, the preference for a generic Democrat improves to 53 percent, over 36 percent for Republicans, a 17-point gap. We’d like to see the numbers for non-college-educated white women, though, since they probably lean more Republican. Maybe even in suburbs.

    Elevald throws some logic at the matter, too, questioning whether economic concerns are all that likely to completely displace other reasons suburban women might be wary of Republicans:

    Are suburban women worried about the economy? Yes, basically every voter has inflation on the brain right now. It’s a question of whether the group actually believes Republicans are better for the economy and will prioritize that issue over a loss of critical freedoms such as making one’s own reproductive decisions regarding family planning, pregnancy, and birth control. That tension may play differently in different states depending on whether abortion bans are in the offing if Republicans win governors’ races in places like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

    But given the WSJ poll’s subsample and margin of error, a “collapse” among 150 white suburban women isn’t much more meaningful than a fart in the wind

    Also too, in an update to the article, Elevald notes that the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll doesn’t show anything like the “collapse” of support for Democrats among suburban women, as NewsHour correspondent Lisa Desjardins tweeted Wednesday. In August and early September, the poll showed suburban women’s generic preference at 52 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican. The November poll was nearly the same: 53 percent Democratic and 34 percent Republican, effectively identical within the margin of error. (The Marist results weren’t differentiated by race, but if there had been a massive defection by white suburban women to Republicans, the topline numbers would have shifted, no?)

    In conclusion, the Wall Street Journal poll’s conclusions are weak sad poop, the end, have a nice weekend.

  228. whheydt says

    Re: Lynna, OM 2 300…
    Old Adage… When a guy down the next block loses his job, it’s a “business downturn.” When my next door neighbor loses his job, it’s a “recession”. When I lose my job, it’s a “depression.”

    As for how well Republicans handle the economy…anyone else here remember Richard Nixon’s “wage/price freeze”? Main result of it–at least in data processing shops (“IT” wasn’t a thing yet)–was title inflation. Coders became programmers, programmers became programmer/analysts, etc.

  229. KG says

    Lynna, OM@300,
    I have a nasty feeling there’s a lot of “whistling past the graveyard” going on with regard to the midterms at places like DailyKos and Wonkette. I’ll be delighted to be proved wrong!

    Reginald Selkirk@301,
    Yeah, yeah. Let us know when a reactor of this design has been built and is running with performance as advertised.

  230. says

    KG @303, yeah, I know. They all do say that many races are very close, and winners will depend on turnout. That’s probably the true situation.

  231. says

    Followup to comment 304.

    About voting:

    […] Here is where I get to get honest, brutally so. I hope I am wrong, but I look daily at the numbers and I know we are a long way away from turning out all the voters we need to in order to seal this election. In fact, I see a lot of potential problems if we believe in the idea that I had in 2010 that things would “turn out okay.” If we want to save our nation, we have to be part of the process. […] I’m asking you to take these last few days and put some of your hard work into doing anything you can to help get voters to the polls.

    Here are some of the things I’m asking you to consider doing this weekend.

    The midterm elections are only days away, and there are many ways you can get out the Democratic vote. Check them all out at our Daily Kos GOTV page, and plug into the activity that matches your preferences and skillset. Everyone can help!

    This next section, to me, may be most critical. Roe v. Wade has been overturned. Student debt forgiveness is underway. Marijuana penalties have been removed. The Biden administration has advanced more of the initiatives sought by young voters than any president I can remember. If young people don’t turn out to support it, the case will quickly be made by others that the party as a whole should have remained entirely focused on much older voters. We need to prove that wrong. Right now though, we need to do more to hold up our end of the bargain.

    Early vote numbers are encouraging, but young voters under 30 are lagging. The best thing you can do to turn this around is to volunteer with NextGen America, which is focusing on youth voter turnout. Whether it’s texting, phonebanking, or social media outreach, we need you today!

    We don’t think about this enough, but many of our most important voters struggle with transportation, they don’t own high-end cell phones, and they are the people who most need representation in government.

    Do you live in a battleground state or district? We need you knocking on doors to get out the Democratic vote. And even if you don’t live in one of those places, a lot of groups are coordinating bus trips and car pools. We need as many boots on the ground as we can get.

    This election is critically important. It will determine whether or not there will be an ongoing attack on reproductive rights, LGBT rights, the rights of the disabled, and global stability. Republicans are already talking about siding with Russia over Ukraine and bragging about taking down social security. Should Republicans take the senate, President Joe Biden will be shut out of nominating to the federal bench as Republicans will thwart every judge nominated, and many positions that desperately need to be filled elsewhere won’t be. We will be dealing with a radicalized party at the helm.

    We can stop this, but it takes all of us. This time in 2020, I don’t want to find myself calling my friend after the election and saying, “Damn, you were right.” I’d much prefer to spend the day after election thinking that we did everything possible and Republicans found themselves running head-on into a fired up Democratic base that was ready to turn out.

    Link

    Additional reference and resource links are embedded in the article at the main link.

  232. Paul K says

    Lynna, OM@300. I was about to write about this. I don’t comment often here, but this is not the first time I’ve seen reporting like this, and felt driven to say something. An earlier article from Wonkette a few days ago (https://www.wonkette.com/red-wave-narrative-may-be-built-on-crap-polling-color-us-shocked) quotes democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg saying:

    ‘Listen, these are junk polls. The Republicans, this is part of the information war. They’re trying to suppress Democratic turnout, create more negative sentiment for Democrats and more positive sentiment for them. What I think is disappointing, many of the people who do the analysis on elections, should’ve caught this. This is an unprecedented massive campaign by the Republicans to game the polling average. And it’s disappointing to me this wasn’t caught earlier by many of the people that do this that are on TV and do this for a living.’

    The Guardian is one of the media outlets that has fallen for this crap, with an article today titled ‘Republicans appear better positioned than ever ahead of midterms’ (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/05/midterms-polls-latest-democrats-republicans-predictions). They use the very skewed poll data that Rosenberg describes, and also, with their sub-title, commit the egregious sin that the media use during every mid-term election: ‘History shows that the president’s party typically loses seats in midterm, and Democrats seem likely to follow that pattern.’ As if this election is like all the mid-term elections before it!

    Even if, as KG points out @301, this is ‘whistling past the graveyard’ on the part of the left-leaning media covering it (and I sense some of that myself), it should still be a much bigger story than it is. I see the Republican strategy having two purposes: first, to get the election results they want, which is what they have been doing forever; but more importantly, to set the stage for claiming voter fraud if they lose. In this election, journalists should be especially on the watch for anything that might help them with this. All over the country, Republicans are already openly saying they might not — or even out-and-out saying that they will not — accept the election results if they go against them. Media outlets are right now writing the very stories the Republicans will start using next week as ammunition to ‘stop the steal’ if they lose. Imagine that Guardian title and how it will look in several days if it turns out to be wrong, and especially if it turns out to be egregiously wrong. The better the Democrats do, the more the Republicans will be able to fan the flames. Even Wonkette didn’t really address that aspect.

    It’s infuriating!

  233. says

    More about voting:

    […] This made my everything! In the face of gaslighting on a scale to shame the various Exxon disasters, THIS is what’s really going on. The line literally looks a mile long at the moment the polls close on the last day of early voting. Everyone in line gets to vote. Everyone did. No one left. The energy is quite apparent. Listen to the audio and you will hear the sound of determination and galvanized anger from our side on a heretofore unseen level. [video at the link. Many young women are in that line.]

    This video will get you through the onslaught of wishful thinking by the nazi hoard. Play it every hour or so until your blood pressure levels out and then as needed until Tue night. After that we’ll be better than fine. […]

    Youth/Women Line Up By the 1000s. Last Day of EV in Austin. Stay Til Every Vote In.

    They all stayed in line. They all voted.

  234. says

    Paul K @306: “to set the stage for claiming voter fraud if they lose.”

    Yep, all too true. The Republicans are setting the stage to claim voter fraud. The only good thing about that is that we can see that some Republicans think that they are going to lose.

  235. says

    Ghouls On Florida’s Medical Board Voted Yes On Cruelty To Trans Kids

    As of Friday, transgender people under the age of 18 in the state of Florida will no longer be able to receive gender-affirming medical care such as surgeries and hormones or the far-more-common puberty blockers. At the urging of Governor Ron DeSantis, the state’s medical board has voted to ban these options, regardless of what anyone besides Ron DeSantis — such as the child, the child’s parents or the child’s actual doctor — think would be the best course of action.

    None of this has anything to do with medical safety — the American Medical Association has called these bans “a dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine.” It is that Ron DeSantis and his cohorts want to send a message to all not just trans children but all transgender people that they think it is not a real thing and do not believe they are who they say they are.

    “Today’s vote from the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine will protect our children from irreversible surgeries and highly experimental treatments.” Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said in a statement. I appreciate the integrity of the Boards for ruling in the best interest of children in Florida despite facing tremendous pressure to permit these unproven and risky treatments. Children deserve to learn how to navigate this world without harmful pressure, and Florida will continue to fight for kids to be kids.”

    The subtext here is as clear as it is stupid — he is trying to say that kids are being pressured (probably by the “woke mob”) to identify as transgender and that he believes it is a sexual fetish. If he actually did want “kids to be kids” he would care whether or not they were miserable.

    Trans teens are 7.6 times more likely to commit suicide than are cis teens. Study after study has shown that gender-affirming care drastically reduces suicidality in trans teens.

    Via HCPLive:

    By the end of the 12 month follow-up study, 69 individuals (66.3%) received PBs, GAHs, or both. 35 youths hadn’t received either intervention (33.7%). While there was no association found between these interventions and anxiety, […] investigators found promising results.

    With an adjustment for temporal trends and potential cofounders, individuals were 60% less likely to experience depression […] and 73% less likely to experience suicidality […] when compared to youths who did not received gender-affirming interventions.

