More to ignore, Book 80.......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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A federal judge on Friday dismissed five former FBI officials -- including former director James Comey and deputy director Andrew McCabe -- from a lawsuit that former President Donald Trump filed against them and other political opponents related to the Russia investigation.

Judge Donald Middlebrooks granted the Justice Department's request to substitute itself as defendants for the former FBI officials, after finding that Trump's lawsuit covered actions that they took while acting within the scope of their government employment.

This is a victory for the former FBI officials, who no longer have to battle Trump in the civil litigation, which many legal experts have panned as a meritless stunt filled with Trump's political grievances and self-serving conspiracy theories.

In addition to Comey and McCabe, the judge dismissed the lawsuit against former top FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page and Kevin Clinesmith, a low-level FBI attorney who pleaded guilty to altering an official document that was used in the FBI's Trump-Russia probe. (McCabe is a CNN law enforcement analyst.)

The judge did not rule on the Justice Department's motion to dismiss the sprawling lawsuit against the ex-FBI defendants, or similar requests made by the other more than 20 defendants.

In March, Trump sued Hillary Clinton, four top members of her 2016 campaign, the Democratic National Committee and its former chairwoman, Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele, opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and others repeating conspiracy theories, including the debunked claim of a far-reaching "deep state" plot to frame him for Russian collusion in 2016.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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SRSLY? Steve Bannon Says 'I Only Have One Disappointment.' Apparently It's that He's a Flaming Moron
News Corpse

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Justice was served Friday morning when Donald Trump's former campaign boss and White House advisor, "Sloppy" Steve Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress. It was a pretty open-and-shut case considering that Bannon didn't even offer a defense for his having refused to comply with lawful subpoenas.

Following the verdict, Bannon gave a statement outside of the courthouse, which has been his practice for the past few days that the trial has been in progress. And true to form, Bannon merely unleashed his incoherent rage in bursts of insults and nonsense. After disingenuously "thanking" the jury that convicted him for "whatever they did," Bannon babbled...

"I only have one disappointment. And that is the gutless members of that show trial committee, the J6 committee, didn't have the guts to come down here and testify in open court."



REALLY? Who wants to tell Bannon that the members of the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection that Trump incited, had no obligation to appear before that court? They had no relevant testimony to contribute. They weren't even asked to show up. The crime that Bannon was charged with was his failure to comply with a lawful subpoena. The evidence of that was obvious and undisputed. Bannon even bragged about it.

Bannon is actually lucky that Committee members weren't witnesses at his trial. It would only have made things worse for him as they could have supplied more testimony and documentation of his obvious guilt. And yet, he somehow believes that their absence is his sole disappointment? Yeah, right.

Furthermore, Bannon's hysterical post-verdict venting was a display of Olympic-grade hypocrisy. It was, after all, Bannon who "didn't have the guts" to testify before the January 6th Committee in support of his almighty messiah Trump. Why is that all of Trump's most devoted disciples have been too scared to take the oath and tell the truth about him? Which Trump has whined about, despite being the reason for it.

It was Trump who pretended that he could grant executive privilege to potential witnesses so that they would not have to testify. But why would anyone want to prevent testimony from those who they allegedly believed would exonerate them? Even so, Trump eventually released Bannon from that imaginary constraint by waiving the privilege that he didn't have to begin with. And Bannon still refused to comply with the subpoenas. The only "gutless" party in this matter is Bannon.

However, Bannon has good reason to be afraid. His partner in crime, Trump's former White House trade advisor, Peter Navarro, has already confessed to allegations associated with Trump's seditious coup conspiracy, and explicitly named Bannon as a co-conspirator. And although Trump issued him a pardon, Bannon could still be liable for tangential crimes related to his border wall scam that ripped off Trump supporters.

Bannon is now directly challenging Rudy Giuliani for the title of Dumbest Trump-Fluffing Blowhard. And if Giuliani doesn't make any more appearances fondling himself in Borat movies, Bannon may actually take the lead.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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With huge cash advantage, Democrats gain in generic ballot while Republicans flounder
Kerry Eleveld

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The fundamentals of the 2022 midterms increasingly reveal a cycle that is departing from the historic norms most pundits have relied on as touch points for their analysis.

