More to ignore, Book 108...

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Okay, GOP. We'll pretend to care about Hunter Biden's laptop after every Trump scandal is vetted

Aldous J Pennyfarthing

GettyImages-578546650.jpg


It's a shame the Hunter Biden laptop story was unable to get traction before the 2020 presidential election, especially since this seismic, once-in-a-century scandal would have offered such a stark contrast to the quiet dignity of Donald Trump’s family, the most scandal-free clan in the history of hominids.

Over the weekend, Elon Musk released the so-called Twitter files, which were meant to provide a window into the company’s decision-making before it muted a New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop just prior to the election. If you ask any random Republican, this was the biggest outrage since Barack Obama’s tan suit, because the media should be required to amplify every sketchy Russian psyop that comes down the pike, lest American democracy quickly devolve into communism or Putin-style fascism or something.

But despite lots of crowing from conservatives—who, again, enjoyed four years of beyond-reproach behavior from ex-POTUS Donald Trump and his family … unless you count the two impeachments, tens of thousands of virulent lies, countless financial conflicts of interest, and numerous attempts to upend American democracy—Musk’s big reveal has been something of a dud.


The Washington Post:

A handful of screenshots from 2020, posted over the course of two hours Friday evening in a disjointed, roughly 40-tweet thread, show the San Francisco company debating a decision to restrict sharing of a controversial New York Post story about the son of then Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The Twitter thread, based on internal communications posted by Substack writer Matt Taibbi, showed the company independently decided to limit the spread of the article, without Democratic politicians, the Biden campaign or FBI exerting control over the social media network. In fact, the only input from a sitting politician that Taibbi noted was from Silicon Valley Rep. Ro Khanna (D), who told Twitter executives they should distribute the story, regardless of the potential consequences for his party.
“I’m not persuaded these are anything close to a bombshell,” said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, in an interview.

But Republicans still appear to think this was the biggest miscarriage of justice since Sean Spicer got booted off Dancing With the Stars for looking like an incontinent prairie chicken trying to eat its own face.

For instance, Patient Zero in our current mudslide into fascism thought the Musk files were reason enough to suspend the Constitution and install him as dictator. Here the ocher oaf was on his low-rent Twitter knockoff Goof Social calling for a brave new era of serially nullified elections:

“Do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” wrote the guy who once took a sacred oath to uphold the Constitution. “Our great ‘Founders’ did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

Unfortunately for Trump, there’s really no story here—except that a private entity decided not to amplify a report that, at the time, looked a lot like a Russian disinformation campaign.

But if media outlets and social media companies are required to boost every scurrilous rumor that comes along about a candidate or their family, I have a couple of complaints of my own.

In 2016, just before the presidential election, a woman claimed Trump had raped her when she was just 13. She was all set to provide details at a press conference, but it was canceled after she reportedly received “multiple death threats.” Why didn’t everyone hear about this? Why did we get a new fusillade of screaming headlines about Hillary Clinton’s email server instead of myriad references to this unproven allegation?

Or, again going back to 2016, why did The Washington Post censor an allegation made by one of its columnists—this time shortly after the election, but before the Electoral College voted—that Trump had admitted to being attracted to his teenage daughter?

Buzzfeed News:

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that President-elect Donald Trump once asked, “Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?” — but the quote was quietly removed before the syndicated column was published Tuesday.
Trump was reportedly referring to his daughter, Ivanka, who was 13 years old at the time.

The quote was circulated Monday in a draft of Cohen's piece “Our Next President, The Godfather" that was sent to outlets that syndicate the column, a source told BuzzFeed News. The quote did not appear in the later, final version of the piece carried by the Post and other outlets.

Oh, my God! Install Hillary now! When did Cohen know about this, and why wasn’t it revealed earlier? And why didn’t the Beltway media cover it ad nauseam?

Of course, the real issue here is that Republicans thought they had an October surprise to rival the 2016 Comey letter, which very likely threw the election to Trump. In fact, there’s evidence that members of the New York City FBI office manipulated the Anthony Weiner email story to damage the Clinton campaign. But in 2020, the media refused to bite like they had in 2016. And that’s what Republicans find so brutally unfair—their attempts to rat**** the election like they had in 2016 didn’t work four years later.

This Twitter thread from Dave Karpf, an associate professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, sums it up pretty well. If you don’t do Twitter, click here to see the entire thread.







The Trumpies know that the media love to follow shiny objects—and new shiny objects are their fave. So despite having hundreds of gargoylish Trump outrages and scandals to pick from, they’ve often seen fit to track the barest whiff of Democratic scandal like obedient bloodhounds—you know, in the interest of “fairness.”

But in 2020, the media were a bit more circumspect—and Republicans are now losing their damn minds over it.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
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Ukraine update: Russia can't quit Bakhmut, as Ukrainian air defenses stymie latest missile barrage

kos

Russian Telegram milblogger Rybar announced today that “The AFU continue to suffer heavy losses in the battle of Bakhmut,” which is dark comedy. The Battle of Bakhmut began on Aug. 1, and Russian, Wagner mercenaries, and local Donbas militias have banged their heads against Ukrainian defenses ever since, for over four months now. If Ukraine is suffering “heavy losses” in Bakhmut (which they likely are), than what is happening to Russia?