    Ron DeSantis, Joseph Ladapo and those on the state’s medical board do not give a flying fuck about children or teenagers. They prefer these kids killing themselves to living in a world where they are expected to not be assholes to trans people and feel socially rejected should they insist upon doing so. That is what this is about.

    Earlier this year, DeSantis and Ladapo together decided to make Florida the first state to recommend against the COVID-19 vaccine for children, despite the fact that both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically recommend the vaccine for kids 5 and up. This is just another way of using children as a way to push their own agenda.

    Who knows what will be next for Team DeSantis when it comes to medical care. Perhaps next, in the spirit of his law allowing veterans without college degrees to teach in their schools, he will shore up the state’s doctor shortage by bringing back barber-surgeons and giving out medical licenses to all of the state’s hair stylists. [image at the link]

    The table of contents from ‘Of Monsters and Marvels’ by 16th century barber-surgeon Ambroise Paré. Yes, I own a copy. What?

    Perhaps then he will take on feminism by demanding that gynecologists start treating us all for wandering wombs.

    Clearly DeSantis, Ladapo and the doctors on this medical board care not for modern healthcare or the recommendations of actual experts when those things get in the way of owning the libs, so it’s hard to put anything past them

  236. blf says

    And some more Ukrainian-language songs, from Yaroslava Rudenko (see @285), “Жовто — синя душа”. Виконує заслужена артистка України Ярослава Руденко (video), “Yellow is a blue soul.” Auto-translated English subtitles are possible, but rather wonky. Some excerpts, “so we dream of peace, but only one of victory … repays the debts of all the fallen soldiers — and I will not give it [the homeland] to anyone … we so dream of peace but only one of victory”.

    So, of course, another eejit pipes up, typically ignoring Ukraine completely, Phyllis Bennis (“a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies”), in the Grauniad, We must end this war — saving Ukraine’s democracy is just one reason to do so. One snippet suffices, since Nato began its provocative eastward expansion. After that nonsense, it’s difficult to accept anything Bennis says, albeit they may have — when all the pro-Putin and only-US-is-imperialist gibberish is removed — a point.

  237. KG says

    Paul K@306,
    Yes, I agree with that – and particularly about the Guardian, which for some reason downplays any actual or potential success Biden or the Democrats have – whatever the opposite of whistling past the graveyard is!

  238. says

    This is quite a thread with videos of Elon Musk at some event with investors yesterday: “If you don’t pay the $8 your tweets will be suppressed by an algorithm. Not making this shit up he said it to a room of investors yesterday & claimed this would solve hate speech. ‘You’ll have to scroll really far to see unverified users’…”

  239. KG says

    blf@310,
    Actually, I thought that “since Nato began its provocative eastward expansion” was one of the few valid points Bennis made! I think it was provocative, and probably played a part in Putin coming to power. But that doesn’t in the least change the necessity of Ukraine winning the war; and its democracy (flawed as it is) is the very thing Putin most hates about it.

  240. blf says

    Yet more, Не корися 💛💙🇺🇦 ! Вокал : Ілона Оприщенко (video), “Do not obey 💛💙🇺🇦 ! Vocal: Ilona Opryshchenko”. Again, wonky auto-generated English subtitles are possible, “[… O]n your peaceful land, the evil became evil… my native Ukraine, we are not the prey of the evil, the evil enemy, the cursed one, go home, go home… forget about this horror, and the Ring of Enemies, we want to open [garbled]”.

  241. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile in Russia: a pundit argues that younger men should be trained and sent into combat, so there are no widows or children to pay when they get killed. Another argument is that Russians over 40 are too worn out by alcohol consumption to run, jump or be any good in combat.

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. “…no matter how cynical this sounds…”

  242. blf says

    KG@313, The E.Europeans flocked into Nato ASAP. Nato did nothing other than apply their membership rules. There was no “Nato-driven” expansion “Eastwards”, that’s an absurd Putin claim. Bennis is a moron for claiming so, and so are you. Feck off, and return your rubles to Putin.

  243. Reginald Selkirk says

    Black man handcuffed after car Montreal police thought was stolen ended up being his

    Brice Dossa …
    Dossa said he went to McDonald’s to get fries and, while trying to get back in his vehicle, plainclothes officers charged at him without identifying themselves and handcuffed him.
    According to Dossa, once he was in handcuffs, they said his vehicle had been reported stolen and they asked for his name. Only then did they scan and identify the vehicle, confirming it was his, he said. Then, they couldn’t get him out of the handcuffs, as they didn’t have the key.
    Dossa said the officers called the station for help and it took about 15 minutes for a colleague to get the handcuffs off…
    After his release, Dossa said, he asked the officers for their identification numbers and photographed the unmarked cars’ licence plates. He said officers tried to prevent him from doing so, but he did not trust they gave him the correct information.
    Dossa asked a passerby to record the incident to prevent police from changing their story in case he pursued legal action. The video was posted on social media and went viral…

  244. raven says

    This article is claiming that the Russian educational system is collapsing.
    That may be a little exaggerated but it is for sure that Russia has a brain drain right now.

    It’s estimated that up to 700,000 people have left the country.
    These will be mostly the best and brightest who have money and skills in demand in the West.

    Russian education system is ‘collapsing’ says professor

    Russia rocked by ‘brain drain’ as students asked to teach
    Russian education system is ‘collapsing’ says professor

    St Petersburg university lecturer Denis Skopin claimed “science is dead” in Russia as the invasion of Ukraine spurred academics into leaving the country.
    By EBUN HARGRAVE
    10:59, Fri, Nov 4, 2022 | UPDATED: 11:00, Fri, Nov 4, 2022

    Denis Skopin was jailed for ten days and sacked after he attended an anti-mobilisation protest last month. Prof Skopin claimed that the education system in Russia was collapsing and that it the “brain drain” sparked by the war in Ukraine was a catastrophe. He explained that there were several vacant teaching positions across the historic St Petersburg and Moscow Universities.

    Prof Skopin told the BBC: “I think that the Russian research and education system is collapsing, actually.

    “And, to my knowledge, in some good St Petersburg and Moscow universities, there are lots of vacant teaching positions now.

    “Just because people have left, it’s quite unusual and unprecedented.

    “Because it used to be very hard to get a teaching position in Russia.
    Ms Skopin added: “Now it’s very different and, as far as I know at some universities they ask MA students to teach.

    “Instead of professors, you can imagine how it will impact the Russian system of education.
    “Russian university system… It’s a catastrophe.”

    Some Russin citizens have fled Russia due to Putin’s strict regime.

    At the beginning of last month, a Moscow media source claimed that as many as 700,000 Russian civilians had fled.

    Just after Putin announced that he would be mobilising 300,000 more Russian men to join the battle in Ukraine.

    Some Russians left and bought tickets to fly out of the country, which sent the price skyrocketing just after Putin’s announcement.

    At the time of the exodus flights to Turkey shot up to 70,000 roubles ($1,150) from 22,000 roubles.

    Whilst others decided to drive, causing traffic and delays on the Georgian border.

  245. Pierce R. Butler says

    kg @ # 313: … “since Nato began its provocative eastward expansion” was one of the few valid points …

    Practically all the East/Central Euopean regular FtB commenters have confirmed that the ex-Warsaw Pact nations now in NATO applied without coercion, with general public support, all looking over their shoulders Russia-ward: do you have evidence otherwise?

    None of said commenters, afaik, have mentioned the inducements reported at the time (if only in business and lefty media) – US-made-&-paid-for weaponry and military infrastructure. The military-industrial complex lobby had a lot more to do with NATO expansion than did the CIA.

  246. raven says

    The Russians dumped 570 mobilized soldiers on the front lines with no equipment. 500 of them promptly died in Ukrainian shelling.
    They had 3 shovels for 570 people. I have that many shovels in my garage.

    This is pointless cruelty once again.
    And, I can’t see how you win wars treating soldiers like this.

    More than 500 mobilized Russians were liquidated near Svatovo, the command fled

    Dialog.ua.war November 05, 2022

    More than 500 mobilized Russians were liquidated near Svatovo, the command fled The Armed Forces of Ukraine unleashed the power of cannon and rocket artillery on a battalion of mobilized Russians in the Luhansk region.

    A battalion of mobilized Russians was defeated near the settlement of Makeyevka, Svatovsky district , Luhansk region . Enemy losses can be more than 500 people . About this writes “Layout” with reference to one of the surviving Russian military Alexei Agafonov. According to him, before being sent to Ukraine, the battalion commander promised the mobilized that they would be brought to the Svatovo region, where they would serve in the so-called “territorial defense” 15 km from the front line. However, in fact, on the night of November 1-2, the military was taken directly to the front line and ordered to hold the line of defense. At the same time, the interlocutor notes that the battalion did not have any equipment, there were only three shovels available.

    The mobilized dug in as best they could, and towards morning a massive shelling began. The Ukrainian military used cannon and rocket artillery, as well as mortars, against the enemy. In the intervals between shelling, the Russians tried to dig in again, but they were immediately calculated by copters. At the same time, the command of the battalion left the front line immediately after the start of the shelling .

    As a result, out of 570 people in the battalion, only 41 managed to survive , Agafonov said. 12 of the survivors were injured. The wife of another mobilized person also spoke about the large number of dead. According to her, more than half of the soldiers of the battalion were killed . Meanwhile, Agafonov added that it is the mobilized who are thrown to the front line, while contract soldiers and volunteers are located on the third line . Russian contractors do not want to fight, so the gaps in the defense are closed at the expense of the mobilized, he specified.

