More to ignore, Book 104...

Ten Thousan Marbles

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DeSantis official says Justice Dept. can’t send monitors to 3 Florida counties​

The DeSantis administration is attempting to block Department of Justice election monitors from gaining access to polling places in South Florida, saying in a letter that the federal government’s involvement would be “counterproductive” and in violation of state law.

On Monday, the Justice Department announced that it would send federal monitors to 64 jurisdictions nationwide to monitor how elections are being conducted. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties were all slated to receive federal monitors from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

But Brad McVay, the chief counsel for the Florida Department of State, said in a letter issued late Monday that those monitors would not be allowed inside polling places under Florida law.

McVay said the Florida secretary of state’s office — which Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis oversees — would instead send its own monitors to those three counties, which are among the most Democratic-leaning counties in Florida.

“Florida statutes list the people who ‘may enter any polling room or polling place,’” McVay wrote. “Department of Justice personnel are not included on the list.”

The Justice Department said Tuesday that it had received the DeSantis administration’s letter and still has election monitors stationed outside polling locations in Florida.

Although Florida law has an exception allowing law enforcement to enter polling sites, McVay said Justice Department monitors do not qualify.

“Absent some evidence concerning the need for federal intrusion, or some federal statute that preempts Florida law, the presence of federal law enforcement inside polling places would be counterproductive and could potentially undermine confidence in the election,” McVay wrote.

“None of the counties are currently subject to any election-related federal consent decrees,” McVay added. “None of the counties have been accused of violating the rights of language or racial minorities or of the elderly or disabled.”
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Screenshot2022-11-08at10.09.22AM.png
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
111,594
18,769
1

Ukraine update: The one drone that threatens to upset the direction of the war in Ukraine

Mark Sumner

Over the weekend, Daily Kos published the first part of the Field Guild to Drones of Ukraine. That portion of the guide was aimed (mostly) at drones that mimic the design of traditional airplanes, with a pair of larger wings up front and smaller control surfaces at the tail.

But there was at least one drone that has wings front and back, which is becoming increasingly important in this invasion. It’s cheap, it’s effective, and it’s increasingly demonstrating that a small drone can outrange artillery and provide an alternative to counterbattery fire that might otherwise be provided by something like HIMARS. And unfortunately, this drone belongs to Russia.



In some ways, the Zala Lancet is similar to other kamikaze drones (i.e., loitering munitions) at use in Ukraine. Like an American-made Switchblade, it’s small enough (just 12 kilograms) to be carried to near the front lines and can be launched without a runway or complex launching system. When compared to larger drones, it has a relatively short range (40 kilometers) but that range is right in the mix of that delivered by many artillery weapons, meaning that the Lancet has been showing up more and more often in artillery duels. It was first introduced over the summer, and has only recently reached the battlefield in numbers, but it’s already doing damage that suggests that a big change is coming from the weapon that Russia has long held as the “king of the battlefield.”

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Even though it does have wings, that doesn’t actually mean the Lancet is a mini-plane. In fact, it’s something completely different: It’s a propeller-driven missile. Those four pairs of wings aren’t really there to provide much in the way of lift, they’re for giving the Lancet precise steering and the stability it needs to complete an arc from takeoff point to target. Though this drone was reportedly developed from the KYB Kub flying wing drone that Russia used in Syria, it’s discarded almost everything about that design, creating a drone that is very much just a smart artillery shell.

In addition to the reported 40km range, the Lancet carries a 3kg high explosive anti-armor warhead. It’s effective enough to take out a tank (and there are videos of this happening), but it’s proven particularly effective in going after artillery, anti-aircraft, and radar installations. They’ve also proven difficult to shoot down. Russia calls them “impossible to intercept.” That’s not true because Ukraine has taken down at least one. But that’s one, and these things are becoming an all-too-common part of Russia’s battlefield mix. If the Lancet has the ability to lock on to a target at altitude and self-steer into that target without further communication (as does the Switchblade), that could help to make it immune to some e-warfare and anti-drone weapons. Its flight path may also make it more difficult to track and take down with traditional anti-aircraft fire.

Compared to the Switchblade 300, the Lancet has a much longer range, a much larger warhead, and is far more effective at playing a role in locations where the battlefield has turned into a somewhat static artillery face-off. The Switchblade 600 has an identical range and warhead size and might be expected to play a similar role, but (as of the end of October) that long-promised drone has not shown up in Ukraine.

There are two things that Ukraine might field right now that provide an equivalent punch. One is the UJ-32 Lastivka, a drone that borrows the warhead from a RPG-7 anti-tank missile. It has a similar range and should have roughly the same impact. It’s unclear how many have been made as none have been recorded as lost. The other is, potentially, the Phoenix Ghost. The one (count ‘em) video available that’s actually identified as a Phoenix Ghost strike is on a 82 millimeter motor, which has a range of only about 3 to 5km, so it’s impossible to tell if the Ghost really has the range or impact to play this roll. However, the U.S. just sent Ukraine 700 more of these drones, which are rumored to carry the same warhead as a Javelin anti-armor weapon. So hopefully they can at least match the Lancet.

However, right now, the Lancet-3 is having an impact on Ukraine, one that is probably limited only by Russia’s ability to produce the drone in large quantities. A large number of these drones could easily have more impact on the disposition of artillery than man-portable anti-armor weapons have had on the utilization of tanks.

The kamikaze drone is the most rapidly diversifying and improving category of drone in Ukraine. Staying ahead in this game is going to take some fast responses.

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On Tuesday, Russian media and pro-Russian military sites are happily passing around images of a Ukrainian T64 tank burning in a field.

But the thing they’re not saying too loudly is exactly how close to Kreminna this tank actually was. That may be because the damaged T-64 has been location to a position less than 10km northwest of the city. Rather than signaling some failure on Ukraine’s part, the location of this loss (which may be a few days old) shows that fighting is getting very close to Kreminna even as Ukraine continues to press Svatove to the north.

In addition to fighting north and west of Kreminna—which is reportedly continuing with high intensity on Tuesday—Ukrainian troops have reportedly pushed back Russian forces that had reached the outskirts of Bilohorivka, meaning that town continues to be fully liberated and in Ukrainian control.

Russian sources are also reporting that two battalion tactical groups from Ukraine were turned back between Ploshchanka and Chervonopopivka by “preparatory fire,” whatever that is. First clue that this is a fantasy? Ukraine does not use battalion tactical groups. Russian sources also seem to have no images of this disaster.
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Remember that time you turned a trash can lid into a shield … when you were 12? Russian military geniuses do.


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What’s happening in Kherson just gets more puzzling by the day. Ukrainian forces are reportedly continuing to probe around Snihurivka, Mylove, and Bruskynske, looking for signs of weakness on the Russian front lines. Meanwhile, those lines seem increasingly like a hollow shell.


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In addition to “dragon’s teeth” being set up around portions of Luhansk—and across the Russian border near Belgorod—it appears Russian forces are now throwing up defenses in the area of Mariupol. All of these, including the way these pyramids are not attached to anything, meaning that they would not stop an anemic 1962 Volkswagen Beetle, are genuinely bizarre.