In particular, the generic ballot trend lines appear to be decoupling from President Joe Biden's job approvals by the day. FiveThirtyEight's generic ballot aggregate, for instance, had tightened Thursday to a mere 1-point advantage for Republicans, 44.3%-43.2%, even as Biden's approvals keep sinking, hitting 37.6%.

Check out the two screenshots back to back showing that congressional Democrats are faring better as Biden fares worse.

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In even better news for Democrats, FiveThirtyEight's generic ballot likely overstates the case for Republicans. Look, for example, at the last 10 polls in the outlet’s aggregate: One of them is truly not like the others. The GOP-leaning Rasmussen Reports gives Republicans an 8-point advantage, while every other survey shows either a solid Democratic advantage or a very competitive race.

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In fact, Democratic strategist and New Democratic Network President Simon Rosenberg went to the trouble of averaging the latest 17 independent polls with an A/B rating from FiveThirtyEight (while excluding partisan polls like Rasmussen) and found Democrats leading the generic ballot by +2.4 points, 44.1% D-41.7% R.

"That’s a 4-5 point shift from where the election was a month ago," writes Rosenberg.

As we have noted repeatedly, Democrats also have better candidates to work with while Republicans are saddled with a slew of Trump-endorsed MAGA extremists, particularly in key Senate races.

Add to that a huge cash advantage for Democratic candidates and the outlook continues to improve. As NBC reported:

The average Democratic incumbent in those races raised $1.1 million last quarter and closed June with $4 million in cash-on-hand (California Rep. Katie Porter and New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer have $19.9 million and $14 million banked, respectively).
The average Republican incumbent in those races, by comparison, raised $736,000 last quarter and closed June with $1.7 million in the bank.

By Rosenberg's calculations, Democratic House incumbents have an 8:1 cash-on-hand advantage over their challengers, while GOP incumbents only have 2:1 advantage over their challengers. (Though it’s worth noting the GOP PAC Congressional Leadership Fund ended June with $130 million cash on hand, while the Democratic House Majority PAC had just $60 million on hand.)

Senate Democratic incumbents are also handily outraising Senate GOP incumbents.

While analysts have worried about soft Democratic enthusiasm, Democrats' small-dollar donors seem pretty pumped, donating well over twice as much this cycle as their Republican counterparts, $65 million-$27 million. In the graph below, Democrats’ grassroots fundraising takes off right around the time the Supreme Court’s decision gutting Roe first leaked to the public.



Meanwhile, Republicans have a “grassroots money problem,” as Axios notes:

A concerted Republican effort to build a small-dollar fundraising apparatus independent of Trump's brand appears to be faltering, while Democrats are building on the massive grassroots financial success they saw in 2020.

Rosenberg's analysis also notes another interesting data point: Key GOP incumbents are struggling to break 50% in horse race polling.

He writes that Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are all under 50% in recent polls, while Republican Senate nominees Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania and JD Vance in Ohio are closer to 40 than 50, all of which signals weakness in what are currently GOP-held Senate seats.

"If this was such a good GOP year, why aren't we seeing better GOP numbers? Why are their candidates struggling to raise money?" posits Rosenberg.

In short, early reports of Democrats' cataclysmic demise this November have been greatly exaggerated. While keeping the House will still be a very tough nut to crack, Democrats' prospects for keeping the Senate and even picking up a seat or maybe more continue to improve.

Additionally, the Democratic strategy of shining a spotlight on GOP extremism should continue to yield fruit straight into November. Republicans don't recognize Joe Biden's win as legitimate, they don't want Jan. 6 investigated, they don't want women to be able to access abortion or birth control, and most don't want Americans to be able to marry the person they love if they are of the same sex or a different color. Republicans, the so-called small government party, are now actively advocating for government control of what Americans do in their bedrooms and private lives.

Last but not least, Republicans will never take responsibility for their role in facilitating a homegrown terrorist attack on Jan. 6, nor will they hold Donald Trump accountable for perpetrating that deadly but ultimately unsuccessful coup.