    Meanwhile, the wife of another mobilized survivor said that her husband and several other Russian survivors somehow made it to Svatovo, where they are now hiding. The command abandoned them. In turn, the “Agency” writes that some of the mobilized, who refused to fight near Svatovo, were forced to return to the front line. We are talking about 9 out of 27 soldiers. “The men were threatened with a court martial, they were taken to the forest and hinted that they would be killed, they were not given food and water,” the report says. The remaining 18 mobilized, who wrote reports refusing to fight without proper training, can now be held in a pre-trial detention center in the territory of the “LNR”-controlled village of Zaitsevo. Their relatives say that the weapons and bulletproof vests were taken from the men, there is no connection with them.

    Recall that at the end of October it was reported that a company of mobilized from the Moscow region abandoned their positions near Svatovo after being hit by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and fled to the rear, where they were declared traitors and forced to return to the front.

  247. KG says

    The E.Europeans flocked into Nato ASAP. Nato did nothing other than apply their membership rules. There was no “Nato-driven” expansion “Eastwards”, that’s an absurd Putin claim. Bennis is a moron for claiming so, and so are you. Feck off, and return your rubles to Putin. – blf@317

    Don”t be such a stupid arsehole, blf, if you can manage that. I know Eastern European countries wanted to join NATO, but NATO was under absolutely no obligation to admit them. I well remember, back in the 1980s, being told at a debate on NATO (by a British general) that it existed purely to counter the Soviet threat, and would of course dissolve itself if that threat ceased to apply. When the USSR collapsed, there should have been a systematic attempt to construct a new security system for the whole of Europe, as well as to prevent the rise of a kleptocratic elite in Russia, and preserve the social safety net which the “communist” regime, for all its brutality and inefficiencies, provided. But any moves in this direction were half-hearted at best, stymied by the triumphalism of Reagan, Thatcher, and the “End of History” idiots. So ordinary Russians suffered a collapse in living standards and life expectancy, and Putin has found it easy to portray the advance of NATO as both a threat and an insult to national pride.

    As for “return your rubles to Putin”, that really is beyond pathetic, and just demonstrates that you have no rational defence for your stupid rant. Grow up.

  248. John Morales says

    KG:

    I know Eastern European countries wanted to join NATO, but NATO was under absolutely no obligation to admit them.

    Exactly.

    The O-so-threatening expansion was due to various countries wanting safety, not some irresistible inveigling by NATO.

    Lots of hoops to go through, to qualify. And every extant member has veto power.

    In short, NATO agreed to prospective members who themselves applied.

    No pressure from NATO, just fear of the alternative.
    And no thanks to Trump during his tenure, either. Putin’s bitch, he was.

    Putin has found it easy to portray the advance of NATO as both a threat and an insult to national pride.

    If by that you refer to the very evident strengthening of NATO and the new co-operativeness and the various military buildups (ahem, Germany) and the application for accession of Finland and Sweden and the rest of it, sure.

    Portray it as he may, the actual result has been very much the exact opposite of what he sought. Such a statesman!

  249. says

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

    Residents of the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut are living in dire conditions, with civilians killed and wounded daily, the deputy mayor said as fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces raged around the city.

    “With every day it’s becoming harder and harder to survive in this city,” Reuters reported Oleksandr Marchenko as saying from inside an empty government building as mortar fire boomed nearby.

    He said more than 120 civilians have been killed in Bakhmut since Russia’s invasion in February.

    There are districts where we don’t know the exact number of people killed because active fighting is ongoing there or the settlements are temporarily occupied [by Russian forces].

    Ukrainian troops were “firmly holding the frontline”, Marchenko said, while describing a deteriorating humanitarian situation facing the city, where the population has fallen from its pre-war level of about 80,000 to as low as 12,000 today.

    Kyiv’s military has said the area is the site of some of the heaviest fighting with Russian forces. Marchenko said Russia’s troops were “trying to storm the city from several directions”.

    Bakhmut has been without electricity, gas and running water for nearly two months. The coming winter would be most difficult for the elderly and infirm, Marchenko said.

    Meanwhile…

    Tens of thousands of Italians have marched through Rome calling for peace in Ukraine and urging Italy to stop sending of weapons to fight the Russian invasion.

    Agence France-Presse reported that one large banner carried by protesters on Saturday read “No to war. No to sending weapons” as a vast crowd broke into cries of “give peace a chance”.

    Italy, a founding member of Nato, has supported Ukraine from the start of the war, including providing it with arms. The new far-right prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has said that will not change and the government has said it is expecting to send more weapons soon.

    But some, including former prime minister Giuseppe Conte, have said Italy should be stepping up negotiations instead.

    The peace [sic] rally was attended by about 30,000 people, Rome police told Italian media….

    Kyiv authorities have begun planning the evacuation of the city’s 3m residents if the Ukrainian capital suffers a complete blackout, according to the New York Times.

    The widespread bombardment by Russian forces of critical energy infrastructure across the country is continuing, with 40% of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure damaged or destroyed.

    Municipal workers are setting up 1,000 heating shelters that can double as bunkers while engineers try to fix bombed-out power stations without the needed equipment, the NYT reports.

    Ukraine’s national energy utility said on Saturday that it would continue to impose rolling blackouts in seven regions in order to try to keep the grid from failing altogether….

    Russia appointed a new acting commander of the Central Military District on 3 November, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.

    Major General Alexander Linkov replaces Colonel General Alexander Lapin who was purportedly removed from office at the end of October 2022.

    The MoD states:

    If confirmed, this follows a series of dismissals of senior Russian military commanders since the onset of the invasion in February 2022. The Commanders of the Eastern, Southern, and Western Military Districts were replaced earlier this year.

    Lapin has been widely criticised for poor performance on the battlefield in Ukraine by both Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and Wagner head Yevgeny Prigozhin.

    These dismissals represent a pattern of blame against senior Russian military commanders for failures to achieve Russian objectives on the battlefield. This is in part likely an attempt to insulate and deflect blame from Russian senior leadership at home.

    President Volodymyr Zelenskiy yesterday personally thanked all partners and donors to United24, which collects charitable donations in support of Ukraine, for these 6 months of support….

    (Here’s a link to Zelenskyy’s tweet.)

  250. says

    Guardian – “Inside the unhinged midterm election conspiracy theories on Truth Social”:

    …Truth Social is, according to its bosses, a platform where anyone is free to say whatever they want, but what they mostly want to say is that they don’t have anywhere to speak.

    In recent days, despite users’ apparent satisfaction with Truth Social, the main interest has been Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and how it might impact the Democratic party in elections and beyond.

    Musk’s vague promise to overturn Twitter bans has had people giddy with excitement, claiming it could open the door to a glorious era of Republican reign.

    “Democrats are not going to be able to handle free speech and the corrupt Democratic Party will fall apart after hearing the truth,” one Truth Social user gravely intoned after Musk purchased Twitter.

    Another posted: “3 PATRIOTS[US flag] TRUMP, MUSK, & [Steve] BANNON,” above a photoshopped picture of the three men. Others [posted] photos of Musk entering the Twitter HQ, and reveled in the departure of Twitter employees.

    Troublingly for Trump and Truth Social, however, the most striking response from Truth Social users was the large number of them pleading with Musk to be allowed to return to Twitter.

    For now, Truth Social might be the platform of choice for those loyal to Trump and his election lies, but it seems large numbers of the platform can’t wait to get away.

  251. Reginald Selkirk says

    Closest Black Hole to Earth Discovered Right in Our Cosmic Backyard

    Gaia BH1 is dormant, 10 times more massive than our sun and located about 1,600 light-years away in the constellation Ophiuchus (the serpent-bearer). The team behind the discovery says it’s three times closer to Earth than the previous winner, a black hole located in the Monoceros (unicorn) constellation. Gaia BH1 is close enough that the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab astronomy center considers it to be “in our cosmic backyard.”

  252. KG says

    Practically all the East/Central Euopean regular FtB commenters have confirmed that the ex-Warsaw Pact nations now in NATO applied without coercion, with general public support, all looking over their shoulders Russia-ward: do you have evidence otherwise? – Pierce R. Butler@321

    No, and I didn’t say otherwise, did I? Nor did Phyllis Bennis, as it happens.

    None of said commenters, afaik, have mentioned the inducements reported at the time (if only in business and lefty media) – US-made-&-paid-for weaponry and military infrastructure. The military-industrial complex lobby had a lot more to do with NATO expansion than did the CIA.

    So there was no coercion, but according to you there were inducements. Which is actually more than I, or Bennis, said. I have no specific knowlege of the CIA’s role, but there’s not a lot of distance between the “military-industrial complex lobby” and branches of the American government such as the CIA and the Pentagon. After all, what a “lobby” does, is lobby parts of government relevant to its members’ interests, and “revolving doors” are often mentioned in such contexts for a reason. The larger question in relation to NATO’s expansion is whether it was a good idea. That can reasonably be debated without any implication that any country was coerced into joining. As it is, we now have at least two new NATO members with quasi-fascist governments to add to Turkey, plus a number of others with deeply-entrenched corruption.

  253. says

    Also in the Guardian:

    “Norway plans sanctuary for ‘spy’ whale Hvaldimir who came in from cold”: “Charity aims to establish first open water safe haven in a reserve for whales, including a Russian beluga that went viral on YouTube…”

    “Suella Braverman was warned ‘hate speech’ could inspire far right”: “Senior lawyers had told home secretary about risks of inflammatory rhetoric long before she referred to asylum seekers as an ‘invasion’…”

    “‘He was chosen’: the rightwing Christian roadshow spreading the gospel of Trump”: “Part Trump rally, part religious service, and much conspiracy theory thrown in – on the eve of the midterms, Ed Pilkington visits the ReAwaken America tour…”

  254. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    The Russian-installed administration in Ukraine’s Kherson region said electricity and water supplies were “temporarily absent” on Sunday after what it said was a “terrorist attack” damaged three power lines in the region.

