More to ignore, Book 91......

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
111,131
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Full inventory of items from FBI Mar-a-Lago search reveals 88 empty folders for sensitive documents

Mark Sumner

On Friday, Judge Aileen Cannon unsealed the detailed inventory of materials that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. When it comes to the classified documents themselves, there’s not much new to learn here. The totals are the same as what we had already seen: 33 boxes containing over 100 documents carrying some form of classification. Unfortunately for those who are curious, there’s nothing to be learned of the documents themselves except that some had markings for confidential, some were secret, and some were top secret. Unlike that now-iconic image of documents scattered on a eye-searing carpet, there are no details about what form of contents might have been in each document.

Also on the list are hundreds of photographs that the FBI recovered, likely because the White House Records Office had informed the National Archives that many photographs considered to be presidential records were missing. The same goes for many of the non-classified documents recovered.

But the most interesting thing about the inventory may be what wasn’t there. As in, the inventory lists at least 46 “empty folders” carrying markings for classified documents, and another 42 empty folders with instructions that they be returned to a military aide.

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It’s absolutely possible that the contents of these folders were simply scattered among the boxes of documents that the FBI recovered, or were part of the folder given to agents on June 3, or were in the boxes handed to the National Archives back in January. After all, one of the things that has so concerned both the archives and the intelligence community is the utter disdain with which critical documents have been treated by Trump. From the information given, it’s not possible to map these folders back to the precise level of classification given to the documents they once held.

Those January boxes contained classified materials filed haphazardly among magazines and newspaper clippings. The disorder and failure to properly restrict access to these documents was part of why the Archives immediately went on alert and considered going to the Department of Justice to let them know of the danger.

However, the idea that some or all of these folders may have contained classified documents or military information that is now missing in action seems all too possible.

Considering that the affidavit sworn out to obtain the search warrant indicated that the Department of Justice had evidence that some documents were “likely concealed and removed” the idea that Trump’s files were full of empty folders for documents that could contain critical national security information is both frightening and infuriating.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump White House lawyer Pat Cipollone testifies before Jan. 6 grand jury

Brandi Buchman

A federal grand jury probing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s fake electors scheme heard testimony from former White House counsel Pat Cipollone for more than two hours on Friday.

Cipollone’s appearance before prosecutors and federal grand jurors is no small event. As White House counsel, he had an intimate and often intense view into former President Donald Trump’s day-to-day.

And as he revealed through his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee earlier this summer, he was present during integral moments ahead of the insurrection. That included periods where Trump discussed strategies to overturn the election results; rejected credible advice from his advisers about the results of the election; and attempted to capture the Department of Justice by elevating those staff who supported the Big Lie. Cipollone was also privy to moments of Trump’s inaction on Jan. 6 as Congress was under attack by the armed mob.

In addition to Cipollone, his deputy at the White House, Patrick Philbin, appeared before federal grand jurors Friday.

Both former counsels to Trump received subpoenas last month. In addition to Cipollone and Philbin, Marc Short, former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, as well as Pence’s counsel Greg Jacob, have testified before a grand jury.

The Justice Department is entrenched in investigating the fake elector angle as it continues its criminal probe. During the Jan. 6 committee hearings, much testimony was offered up publicly from state officials about the overt pressure campaigns foisted on them by the former president and his personal attorneys like Rudy Giuliani and election subversion strategist John Eastman.

Eastman, who has been enmeshed in legal battles for several painful months with Congress and the Justice Department, recently had his phone seized. He joined Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who had his cellular data seized by law enforcement in early August. He has since sued to have it returned to him, but a judgment has not yet been issued. He has meanwhile attacked the Department of Justice publicly, suggesting the seizure was tyrannical during a recent virtual town hall.

In his lawsuit, according to Politico, Perry said that the department had not accessed his phone but he understood the agency was in the process of securing another warrant in order to dig further.

Prosecutors offered to screen potentially privileged materials, but Perry rebuffed them for the time.

Giuliani, Eastman, and Perry all promoted Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud, but Perry was also responsible, according to testimony and court records, for introducing Trump to Jeffrey Clark, a Department of Justice attorney working in relative obscurity until meeting with the president.