And Americans will continue to hear more about Republicans’ dereliction of duty on Jan. 6 in September when the select committee resumes its hearings.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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The Hawley Scamper, and Other Fascist Dance Crazes
ShowerCap

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I’ve just learned we live not only in an era of rampant disinformation and ascendant fascism, but also, it would appear, to my chagrin and horror…the age of the Velveeta martini, and perhaps it’s time to pull the plug on the American experiment after all........
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I know you’re all probably drowning in Cillizzafied listicles about “takeaways” from the most recent January 6th hearing, but I feel the appropriate framing goes something like Four Winners and Eight Losers From Thompson-Cheney Overdrive’s Latest Prime Time Smackdown (And Six of the Losers Are Josh Hawley From Different Angles).

Yes, the journey from Mob-Inciting Terrorist Fist Jab to Scampering For Dear Life turns out to be a short one, and now, young Joshkins finds himself the proud owner of a character-exposing video clip sure to dog his autocratic ambitions for the rest of his malignant days. Sometimes people are exactly who you think they are.

In a better world, we’d get to spend the next week or so sifting through the avalanche of Hawley-eviscerating internet content, chuckling and picking out favorites, but we’re trying to get to the bottom of a plot to violently overthrow the federal government, in order to work our way back to that whole “peaceful transfer of power” thing, which I for one plan to appreciate more going forward…assuming it ever happens again......
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Anyway, this week’s installment was a deep dive on Tangerine Idi Amin’s “Stall Till the Lynching’s Done” strategy, while his brigade of brainwashed buttholes stormed the Capitol, providing yet another helpful lesson on the dangers of elevating sociopathic narcissists to positions of awesome political power, titled, “The One Where, Holy ****ing Shit, Mike Pence’s Security Detail Called Their Families To Say Goodbye.”

Yep, Off-Brand Orbán basically sat there, in a puddle of his own filth, glued to the idiot box, tweeting incitement, hoping mob violence would succeed where kakistocrat krakens and demented pillow merchants had failed. The White House sat at the precise intersection of idiocy and evil that day.

Video outtakes of the Manchurian Manchild’s statements from January 6th and 7th reveal a downright sullen tyrant, as unwilling to condemn the murderous throng as to be made to eat his peas. His aversion to asking his loser army to “stay peaceful” seems shocking, sure, until you remember there were a couple of times when Obama didn’t wear a flag pin.......
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And let’s be honest, as excommunicated apostate Adam Kinzinger noted, Cult45 has no intention of staying peaceful. Don’t believe me? Ask former D.C. police officer Michael Fanone.

I know decency isn’t really a “thing” on the Right anymore, but could we give it a rest with the stochastic terrorism? Please? At least for the duration of the Siri, Show Me How Stochastic Terrorism Works hearings?

No, I suppose not. Frankly, with new witnesses coming forward, necessitating a whole second wave of televised sessions this fall, now’s exactly when you want to make the rounds, distributing horse heads in potential squealers’ beds.

Still, it’s fairly terrifying to see such thuggish witness intimidation perpetrated via the official Twitter account of the House GOP. It’s a nifty little arrangement they’ve worked out, the elected officials and their pet mob…we’ll provide the permission structure, you’re in charge of the “random” acts of violence. Cozy.

Shit, the Deposed Dotard is still trying to overturn the 2020 election, ****ing STILL. Congratulations on finding a depth even a festering taintfungus like Robin Vos won’t sink to, by the way........
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Incidentally, Melania apparently claims she was oblivious to the whole dang riot, start to finish, because she was taking pictures of a rug. And while that’s ridiculous, bordering on insulting, I imagine that when one spends significant time around the Trumps, one swiftly concludes that lies hardly require plausibility to successfully deceive. (You’ll recall, Eric famously sued over a game of “got your nose,” seeking recovery of the purloined proboscis, as well as substantial damages for emotional distress.)......
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So, Garrett Ziegler, a low-level Peter Navarro minion during the Stupid Coo, won’t be graduating to pull-up pants any time soon, judging by his misogynistic meltdown following testimony before the January 6th commission. In hindsight, who but incels would staff the fast-sinking Shartanic during the final days of the Turd Reich?.........
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Yes, it’s quite the grotesque congregation of flies swarming around the turd of late-stage Trumpism. Indicted insurrectionist bureaucrat Tina Peters, for example, simply will not stop violating the terms of her bond, because laws don’t apply to conservative white ladies, silly.........
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Actually, my latest scheme to monetize the blog is a steamy, sultry, direct-to-DVD series called Proto-Fascists Gone Wild, capturing all the sleaziest, sluttiest antics of the wad of burst rectal fistulas that make up the House Republican Conference. I figure there’s enough material for ten or twenty volumes. Per week.