    In a statement on Telegram, it said the attack had been organised by Ukraine, though it provided no evidence, Reuters reported. The news agency said it was unable to immediately verify battlefield accounts from either side.

    Russian state-owned news agency TASS said that ten settlements, including Kherson city, which had a pre-war population of 280,000, had been left without electricity….

  255. says

    Dry run for 2024: a ‘Russian effort ahead of midterm elections [seeks] to stoke anger among conservative voters, to undermine trust in the American electoral system [&] to undermine Biden’s extensive military assistance to [Ukraine]'”

    NYT link at the (Twitter) link. Stoking is all but unnecessary at this point – they’re a bottomless pit of rage and resentment.

  256. says

    Guardian liveblog:

    Mayor of Kyiv tells residents to prepare for the worst

    The mayor of Kyiv has warned residents that if Russia keeps striking the country’s energy infrastructure they must prepare for having no electricity, water or heat as temperatures drop below freezing.

    Mayor Vitali Klitschko told state media:

    We are doing everything to avoid this. But let’s be frank, our enemies are doing everything for the city to be without heat, without electricity, without water supply, in general, so we all die. And the future of the country and the future of each of us depends on how prepared we are for different situations.

    Ukraine’s state-owned energy operator, Ukrenergo said parts of Kyiv were scheduled to have hourly rotating blackouts Sunday, with blackouts also planned in the nearby Chernihiv, Cherkasy, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Kharkiv and Poltava regions.

    The Associated Press reports that Kyiv plans to deploy about a 1,000 heating points, but this may not be enough for a city of 3 million people.

  257. raven says

    Here is our daily threat from Russia to nuke someone.
    Today it is London, UK.

    “…namely to the UK capital London, saying its Kinzhal missile launched from Belarus will reach London in 9 minutes.”
    If a missile from Belarus takes 9 minutes or 30 minutes hardly matters.
    And, the Russians aren’t all that bright.

    This also means that a missile from the UK could reach Belarus or Moscow in 9 minutes or 30 minutes.
    Most of the UK nuclear weapons are on submarines so the flight times could be pretty short.

    russia-threatens-to-strike-london-launching-missiles-from-belarus

    Russia threatens to strike London launching missiles from Belarus
    NOVEMBER 6, 2022

    On Russian state propaganda TV, Andrey Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Committee on Defense, claims that Russia “surprised” everyone with its invasion of Ukraine.

    Then the Russian high official and the TV show host Vladimir Solovyov, spread threats to the West, namely to the UK capital London, saying its Kinzhal missile launched from Belarus will reach London in 9 minutes.

    Kartapolov also spews the usual nuclear threats, but host Vladimir Solovyov spoils them with concerns about Russia’s economy.

  258. tomh says

    The Philadelphia Inquirer:
    The Pa. Supreme Court has issued a second order on mail ballot dates as the legal fight continues
    Jonathan Lai / Nov. 5, 2022

    The scramble to figure out which Pennsylvania mail ballots to count and reject based on handwritten dates continued Saturday.

    A state Supreme Court order Tuesday — that many had earlier hoped would settle the matter for this election — directed counties to reject mail ballots missing those dates as well as those where the voter put a wrong date on their ballot.

    But the decision has since stirred uncertainty among elections administrators over what exactly constitutes an incorrect date and drawn new litigation from advocates who say rejecting ballots over what amounts to a mistake threatens to potentially disenfranchise thousands of legal voters.

    On Saturday, the state Supreme Court unexpectedly issued an additional order clarifying its definition: Mail-in ballots are to be rejected in this election if the handwritten dates fall before Sept. 19, 2022, or after Nov. 8 (Election Day), and absentee ballots are to be rejected if they are dated before Aug. 30, 2022, or after Nov. 8.

    Absentee and mail-in ballots are essentially the same, but under state law “absentee ballots” are for voters who are unable to make it to their polling places on Election Day, while “mail-in ballots” are for anyone else who chooses to vote by mail. Counties treat absentee and mail-in ballots the same way and send them out at the same time.
    […]

    The order means ballots would be counted as long as they have any date within the given range — even if they are dated after the ballot was actually returned, or before the ballot was even printed.

    Several lawyers immediately noted that could potentially bolster a legal argument that Democrats and voting-rights groups have made that the state’s dating requirement is merely a technicality that isn’t used to determine the legitimacy of the vote. Throwing votes out for such a technicality, they argue, violates federal civil rights law. A series of courts have considered that argument, including the state Supreme Court, which in its Tuesday order deadlocked 3-3 on it.
    […]

    On Friday night, a coalition of voting organizations used that argument in a new lawsuit they filed in federal court seeking to force Pennsylvania counties to accept all mail ballots that were received on time regardless of the handwritten date.

    The groups argue rejecting ballots based on the handwritten date — when the date isn’t actually used for anything — will lead to the disenfranchisement of thousands of qualified voters, especially in communities of color.
    […]

    The groups ask the court to find that “rejecting timely submitted mail-in ballots based solely on a missing or incorrect date” violates what’s known as the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act. They ask the court to block counties from rejecting undated or wrongly dated ballots and prevent counties or the state from certifying the election results unless such ballots are included in those counts…

    A half dozen state and federal courts — at every level from local county courts to the U.S. Supreme Court — have issued conflicting rulings in response to court challenges by groups on both sides of the political divide.

  259. says

    Thread from Timothy Snyder:

    I have been hearing the idea from some Republicans that Ukrainian resistance comes at a cost to Americans. Nothing could be more wrong. Ukrainian resistance provides extraordinary security benefits to Americans.

    In fact, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s genocidal invasion does more for American security than any American policy does – or could do. It has changed the global balance in a way that makes peace more likely in decades to come.

    Republicans present China as America’s real, long-term rival. Democrats agree. The scenario for a U.S.-China war is a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. By resisting a Russian invasion, Ukrainians have shown the difficulty of such operations, making this scenario less likely.

    By fighting in self-defense, Ukrainians have thus reduced the risk of a major war and of a nuclear war. This extraordinary achievement is due to the courage and skill of Ukrainians. They do not get much credit for it. They should get more credit, and more support.

    For decades, Republican and Democratic administrations alike have failed to formulate a policy that could prevent Russia from weakening and undoing the international order. Russia serves as a cat’s paw, doing what China would not wish to be seen doing.

    In defeating Russia’s armed forces and exposing Russia’s weakness, the Ukrainians have both made a larger war in Europe far less likely, and gotten China’s cat’s paw under control.

    The Ukrainians have reduced the possibility of Chinese aggression through Russia, and made direct Chinese aggression less likely. They have done all of this just by defending themselves, without making any move against China.

    Without the Ukrainians, the United States would lack the policy instruments for this. By resisting, Ukrainians created an opportunity for U.S. policy that would not otherwise have existed.

    No American lives have been placed at risk. U.S. assistance to Ukraine amounts to a rounding error in the defense budget.

    The gains Ukrainian resistance brings to American security are so enormous that the US national security establishment is embarrassed to speak of them directly.

    It is awkward to say that another country is doing so much for us. It is awkward to say that Ukrainian resistance has done more for the safety of Americans than any U.S. policy since the end of the cold war. But it is true and must be said.

    Reversing the U.S. policy of aiding Ukraine will undo all of these gains. There is still time to revive Russia and reassure China, which is what ending support of Ukraine will mean. Such a policy reversal would make Americans far less safe and secure.

    My concerns about the Russian invasion of Ukraine are the prevention of genocide and the defense of democracy. But those who think first of U.S. interests should acknowledge what Ukrainians are doing for American security. The least we can do is be on our own side.

  260. says

    Text quoted by tomh @342:

    […] the date isn’t actually used for anything […]

    Despite all of the other arguments going on, that’s the main point. The date isn’t used for anything. That means that Republicans are just searching for an excuse to disenfranchise those voters. And those voters, statistically speaking, are more likely to be Democrats. It’s more of the disgusting anti-democracy tactics to which Republicans are increasingly resorting.

  261. says

    Josh Marshall:

    […] Why are polls run at all? Most polls come about because media organizations commission pollsters to run polls which the media organizations then publish. The point of doing this is mostly branding. Twenty years ago when The New York Times or NBC News published a poll it was a reasonably large media event for at least a couple days. Did you see the new Times poll? Is the Times poll accurate. Other news organization would report or comment on the new Times poll, etc.

    It’s totally different today mostly because of the aggregators. Polling junkies who are really watching this stuff closely are mostly tracking either the 538 or RCP ‘averages’. That makes perfect sense. To understand what’s happening – to the extent public opinion polls allow this – it makes much more sense to look at the moving average of all the endless number of polls together. But for media sponsors, that greatly reduces the value of sponsoring one. If you’re really, really into this you may notice that a new ABC News poll just came out or that the final generic ballot poll just came out from NBC this morning. But mostly it barely registers.

    When people talk about low quality or GOP pollsters “flooding the zone” that’s mostly cheaper robopoll or new and less tested methodologies. So it’s entirely natural they’re taking up more space. They’re cheaper to run and in some cases being run for non-economic reasons.

    What it all amounts to is that the value of premium polls keeps going down as the cost of running them goes up. And the process reinforces itself over time.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/what-they-dont-talk-about-about-polls

  262. says

    Text quoted by SC @345:

    In fact, Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s genocidal invasion does more for American security than any American policy does – or could do. It has changed the global balance in a way that makes peace more likely in decades to come.

    Yes. True. The rest of Timothy Snyder’s explanation also makes sense.

    I like how he ended with, “The least we can do is be on our own side.” Yes. And people like Marjorie Taylor Green are on Putin’s side.