Ultimately, court and congressional records, witness testimony, and widespread reporting have illuminated how Clark attempted to convince top brass at the department to go along with a plan to issue a memo stating voter fraud was widespread in certain battleground states. Those memos detailed plans to advance fake electors for Trump.

As for Cipollone’s take on that memo by Clark? According to sworn testimony delivered by former U.S. deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, Cipollone had called it “a murder-suicide-pact.”

Just 10 days shy of the insurrection, Cipollone would also threaten to resign.

He wouldn’t go through with it, but the threat alone, which was first spurred by Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, Deputy Attorney General Donoghue, and other top attorneys, ultimately staved off Clark’s corrupt ascendency in the department and the mailing of the memo to state officials promoting the fake electors.

Cipollone was highly cognizant of the danger surrounding him as the nation sped toward Jan. 6, according to public sworn testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, the onetime aide to Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

Hutchinson told the committee in July that when Trump had insisted on being taken to the Capitol after his speech at the Ellipse on Jan. 6, they were “going to get charged with every crime imaginable.”

Specifics of what Cipollone discussed before the grand jury on Friday are, of course, under wraps and neither Cipollone or Philbin spoke to reporters as they entered the courthouse.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Doug Mastriano sues Jan. 6 probe, claims he cannot be deposed

Brandi Buchman

Doug Mastriano, the extreme-right gubernatorial nominee for Pennsylvania, has waffled on his cooperation with the Jan. 6 committee historically. Now, as the midterm election fast approaches in his home state, Mastriano is moving full bore to avoid insurrection investigators and has sued them—as well as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Mastriano, through his attorney Timothy Parlatore, is making the narrow legal argument that he cannot be forced to sit for deposition because the very composition of the Jan. 6 committee itself is invalid.

Mastriano is careful to couch in his complaint that he is not arguing against the legitimacy of the committee as a whole. Many Trump White House officials and allies have tried this method, and all thus far have failed.

This, instead, according to the lawsuit, is focused on receiving a definitive answer on the question of whether depositions can be compelled by the committee when its membership does not include a pick from the ranking opposing party, i.e. the committee picks selected by House Minority Leader and Trump darling Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy had a chance to appoint members, and when some of his picks were rejected, instead of negotiating, he gave up altogether on the prospect.

The 21-page lawsuit is also littered with a series of digs at the committee’s work and its members, with Mastriano arguing that Republican Rep. Liz Cheney’s nomination to serve as the committee’s vice chair is not equivalent to being picked by the ranking minority.

“Although ideologically aligned with the Democratic Caucus, Rep. Cheney is still nominally a member of the Republican Conference of the House of Representatives and is not officially a member of the current majority party,” the lawsuit states.

Mastriano v Pelosi Thompson Et Al Jan 6 Cmte by Daily Kos on Scribd

“As Rep. Cheney is outspoken in her decision to follow the priorities of the Democratic Caucus, rather than the Republican Caucus, she clearly is not following Rule 14(d)(1). The lack of discipline by the Republican Conference indicates that neither she, nor the rest of the Republican Conference, consider her to be a ‘Ranking Minority Member’ as that term is defined. Instead, a ‘Vice Chair’ title makes her more accountable to the Democratic Caucus,” Parlatore wrote.

Mastriano first received a subpoena from Jan. 6 investigators this February.

He began turning documents over in May, submitting records tied to his campaign’s purchase of charter buses headed to Washington on Jan. 6. His campaign sold more than 100 tickets to the ‘Stop the Steal’ protest at the Ellipse that ultimately turned into a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The committee was also interested to learn more from Mastriano about the supportive role he played in Trump’s fake elector scheme.

When he was in talks with the probe earlier this year, Mastriano said he would sit for an interview only if his attorney could tape it and have control over the recording.

He argued the committee might manipulate the footage, a common gripe among those allies of the former president who have refused to more freely engage with the committee.

Though there was a remote video conference that took place between Mastriano and the committee early last month, talks petered out. Parlatore said he and Mastriano left a meeting with the committee on Aug. 9 when investigators started asking questions before being sworn in.

During a meeting with the committee, Parlatore said too that they questioned whether chair Bennie Thompson had properly issued the subpoenas because he did not use a wet signature, but rather signed off using an autopen, or an electronic one.