Arizona’s Andy Biggs has to be considered a strong frontrunner for July’s Brownshirt of the Month, and with it, the coveted parking spot out front at Marm-a-Lago, after inserting the very white nationalist propaganda that’s inspired multiple mass shooters into a ****ing CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON GUN VIOLENCE.

Then there’s “Dr.” Ronny Jackson, still howling over Barack Obama’s lightly-administered spanking, and retreating into a traditional, Republican, masculinity-projection ritual, shrieking COME AND TAKE IT at the phantom liberals he imagines are after his guns, because he wants the entire world to know about the tolerance he’s built up to Viagra, I guess.

Meanwhile, Louie Gohmert could find no better use for his floor time than some daffy diatribe claiming months-past-their-expiration-date MAGA grifters Diamond and Silk are victims of some vast conspiracy involving…shit, who even knows? Antifa? “Big Tech?” Jade Helm veterans armed with Jewish space lasers?

Now, Louie’s clutched the Dumbest Man in Congress crown tightly for most of his career, but now, in dumb**** twilight, he may not even be even the dullest twit in the Texas delegation, not with Chip “There’s a Second Amendment Right to Murder” Roy on the prowl. In a late-breaking follow-up, Roy has ironically proposed a total ban on Letting Jamie Raskin Point Out What an Empty-Headed Clod Chip Roy Is, which is expected to draw unanimous support from the Freedom Caucus.

Speaking of House Republicans, hot off voting against investigating Nazis in the military, they voted against marriage equality. Then, for good measure, they voted against protecting the right to contraception. Shit, when they’re the ones setting the agenda, expect them to oppose establishing a right to sanitary conditions in the reeducation camps. (Excuse me, Governor DeSantis, “civics boot camps.”)........
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Ok, so, an election denier, a Q disciple, and a neo-Confederate walk into a bar. Only not a bar, the Republican ticket for statewide office in Maryland. Seriously. Gubernatorial primary victor Dan Cox has been described, accurately, by a member of his own party, as a “QAnon whackjob.” Joins Mastriano, and quite probably that maniac in Arizona soon. Y’know, if you figured out some way to scientifically rank 2022 Republican candidates by level of delusion, Sarah Palin would probably come out in the saner half. Sleep tight.........
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Incest aficionado Rudy Giuliani has been ordered to testify in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation, which is good, but make you sure give clear directions, or he’ll wind up drunkenly pleading the fifth in the parking lot behind Grand Jury Pool Cleaning & Supply or some shit.......
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Also, the sixteen treacherous crotchtumors who planned on sneaking into the Electoral College by the back door, wearing trench coats and fake mustaches, learned they themselves are now targets of this investigation, and of course they’re already whining about it. My advice is, “commit less treason.”.......
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But Lindsey Graham, no doubt fearing the scenario in which cellmate Steve Bannon asserts dominance and forces him to launder all those crusty shirt layers, folded after minimal yapping, and will now comply with his own subpoena. You’re too soft for insurrection, Lindsepher; perhaps there’s an opening for some sort of Proud Boys mascot?.......
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Bannon, by the way, was convicted of the least of his many crimes, and will indeed do time. You know you’re really scum’s scum when one Presidential pardon isn’t enough to keep you out of prison.......
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Surely, when one attains the dizzying, rarefied heights of loserdom that only Donald John Trump has seen, the public humiliation becomes addictive. Why else would you petulantly demand the Pulitzer board retract prizes awarded for reporting on your electoral collusion with a certain hostile foreign power? Why would you waste time, money, and energy on taking such a stupid, inevitable, pointless L, unless you’re all pervy and weird about it?........
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So, President Biden tested positive for Covid, and of course, he’s vaxxed and boosted, so he’s fine, not that you’d know that from the yelps of delight emanating from the Right. Pour out some of the good meth on Uncle Doug Who Took Hydroxychloroquine’s grave, I guess.......
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Folks, this week was actually so ****ed up that the blog got away from me. When you remember tonight’s post, please imagine I made hilarious, hilarious comments about the ongoing cluster**** at the Secret Service, the latest unhinged plots to capture and punish women with the audacity to seek bodily autonomy, and whatever else I may’ve missed.