  263. Pierce R. Butler says

    KG @ # 328 – You seemingly overlook what I considered a key phrase @ my # 313: … all looking over their shoulders Russia-ward…

    The fall of the Communist Party and the USSR did not, except maybe briefly, erase the threat of Russian imperialism to their immediate neighbors. I agree with your statement to blf @ # 323 that “When the USSR collapsed, there should have been a systematic attempt to construct a new security system for the whole of Europe…”, just as I suspect you’d agree that the victors botched the Versailles “peace” treaty in 1919; likewise, I doubt you’d assert that latter failure means that the nations responsible therefore had no moral right to defend themselves from the 1933-and-on consequences of their own greed/naïveté/revanchisme.

    The larger question in relation to NATO’s expansion is whether it was a good idea.

    How large is a moot question? “[A] new security system for the whole of Europe” sounds good, but includes thousands of details which could turn out multiple ways (would it “defend” against China &/or the Middle East?), but it’s all Harry Turtledove territory now.

    … we now have at least two new NATO members with quasi-fascist governments…

    I hope you don’t mean Finland & Sweden.

  264. says

    Posted by Lisa Bloom:

    Hey Twitter employees getting laid off tomorrow! IMPORTANT INFO from a CA employment attorney (me):

    CA’s “WARN” law requires Twitter to give you 60 days notice of a massive layoff.

    A layoff of 50+ employees within a 30 day period qualifies.

    I know you didn’t get that notice.

    https://twitter.com/LisaBloom/status/1588359669843513344

    More in the thread, including this:

    Employees laid off in violation of the WARN Act receive back pay at the employee’s final rate or 3 year average of compensation, whichever is higher. Twitter would also be liable for workers’ medical expenses that would have been covered under an employee benefit plan.

  265. says

    Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is going out with a bang, ramping up her attacks on the pro-Trump forces in her own party with a highly public exit tour designed to prevent the same GOP leaders she once embraced from winning power next year.

    The Wyoming conservative was clobbered in her August primary after lambasting former President Trump for his role in last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol […]

    Now, in the waning weeks of her congressional career, Cheney has launched an extraordinary campaign, stumping for once-rival Democrats in battleground districts and assailing fellow Republicans as an existential threat to America’s most basic democratic foundations — a role reversal unlike anything seen on Capitol Hill in modern memory.

    As an opening act, Cheney was in central Michigan on Tuesday to promote one of the most vulnerable Democrats this midterm cycle, Rep. Elissa Slotkin, a former Pentagon official whose GOP opponent, state Senator Tom Barrett, has said the legitimacy of the 2020 election remains “an unknowable thing.”

    Cheney and Slotkin don’t see eye-to-eye on countless policy positions, but the notion that Congress might soon be controlled by a party unwilling to accept election results has united them in a last-ditch effort to convince voters that preserving democracy should trump everything else — even economic concerns — when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

    “If we want to ensure the survival of the republic, we have to walk away from politics as usual,” Cheney said to a packed gymnasium in East Lansing. “We have to stand up — every one of us — and say we’re going to do what’s right for this country and we’re going to look beyond partisan politics.”

    On the same day, during an event at Cleveland State University, Cheney also endorsed another Democrat, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who is squaring off against J.D. Vance, a Republican investor, to replace retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman in the Buckeye State. Vance, who rose to fame as the author of the wildly popular “Hillbilly Elegy” memoir, was endorsed by Trump and continues to cast doubt on President Biden’s 2020 victory.

    “We have to have elected officials who are responsible, who are going to do the right thing, with whom you might disagree but whom you know have the best interest of the nation at heart and in mind,” Cheney told PBS’s Judy Woodruff in Cleveland.

    Most recently, Cheney on Saturday endorsed Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), a former CIA official, who is vying for a third term against Republican Yesli Vega, a local county official who has won Trump’s endorsement.

    Biden won the district by six points in 2020, but the race has tightened in the final weeks, giving Republicans new hope that they can pick up a seat the sprawling district encompassing parts of both the Richmond and Washington suburbs.

    Cheney noted that she and Spanberger “don’t agree on every policy.” But Spanberger, she added, is “dedicated to serving this country … and defending our Constitution.”

    “Abigail’s opponent is promoting conspiracy theories, denying election outcomes she disagrees with, and defending the indefensible,” Cheney said in a statement. “We need our elected leaders to be honest, serious, and responsible.” […]

    The Hill

  266. says

    Russia Reactivates Its Trolls and Bots Ahead of Tuesday’s Midterms

    New York Times link

    Researchers have identified a series of Russian information operations to influence American elections and, perhaps, erode support for Ukraine.

    The user on Gab who identifies as Nora Berka resurfaced in August after a yearlong silence on the social media platform, reposting a handful of messages with sharply conservative political themes before writing a stream of original vitriol.

    The posts mostly denigrated President Biden and other prominent Democrats, sometimes obscenely. They also lamented the use of taxpayer dollars to support Ukraine in its war against invading Russian forces, depicting Ukraine’s president as a caricature straight out of Russian propaganda.

    The fusion of political concerns was no coincidence.

    The account was previously linked to the same secretive Russian agency that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and again in 2020, the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, according to the cybersecurity group Recorded Future.

    It is part of what the group and other researchers have identified as a new, though more narrowly targeted, Russian effort ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections. The goal, as before, is to stoke anger among conservative voters and to undermine trust in the American electoral system. This time, it also appears intended to undermine the Biden administration’s extensive military assistance to Ukraine.

    “It’s clear they are trying to get them to cut off aid and money to Ukraine,” said Alex Plitsas, a former Army soldier and Pentagon information operations official now with Providence Consulting Group, a business technology company.

    The campaign — using accounts that pose as enraged Americans like Nora Berka — have added fuel to the most divisive political and cultural issues in the country today.

    It has specifically targeted Democratic candidates in the most contested races, including the Senate seats up for grabs in Ohio, Arizona and Pennsylvania, calculating that a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort.

    The campaigns show not only how vulnerable the American political system remains to foreign manipulation but also how purveyors of disinformation have evolved and adapted to efforts by the major social media platforms to remove or play down false or deceptive content.

    Last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued an alert warning of the threat of disinformation spread by “dark web media channels, online journals, messaging applications, spoofed websites, emails, text messages and fake online personas.” The disinformation could include claims that voting data or results had been hacked or compromised.

    […] researchers who track disinformation have recently uncovered a variety of campaigns by Russia, China and Iran.

    […] Many of the accounts the researchers identified were previously used by a news outlet calling itself the Newsroom for American and European Based Citizens. Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, has previously linked the news outlet to the Russian information campaigns centered around the Internet Research Agency.

    The network appears to have since disbanded, and many of the social media accounts associated with it went dormant after being publicly identified around the 2020 election. The accounts started becoming active again in August and September, called to action like sleeper cells.

    […] According to Mr. Liston, the website domain [electiontruth.net] was registered using Bitcoin accounts. […] For its contact information, electiontruth.net lists a cafe inside a converted gas station in Cotter, Ark., a town of 900 people on a bend in the White River. The cafe has closed, however, and been replaced by Cotter Bridge Market, a produce shop and deli whose owners said they knew nothing about the website. […]

    Mr. Liston said that links to electiontruth.net appeared to be closely coordinated with the accounts on Gab linked to the Russians.

    […] A recurring theme of the new Russian efforts is an argument that the United States under President Biden is wasting money by supporting Ukraine in its resistance to the Russian invasion that began in February. [snipped comparison to Marjorie Taylor Green. Video at the link]

    […] While Russians in the past sought to build large followings for their inauthentic accounts on the major platforms, today’s campaigns could be smaller and yet still achieve a desired effect — in part because the divisions in American society are already such fertile soil for disinformation, he said.

    “Since 2016, it appears that foreign states can afford to take some of the foot off the gas,” Mr. Perez, who previously worked at Twitter, said, “because they have already created such sufficient division that there are many domestic actors to carry the water of disinformation for them.” [sheesh!]

  267. says

    Are we ready for our new Republican overlords?

    Are we ready for an empowered Marjorie Taylor Greene?

    Are we ready for a pumped-up, pistol-packing Lauren Boebert?

    “How many AR-15s do you think Jesus would have had?” Boebert asked a crowd at a Christian campaign event in June. I’m going with none, honestly, but her answer was, “Well, he didn’t have enough to keep his government from killing him.”

    The Denver Post pleaded: “We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.”

    The freshman representative has recently been predicting happily that we’re in the end times, “the last of the last days.” If Lauren Boebert is in charge, we may want to be in the end times. I’m feeling not so Rapturous about the prospect.

    And then there’s the future first female president, Kari Lake, who lulls you into believing, with her mellifluous voice, statements that seem to emanate from Lucifer. She’s dangerous because, like Donald Trump, she has real skills from her years in TV. And she really believes this stuff, unlike Trump and Kevin McCarthy, who are faking it.

    As Cecily Strong said on “Saturday Night Live” last weekend, embodying Lake, “If the people of Arizona elect me, I’ll make sure they never have to vote ever again.”

    Speaking of “Paradise Lost,” how about Ron DeSantis? The governor of Florida, who’s running for a second term, is airing an ad that suggests that he was literally anointed by God to fight Democrats. God almighty, that’s some high-level endorsement.

    […] Welcome to a rogue’s gallery of crazy: Clay Higgins, who’s spouting conspiracy theories about Paul Pelosi, wants to run the House Homeland Security Committee; Paul Gosar, whose own family has begged Arizonans to eject him from Congress […]

    In North Carolina, Bo Hines, a Republican candidate for the House, wants community panels to decide whether rape victims are able to get abortions or not. He’s building on Dr. Oz’s dictum that local politicians should help make that call. […]

    J.D. Vance, the Yale-educated, former Silicon Valley venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” who called Trump “America’s Hitler” in 2016, before saluting him to gain public office, could join the Senate in January. Talk about American Elegy.