As he grasps for a way out of testifying, Mastriano argues that any video release by the committee of his testimony—which he claims would be manipulated—would potentially “influence the results of primary elections.”

If he wins declaratory relief from the judge, Mastriano also wants the committee to pay for his attorney fees.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Wisconsin MAGA conservative charged with voter fraud after telling all he committed voter fraud

Walter Einenkel

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (WDJ) announced charges, two felony counts and two misdemeanor counts, of voter fraud against 69-year-old Harry Wait. Wait decided that the best way to help prove the GOP’s Big Lie concept that voter fraud was rampant would be to perpetrate voter fraud himself. According to the WDJ, Wait decided on July 26 of this year to go and request absentee ballots for two people who were not himself, and have those ballots sent to his own address.

Then Wait boasted about it a bunch. Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Ann Jacobs told the news "This man, according to his own confession, broke the law, did so intentionally under the guise of some sort of weird attack on our absentee voting system, which if you don't break the law, works very well.” Is Harry Wait some wild-eyed liberal harvesting votes? No, just a super patriot who is defrauding our election process to prove that most people not named Harry Wait shouldn’t be allowed to vote......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Movie review: 'My Son Hunter' is a soft-porn conspiracy flick for weird conservative incels

Hunter

We have not been writing enough movie reviews around here, and that's something we're going to have to fix. Conveniently, the den of white nationalists and incubator of aspirational felons calling itself "Breitbart" is reimagining itself as a movie studio, and is pushing hard to promote a new "crowdfunded" film called My Son Hunter. It is a reimagining of the life of Hunter Biden as seen by the usual Republican hoax-boosters and professional smear merchants, and it's not yet been released but already most of the marketing campaign consists of outrage over the far-left internet conspiring, apparently very badly, to hide it from people.

This is a fantastic marketing scheme that all extremely crappy movies should mimic. It's not that audiences were not interested in partaking in something called "Morbin' time"; it's that an international cabal of elites intentionally kept Morbin' time from you so that you could not have it. If you claim this and your movie fails, claiming it only failed because of a worldwide conspiracy against you might salvage some fraction of your career. If the movie does well, and it turns out that
everybody wants a little Morbin' time, then you can claim your inherent talent is simply so vast that not even Google or Taco Bell or the Goodyear blimp could stand against it.

Unfortunately, at the time of this review the drunken squirrels handling the movie's marketing over at Breitbart News And Tactical Gun Safe Emporium had not offered us an advance copy, so we're going to have to do the whole movie review just from what we can see in the trailer.

More fortunately, it's clear that the research that went into developing this particular flick flipped frequently between obsessive-compulsive ferreting out of minor details and the exact opposite of that. A good demonstration would be the film’s IMDB page, which at the time of this writing notes actress Jovana Stevic's role only as "Beau Wife."

This is, we choose to presume, because nobody marketing this lavish production at any point bothered to Google the name of Beau Biden's once-wife. The script may have gotten to that exact point, to the point of Googling "name of beau wife," before veering off into a new pile of cocaine; we can only be grateful, as film buffs, that the name of the character did not turn out to be Associated Press or Getty Images. Some of these things are hard. An entire movement has combed over the contents of Hunter Biden's laptop, or five laptops, or transforming monster truck made entirely of laptops, but "what is name beau wife" was one laptop too far.

But this saves us some time, because it shows us how accurate we have to be in our own review and the answer is mostly a sluggish
meh. Whatever sounds good is what we should go with, don't sweat the details, and apostrophes are for try-hards. This is what Andrew Breitbart would have personally wanted, back before the company was pried from his corpse and turned into a Steve Bannon vehicle for promoting white supremacists and tiki-torch fascism. Assume Your Priors is the motto of the whole enterprise. Details like the true name of Beau Wife are unimportant to the crack investigators who have staked their new personalities to this film, and this, more than any of the rest, is “true” conservatism. If it feels like a random mugging can be attributed to an international cabal consisting of the exact people you've already been focusing your incoherent rage around for a decade, go with it. Run with it. Do a few crimes while you're at it, it'll only improve your sex boat and midgrade larceny bonafides when it comes time for the next fundraising drive.