With that, I really must crash, m’loves. Stay safe, stay hydrated, stay engaged, and above all else, stay sexxxxxy. See you next week.

Hopefully the preceding gibberish has put you in the mood to join my e-mail list. If so, click on over to showercapblog.com.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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.....Among the most uplifting takeaways has been Liz Cheney’s display of public service. Yes, ideologically speaking, she is a Democrat’s nightmare, an in-your-face conservative who would ordinarily make for great fund-raising fodder. But when it comes to fighting for democracy, personal costs be damned, she has gone all in on the principle that protecting America from all enemies — be they foreign or Floridian — should trump political and policy disagreements. “I believe this is the most important thing I’ve ever done professionally,” she recently told my colleague Peter Baker, “and maybe the most important thing I ever do.” Fact check: True.

At the other end of the patriotic spectrum crouches Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff. From the accounts of his actions (or lack thereof) leading up to and including Jan. 6 — not to mention his ongoing silence — we have learned so much about what cynical, amoral, craven, butt-smooching venality looks like. One suspects that somewhere in Mr. Meadows’s attic hangs a portrait of him, his painted visage steadily rotting away......
 

McCloudersportLion

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They tried to say the chick at work reminded you of some other one from back in the day- no actually the one at work had legs light years more athooletic than what's her face and facially she looked more like this Jewish chick. A hot turkey rachel.
 

McCloudersportLion

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They tried to say the chick at work reminded you of some other one from back in the day- no actually the one at work had legs light years more athooletic than what's her face and facially she looked more like this Jewish chick. A hot turkey raRachel.


It's one of those really tired comparisons you hear from random schlobos from now and then like some dude that says every lightskin dude looks like Patrick Mahones. Nobody cares about ya take on Patty Mahones or Shea Patterson- I don't even know who the fug you are or why that's on ya mind, Johnny Humpernick
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Russian missile strikes have hit the southern Ukrainian port of Odesa, just one day after Ukraine and Russia agreed on a deal that would allow the resumption of vital grain exports from the region.

Serhii Bratchuk, a spokesman for the Odessa military administration, said two missiles hit the infrastructure of the port and two were shot down by Ukraine's air defense.

At least six explosions were heard in Odesa, according to Ukrainian member of parliament Oleksiy Goncharenko.
It comes one day after ministers from both Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement -- brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul -- to allow grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports aimed at easing the global food crisis sparked by war.

"That's all you need to know about deals with Russia," Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas added on Twitter. The EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said the bloc "strongly condemns" the attack.

"Striking a target crucial for grain export a day after the signature of Istanbul agreements is particularly reprehensible & again demonstrates Russia's total disregard for international law & commitments," Borrell wrote Saturday on Twitter.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Russia asks for 'green corridor' to evacuate encircled troops north of Kherson
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1242052483.jpg

Poland's President Andrzej Duda signed the treaty to ratify Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO on a U.S. made missile frigate just outside the Russian port at Kaliningrad. Poland does not do subtle.

Back in early May, I wrote an update on Ukraine in which I insisted that that the tide had turned and that Ukraine was about to do big things in Kherson and Kharkiv. Which, yeah, that didn’t exactly pan out. Though to be fair, at the time Russia still occupied some areas right outside of Kharkiv, and Ukraine was just beginning the move that would net Staryi Saltiv and drive Russian forces back to the border in some areas, so … it wasn’t
completely wrong.

However, this time I’m on a little more solid footing in saying that the war as a whole is pivoting. As in, this is a position apparently supported by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.