    Even though he wrote in his best seller that Yale Law School was his “dream school,” he now trashes the very system that birthed him. Last year, he gave a speech titled “The Universities Are the Enemy” […]

    It’s disturbing to think of Vance side by side with Herschel Walker. Walker was backed by Mitch McConnell, who countenanced an obviously troubled and flawed individual even if it meant degrading the once illustrious Senate chamber.

    Overall, there are nearly 300 election deniers on the ballot, but they will be all too happy to accept the results if they win.

    People voting for these crazies think they’re punishing Biden, Barack Obama and the Democrats. They’re really punishing themselves.

    These extreme Republicans don’t have a plan. Their only idea is to get in, make trouble for President Biden, drag Hunter into the dock, start a bunch of stupid investigations, shut down the government, abandon Ukraine and hold the debt limit hostage.

    […] To top it off, Trump is promising a return. We’ll see if DeSantis really is the chosen one. In Iowa on Thursday night, Trump urged the crowd to “crush the communists” at the ballot box and said that he was “very, very, very” close to deciding to “do it again.”

    Trump, the modern Pandora, released the evil spirits swirling around us — racism, antisemitism, violence, hatred, conspiracy theories, and Trump mini-mes who should be nowhere near the levers of power.

    Heaven help us.

    New York Times link

  268. tomh says

    CNN:
    Trump and other Republicans are already casting doubt on midterm results
    By Daniel Dale / November 6, 2022

    Washington (CNN)–Former President Donald Trump posted on social media on Tuesday to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the midterm election in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. “Here we go again!” he wrote. “Rigged Election!”

    Trump’s supposed evidence? An article on a right-wing news site that demonstrated no rigging. Rather, the article baselessly raised suspicion about absentee-ballot data the article did not clearly explain….

    Trump is not the only Republican trying to baselessly promote suspicion about the midterms in Pennsylvania, a state that could determine which party controls the US Senate.

    After Pennsylvania’s acting elections chief, Leigh Chapman, told NBC News last week that it could take “days” to complete the vote count, Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, who has repeatedly promoted false conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, said on a right-wing show monitored by liberal organization Media Matters for America: “That’s an attempt to have the fix in.”

    It isn’t. It simply takes time to count votes – especially, as Chapman noted, because the Republican-controlled state legislature has refused to pass a no-strings-attached bill to allow counties to begin processing mail-in ballots earlier than the morning of Election Day.

    But other prominent Republicans piled on. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted a link to an article about Chapman’s comments and added: “Why is it only Democrat blue cities that take ‘days’ to count their votes? The rest of the country manages to get it done on election night.”

    ….. Cruz’s claim is plainly false.

    Counties of all kinds across the country – including, as PolitiFact noted, some Republican counties in Cruz’s state of Texas – do not complete their vote counts on the night of the election. In fact, it is impossible for many counties to have final counts on election night.

    ….American elections authorities do not declare winners or official vote totals on election night. Rather, media outlets make unofficial projections based on incomplete data.

    The health challenges of the Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, have also been used to cast preemptive doubt on the possible outcome.

    After Trump was defeated by Joe Biden in 2020, some right-wing personalities insisted the election must have been stolen because Biden was such a poor candidate. On Fox last week, as Media Matters noted, prime-time host Tucker Carlson made a similar argument about Pennsylvania’s Senate race – suggesting people should not accept a Fetterman win because it would be “transparently absurd” for a candidate who has had difficulties with public speaking and auditory processing since a stroke in May to legitimately prevail….

    The city of Detroit, like other Democratic-dominated cities with large Black populations, has been the target of false 2020 conspiracy theories from Trump and others. And now the Republican running to be Michigan’s elections chief is already challenging the validity of tens of thousands of Detroit votes in 2022.

    Less than two weeks before Election Day, Kristina Karamo, a 2020 election denier and the Republican nominee for Michigan secretary of state, filed a lawsuit asking a court to “halt” the use of absentee ballots in Detroit if they weren’t obtained in person at a clerk’s office and declare that only those ballots obtained via in-person requests can be “validly voted” in this election. That request would potentially mean the rejection of thousands of votes already cast legally by Detroit residents – in state whose constitution gives residents the right to request absentee ballots by mail.

    …. the suit sets the table for Karamo, who is trailing in opinion polls, to baselessly reject the legitimacy of a defeat.

    Other Republican candidates have vaguely hinted at the possibility that Democrats might somehow cheat on Election Day or during the counting of the votes.

    Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin told reporters this week that “we’ll see what happens” when it comes to accepting the results of his reelection race, The Washington Post reported, adding: “I mean, is something going to happen on Election Day? Do Democrats have something up their sleeves?”

    The Daily Beast reported that Blake Masters, the Republican Senate candidate in a tight race in Arizona, told a story at an October event about how he can’t prove it’s not true that, if he beats Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly by 30,000 votes, unnamed people won’t just “find 40,000” for Kelly. He told a similar story at an event in June.

    There is no basis for the suggestion that there could be tens of thousands of fraudulent votes added to any state’s count. But Masters’ comment, like Karamo’s lawsuit, achieves the effect of many of Trump’s pre-Election Day tales in 2020: prime Republican voters to be distrustful of any outcome that doesn’t go their way.

  269. says

    Russian priest Mikhail Vasilyev, who had suggested to Russian mothers to give birth to more children so they would not be afraid to send their adult sons to #Russia’s war against #Ukraine, was just killed in Ukraine.”

    From the responses: “Lets hope his mother had more children, so should not really be sad about it”

  270. says

    Texas politicians rake in millions from far-right Christian megadonors pushing private school vouchers

    Texas Republicans bankrolled by Christian conservative donors are hoping to ride a wave of parental anger over the teaching of race and sexuality in schools to achieve what has long been an unattainable goal: state funding for private education.

    Groups committed to giving parents the option of sending their children to private schools using taxpayer dollars — sometimes known as “school choice” or “vouchers” — have given millions of dollars to Republican candidates in Texas this year […] Republican Gov. Greg Abbott recently pledged to make school choice a priority in the next legislative session if he wins re-election over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

    […] The push for private school vouchers has been funded in large part by Defend Texas Liberty, a Christian nationalist-aligned political action committee led by a former far-right Republican state lawmaker and bankrolled by a pair of West Texas billionaires. The PAC has spent nearly $10 million this year, largely backing candidates who support public funding for private education and attacking those who oppose it, according to an NBC News analysis of Texas Ethics Commission campaign finance reports and data compiled by the nonprofit OpenSecrets.

    […] Brandon Rottinghaus, a political scientist at the University of Houston, said […] “These groups have been demonizing what is being taught in public schools, and that’s the fastest way to erode faith that public schools work,” Rottinghaus said. “Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. If people believe that it’s true, then it’s politically potent.”

    Defend Texas Liberty gave $3.6 million to former state lawmaker Don Huffines, an Abbott primary challenger who ran a campaign promising to crack down on medical care for transgender children, require the teaching of creationism in public schools and give parents government money to send their children to private schools. […]

    […] this fall, Defend Texas Liberty spent $100,000 to put up dozens of billboards along Texas highways, including some that showed a photo of O’Rourke next to a baseless allegation about “grooming” children, an anti-LGBTQ attack that’s become popular among conservatives this year.

    […] Defend Texas Liberty is led by former state Rep. Jonathan Stickland, a Republican who earned a reputation as the state’s most conservative lawmaker before leaving the legislature in 2021. Nearly 90% of the PAC’s funding this year has come from Tim Dunn and the family of Farris Wilks, a pair of billionaire oil and fracking magnates who have expressed the view that Texas state government should be guided by Biblical values and run exclusively by evangelical Christians. Combined, they’ve spent tens of millions of dollars over the past decade funding far-right Texas candidates and a network of nonprofits and advocacy groups that push conservative policy ideas. […]

    The megadonors have thrown their support behind several signature causes of the far-right movement, helping win major victories in Texas in recent years to ban abortion and eliminate firearm restrictions. Until recently, public funding for private Christian schooling had seemed out of reach in Texas, blocked by an unlikely coalition of Democrats opposed to vouchers on ideological grounds and rural Republican lawmakers who worried that siphoning funding from public education would hurt cash-strapped, small-town school districts.

    This year, the politics have shifted, political experts say, fueled in part by a growing Republican embrace of ideas rooted in Christian nationalism — the belief that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation and that the government should reflect those values.

    Andrew Whitehead, a sociologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis who studies Christian nationalism, said the push for school privatization is a central goal among those who adhere to the philosophy. “In their view, what kids learn and the history that they learn is so important, because that is a key aspect that undergirds them, believing that the U.S. is a Christian nation,” Whitehead said. “For these folks, being able to ensure that parents are going to receive state support to send their kids to religious academies allows them to ensure that they can continue to have an influence over the way these things are taught.”

    […] Allan Parker, president of The Justice Foundation — a Texas nonprofit whose mission is to “restore proper respect for God’s word and law to American jurisprudence” — lamented what he viewed as the spread of liberal ideologies in public schools, The Dallas Morning News reported.

    […] The first proposal in Texas to provide government funding for private school tuition dates back to 1956, when a legislative subcommittee floated the idea as a way of allowing white parents to opt out of sending their children to newly desegregated public schools following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

    Conservative Republicans revived the idea about three decades ago, pitching vouchers […]

    […] In a recent poll by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler, about 60% of Republicans — and 54% of respondents overall — said they supported “giving parents the option to use state funding to send their children to private school.” Support among Republicans rose to 70% when the policy was described as “school choice,” the poll found.

    […] In an apparent effort to shore up support ahead of Election Day, Patrick, the lieutenant governor, suggested in a radio interview this week that rural communities would be shielded from funding cuts under a voucher program.

    […] Ali S. Zaidi, the campaign manager for Patrick’s Democratic opponent, Mike Collier, said vouchers would pull money from public schools, hurt rural communities and lead to higher property taxes statewide.