If we don't need to concern ourselves with the details, then we don't eve
n
need to see the movie to review it. We can just Rudy Giuliani our way through this whole entire thing, caution to the wind, libel laws but a speck on the horizon. Here are my own major objections to the Robert Davi-directed work:

• The movie completely lost me when Hunter Biden darkly informed his father that "Somehow, Palpatine returned." This is terrible writing. This isn't even writing: This is the scribbled notes on a draft that hasn't been written yet, the hand-waving between plot points that's fought over by roomfuls of writers before the first line of dialogue ever gets written. It shouldn't be in the actual movie! You're telling me that you've got an unlimited budget, the backing of the most powerful rodent mascot in Hollywood (not Steve Bannon, the other one), and your major driving plot point is that "somehow" the villain that already got his ass handed to him before most of the current audience was ever born got himself resurrected into this new movie because, what, your New Villain Design Team blew their entire budget on imported anime figurines?

No. Just be honest. Say "But because we already have warehouses full of the action figures, Palpatine returned." Have some damn guts.

• I didn't like the part where Hunter Biden meets The King Of All Cocaine and it turns out to be, of course, Rudy Giuliani. The audience can't help but see this supposed plot twist a mile off. Giuliani's longwinded message to Hunter, a Karate Kid-styled teaching moment in which the Giuliani-voiced CGI-animated sack of sentient blow tells Hunter that it is not enough to believe in cocaine, you must become one with cocaine, was overdrawn; following it up with a dance number was too much.

I guess those are the major points. Everything else we have to do the hard way, by watching the trailer. Are you ready? Here we go.



The first thing we have to note is that this movie is dark. I don't mean the subject matter: I mean the entire thing appears to have been lit with a single incandescent bulb. Just the one, for every scene. I don't know what the budget was, but perhaps if conservatives were not so dead-set against using modern technology they could have switched to a much brighter LED-based bulb and at least given the audience a bit of context as to which dark rooms these characters were emoting their way through. How many actors had to go to urgent care clinics during this shoot after stubbing their toes on furniture they could barely see?

Is Hunter supposed to be a vampire? Does the light burn his undead skin? Are we in an alternate universe, an Earth-B, devastated by nuclear winter, a place where crops are unable to grow and even the midday sun wheezes across the sky like an asthmatic and broken demigod? No? Then turn some damn lights on, you cheap hacks.


If Hunter is supposed to be a vampire the teaser doesn't let on, but in movie advertising it seems evident that director Davi did not come onto this project with a full understanding of his subject matter. To wit: a sunglasses-wearing, cigarette-dangling Hunter Biden that appears to be based in very large part on pop culture caricatures of Hunter S. Thompson.

This and that are not the same Hunter. These are two different enemies of all things conservative, both of which are known for drugs and possibly-made-up conspiracies but not actually the same person or even close to it. There are other Hunters in the world as well, most of them strange, all but a handful of them superior to the rest of you in all the ways that matter. What is the purpose of conflating these particular two? This may be conservative symbolism of the sort that we denizens of Earth Prime, or Amazon Prime, or Optimus Prime With Free Shipping or wherever the hell universe we are in, simply cannot understand.

But the end result is to make the drug-addled, stripper-addicted main character look
cool, which is probably not the intent the creators set out with. Or maybe it was; we will never know.

That brings us to the main point of review. This movie, the first of the Breitbart name if we don't count any of the other, ahem, efforts, is quite transparently a porno. It is soft porn, albeit very soft porn, but from premise to execution to marketing to trailer, "Canceled Conservatives Make A Softcore Porno" remains the far more accurate movie title than the one they slapped on in an attempt to put some politics on this thing.


This is a movie about a one-dimensional main character careening through scene after scene of women in their underwear. This is a movie about bras. This movie may be the closest any Proud Boy comes to ever seeing an almost-naked breast; it is porn for incels who, for whatever reason, cannot access or abide regular porn but can get away with watching
this. It may be a fetish thing, in which America's most compulsive patriots simply cannot get an erection unless their pornography's plot revolves mainly around how their ideological enemies, who are very cool and have sunglasses and access to all the drugs and all the strippers an angry white incel dreams of at night, suck.