As kos has pointed out, it’s been two weeks since Russia has notched a territorial gain worth noting. They’re no longer grinding out the kind of slow advance under a screen of artillery they’ve managed over the last five months. Russia still seems to be continuing the “reconnaissance by fire” tactic of sending out fragmentary BTGs in hopes of hitting a weak point, but these are being routinely repulsed.

Maybe Russia is playing — is there a Russian equivalent of “possum?” Otherwise it certainly appears as though they have punched themselves out. And when it comes to bringing in more forces from elsewhere, forget about it. There’s long been an assumption that what Russia has invested in Ukraine is a significant portion of their military. It’s only recently that it’s become evidence just how significant.



According to that official, Russia has still not figured out how to make effective use of combined arms. But then, that’s not a huge surprise considering kos’ discussion of the lack of training given to Russian soldiers. Putin has been tossing undertrained infantry and ancient equipment into a meat grinder and telling them the only way out is to advance. That worked as long as the number of troops and the number of artillery shells was great enough to overmatch the Ukrainian forces standing in their way. That no longer seems to be true.

If you don’t trust U.S. intelligence (which could be true for a number of reasons, including some connected to the founding of this site), then how about Canadian intelligence or U.K. intelligence, both of whom agree Russia is “running out of steam.”

Above all else, Russia continues to have logistic problems that are limiting their ability to resupply, reequip, and reinforce front line units. A second wind is always possible, but it certainly appears unlikely. Right now Russia seems to have extended itself to the limit of its strength. It’s not fighting to advance so much as it is to hang on.

Meanwhile, Poland is sending Ukraine more fighting vehicles …



The U.S. is sending more of the recently sainted HIMARS and a s***ton of the mysterious Phoenix Ghost drones.



And the U.K. is actually training new sailors and providing new ships for the Ukrainian Navy.



Let’s see. New weapons are coming by the land. Check. And air. Check. And sea. Double check. The U.S. also made clear on Friday that it is considering providing U.S. fighter jets to Ukraine, with reports that some Ukrainian pilots are already training in F-16s and other reports that the U.S. is considering sending along the scary, scary A-10.

On the other hand Russia, which has already tossed 85% of its military into Ukraine, might want to think about who is sharpening knives out there along their 35,910 miles of border.

HOW RUSSIA IS CREATING A MUSEUM ALONG THE HIGHWAYS OF UKRAINE​

It’s been some time since we checked in at Oryx to see Russia’s verified losses in this war. That’s not because the rate of loss slowed down, but mostly because fighting in the east has left a lot of wreckage in places where it’s tough to document, resulting in an ever-increasing disparity between what Russia has actually lost and what has been captured on video.

But it seems worth mentioning that at this point photographically verified data shows Russia has lost over 4,750 vehicles. That includes 873 tanks. Those tanks now range from a T-62 manufactured somewhere in the mid 1960s, to a pair of T-90M tanks that were manufactured after 2016.

Still, that’s not quite everything Russia has made in the last sixty years. There is also the brand new T-14 Armata whose appearance has been so far limited to Moscow parades. In the last few days, there are rumors that Russia is thinking of sending one or more of its half dozen or so T-14s to Ukraine, maybe to give people something to talk about other than trainloads of rusty Cold War rejects.

Pro-Russian sites are eager to see their new superweapon in action. On the other hand, several Ukrainian commentators are also excited. After all, destroying the first T-14 ever to enter battle with a Javelin would be a story-to-tell-the-grandchildren.

Of course, Russia could always go the other way.



This particular T-34 doesn’t really seem to be a World War II veteran. It looks more like early an Korean War version. Thoroughly modern!

UKRAINIAN GRAIN WILL FLOW THROUGH ODESA​

After weeks of negotiation, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN signed an agreement on Friday allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported from a trio of ports near Odesa. Or actually … they didn’t.

Ukraine signed a grain agreement with Turkey and the UN. Russia signed a grain agreement with Turkey and the UN. And when you put the two together, they are both halves of a reasonable solution, made without ever having a Ukrainian and Russian negotiator sign the same piece of paper.