Well, we know. We’ve even posted some of the videos of mass Russian casualties in the approaches to the town. Ukraine General Staff claimed over the weekend that Russia is losing
hundreds of men attempting to storm the city daily.

The city’s defenders are some of Ukraine’s biggest heroes. They’ve been undermanned, under-equipped, and under-supported. While HIMARS worked other corners of the map and the best-equipped Ukrainian forces liberated wide swaths of Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts, thousands of Ukrainians hunkered down in their trenches in eastern Donbas mowing down wave after wave of Russian soldiers while outgunned 5-1 or even 10-1 in artillery.

But now, with Kherson city’s liberation, Ukraine freed up tens of thousands of their best soldiers to redeploy to other parts of the front. And Bakhmut is finally getting some love.

Ukrainian artillery is flooding into the area, including precious longer-range self-propelled guns like the Polish Krab.



HIMARS, the crown jewel of Ukraine’s military might, is finally in action around the town, likely using anti-personnel rockets to eliminate Russian troop concentrations and Wagner mercenary command and control centers.



Armored vehicles are flooding in.



As is fresh infantry.



Meanwhile, Russian efforts against Ukrainian defensive positions have been whittled down to squad-level advances.

I read somewhere (can’t find link now) that Russians claim this is on purpose—that large-scale attacks are too easy to spot and destroy with artillery, so Russia is trying to sneak up on Ukrainians in small groups. If there was ever a heaping pile of Copium, that’s definitely it. No one charges defensive lines with six soldiers and no armor or artillery/mortar support because they think it’s the best idea. So ridiculous!

There’s lots of talk about the “right bank” and “left bank” of the river. This is what people don’t seem to get. Even if Russia breaks through Ukrainian defensive lines, there’s no way they’re crossing the river that runs through the eastern third of the city.

bakh.jpg


There’s a hill to the east of the river that's shown in that video, currently held by Ukraine, that would be valuable if Russia took it. They’d have visibility into town, so Ukrainian forces wouldn’t be able to easily cruise around like they do in the video. But if Russian forces can’t get past the trash dump on the eastern edge of the town, what makes anyone think they could cross an actual river? (Though admittedly, I don’t know if it freezes in the coldest parts of winter, which could be a factor.)
............
Russia launched another wave of missiles at Ukraine, but this attack seems to have mostly fizzled. Ukraine claims 60 of the 70 Russian cruise missiles were shot down, and there’s even dramatic video of one of them going down.

This missile was shot down by a German Gepard air defense system. Ukraine has declared them their most prized air defense system. Ironically, it’s been decommissioned, as NATO moved to nearly all-missile air defenses. Yet this machine-gun-style system makes it deadly effective not just against ballistic missiles, but slower-flying drones. It doesn’t make sense to use million-dollar missiles against $20,000 drones. So maybe this war will resuscitate systems like the Gepard.



Interesting side note: Sourcing ammo for these is challenging. Germany can’t pass on their leftover ammo (which is literally useless, as they’ve handed over all of their Gepards) because it was made in Switzerland, and the Swiss refuse to authorize it, claiming it would violate their neutrality. A defense contractor in Norway appears to have started making more ammo, however. Yet another reminder that this is a war of logistics, not weapons systems.

Here’s a great thread from a German who served with these:


........
Ukraine hit two Russian air bases, hundreds of kilometers from the front lines.

FjOu8vVakAAs6eC.jpeg


Russia claims they were hit with Soviet-made drones, and there is one ancient unmanned aircraft system around, so maybe Ukraine used those. It would be more fun if the drones were homegrown, however. Ukraine announced last week it was in final testing stages of a long-range suicide drone. What better test for a new weapons system than two airbases hosting the strategic bombers launching cruise missiles at Ukrainian civilian infrastructure?

Russia claims air defense got them all, but it was the debris that caused all the damage, and all 17 of Russia’s targets in Ukraine were hit even though 70 missiles were launched.



This is a bloody picture of the hit on Dyagilevo showing a damaged strategic bomber. But it’s a close crop, so hard to really tell the extent of the damage. Here’s an unconfirmed report on the situation at the two airfields. I’m including the link, because it’s chatter from the Russian side, but all caveats apply.
......
I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying.



(Umm, not sensitive content … at least not that kind of sensitive.)
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
111,594
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Progressive Muse
Dec 05, 2022 at 03:41:19 PM

On International Volunteer Day, Zelenskyy thanked volunteers of all types, both military and civilian.


Although the volunteer movement has become part of the foundation of Ukraine, we did not have a special award that could become a symbol of our gratitude to volunteers and those who give strength to this movement. Who give a part of their own life to help save the lives of others. Now there is such an award.

This is the heart. The heart of gold for the ordinary people who protect us all.

UkraineVolunteerAward.jpeg

Newly-created Ukrainian volunteer award, 2022
 

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