The news that President Joe Biden's son Hunter has struggled with drug addiction and other bad life choices is not new, and there is not much that can make it new. It is also not particularly titillating; that powerful political families often have embarrassing members whose mere mention evokes scandal is baked into the American pie. There is always an offshoot family member known for hard drinking, or for promoting crank anti-vaccine hoaxes, or for cocaine use and/or screwing up his cushy military pilot job, or for cheating his father and family out of whatever wealth can be squeezed out so he can lose the money and claim it was everyone else's fault.

It is not unusual, and it is only partisan politics in that non-conservatives tend to sweep those people under the rug when possible and conservatives absolutely
love their versions and elect them to office in direct proportion to how much their immediate families hate them. Which is a choice, to be sure, but still not much to make a movie around.

The people behind My Son Hunter were therefore tasked with trying to find a way to make "adult relative of political figure makes a complete mess of himself" into something that would actually be compelling enough for their target audience to spend money on, and the answer they came up with was soft porn.


The film is "told through the eyes of a 25-year-old left-wing activist, who is working as a stripper to pay for her college loan," director Davi told (checks notes) Rudy Giuliani's podcast. So the very premise of the film is, apparently, lifted from old Hustler fan mail. We've got a lot of boxes to check, from "left-wing activist" to "stripper" to "college loan," and if you're a Proud Boy I can imagine it would be difficult to even get to the end of that sentence before reaching climax. It has everything.

If you are trying to convince your audience that Joe Biden is the pinnacle of modern political evil, you have two choices. You can scream that he likes Amtrak too much, or you can suggest that he is the willing pawn of a no-good offspring who is the closet mastermind of All The Conspiracies, something something China, something something Ukraine, but no matter which path you take it's already clear that not even diehard conservatives are going to want to watch an hour of that drivel unless it is told through the eyes of a left-wing activist stripper just trying to pay off her ivory tower debts.

I wouldn't be surprised if
every new conservative movie that comes out in the next decade is "told through the eyes of" a left-wing activist stripper just trying to pay off her ivory tower debts. How could you not run with a premise like that. What if Vince Foster, but as told through the eyes of a left-wing activist stripper. What if Robert Mueller, but from the point of view of a very attractive left-wing activist stripper.

What if it wasn't the FBI that seized confidential, secret, and top secret government security documents from Mar-a-Lago after the government was unable to explain to the dough-brained golf cheat hoarding them that he could not just make off with national secrets to use as keepsakes. What if the FBI raid was
actually carried out by a secret government team of left-wing activist strippers, and that is why "they" are hiding the security camera footage of the search.

It's all coming together. Anyone who finds a classified document in the detritus of Donald Trump's private club gets their college loans paid off in full. Go nuts, team.

The movie's focus on selling itself as soft porn that will produce only patriotic erections is leaned on heavily, both in the trailer and in the rest of its advertising. The Twitter account's pinned title picture is of our presumed Hunter, who looks suspiciously like Eric Trump, nuzzling the breast of one of three lingerie-clad woman as another, who looks suspiciously like Melania Trump, takes a picture of the scene. This is the selling image of the movie, not any boring supposed political intrigue. Not Joe Biden. Not China.
That.

The Breitbart foray into Big Boy Movies has a trailer, in fact, that pretty cleanly spells out new conservatism's defining philosophies. The undercurrent of the trailer is that all women are either strippers, evil, or Gina Carano.

That's such an accurate depiction of modern conservatism's thinking on the subject that Texas Republicans may have already written it into the party platform. This is a movie that screams to the male psyche: You're not wrong. It's an entire gender that's wrong. But don't blame them, because everyone who's not Gina Carano is just trying to pay down their college loans.

Why does one of the strippers look like Melania? Why is Hunter cast to look weirdly like Don Jr. and/or Eric? Why does an unnamed bearded man with a thickish accent get subtitles, as if it would take a mastermind to interpret his American English dialog without somebody writing it all down for us? Because this movie is a fetish. It does not cater to fetishes: It
is a fetish. Somebody turned on a single 40-watt bulb and filmed the inner workings of the conservative mind.

Conservatives can't understand people with accents, and will get mad at you if you say you can: subtitling the guy speaking English with an accent is a way to keep smarter audience members from getting beat up. The Trump family is the epitome of all class and beauty, so that’s why the casting department looked to them for inspiration. Hunter Biden was doing coke and touching breasts and, a few fleeting clips later, President Joe Biden wants his "cut." His cut of what? How did we get here? It doesn't matter! The premise is that Hunter Biden is a ne'er-do-well coke fiend who simultaneously has been tasked with growing the fortune of his corrupt and dimwitted father because, uh, reasons! Everybody needs to be offended right now!