Under the agreement, only ships carrying fertilizer or grain can access the port, and Russia promises not to stop or damage these ships as they leave the protection of missile batteries on shore. Russia is also not supposed to follow or harass the ships in route. All commercial ships originating in Odesa will be halted for inspection before entering the Bosporus, with Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish inspectors going on board. That probably means a Russian and Turkish inspector going on at one time, and a Ukrainian and Turkish inspector going on at another.

There are, naturally enough, concerns that the deal is some kind of setup by Putin. If the agreement holds, it will help remedy an already growing shorting and price increases due to Ukrainian grain being off the market (or stolen by Russia). But there are concerns that Russia will play games, either by holding ships for extended periods during inspections, or by halting ships with claims that war materials are on board. Either action could make it impossible to find ships willing to visit the ports, and so slow transport that the agreement holds little value.

It shouldn’t take long before this is tested. On Friday evening, Russia hit Odesa with a missile. It might as well have carried a note saying “we can’t be trusted.”

NO ‘GREEN CORRIDOR’ FOR TROOPS IN VYSKOPILLYA​

Another day, another Kherson map. And if this one looks as if little has changed, that’s genuinely the case. However, there is definitely something underway that demands attention.

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Two Russia locations at the northern end of the map are now nearly surrounded.

While most of the action recently has been at the southern end of the map, attention on Friday turned to the north. First, that Ukrainian bridgehead across the Inhulets River south of Davydiv Brid is not only still there, it appears to be in control of more villages than previously acknowledge. Reportedly, the area of Ukrainian control is “expanding,” but whether that’s true and how far it has gone won’t be clear until some additional towns or villages report in as liberated.

At the northwestern tip of the area under Russian control, the town of Vysokopillya has been an area of conflict for weeks. This town is reportedly home to a Russian command HQ, and it has served as the launching point for past attacks on Kryvyi Rih to the north. Some reports on Friday indicated that Russian forces in Vysokopillya had been completely cut off by Ukrainian forces pinching in from both sides to block their line of reinforcement or retreat. A similar claim has been made about the nearby town of Arkhanhel's'ke.

Indications are that the best interpretation for the most is that both towns are almost cut off. There remains a Russian presence in the towns. In fact, it’s a sizable presence, as Vysokopillya has been an important staging location and a depot for both supplies in addition to a command center. It appears that what remains of three BTGs is still split between the towns. There are more Russian forces just over the line in that area of Russian occupation. Ukraine is trying to sever the last lifelines into those Russian occupied locations and take all the ground around them, but as of the end of daylight on Friday in Ukraine, they didn’t seem to have quite accomplished this.

However, even if Ukrainian forces don’t seem to have occupied all the ground that would technically make this an encirclement, that seems to be all it is — a technicality — because Russia clearly can no longer get new troops or supplies into those areas. Even more critically, as Ukrainian forces press in, Russia can’t get out.

For all intents, the encirclement is effective. This is clear, because Russia has had the audacity to ask for a “green corridor” for surrounded troops. The same kind of corridor it refused to open so many times for trapped civilians. The same kind of corridor Russia has offered, then used as a convenient means of attack.

And Ukraine has provided a clear answer.



However you define encirclement, what’s happening in Vysokopillya looks like a huge loss for Russia. This is Ukraine taking a significant target, against significant opposition, in an area where Russia has been dug in for months. Russia has even transported pillbox structures to Vysokopillya to provide hardened firing points.

As OPINT blogger @DefMon puts it ...



Stay turned for updates. If Ukraine is able to take Vysokopillya, especially if they capture a large number of Russian forces in the process, it’s going to be a big deal.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Saturday, Jul 23, 2022 · 10:12:45 AM EDT · Mark Sumner
Note the location on this bridge. Even though it’s over the Inhulets River, it’s not to the west near Davydiv Brid or along that part of the front.



This is actually along the main highway running north out of Kherson. Taking out this bridge separates the city from the bridge at Nova Kakhovka, making it more difficult for Russian troops to move between the two bridges … or to escape.

Again, Ukraine seems to be moving, step by step, to isolate Russian forces in Kherson oblast.