    “Texas is the national laboratory for bad government, and that is no more true for any individual other than Dan Patrick,” Zaidi said. “What we see around the country in terms of people peddling conspiracy theories about what’s being taught in the classroom — that’s being done by Dan Patrick here in the state.”

    The network of nonprofits and advocacy groups backed by Wilks and Dunn have been drumming up support for the policy in recent months.

    In a fundraising email, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative advocacy group based in Austin, told supporters that “the time is ripe to set Texas children free from enforced indoctrination and Big Government cronyism in our public schools.” Dunn serves as the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s vice chairman. […]

  271. says

    Ukraine Update: Russian naval infantry decimated at Pavlivka in stunning defeat

    We haven’t talked much about Pavlivka before (prewar population: 1,000). [map at the link]

    Pavlivka is located in a grinding part of the front. Russia has occupied the purple territory on this map since 2014, so you can see the general lack of progress pushing westward since the war began. Most of those red gains have come from the south, up from Mariupol. [map at the link]

    This line hasn’t budged very much since the Spring, yet Russia seems very interested in this area of late, so what’s at play? Perhaps it’s logistics: [map at the link]

    With the destruction of the rail line on the Kerch Bridge into Crimea (which still hasn’t been repaired), Russia is currently struggling to supply Kherson and occupied territory in southeastern Ukraine via rail. The rail connection between Mariupol and the rest of that region is currently under fire control of Ukrainian tube artillery. The magenta ring is the range of M777 tube artillery using standard-range rounds—21 kilometers, or 13 miles.

    Still, that entire east-west rail line is currently in range of HIMARS rockets, as well as extended-range howitzers and speciality rounds. A French Caesar self-propelled artillery gun has a firing range of 42 kilometers (26 miles), so Ukraine would only be slightly inconvenienced by any Russian gains along that front. That rail line isn’t becoming operational any time soon.

    Despite that, Russia launched a massive attack on the settlement sometime around October 30-31. First video of the battle was this video: [video at the link]

    This is called the “flying tank man” video, as a body is thrown upon the tank’s detonation. This drone view of the ambush shows it more clearly, so click at your own discretion. The good thing about that linked video is that it gave the geolocators the material they needed to do their work. [images and maps at the link]

    The attacks came head-on from the south. “Killbox” is the right word. Look at this video compilation of Russian armor decimated in that approach: [tweet and video at the link]

    Early last week, Russian sources were claiming victory. And we do know that Russian forces did eventually push their way into the town. But it wasn’t long before the tone from Russian sources was turning sour, as one Russian Telegram source reported:

    You know, there were persistent rumors “around the city” that, just like in the Great Patriotic War, the commander who takes Ugledar [Vuledar] will be given a Hero. Now, they say the same thing, but we are already talking about Pavlovka, which I remember was already “cleaned up”, but something went wrong. In reality, they entered the outskirts and that’s it, the process stalled, in general the situation is clear: “pull-push” will continue for quite a long time and, most likely, without particular success. Why does this happen? The mobilization in Russia has passed, the forces are now available, right? The answer is simple: it’s on the chest. A harsh answer, but a true one, and the village we are talking about is actually Pavlovka.

    Actually, Russia got through Ukrainian lines, deeper than the “outskirts.” Here are Ukrainian forces celebrating the capture of a Russian tank with the engine still running inside the town, reportedly its center: [video at the link]

    We also know, from Russian reports, that Ukrainian forces counterattacked and trapped a significant contingent of naval infantry troops inside the town. Here’s a report from Russian milblogger Alexey Sukonkin:

    Events in Pavlivka, however, continue to develop. Participants say that at present there is a dilemma: in order to withdraw exhausted units from Pavlivka, fresh ones must be brought in. There are no fresh units, no opportunity to withdraw and replace, because everything is under fire from Uhledar and other directions. And the enemy continues to methodically level Pavlova to the ground with artillery. What to do? And this question should be asked to those who started this bloody mess.

    Here is video of Ukrainian infantry sweeping through the village during its recapture, likely clearing it of those trapped Russian marines: [Tweet and video at the link]

    (Ignore the “94 kilometers from Mariupol” thing, making it sound as if these were new Ukrainian gains. This had always been Ukrainian held territory.)

    And here is visual evidence that Pavlivka is clear of Russian presence: [video at the link]

    As a result of this slaughter, Pavlivka now has a new distinction—it is the graveyard of the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet. Furious members of that unit have written this letter widely circulating through Russian Telegram.

    Full letter from the soldiers of the 155th Marine Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet addressed to the Governor of Primorsky Krai:

    “Dear Oleg Nikolaevich. The Marines of the 155th Marine Brigade are appeal to you. Once again, General Muradov and his fellow countryman Akhmedov threw us into an incomprehensible offensive in order for Muradov to earn bonuses from Gerasimov, and Muradov promised to Akhmedov the Hero of Russia award.

    As a result, us and Kamchatka marines are advancing on Pavlivka. As a result of the “carefully” planned offensive by the “great commanders”, we lost about 300 people killed, wounded and missing in 4 days. 50 percent of vehicles. This is just our brigade. The command of the district, together with Akhmedov, hide this and replace the official figures of losses for fear of responsibility.

    How are they planning to capture the settlement by slipping through the tree plantations in which the enemy remained, now destroying our guys on the wounded evacuation and ammunition supply routes? In addition, Pavlivka is lower than Uhledar, they’re striking us from the latter.

    Oleg Nikolaevich, Primorye people! For how long will such mediocrities like Muradov and Akhmedov be planning military operations for the sake of their reports and receiving awards at the cost of the lives of so many people? They don’t care about anything but demonstrating themselves. They call people meat.

    We ask you to turn to the Supreme Commander so that they would send a commission, not from the Ministry of Defense where Muradov is protected by Gerasimov, but an independent one. Let them be asked about the purpose of such actions, their supply, and the results, without any embellishment.

    How long can we endure this?

    [Also mentioned by SC in comment 344]

    300 killed, wounded, and missing! For context, a full-strength naval infantry brigade has around 2,000 men and at least a couple of hundred vehicles. There is zero chance this unit was at full strength. So whatever was left of it was utterly decimated.

    It’s cute that they think anyone is interested in a “commission.” Russian military blogger Alexander Khodakovsky, with over 628,000 followers on Telegram, isn’t happy.

    Still, eight years in the war and next to the war sharpen intuition and improve understanding of the military space – my fears about Pavlovka were not in vain. I am making a proposal: to keep the design of the star of the hero of the DPR for the Russian award series, and to hand it over in cases where the market situation requires it, but when the military leader has accomplished a “feat”, the “game” from which “manufacturing” is not worth it. For Pavlovka, just such a star – with a black stripe – should be awarded to the generator of this operation – as a sign of special distinction.

    WarGonzo:

    Everything is objectively bad in Pavlovka The first joy from the fact that the Donbass special forces of the OBTF and the Cascade went there was replaced by extremely depressing news about the situation of the 155th brigade of the Pacific Fleet. Khodakovsky openly runs into those who planned the operation (so far without names). A colleague and our military “father” Sladkov reports painful losses and the appeal of marines from the 155th to the leadership of the Moscow Region. We are waiting for specifics and organizational conclusions.

    Pavlivka may explain, in large part, those gaudy Russian losses claimed by Ukraine in recent days. And given the fury in a Russian Telegram scene already under extreme pressure from Moscow censors, this may reverberate deeply inside Russian itself.

  272. Reginald Selkirk says

    How to Find Your Twitter Friends on Mastodon

    Twitter users are flocking to other sites, including the open source and decentralized Mastodon.
    There’s no one Mastodon site—instead, anyone who wants to can set up a server. The nice thing, though, is users don’t need to be on your server in order for you to follow them. The result is messy, granted, but it allows for smaller communities to have their own rules while still being connected to the broader community.
    We told you how to get started on Mastodon a few years ago, so I won’t rehash that. Once you set up an account, though, you might be wondering whether you can find any of your Twitter friends. Here are a few ways to do that.
    Search for Accounts on Twitter
    Services That Can Find Accounts
    Find Other Interesting People to Follow

  273. says

    Steve Wynn’s mark on the Las Vegas Strip is hard to miss. He built opulent casinos that changed the skyline of Sin City. Now the longtime Republican donor is backing something much less glitzy: an election law group whose purpose is to make it harder to vote.

    Billionaire Wynn is playing a key financial role in Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections, a Virginia-based law group that launched over the summer. Among its leaders are political heavyweights Karl Rove, former Attorney General Bill Barr, and Bobby Burchfield, who served as the Trump Organization’s outside ethics adviser. The group is one of a handful of legal organizations that are filing lawsuits and assisting plaintiffs seeking to restrict access to the ballot across the country, often by asserting states’ rights to control the time, manner and place of the voting process.

    […] there has been a five-fold increase in new lawsuits by GOP-affiliated groups since 2021.

    The primary purpose of such GOP lawsuits is “to make it harder for people to register to vote, with the thinking that that’s going to benefit the Republican Party,” said UCLA Law Professor Richard Hasen, director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project, […] While the partisan impact of these lawsuits is unclear, “They help feed into the narrative that Democrats are trying to bend the rules in order to gain advantage,” he said. RITE’s emergence in 2022 follows a year of unprecedented productivity by Republican-dominated legislatures seeking to enact voting restrictions […]

    As a nonprofit organization, RITE is not required to reveal its donors. Wynn is RITE’s national finance chair […]

    […] Wynn has […] contributed to Republican senatorial candidates J.D. Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona, and given $250,000 to a super PAC that supports Missouri senatorial candidate Eric Schmitt. All are election deniers who have promoted the “great replacement theory” espoused by white nationalists. […]

    In August, Wynn, who is 80, donated $10 million to a pro-Trump super PAC that is attacking Democratic senatorial candidates. The PAC spent more than $900,000 supporting the campaign of Pennsylvania senatorial candidate Mehmet Oz […]

    RITE is not itself in the 2020 election denial business. The group rejects claims by some Republicans that the election was stolen, Burchfield, one of the co-chairs, told Reuters in July. Barr has dismissed his former boss’s claims that the 2020 election was tainted by widespread fraud as “bullshit.” After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Rove blasted Republicans who repeated the president’s claim that the election was stolen.