GettyImages-1201954011.jpg


Look at him, all bug-eyed and sweaty after grifting his way through life on nothing but his access to crooked ol' dad. Hunter Biden is a jerk.

This is the problem with the movie, one that very few people will watch because most people do not like mixing their porn with their politics and it is
very weird that certain people do. The central premise, other than here-are-some-strippers, is that Joe Biden is a mastermind of corruption, one of the most corrupt individuals to ever inhabit the office a coup-plotting seditionist traitor was just chased out of, and the heart of Joe Biden's corruption revolves around tasking a complete f*ck-up of a son with bringing in billions of dollars of crooked money without somehow screwing it up.

The advice always goes: Write what you know. It is absolutely unremarkable that conservatism would find such a plot entirely believable, in the same way that it is unremarkable that the party of Matt Gaetz started going on about
groomers and people who wear sunglasses in their Twitter profile pics started bellowing that everybody else around here are the real fascists.

I realize that to conservatives, basing entire international conspiracies around coke-headed dimwit offspring who've never worked a real job in their lives sounds absolutely plausible, but not every family can operate that way. It is a niche. A rarity, even—just one particular lifestyle choice out of many. Often, corrupt families choose to have their corrupt schemes carried out by people who have two, even three brain cells to rub together rather than entrusting them to the family coke-heads.

Then there are other places where different rules apply, and that's called Florida.

The unfortunate truth among unfortunate truths is that it is not likely that this movie will see much success, and that is because the target market of people who both want to believe Joe Biden is the center of all evil
and can only keep their attention focused toward that premise if it is being told from the viewpoint of a left-wing stripper just trying to make ends meet is small. Very small. And a great many of them are currently sitting in jail right now after trying to overturn a United States election using nothing but thrown fire extinguishers, weaponized flagpoles, and the contents of Rudy Giuliani's head.

If you want to stream the movie directly to Washington, D.C.,-area jail cells, sure. Those people would probably kill for a few frames of scantily clad breast at this point. To everyone else, though, it is a premise much akin to "What if Winnie The Pooh was a serial killer." Uh, sure? Sure, you can go with that. You can make a whole movie about it, if you want, and nobody will stop you. You can borrow the 40-watt bulb used for this production to light that one, it might even still have some life left in it.

But it's a niche product, and there's not much that can be done about that.

Perhaps Hunter Biden could have had more scenes in which he announced that it was, at long last, Morbin' Time? Perhaps Hunter Biden could turn out to be not just a vampire, but Winnie The Pooh's alter ego—a Jekyll and Hyde scenario, one in which Piglet is reimagined as a left-wing activist stripper with a heart of gold but college loans to pay off? Perhaps Joe Biden could growl softly, to Secret Service Agent Gina Carano, that "somehow" Leonid Brezhnev has returned. Then this thing could turn into a buddy cop movie, with Hunter Biden and Piglet trying to close a billion-dollar Chinese deal to capture the reanimated Brezhnev before Ukrainian wheat farmers find him first and tow him off to be repainted in Ukraine's colors. I don't know. I don't care.

None of us
really care, and that is the problem with movies based on conspiracies that start from the premise of "what if every crooked thing our political heroes have done were actually done by the people those heroes told us to hate." The audience is both built-in and ungrowable. Russian media figures are apparently gleeful in their hope that this bit of rote demagoguery is really going to stick it to Joe Biden, allowing "our beloved Trump" to be wheeled back into the White House from his likely-at-this-point prison cell, but Russia is not as skilled at reading the American mind as they like to believe.

They think we have more of an attention span than we do. They think our minds can be changed, when the plainer truth is that the same people believe the same partisan conspiracies Forever, and they don't often switch sides. The people who were racist 40 years ago are still racist now, and it's just the terminology that's changed. The people who wanted to retaliate for school desegregation by ending federal education programs, period, are still shouting the same demands these many decades later, except now with added transphobia. The audience is the audience. If you didn't like hearing about Donald Trump's weird offspring boosting Chinese real estate deals with nods to daddy's new ability to tweak immigration rules, then sure, you're going to love hearing about some vaguely similar scheme in which the names have all been changed and suddenly it's now something worth getting upset about. But that’s the only audience for such things, and not a lot of those people have spending money.

Worse, it is getting hard to compete with real life at this point. The current news cycle features a photograph of secret and top secret documents, or at least their designating cover sheets, laid out on a tacky carpet with an evidence tag, displayed in a court filing that explains the documents were found in Donald Trump's private office, inside a box, in a search conducted after federal officials came to believe that Trump and his lawyers were intentionally hiding those documents from the government for unknown reasons after previously making off with a great many others.

But look! Joe Biden's messed-up son did cocaine! Everybody look at that instead! Ha, the death of close family members really screwed him up, let's all point and laugh and figure out how this could be, uh, a world-shattering new conspiracy or whatever.

Whatever the premise might have been, that's just a case of poor timing, right there. Nobody could have guessed what the real-world news cycle would be this September, and few among us had even the slightest hint that it would turn into "After failed coup, Donald Trump hides national security documents in his private club in violation of Espionage Act."

The Espionage Act bits are not, as far as we know, something that will soon be told from the standpoint of an aggressively partisan college-educated stripper. It is not, with absolute certainty, anything that the fascist mobs who back endless hoaxes declaring our entire democracy to itself be corrupt will brush their delicate eyeballs against except to complain that this, too, is yet another conspiracy against white men who are pissed off that people who aren’t white men have been getting far too cocky of late.

That mob needs their feel-good movies too, and the same voices that promote violence-provoking hoaxes with reckless abandon—the movie's Twitter boosters approvingly retweet hype for the film from far-right propaganda hacks Andy Ngo and Jack Posobiec, if you want the flavor of audience the film's backers are courting—will of course all agree that it is Joe Biden who is the crooked one, after patriotically viewing the soft porn trailer.

They won't actually pay to see the movie, mind you. The movie's hoped-for audience doesn't have the attention span to actually watch a whole damn film of this stuff. They'll watch the trailer, just like we did, and maybe they’ll wonder what the hell was going on between Hunter Biden and Palpatine, and they will share with each other outrage-fueling links from Sean Hannity declaring it to be "THE STORY YOU WEREN'T ALLOWED TO SEE." And that, for all but a handful of them, will be all.

If we're not allowed to see it, why is it here? Why is it getting free-as-dirt publicity from the biggest, most swollen heads of the Fox News empire? Will your mom not let you watch soft porn unless it has a message attached? Go, knock yourself out! Go get every conservative in America to watch this film—strap them to chairs and force-feed it to them, what do we care? Look, we're even helping you advertise it! A new blockbuster among blockbusters, from the director that brought you The Goonies, and Die Hard, and Jaws XVIII: Jaws Harder, and the man who until now successfully hid from America the news that Rudy Giuliani, "technology" consultant turned presidential lawyer turned God only knows at this point, has been a 80-pound sack of cocaine this entire time and none of us were the wiser. Here’s a new conspiracy film meant to distract you from government programs to strip refugee children from their parents and a party that, to nearly a person, would rather back attempted coup than abide a world in which attempted coup is
punished.

Sure, it's all a conspiracy. Everyone's in on it. It's not talent that will push this movie to success or failure, or a near-complete inability to turn on a light bulb here and there; it's a battle between globalists who want to oppress the political soft porn markets and
patriots who are themselves so bored of their own conspiracies that they can only stomach them if you show them from the point of view of left-wing activist strippers who find themselves at the center of it all.

Go nuts with that. Oh, also the politician you advocated overthrowing American democracy for was just caught hoarding hundreds—I repeat, hundreds—of national security papers in his spy-riddled "de Rothschild"-hosting private club after even deaths in the U.S. Capitol failed to keep him in power. That sounds like some pretty good blockbuster fodder right there; if only there was some way to combine it with a few good-for-nothing sons, some comically sketchy foreign business dealings, grotesque sexual predation, and a main character who looks like a tumeric-dipped human foot.

Now that sounds like a movie. I probably wouldn't watch that one either, but I'd sit through the trailer. Well, most of it. Probably.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
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Ukraine update: Some parts of Kherson counteroffensive are coming into focus

Mark Sumner

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A boy spray paints destroyed Russian military equipment in Odesa, Ukraine. September 2, 2022.