    But to some observers, the difference is simply one of degree. “It’s a great strategy,” noted Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and a historian of the right. “It’s kind of like [saying], ‘We’re, you know, sensible people, a former attorney general, critics of Donald Trump. So take us seriously.’ When really, they’re working towards the same goals and probably with greater strategic acumen and expertise and efficiency.”

    RITE has filed briefs advancing voter restrictions in courts in Montana, Florida, and Wisconsin. An amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit supports a Florida law that, according to a spokesperson for the state’s nonpartisan League of Women Voters, “makes voter-registration drives, voting by mail and rendering basic assistance to voters in line needlessly difficult, resulting in voting suppression.”

    […] RITE has also filed an amicus brief in Moore v. Harper, a U.S. Supreme Court case that is expected to be heard this fall that many fear could lead to increasingly extremist swing state legislatures crafting election rules that could change the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.

    […] At least as far back as the mid-1990s, Rove was fomenting public outrage about voter fraud, a bare knuckle strategy he used to help his client win. His then candidate, Perry O. Hooper, successfully overcame a narrow loss in his race for Alabama Supreme Court justice with a heavily litigated recount that involved convincing a judge to disqualify absentee ballots.

    […] Wynn’s relationship with Rove stretches back at least a decade. Rove attended Wynn’s 2011 Las Vegas wedding, where Trump was also a guest.

    […] In 2018, the Wall Street Journal alleged a decade-long pattern of sexual misconduct affecting dozens of women that forced Wynn to step down as GOP finance chair and divest his holdings in Wynn Casinos. (Wynn denied the charges.) By 2020, he was once again a major fundraising force in the party, donating millions of dollars to candidates and super PACs. More recently, he’s faced a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit for failing to register as a Chinese lobbyist. He had lobbied the Trump administration to extradite a Chinese asylum seeker from the U.S to China, where Wynn had business at the time.

    In August, Wynn gave advice for the midterms while on a private fundraising call with GOP chair Ronna McDaniel. The Republicans needed to employ “hard-hitting kind of spots with a man’s voice, no soft pedal” that would tar Democrats as the party that would tax working people, according to a story in Politico. While it wasn’t clear to which tax policies he was alluding, he may have been referring to a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that boosts funding to the Internal Revenue Service, a frequent line of attack by Republicans. That provision is meant to target wealthy tax avoiders.

    Wynn provided the script that would focus voters’ attention on the little guy: “‘They’re coming after you if you’re a waiter, if you’re a bartender, if you’re anybody with a cash business … they’re coming after you.’”

    Link

  274. says

    Are you starting your Christmas shopping? “Gwyneth Paltrow Has Some $75 Poop She Would Like To Sell You”

    https://www.wonkette.com/gwyneth-paltrow-poop

    […] Paltrow busted out her Goop Gift Guide this week […]

    As advertised, you can get a literal pile of shit for $75.

    It’s 9 pounds of extra fancy fertilizer is what it is.

    Via Flamingo Estate:

    It’s a blend of free-range goat, horse, chicken, and cow manure, lovingly tended by our gardeners at Flamingo Estate. Our chickens and goats are on a nutritious regenerative diet, snacking occassionally[sic] on the tastiest food from the kitchen. It’s teeming with beneficial microbes and nutrients, guaranteed to make any plant grow strong and vibrant. This potent, precious poop will bring new life to your soil. Roses love it, too!

    I have no idea about these things, and oddly enough the Value of Animal Waste calculator is of no help whatsoever, but it seems you can get a 40 pound bag of cow manure from Home Depot, so I think $75 might be a little much. Unless it is bat guano, in which case I have just learned will cost you about $25 a pound.

    Also please don’t buy anyone poop for Christmas. Even if there is a bow on it.

    Just $1200 for a … this thing! [image at the link]

    This is a box to put your dog’s toys in, but it’s $1200 because it’s from Hermés.

    Look. A Birkin bag? I think they’re ugly boring grandma purses and not in a cute way, but at least it’s an investment. It’s something. Scarves you can wear and they’re pretty and you could get 2-3 very pretty ones at Hermés for the same amount as this weird, unattractive box. […]

    More at the link, including a satin baguette bag (bread not included), only $300.00.

  275. says

    Well it looks like Russia is going forward with this plan:

    Russian state media on Sunday claimed Ukraine struck a dam near the strategic city of Kherson with U.S.-made missiles, citing officials in the region.

    Ukraine has not yet commented on the reports, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky previously accused Moscow of planting mines at the dam for a potential “false flag” attack that Moscow would blame on Ukraine. […]

    “The dam of this hydroelectric power plant holds about 18 million cubic meters of water,” Zelensky said last month. “If Russian terrorists blow up this dam, more than 80 settlements, including Kherson, will be in the zone of rapid flooding. Hundreds, hundreds of thousands of people may be affected.” […]

    Link

  276. whheydt says

    Re: Lynna, OM @ #366…
    I’m struggling to figure out what the Russians think they might gain out of blowing the dam, no matter who they try to pin the blame on. That reservoir is what supplies the bulk (something like 75%) of the water that Crimea uses. So it certainly looks counterproductive to destroy it.

    Now…destroying the hydroelectric plant–if they think there is an imminent chance of losing control of the dam and the plant–would be logical from the standpoint of denying the power produced to Ukraine. This is especially true in light of their efforts to knock out as much of the generation and distribution grid as they can. But taking out the actual dam…not so much.

  277. raven says

    Facebook isn’t doing so well lately and is now planning layoffs. Good timing as the year end Holidays are coming up; the Winter Solstice, thanksgiving, Yule, Hannuka, Xmas, etc..

    Facebook had a good idea very badly implemented.

    It the end it has caused a huge amount of damage when it is not just user hostile and predatory.
    The last noteworthy Facebook fiasco was being highly influential and effective in spreading Covid-19 virus denial and Covid-19 antivaccine lies.
    The latest estimates are that the antivaxxers killed 300,000 US people, the number of antivaxxers that caught the virus and…died.

    Facebook parent Meta is preparing large-scale layoffs this week

    November 6, 20222:23 PM PSTLast Updated 3 hours ago
    Facebook parent Meta is preparing large-scale layoffs this week, Wall Street Journal reports
    Reuters

    Nov 6 (Reuters) – Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) is planning to begin large-scale layoffs this week that will affect thousands of employees, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday citing people familiar with the matter, with an announcement planned as early as Wednesday.

    Meta declined to comment on the WSJ report.

    Facebook parent Meta in October forecasted a weak holiday quarter and significantly more costs next year wiping about $67 billion off Meta’s stock market value, adding to the more than half a trillion dollars in value already lost this year.

    The disappointing outlook comes as Meta is contending with slowing global economic growth, competition from TikTok, privacy changes from Apple (AAPL.O), concerns about massive spending on the metaverse and the ever-present threat of regulation.

    Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects the metaverse investments to take about a decade to bear fruit. In the meantime, he has had to freeze hiring, shutter projects and reorganize teams to trim costs.

    Twitter impersonators will be suspended permanently, Musk says
    “In 2023, we’re going to focus our investments on a small number of high priority growth areas. So that means some teams will grow meaningfully, but most other teams will stay flat or shrink over the next year. In aggregate, we expect to end 2023 as either roughly the same size, or even a slightly smaller organization than we are today” Zuckerberg said on the last earnings call in late October.

    The social media company had in June cut plans to hire engineers by at least 30%, with Zuckerberg warning employees to brace for an economic downturn.

  278. says

    Julia Davis:

    Meanwhile in Russia: top propagandist Vladimir Solovyov was dispatched to address the youth. He lied up a storm, mixed trash talk with biblical references & veiled nuclear threats & told the young to get ready to march to the front as soon as they’re old enough. Watch this mess:…

    Subtitled video at the (Twitter) link. They don’t seem especially fired up.

    “Who needs the world, if there’s no Russia in it? That’s what our president said. Therefore, the world has two options: The first one is that we win. They won’t like the second one. They won’t like it at all.”

    “We’re curing the severely ill Ukrainian people. And we will cure them. After that, we’ll move on to cure all those who think that you can twist the truth about war.”

  279. Reginald Selkirk says

    Elon Musk discovers what “fucked around and found out” means

    Musk Bans ‘Impersonation’ After Parody Elons Flood Twitter

    After vowing to make Twitter a bastion of “free speech”—and declaring just over a week ago that “comedy is now legal on Twitter”—Elon Musk announced a new policy on Sunday that will remove accounts engaging in the type of “impersonation” that comedians and others have using a way to humorously protest his takeover of the social network in recent days. “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk, who has previously said he opposed permanent bans, including the one imposed on Donald Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, tweeted Sunday evening. He added that while users previously received a warning before suspension, moving forward “there will be no warning.” Celebrities such as comedian Kathy Griffin and Mad Men star Rich Sommer have already have their accounts removed for changing their usernames and photos to match Musk’s.

  280. raven says

    There is a new estimate for how many US antivaxxers died from being antivaxxers.
    It is 319,000. At least half of all people who died of covid-19 virus after the vaccines became available, wouldn’t have died if they had been vaccinated.

    “”The vaccine rollout has been both a remarkable success and a remarkable failure,” says Stefanie Friedhoff,”…
    We’ve found that the hard part of developing vaccines like the ones for Covid-19 virus, was in getting