On Monday, Ukraine began a counteroffensive in Kherson oblast. Depending on who you listen to, that effort has been wildly effective, liberating towns and villages from one end of the oblast to the other, or it’s been an utter failure, crushed by Russian troops who now control more territory than they did when Ukraine’s movement began. The truth is almost certainly in the middle.

In particular, there have been claims that what the Ukrainians have done in Kherson is a test of their ability to conduct a combined arms strategy, that this strategy was planned in conjunction with U.S. teams that helped train Ukraine forces, and that, since this was their first attempt to put this training into action, the scope of the effort was deliberately limited. It’s a narrative that probably isn’t completely accurate, if only because it feels so right. However, it would seem to fit with what we actually know of activities in Kherson over the last four days.

Which isn’t much.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that Ukraine had liberated four villages in three different areas of Kherson oblast. One was Arkhanhel's'ke at the northern end of the area of Russian control, adjacent to the critical town of Vysokopillya. That location has now been confirmed through geolocated images. Vysokopillya itself was reported as under Ukrainian control at one point, though it now seems to be back in the “contested” category. At the moment, Russia seems to be clinging only to a few streets at the south end of town, while Ukraine not only has the rest, but all surrounding villages.

Ukrainian gains across the Inhulets River at Sukhyi Stavok also appear to be confirmed. That effort has pushed forward to reportedly liberate the village of Kostromka, Reports from Russian Telegram indicate that fighting has died down around Bruskynske on the east of this salient, and that Ukraine is instead pushing south toward Shchaslyve. I’ve left both villages marked “in dispute” until there’s more clarification of how this counteroffensive is proceeding. There are also some reports that Davydiv Brid itself is now in dispute, though video from the area on Tuesday showed no sign of nearby military activity. So consider that marker to be “grain of salt white.”

The weirdest factoid of the week may be that all of the news of Ukrainian advances east of the Inhulets is coming from the same pro-Russia sources who, just a few weeks ago, claimed the entire bridgehead across the Inhulets had been wiped out (that this was the second time they claimed it had been destroyed didn’t seem to bother anyone). On Friday, they are again pushing videos that claim to show Ukrainian vehicles near the river crossing being hit by drones or artillery. However, embedded data shows that these are old photos, and geolocation shows they are from somewhere else. I’m mostly accepting this “Russian view on the Ukraine advance” because I don’t see why they would exaggerate Ukrainian success. Plus … it’s all I’ve got.


It’s when you get to the south end of the oblast, that many of the reports from Monday seem to fall apart.

In some of the reports this week, the suggestion was that the main thrust of the counteroffensive was limited to the south. If so, then it seems to have been very limited. On Monday, CNN reported the frankly astounding news that Ukraine had liberated Tomyna Balka and nearby Novodmytrivka. Those gains are still shown here, even though no other source has confirmed them. On the other hand, even those sources that are still cautiously drawing the Russian control boundary to the west of those two villages don’t seem to have any evidence that Russia is still camped out there. I’ve left them blue until I get something better, but I simply don’t know.

In the meantime, Ukraine does seem to have re-re-re-liberated the utterly unholdable town of Oleksandrivka along the coast. If Ukraine does have Tomyna Balka, this offers a chance to clear that whole point and develop a more sustainable position. But that’s only
if they control Tomyna Balka.

North of this area, earlier reports that Ukraine held Pravdyne and Soldatske appear to have been reversed. Earlier in the week, it seemed like Ukraine might be prepared to squeeze that salient extending out south of the major M14 highway. Now Russian control in that area doesn’t appear to be in immediate threat. Something similar has happed to the norther around Blahodatne, where Ukraine was reportedly in control after Monday. The latest information indicates that Russia has either rolled back that advance, or it never happened in the first place.

If there is one single, “limited test” of combined underway, maybe it’s taking place in that bridgehead across the Inhulets, because that’s where Ukraine seems to be making the most progress. On the other hand, finally taking out Vysokopillya would be huge. So would confirmation of control at Tomyna Balka.

Was all that confusing enough? Yeah … there you go. Hopefully, we will gain more knowledge soon. And as always, hopefully that means a lot less red on the map.......